How to Make a Rainbow

Six Methods:Water Glass MethodMirror MethodCD MethodFlashlight methodMist methodComplete circle rainbow with the mist method

A rainbow is an arc of spectral colors, usually identified as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, that appears in the sky opposite the sun as a result of the refractive dispersion of sunlight in drops of rain or mist.


You can make your own rainbow using one of the various methods listed below.

Method 1
Water Glass Method

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    Fill a glass with water.
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    Place the glass on a table in front of a sunny window.
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    Place a sheet of paper on the floor. It could be any light color. White might be best, but try any color you prefer.
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    Wet the window with hot water.
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    Adjust the glass and the paper until you see a rainbow.

Method 2
Mirror Method

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    Place a mirror inside a full glass of water.
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    Make sure the room is dark, and has white walls.
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    Shine the flashlight into the water, moving it around until a rainbow can be viewed.[1]

Method 3
CD Method

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    Take a CD. Wipe it to make sure it is not dusty so it will look better.
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    Place it on a flat surface, label side down, under a light or in front of a window.
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    Look at the CD, and see the rainbow.
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    Hold the CD in between your fingers and move to see how the colors move.

Method 4
Flashlight method

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    Find a piece of white paper. Fold it in half, and cut a little triangle with a pair of scissors.
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    Fill a glass with water. A fishbowl, or other clear container will also work well.
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    Tape a flashlight on the hole in the piece of paper.
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    Hold the paper up with the flashlight bar.
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    Turn on the flashlight directly at the glass of water.
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    (Bam!) A rainbow has appeared.

Method 5
Mist method

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    Get a water hose. Check that it's a bright sunny day for this method to work.
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    Put your finger over the water hose, thus creating mist.
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    Turn the water hose towards the sun.
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    Continue to try to look hard into the mist to see the rainbow!

Method 6
Complete circle rainbow with the mist method

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    Another mist method is to use a manual car wash wand that can quickly cover a very large area with mist due to the highly pressurized water.
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    Turn your back to the mid afternoon sun or later, as when the lower the sun is to the horizon, the easier it is to see the entire effect.
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    Quickly spray a large area, until you start to see a rainbow appearing.
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    Then merely follow the arc of the rainbow, misting in an entire circle to see the rainbow as a "complete circle rainbow".
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    Depending upon the angle of the sunlight, it might be necessary to crouch down low so your shadow does not hide part of the rainbow.

Note: A fun activity is to stand under a very large sprinkler, such as an agricultural sized sprinkler, on a sunny afternoon. Stand with your back to the sun. As the water comes over you, open your eyes and you will see a circle rainbow that starts at your feet and circles over your head. The excitement comes both from being showered with cold water and seeing this amazing rainbow!

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Tips

  • A circle rainbow is a rare phenomena rarely seen unless you are in an aircraft or a very high vantage point from where you can look down on a rainbow. A rainbow seen in nature from the ground has an arc too big to see the entire circle as it is a mile or more away, but a rainbow you mist your self is only a couple of feet away, and is small enough to make a complete circle.

Things You'll Need

  • CD
  • Flashlight
  • Water
  • Mirror
  • Piece of light colored paper
  • Glass
  • Window
  • Water hose
  • The Sun

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