Flying Tinsel

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Play keep away from your cat by using a static charge to suspend a piece of tinsel in the air. This Exploratorium produced activity also features videos to help create and learn about this phenomenon.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Tinsel—a thin strip of aluminized Mylar that is approximately 12 inches (30 centimeters) long
  • An aluminum pie pan that's at least 9 in (20 cm) in diameter
  • Wool—use a piece of clothing or fabric; be sure to wash and dry it well
  • A piece of thick Styrofoam that's larger than your pie plate
  • A Styrofoam cup
  • Tape


  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Charges and Currents
      • Electromagnetic Fields


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access