Toothpicks are made of dried birch wood when you break the toothpicks, you stretch and compress the wood fibers inside them. When you put drops of water in the middle of the closed star formation, the dry wood fibers in each broken toothpick absorb some of it. This causes the fibers to swell and then expand As the wood absorbs the water, each individual toothpick tries to straighten itself as the soaked fibers expand. This straightening action causes the toothpick ends to push against each other

@stux I would make a joke here, but I believe it would be in bad taste 🤔 but Im sure you can probably guess what that joke would be.

Are you sure about birch? The toothpicks I have on kitchen shelf are made of bamboo

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