Mixing 100 Colors

Today was our 100th Day of School, so to help our 2nd graders cel­e­brate, I decided to chal­lenge them to mix 100 dif­fer­ent col­ors!  I made a grid for stu­dents to paint over, con­sist­ing of 10 rows of 10 very light gray squares with a lit­tle white space in between.  I didn’t want to see harsh out­lines around the col­ors and this worked well to give them a struc­ture to paint over while allow­ing the col­ors them­selves to “steal the show”!  Then I made copies on card stock and gave my stu­dents their challenge.…

  • News­pa­per to cover desk
  • 8.5″ x 11″ card stock, printed with a grid of 100 light gray squares (down­load the free pdf of my Color Mix­ing Squares tem­plate)
  • Paper plate
  • Tem­pera paint: red, yel­low, turquoise, black, and white
  • Paint brush
The “Rules”:
1.  Col­ors must be mixed… no using them straight out of the bottle!
2.  Leave a lit­tle white space around each color.
     and most importantly.….
3.  No wash­ing your brush!  To clean your brush, sim­ply wipe it on the newspaper.

I’m on a kick of paint­ing with­out water these days, and the col­ors that kids are mix­ing are just incred­i­ble, thanks to that small amount of color that gets left in their brush!  (This tech­nique only applies to liq­uid tem­pera paint, and not water­color, of course!)

Out of 25 stu­dents, only 6 com­pletely fin­ished by the end of our 50 minute period, but oth­ers were close.  This was def­i­nitely chal­leng­ing for 2nd grade, but they LOVED it and I think it will change the way they approach color mix­ing for­ever!  A very FUN project.… try­ing it again tomor­row with 4th grade.… using hearts!

Color Mixing Squares template

Color Mix­ing Squares template

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32 Responses to Mixing 100 Colors

  1. Hope Hunter Knight February 8, 2012 at 3:57 am #

    wow– i love this!!!

  2. Mrs. Coughlin February 8, 2012 at 5:53 am #

    how fun! i’m sure the kids loved this! they look awesome!

  3. Christie - Fine Lines February 8, 2012 at 7:04 am #

    Great idea!!

  4. Katie February 8, 2012 at 7:08 am #

    BEAUTIFUL! These would look beau­ti­ful framed. Sim­ple yet effective.

  5. Katja February 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Génial !

  6. jyothisethu February 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    beau­ti­ful idea…

  7. Miss Foote February 8, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    Amaz­ing! I love this! Our 100th day will be on Leap Day, so I am think­ing this should be on the agenda.…so pin­ning and I am your newest follower.

    Chick­adee Jubilee

  8. Hannah- Art.Paper.Scissors.Glue! February 8, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    these are BEE YOU TEE FUL!

  9. create*make*smile February 8, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    This is such a great idea! Can you share with us how you would assess a project like this? I love all your projects you share. Thanks so much!

  10. Sleepyhead Designs Studio February 8, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    Great idea and pro­duced a cute piece of art! Kids always love when they get to cre­ate their own colors!

  11. TeachKidsArt February 8, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    Thanks for all your great com­ments! Regard­ing assess­ing a project like this, I would do that with a rubric and pick about 4 things to eval­u­ate, tying it into the stan­dards for that grade level. For­tu­nately, I don’t have to grade art­work for K-5, so I can assess more infor­mally, based on how well stu­dents fol­lowed direc­tions… for this project: did they mix lots of new col­ors? (or mostly browns!), did they leave white space around each one?, did they fill the page?, and was their project care­fully done? (crafts­man­ship!). I hope that helps! :)

  12. Miss February 9, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    These are so gor­geous– so fresh and con­tem­po­rary. Thanks for sharing!

  13. claudia February 21, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    Hello !!
    First of all, Thank you so much for all those great projects you share with us :)

    Yes­ter­day we did that challenge„,my boy had lots of fun doing it. I posted the project on my blog and linked back to your, hope its ok with you…

    You are more than wel­come to take a look.

    Have a very nice day !!
    Clau­dia :)

  14. tatjana February 22, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    I love this project!! Color mix­ing with a pur­pose;
    open ended, process ori­ented and beau­ti­ful.
    I’m going to have my kids try this, and then I will use it as a warm up for a future paint­ing class.

  15. sweet and lovely crafts February 25, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    This is so awe­some. I’m going to attempt this with my four year old! I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  16. Kris W February 27, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    This looks like a ton of fun! I missed doing it for our 100th day this year (I found this post after­wards) but I will add to my to-do list next year for sure!

    I saw you men­tioned a grid you made on Apple’s pro­gram “Pages”, but I don’t have access to that. Is there any chance you can/would be will­ing to save your grid as a PDF and post this to your blog as well? Or do you have sug­ges­tions for another pro­gram to use?

    Thanks a bunch!

    • Cheryl Trowbridge August 29, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

      I was finally able to add a down­load­able pdf to this post. Hope you can still use it!

  17. Art Project Girl March 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    This is so much fun. I couldn’t do it with my kids this year but I hope to one year! I just had a feel­ing they wouldn’t be able to sus­tain their focus after num­ber 10.

    I really should make it a sta­tion though for the END of the school year when we do sta­tions… maybe a col­lab­o­ra­tive how many col­ors can we make from the pri­maries white and black?

  18. TeachKidsArt March 8, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    Erica, I wasn’t sure my 2nd graders could focus long enough for this, either, but they totally ate it up! We ran out of time before they lost inter­est! You should give it a try… they might sur­prise you!! :)

  19. Hannah- Art.Paper.Scissors.Glue! March 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    I did this with my third graders and they LOVED it. It actu­ally took two whole classes, some two and a half, and each day they looked for­ward to doing it! Thanks again : )

  20. Paintedpaper March 15, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    Love this! Thanks for sharing! :)

  21. tishalou April 15, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    how did you dis­pense the color to them — I see you used paper plates — what did they start out with ROY G BIV?
    love this idea — thanks!

  22. Felicity April 19, 2012 at 3:10 am #

    SO gor­geous — I’m going to have some fun play­ing with this on the weekend.

    I may even do it with chil­dren — kidding!

    Happy day!

  23. TeachKidsArt April 23, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    Tishalou, I just gave them a small amount (quar­ter size) of the pri­maries (red, yel­low and turquoise) plus black and white. I like to have kids mix their own col­ors when­ever possible!

  24. ann February 17, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    I love this ideas. It would be beau­ti­ful put in a black frame.

  25. jessica July 18, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

    I like your grid. We used tape and water­col­ors back when we did this in 2010! I love how ran­dom the kid­dos paint. I would get too pat­terny.
    jes­sica recently posted..foil tape resist rainbowsMy Profile

  26. Concaimom January 7, 2015 at 2:25 am #

    Loved this! I have a 4th grader, & w/Valentine’s Day quickly approach­ing, I was won­der­ing where to access the heart-shaped grid you spoke of, if possible.??

    • Cheryl Trowbridge January 7, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

      You can use the same grid tem­plate for paint­ing the hearts, but the edges of the squares will show. So I made a sim­i­lar tem­plate for paint­ing the hearts, using small dots instead of squares, which are eas­ier to cover with a heart shape. I’ll post that tem­plate soon… in time for mak­ing Valen­tines! That project was a lit­tle more chal­leng­ing, but most of my 4th graders did really well with it!


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