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20 Minute Labs - Rain Cloud in a Jar

20 minute labs logo | Yellow Scope


rain cloud | Yellow ScopeDid you know that clouds are made of water droplets? Clouds look light, but clouds can get so heavy with water that they weigh the equivalent of a herd of elephants!

Clouds get their water from evaporation - when a liquid turns to a gas. The sun heats up water from rivers, lakes, and oceans, turning it into a gas. It's just like when you heat water on the stove and the steam rises from the top! The evaporated water rises up into the sky, cools and collects together, condensing into a cloud. After awhile, the cloud becomes so heavy that the water droplets come falling down as rain, where it will evaporate again.water cycle | Yellow Scope

This process of evaporation, condensation (clouds), and precipitation (rain) is called the water cycle! Water just keeps transforming in this cycle over and over!

In this month's 20 Minute Lab, we'll make our own rain cloud to imitate this natural process, using some simple items from around the house!

  • 20 minute labs logo | rain cloud in a jar
    wide-brimmed jar or tall, wide vase
  • water
  • shaving cream
  • small glass
  • blue food coloring
  • dropper or pipette
  • towel for clean up


  1. Fill your vase with water, leaving a couple inches for the 'cloud' at the top.
  2. Next, spray some shaving cream on top of the water in the vase
    shaving cream | Yellow Scope
  3. To the small glass, add about 10 drops of blue food coloring.
  4. Then add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to the small glass and mix the dye into the water.
  5. Draw up some of the blue water into the eye dropper/pipette and squirt it on top of the cloud. (You can also add straight food coloring right from the bottle for a more vibrant 'rain', but you might run out of food coloring very fast!)
  6. Repeat step 5 until you start to see the 'rain' coming out the bottom of the cloud! (You can also insert the dropper directly into the cloud, but careful not to shoot the blue water right through it!)
  7. Check out our video (we ended up changing to a tall, round vase)



rain cloud in a jar | Yellow Scope

Why doesn't the food colored water just stay on top of the cloud?

Well, like a real cloud, the shaving cream cloud is becoming saturated, meaning it is absorbing the water being added. Eventually, as you added more and more colored water, the shaving cream becomes so full that it is over-saturated and can no longer hold it. So the ghe blue water comes out of the 'cloud' and is  pulled down by gravity, just like rain!

color storm | Yellow Scope

Want more rain experiments? Main it rain in rainbows and learn about density with our 20 Minute Lab: Color Storm in a Glass.


Let us know how your experiments turned out! Share your photos and results with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or send us an email to We love getting your messages!

For more exciting experiments, check out our Yellow Scope science kits on the Shop tab of our website!

Chelsea Schuyler
Chelsea Schuyler