9 Science Pranks and Practical Jokes

Laughing girl (9-10)
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Some of the coolest pranks and practical jokes rely on science. Learn how to make stink bombs, color someone's urine, change the color of coins, and more with this collection of science pranks.

Classic Homemade Stink Bomb

Girl holding nose because of a bad smell
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While this stink bomb is homemade, it contains the same chemical found in (expensive) storebought stink bombs. Combine two common household ingredients and let the stink begin!

Burning Bills

Cropped hands of man removing burning paper currencies from wallet
Nodar Chernishev / EyeEm / Getty Images

Take the money and set it on fire. With this technique, you'll get lots of fire, but the bills will be completely unharmed.

Rubber Egg and Rubber Chicken Bones

If you soak a raw egg in vinegar, its shell will dissolve and the egg will gel
If you soak a raw egg in vinegar, its shell will dissolve and the egg will gel. Anne Helmenstine

You can bounce this egg like a ball or bend the chicken bones as if they were rubber. If you make rubber egg from a raw egg, the yolk of the egg will remain liquid, so if you throw the "ball" hard enough it will splatter egg everywhere.

Baking Soda and Ketchup Prank

Fish and chips with spilled tomato ketchup
PJB / Getty Images

What happens if you add baking soda to someone's bottle of ketchup? The baking soda reacts with the acid in the ketchup in much the same way as it reacts with vinegar in a baking soda volcano, except in this case its ketchup that goes everywhere and not fake lava.

Supercooled Water

Supercooled water
Vi..Cult..., Creative Commons License

You can chill a bottle of water past the freezing point of the water. The water will remain liquid in the bottle, but as soon as you open it to drink it or pour it, the water will freeze into ice. You also can supercool canned soft drinks, such as colas.

Disappearing Ink

Close-up of girl (10-11) looking through fingers with ink stains
WIN-Initiative/Neleman / Getty Images

This is a classic prank that you can set up yourself. Prepare an ink that produces a stain when you squirt it onto paper or clothing, yet becomes invisible once it dries.

Gold and Silver Pennies

You can use chemistry to change the color of copper pennies to silver and gold
Anne Helmenstine

The next time someone asks you for some pennies, why not give them pennies that appear to be made of gold or silver? The pennies are still pennies, but a chemical reaction has altered the chemical composition of the outer layer of the penny. Still legal to spend? Who knows... go find out!

Colored Urine

Blue urine in toilet
Anne Helmenstine

There are several harmless foods and chemicals that can be used to safely color someone's urine. Methylene blue, for example, can color your urine blue. It will even (temporarily) turn the whites of your eyes blue.

Green Eggs

The 'white' of this egg is green
The 'white' of this egg is green because we mixed a little red cabbage juice into it. Anne Helmenstine

Whether you want green eggs and ham or just like colored eggs, you can use a kitchen ingredient to turn the whites of your eggs green.

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "9 Science Pranks and Practical Jokes." ThoughtCo, Jul. 29, 2021, thoughtco.com/science-pranks-and-practical-jokes-608249. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2021, July 29). 9 Science Pranks and Practical Jokes. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/science-pranks-and-practical-jokes-608249 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "9 Science Pranks and Practical Jokes." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/science-pranks-and-practical-jokes-608249 (accessed February 4, 2023).