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An educational tool that teaches kids how to create DIY materials through chemical reactions.
An educational tool that teaches kids how to create DIY materials through chemical reactions.
174 backers pledged $31,141 to help bring this project to life.

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Alchemist Matter - DIY Science Experiments for Kids

$31,141

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"One of the things that make it different from the kits that have come before is that each of these comes with a mission."

"(…) it’s designed to give kids a tangible sense of what chemical interactions can do."

Margaret Rhodes for WIRED

- ALCHEMIST MATTER

Inside the kit, you will find samples of raw materials and a manual. Following the instructions, you will experiment with components that look similar to the naked eye but react differently—the same way that alchemists, the ancestors of chemists, did! 

Pour a drop of ink on various materials and observe. Beads of ink form on flour, ink stains on whipped egg whites , ink bubbles on silicone oil!

Alchemist Matter “Sink or Float” to decorate the aquarium  of your goldfish
Alchemist Matter “Sink or Float” to decorate the aquarium of your goldfish

With the Alchemist Matter full kit you can give shape to your ideas, create a single material capable of floating in water or sinking like the Titanic, and remove a stain with the speed you can make it!

This educational toolkit leads children to make their first steps in chemistry, learning with creative, hands-on activities how science can be useful. The Alchemist Matter full kit is an educational tool for children from 5 to 12 years old, with the supervision of an adult.

You can either take the one, two, or three different kits –where you will find samples of raw materials–, or just take the three Alchemist Matter manuals (from $15) that explains how to make the experiments with the materials you already have at home.

- THE PLAY SET

This educational toolkit is composed of three modular test-tube racks, with containers filled with different raw materials, and a manual that guides you though a gradual learning process.

Once you have used the raw material samples, you can easily refill the containers with the same or different raw materials, as suggested in the instruction manual. The raw material samples come from products generally used around the home (i.e, flour, baby powder, sawdust, breadcrumbs, starch, salt, soap flakes, and so on.) All the sample materials are innocuous. It's fundamental principle of this product. They must not be placed in the mouth, and for that reason the activities require the supervision of an adult.

- THE MANUAL (from $15)

The instruction manuals will allow to experiment like Alchemist did before anyone else! The raw materials are really easy to find. The manuals are available in English, French, and Italian.

- HOW WAS THE ALCHEMIST MATTER KIT DEVELOPED?

I am a Belgian engineer, working as an industrial designer in Milan.  Since 2011, I have conducted research on Do-It-Yourself materials with chemists. 

Over the last two years, I have held workshops in different museums including Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie in Paris, Maker Faire in Roma and New York, the Science Festival in Genoa, Espace des Inventions in Lausanne, the Triennale Design Museum in Milan, and the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York.

Alchemist Matter “Drop of Ink” to create a portrait
Alchemist Matter “Drop of Ink” to create a portrait
Alchemist Matter Kit is an educational tool
Alchemist Matter Kit is an educational tool

- REWARDS

 - MAJOR INFORMATION 

Who is this kit for?

It's made for children who like STEM and chemistry, and like experimenting things by themselves. And it's also for parents to enjoy a good time with their children.

Copy of my ebook $7

This project was initially inspired by cooking chemistry and its potential bond with material sciences. Following these collaborations I have published in 2012 an ebook for adults, “Cooking Material. Could molecular gastronomy help discover new matter?” on the iTunes Store and Amazon, with the patronage of the Triennale Design Museum and the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles Support. The book has been translated into three languages (French, Italian, and English.)

For a pledge from $15, you will receive the three instruction source file manuals (English, French, or Italian) so that you begin experimenting before anyone else! For a pledge from $30, you can build your own custom-made alchemist experimentation lab from scratch, following the CAD drawings and indications supplied with the manual. Choose among Alchemist Matter experiments: “Drop of Ink,” “Sink or Float,” or “Stop the Spot.” For a pledge from $40, you will receive the Alchemist Matter FULL KIT source file. Plastic containers, accessories, and test-tube racks are not included. You’ll also need some easy-to-find raw materials.

For a pledge between $90 and $225, you will receive all of the components for one, two, or three of the Alchemist Matter Kit experiments. Choose among “Drop of Ink,” “Sink or Float,” and/or “Stop the Spot.” Each Alchemist Matter set includes a test-tube rack, with containers filled with different raw materials, and a corresponding printed manual that guides you though a gradual learning process.

Alchemist Matter “Drop of Ink”

Watch and learn how matter behaves when it comes in contact with a little—or a lot—of water! From simple reactions among different substances, you’ll obtain foam, modeling dough, glue, beads, and crystals. You’ll produce different materials and textures to give shape to your ideas, to create a portrait, or to craft models.

Alchemist Matter “Drop of Ink”
Alchemist Matter “Drop of Ink”
  • 6 containers with raw material samples to give shape to your ideas
  • 1 plastic dropper
  • 1 wooden spatula
  • 1 test-tube rack
  • instruction manual (English, French, or Italian)

For children 5 years and older.

