ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Science Experiments - How to Make Litmus Paper

Updated on November 27, 2011

How To:

Turn Red Cabbage

Into Litmus Paper

The litmus paper that is used in schools and in chemical labs is colored by lichens, plants that are combination's of algae and fungi. But here we are going to make an Acid Base Indicator From Cabbage Leaves, and this is a really easy and useful science experiment.

Indicators are substances whose color changes in acids and bases. Litmus is a common indicator that is removed from plants.

An acid is a substance that has lost an electron. A substance that is capable of neutralizing an acid is called a base or alkali. In an acid Litmus is pink in color. In a base, litmus is blue.

Kids Science Experiments
Kids Science Experiments

New Oxford American Dictionary Definition of:

litmus |ˈlitməs|

noun
a dye obtained from certain lichens that is red under acid conditions and blue under alkaline conditions.
ORIGIN Middle English : from Old Norse lit-mosi, from litr ‘dye’ + mosi ‘moss.’

litmus paper

noun
paper stained with litmus, used to indicate the acidity or alkalinity of a substance.

Material You Will Need

To Make Litmus Paper

  • 1/2 Head Red Cabbage
  • Pot to Boil Cabbage
  • a rectangle glass dish
  • Paper Towels
  • Rubber Gloves

Science Experiments for Kids

cabbage for litmus paper
cabbage for litmus paper

Paper Towel Strips

used to create Litmus Paper
used to create Litmus Paper

How To Make Litmus Paper

  1. Chop half a head of red cabbage into small pieces and add it to a pan with about a cup of water. Boil the cabbage uncovered for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, let it cool, and strain the juice into a jar or bowl
  2. Cut strips from the paper towels about an inch wide and a couple inches long.
  3. Take the paper towels and soak them in the cabbage juice for about a minute. Remove them and let them dry on something that won’t stain. (Its a good idea to wear rubber gloves while doing this)
  4. Let the paper strips dry and as soon as they are dry your Litmus paper is ready to start experimenting!

Colors from Experimenting with Litmus Paper

Interesting to Note

Next time when you see a "red" cabbage at the store, notice that it is actually purple. When you submerge it in tap water, it will appears blue. Yet when you add it to coleslaw, it will take on a red color. This is because the cabbage contains a pigment that functions as a natural pH indicator. Tap water is slightly basic, causing it to turn blue. Vinegar in coleslaw is a dilute form of acetic acid, which makes the cabbage turn red.

Ideas for Experiments

Try dipping the paper into orange juice, soapy water, lemon juice, baking soda in water, baking powder in water, vinegar, and anything else you want to test. It is a good idea to keep notes on what changes you observed.

More Experiments for Kids

Acids and Bases

Solutions are often seperated into two classes, acids and bases. Strong acids and strong bases must always be handled with caution. Sulfuric acid is a strong acid that can "eat away" metals and other substances. Lye (sodium hydroxide) is a strongbase that may be used as a cleanser.

Weaker acids like lemon juice and weaker bases like soap are more stable and less dangerous.

Science Experiments With Lemons

The 60daychallenge Icon

from the hub of theblackedition - Increase-Readership-And-Revenue-The-Hubpages-60-Day-Challenge
from the hub of theblackedition - Increase-Readership-And-Revenue-The-Hubpages-60-Day-Challenge

60daychallenge

Comments on How To Make Litmus Paper

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • lillianrose1234 profile image

      lillianrose1234 

      6 years ago

      thank u i needed this info for an experement this really helps :)

    • profile image

      navena_s 

      7 years ago

      nice thank you

    • kids-toy-box profile image

      kids-toy-box 

      8 years ago

      Awesoem! I loved this experiment. Did you know that Hydrangeas can be considered natures litmus paper..they change colors depending on the PH of the soil they are in.

    • profile image

      Mr. D's Teacher Resource Website Matthew De Gasperi 

      8 years ago

      It seems that cabbage is a cheap litmus paper. This experiment is useful for a variety of ages. Thanks for sharing this Hub.

    • wavegirl22 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shari 

      8 years ago from New York, NY

      oooh the cutest ages! You just have to do some of these experiments. . I will think of those ages for the next ones .. ah how I miss that age. . my daughter is going to be 21 !!!!!!

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 

      8 years ago

      4 and 6 Shari

    • wavegirl22 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shari 

      8 years ago from New York, NY

      billy - thanks for the uplifting comments :) Interesting the wonders you can learn from inside the fridge. Stay tuned theres more fun science experiments to come . . How old are your boys????

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 

      8 years ago

      Shari another great science experiment for the kids - this one looks like lots of fun. I know I learnt something new about science and red cabbage!

    • wavegirl22 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shari 

      8 years ago from New York, NY

      Thanks Shaz for the vote of approval. It has been years since I did these experiments with my bnow college age daughter. .but I have little nieces that have really been enjoing helping me recreate them! Thanks to the 60Dc they are really having fun!

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 

      8 years ago from Great Britain

      Well done wavegirl! Another clever hub that will probably change the minds of our young scientists future! Excellent! :)

    • wavegirl22 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shari 

      8 years ago from New York, NY

      the voice - anytime! Thanks for the visit and the thumbs up!

    • thevoice profile image

      thevoice 

      8 years ago from carthage ill

      Great great hub thanks

    • wavegirl22 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shari 

      8 years ago from New York, NY

      Cags - Thanks :)))))))

    • Cagsil profile image

      Cagsil 

      8 years ago from USA or America

      Well, anything worth doing is worth doing well and you've done certainly that. Nicely done. :)

    • wavegirl22 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shari 

      8 years ago from New York, NY

      Cags . . how you warm my heart! I think this is one of the cooler science projects you can do . I am loving this series almost as much as football!

    • Cagsil profile image

      Cagsil 

      8 years ago from USA or America

      Hey Shari, I liked this one the most of the science hubs. I found it be quite interesting and did not know that cabbage reacted in that manner. If I did learned, apparently did not retain it. LOL! :) Thank you very much.

    • wavegirl22 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shari 

      8 years ago from New York, NY

      Lynda - thanks for the visit and especially the tip on sharing this one with some homeschooling sites :)

    • Lynda Gary profile image

      Lynda Gary 

      8 years ago

      Really interesting! I hope you share your URL with the big homeschooling sites, so they can find it!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)