How to Color Dry Ice

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Dry ice, a solid form of carbon dioxide, is used in an array of fashions -- from food and parties to manufacturing, and even in art and theater. Dry ice cannot be directly colored; however, you can create colorful effects with it by coloring the water it sits in or the fog it creates. Purchase dry ice at the service desk of your local grocery store. Bring identification with you when shopping for dry ice. Depending on the store, and in some cases the state, minors may not purchase dry ice.

Warning

    •  Children in the vicinity of dry ice should be supervised by an adult.   
    • Do not let dry ice come into direct contact with your skin. Dry ice burns. 

Handling Dry Ice

Dry ice should be transported in a cooler or other insulated container. The container should not be completely airtight. If it is, the dry ice might cause the container to explode. Be careful when handling dry ice. Do not allow dry ice to touch your skin. Wear rubber gloves or use tongs. Break up dry ice into your desired size with hammer.

Add Color with Food Coloring

Food coloring can be used to tint the vapor from dry ice. In a clear container, add warm water and food color. Place a piece of dry ice into the water with gloves or tongs. It will begin to release vapor over the container. Add a few drops of dish soap and your mixture will begin to bubble over. If you want the effect to continue, add more dry ice as the first piece begins to dissipate.

Add Color with Lights

An alternate solution to coloring dry ice is lighting. Lighting the fog from the dry ice will provide more saturation than food coloring. You will also be able to color a larger area. Aim colored lights at the fog to change the color. Spot lights will give you more control over the colors and lighting of the fog. Mix and match multiple lights to vary lighting effects.

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