Alchemist Matter “Sink or Float”

In this experiment, you’ll mold a unique material able to float or sink. Decorate your goldfish’s aquarium with a raft, some seaweed, and a sunken ship! In the process, you’ll learn about Achimedes’ principle and the specific weight of matter.

Alchemist Matter “Sink or Float”
Alchemist Matter “Sink or Float”
  • 5 containers filled with raw material samples to create a single colored material capable of floating or sinking in water
  • 1 aluminum box with two disposable aluminum containers inside
  • 1 wooden spatula
  • 1 test-tube rack
  • instruction manual (English, French, or Italian)

For children 8 years and older.

Alchemist Matter “Stop the Spot”

Remove stains from white cotton fabrics, learning basic chemistry reactions for each type of spot. This knowledge will come in handy to invent materials with erasing properties!

Alchemist Matter “Stop the Spot”
Alchemist Matter “Stop the Spot”
  • 5 containers with raw material samples to remove a stain
  • 1 aluminum box with plastic gloves, 1 brush, and cotton fabric
  • 3 empty test tubes to full with ammonia and alcohol (not provided)
  • 1 test-tube rack
  • instruction manual (English, French, or Italian)

For children 8 years and older.

Family workshop $1500

I will hold a workshop spending the entire afternoon with your children and you to play, tell the story, and teaching the pedagogy behind the product! You will receive one of the three items of the Alchemist Matter full kit with the corresponding printed manual.

Museums, galleries, festivals, children association and schools are invited to pledge this reward.

- Schedule

Mid of January. Ordering components, packaging, printing the instruction manual. Delivery of the ebook. Production of the test-tube racks and logistics of the assembled kit.

End of January. Delivery of the Alchemist Matter source file.

February. Shipping, backers get to receive their Alchemist Matter partial or full kit.

 - Credits

Thanks to Audrey Tardieu, French chemical engineer with a PhD in molecular gastronomy, Michele Di Lauro, Italian chemist  PhD student, and Luca Pinto, Italian chemical engineer and expert in ceramic for our numerous conversations and ideas, as well as for their scientific contributions on this project.

Special thanks to Francesco Bertocco (video), Delfino Sisto Legnani (photo in studio),  Pietro Corraini (logo), Valentina Orsi (performer in the video), Marina Isgro (voice),  WeMake (Milan's makerspace), Luisa Castiglioni (press), Al Bolton (accountant), my friends & team work, and the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles for their support at the early stage of the project.

- Download press kit

- Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Linkedin.

Risks and challenges

The primary risk in delivering the Alchemist Matter kit is running into delays with suppliers, which could set back my timeline. Fortunately, I have established relationships with all the suppliers and as an industrial designer I am used to working with manufacturers at the start of the project, controlling the quality of the product up to its delivery.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Thanks for your support! You will be listed in the Hall of Fame on my website.

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    Pledge $7 or more About $7

    Great! To show my appreciation I will send you a copy of my ebook “Cooking Material. Could molecular gastronomy help discover new matter?” in the language that you can choose (English, French, or Italian.) You will also get the rewards from the $1 level.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    The Alchemist Matter SOURCE FILE. You will receive the THREE instruction manuals to download as a PDF (English, French, or Italian) so that you begin experimenting before anyone else! Alchemist Matter: “Drop of Ink,” “Sink or Float,” and “Stop the Spot.”

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    The Alchemist Matter SOURCE FILE. You will receive all the CAD drawings and documentation necessary to build ONE of the THREE ITEMS in the Alchemist Matter full kit with the corresponding instruction manual to download as a PDF (English, French, or Italian.) Choose among Alchemist Matter: “Drop of Ink,” “Sink or Float,” or “Stop the Spot.”

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    The Alchemist Matter SOURCE FILE. You will receive all the CAD drawings and documentation necessary to build the Alchemist Matter FULL KIT with the corresponding instruction manual to download as a PDF (English, French, or Italian.) You will receive Alchemist Matter: “Drop of Ink,” “Sink or Float,” and “Stop the Spot.”

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    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    You will receive ONE of the THREE ITEMS of the Alchemist Matter full kit assembled, with containers filled with raw material samples and the corresponding printed instruction manual (English, French, or Italian.) Choose among Alchemist Matter: “Drop of Ink,” “Sink or Float,” or “Stop the Spot.”

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    Pledge $170 or more About $170

    You will receive TWO of the THREE ITEMS of the Alchemist Matter full kit assembled, with containers filled with raw material samples and the corresponding printed instruction manual (English, French, or Italian.) Choose among Alchemist Matter: “Drop of Ink,” “Sink or Float,” or “Stop the Spot.”

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    Pledge $225 or more About $225

    You will receive the Alchemist Matter FULL KIT assembled with containers filled with raw material samples and the printed instruction manual (English, French, or Italian.) Thank you for your support!

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    Pledge $1,400 or more About $1,400

    WORKSHOP + ONE of the THREE ITEMS of the Alchemist Matter full kit assembled for each participant (maximum 20 participants by workshop). Cost for travel and lodging are not included in the reward.

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    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    BECOME OUR EXECUTIVE SPONSORS. Thanks for being our greatest backers!!

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Funding period

- (57 days)