Turning Hand Warmers into Hot Ice Sculpture

3.8 based on 158 ratings

Updated on Dec 07, 2011

Grade Level: 7th to 9th; Type: Chemistry


This experiment provides a graphic illustration of the chemical reaction that transpires when you activate a hand warmer.

Research Questions:

  • What is in hand warmers?
  • How do hand warmers work?
  • Why does the “hot ice” form in thie experiment?

Hand warmers provide instant heat on a cold day. They're also useful for making sculpture!


  • Five Reusable Hand Warmers
  • Scissors
  • Plate
  • Bottle

Experimental Procedure

  1. Activate one of the hand warmers.
  2. When it turns white and stops giving off heat, cut it open and remove a single crystal.
  3. Place the crystal on a plate.
  4. Cut open the other four hand warmers and pour their contents into the bottle.
  5. Carefully pour the contents of the bottle onto the crystal. Watch the effect. Voila! You are a modern artist!

Terms/Concepts: exothermic, endothermic, chemical instances

References: Hand Warmers Chemical Instances: http://homechemistry.blogspot.com/2008/03/hand-warmers.html

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