Discover Colors in Glass Activity

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Updated on Jan 28, 2014

One of the most important skills painters have is the ability to see many small shapes within one large shape. In this fun art exercise, kids practice using their eyes to see multiple shapes and colors inside a water-filled glass and recreate it as a still life using colored paper. For aspiring artists, this is a helpful way to train your eyes to see more than the average eye sees!

What You Need:

  • 3 8.5" x 11" or larger sheets of black paper or cardstock
  • Colored paper in neutral tones: shades of gray, flesh, light yellow, and white
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Clear drinking glass or wine glass with no printing
  • Clamp light or lamp
  • Pencil

What You Do:

  1. Ask your child to place one sheet of black paper on the table where the glass will be placed.
  2. Have him fill a glass half full with water. Set the glass on the black paper.
  3. Ask him to fold another sheet of black paper so it can easily stand on its own behind the glass to create a "black enclosure" where the glass will sit. This prevents reflecting colors from coming through behind the glass which may be confusing.
  4. Help him set up a clamp light or a lamp close to the glass to make strong shadows and highlights. Take a moment to discuss contrast with him and how light creates contrast.
  5. Now have him lightly draw the outline of the glass onto the third sheet of black paper in pencil. Make sure he draws it large enough so he has room to glue the paper pieces.
  6. still life collageSit with your child and together carefully observe all of the shapes and colors you see inside the glass. Some of the whites may actually be gray or yellow, and the reflection from the light source may seem more yellow than white. There may even be a flesh tone from the artist's reflection on the glass. Look slowly and carefully—the longer you look at the glass, the more shapes you'll see!
  7. Have him slowly cut out pieces of corresponding colored paper and glue them down as he goes to recreate the reflections in the wine glass. For areas that are black, allow the base color of the paper to show through.
Ellen Dean has worked as an art educator in Thailand since 2005, working with both children and adults. She has also been a professional artist working in painting, sculpture and photography since 1996.