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Time Sponges

Sponsored by
Food coloring and eye dropper and sponge


Recommended for ages 3 and up with adult supervision.


Working with ‘time as creator,’ Time Writers by Edhv, Architects of Identity creates a visual representation of the gradual shifts ancient wood undergoes when reacting to differences in humidity and temperature. Inspired by this Design by Time featured studio, this activity accelerates the process and adds bursts of color to compressed sponges (both natural and synthetic!), which uniquely reflect the fusion between the artist’s intent and the environmental forces at play. 


Compressed sponges
(We used both artificial and cellulose sponges)

Washable markers

Food coloring


Small containers

Pipette or dropper


Design your sponge keeping in mind that water will cause the sponge to expand.
TIP: Be patient with the process! The effects of this project are much more satisfying when the water is added drop by single drop and the gradual change is appreciated.

  • Option 1:
    • Decorate the surfaces of the sponge using markers. Experiment by writing a message or drawing shapes.
    • Use the pipette to drop water onto the sponge.
    • Observe how the design changes and continue adding droplets of water as desired.
  • Option 2:
    • Create colorful water by adding droplets of food coloring.
      TIP: Only use primary colors so you can experiment with combining the hues into new colors.
    • Use the pipette to drop food-colored water onto the sponge.
    • Observe how the sponge reacts to the water by expanding – quickly altering the original design and creating an entirely new one!
      • How does the surface texture change?
      • How do the colors change?
      • Do written letters still retain their legibility?

Creative prompts for more…

  • Can you paint or stamp with the saturated sponge? Try pressing the colorful sponge onto a sheet of white paper and experimenting to see how the design changes.
  • How does adding droplets of water change the edges of your sponge? Carefully add water to points around the edge of artificial sponges to create an uneven, bumpy perimeter!


Share your project! Post and tag #MCDatHome

*This template is proprietary property of the Museum of Craft and Design and shall not be reproduced for any reason outside of this organization.


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