Have you ever made your own bracelets? Wanted to learn the science behind it? Well with this experiment you can. Try making your own glitter tube bracelets with your kids and teach them about science.
For this experiment you will need plastic tubing (4 to 5 feet of 7/16″ Outer Diameter). Plastic tubing is available at your local hardware store. 1 foot of tubing whose OD matches the Inner Diameter of the 7/16″ tubing- this will be the “plug” for the bracelet. It needs to be very snug.
You will also need large glitter (avoid using fine glitter), small beads or objects to fit within the tube, cooking oil, painters tape, clear tape (optional), a funnel, water and paper towels.
This experiment requires 10 different steps and it is essential that you follow them to make the bracelet work.
First of all you need to cut the larger tubing- you need to measure it around your wrists so that it fits nicely, but can be taken off easily.
The next step is to cut about an inch of smaller tubing for the plug.
Then you need to fit the smaller tubing into one end of the larger tube. If you’re having trouble, take some cooking oil and dab it on the end of the small tube. It should slide in the larger tube more easily.
Put a piece of painter’s tape on the end of the plug and place the funnel on the other end of the large tube and tape around the connection point. (See images below for assistance).
Now you need to start filling the tube with the beads and glitter until it is about 3/4 full.
Then you will need to remove the funnel and tape at both ends of the tubing. Make sure you are holding the tube in a “U” shape so the filling doesn’t fall out.
The next step is to start adding the water. You’ll want to place the large end of the tubing under a tap and fill ever so slightly. Leave some air within the tube so the water can float around freely.
Then you need to take the plug end of the tubing and wrap it around to meet the other end of the bracelet. Insert the plug. You may have to use oil to help you connect the tubing at both ends.
The final step is to dry off any excess water on the bracelet. You can place some clear tape around the connection point to prevent leakage. You could try gluing the bracelet so that it prevents it from leaking.
You’re done! When you rotate the bracelet, the glitter and beads will float around the tubing. For fun variations add soap and or food coloring to the tube before sealing.
Plug Alternative Cut a small piece (1/2″ to 1″) of the same sized tubing you are using for the bracelet to act as the plug. Now cut a slit down the length of this piece. Curl the tubing in on itself until it fits within the longer section of tubing. If it still doesn’t fit, cut about an 1/8″ off the entire length of the tubing, then curl it in and insert.
The Science bit:
This is a simple way to illustrate density. The glitter floats freely around the tube because it is less dense and flat. It’s shape and density make it easy for the water to push it around the tube. The beads are denser and have a hole in the center so they are harder for the water to push through the tube. If the beads and glitter were the same size you’d have the perfect science illustration.