The Making of Abstract Color Swirl Imagery 

Surprisingly cheap and easy to do, and after some photoshop tricks the results look better than expected. 

Video Tutorial

A quick video overview of how to create color swirls, look further down for a video on the editing


Pour small amount milk into white shallow bowl, you need less than you think, it only needs to be about a centimeter deep

TIP: pour milk slowly down the side of the bowl otherwise you'll end up with bubbles that you have to pop 


Drop food coloring into your milk, make your drops somewhat close together 


Swirl colors with a small pointer, stick, tool, whatever you want, q-tip even


Drop in your dish soap overtop the center of your color swirl, clear dish soap works best visually


Swirl with your pointer until desired results, unfortunately adding more soap will not reproduce the "swirling" results

More examples: 

Photoshop Editing



To create images with a black background instead of the white of the milk, you can use either 

Image > Adjustments > Curves

Preset > Negative (RGB)


Image > Adjustments > Invert

which each give different results.

Often times after this step you have to play around with the hue under 

Image > Adjustments > Hue/ Saturation

to get an appealing color palette.

transformation Example

Original photo

More toning

Inverting color

Some cropping & toning