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Pendulum Painting

Build a pendulum, and then use gravity and momentum to create some unique art by swinging paint. A pendulum is made by hanging a weight on a string. The weight – which is called a “bob” – swings because of the force of gravity.

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  • Where will you do this adventure?
  • What do you know about pendulums? Where do you see pendulums in the real world?
  • How will you build a stand for your pendulum? What materials will you need?
  • What materials and tools will you need to build your pendulum?
  • How will the paint get out of the pendulum bob?


  • Build your pendulum and pendulum bob.
  • Mix water and paint so it will flow through the pendulum bob.
  • Fill the pendulum bob with your paint and water mixture.
  • Pull the bob to the side, open the nozzle, and let it fly!
  • Interrupt the motion of the pendulum bob to change the design on your paper.
  • What do you notice about the pattern on your paper?


  • What do you know now that you did not know before?
  • How did you change the patterns on your paper?
  • What happened to the pattern on the paper as time went on?
  • What did you like about this adventure? What did you not like? How would you do this adventure differently?
  • What elements of STEM did you use in this adventure? Science? Technology? Engineering? Mathematics?


  • Liquid paint
  • Water
  • Large paper
  • Materials for the pendulum stand (chairs, broom handles, branches, etc.)
  • A container for the pendulum bob (water bottle, glue bottle, cup, etc.)
  • String
  • Garbage bags or tarps for easy clean up

Keep it Simple

  • What are some other messy ways that you can paint? Finger painting? Potato stamps? Splatter painting? Don’t forget your smock!

Take it Further

  • Run a paint night for your Section! Have one person lead the painting and have everyone follow along. You could also try following along with an online tutorial.