Whether you’re looking to entertain your holiday guests or desperate to kill time at a family gathering, there’s always a cool science trick you can fall back on.
Here are some of the best tricks fit for this holiday season using only stuff you’ve already got lying around the house. Just remember to stay safe!
1. Forget the egg nog — impress your guests with eggs that bounce. Soak an egg in vinegar, and the vinegar dissolves the egg shell over time. What’s left on the egg is its membrane, which is surprisingly tough and gives the egg a bounciness:
2. But if you’re set on egg nog, try out this easy egg yolk separation hack. Crack eggs onto a plate. Then squeeze an empty plastic bottle to lift up the egg yolks from the egg whites. The air pressure in the bottle sucks up the yolk:
3. Did your candle go out? Light it with its own smoke. When a candle blows out, it emits a brief trail of vaporized wax. If you hold a flame to this vaporized wax inches from the wick, the wax will ignite, and the flame will head back down to the wick:
4. Or just get rid of your candles and make these green fire lanterns. Mixing methanol and boric acid and lighting a fire creates a chemical reaction that emits a green flame. This is how flame jugglers make their green fires, too. Just remember to do this safely!
5. Defy gravity during dinner. It’s possible to press two forks together and balance them on the edge of a toothpick over the rim of a glass. It seems odd that a tiny toothpick can hold up two forks, but it’s because their center of gravity isn’t where it seems to be:
6. No corkscrew? Open your wine by cutting the bottle with fire and string. Loop a string around a wine bottle a few times and wet the string with acetone. Light the string on fire, then carefully spin the bottle in your hands to heat the glass evenly. When you plunge the bottle into cold water, the heated molecules tighten so quickly the glass fractures. Again, stay safe with this one!
7. Grow a last minute Christmas “tree.” Cut out cardboard in the shape of a tree. Then, stand it in a mixture of water, salt, ammonia and a fabric bluing agent. The cardboard soaks up the mixture and crystals grow from a salt crystallization process:
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