Glitter Globe

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This activity shows learners (with adult supervision) how to make a Glitter Globe, a fabulous toy that shimmers when you shake it. The ingredients of the Globe--rubbing alcohol, vegetable oil, and glitter--interact in a way that teaches about how liquids flow. For older learners this activity can also teach about how substances are made up of molecules, molecules are made up of atoms, and atoms are made up of positively charged protons, negatively charged electrons, and uncharged neutrons.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
  • Vegetable oil
  • A plastic container or glass jar with an interesting shape (long, skinny olive jars and the fancy jars that hold some marmalades, jams, or jellies work well)
  • Small beads, sequins, glitter, or other tiny, shiny things
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Clear tape (optional)


  • Physical Sciences
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
      • Volume and Density

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Murphy, Pat ; Klages, Ellen ; Shore, Linda


  • All rights reserved, The Exploratorium, 1998