Waterproof Hanky

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In this physics demonstration, learners will be surprised when a handkerchief holds water in an upside-down glass. They will be especially shocked when you hold the glass over their head and nothing leaks out! Use this demonstration to introduce learners to surface tension and air pressure. This instruction guide includes a helpful video illustrating each step of the demonstration.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
Under 5 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
free per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration


Materials List (per group of students)

  • large glass
  • ashtray or similar
  • water
  • handkerchief


  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Institute of Physics,