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Color Gradation

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Color theory isn’t always the most exciting topic but, this Valentine’s Day your child can create a shades of red gradation design, honing his color theory skills and design abilities! With the help of a ruler and some color mixing, not only will your child learn more about color theory, but create abstract artwork, too!

What You Need:

  • White paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • White and red tempera paint
  • Scrap paper
  • Paintbrushes

What You Do:

  1. With a piece of paper positioned horizonatally, or the longest edge facing him, invite your child to use the ruler to make nine vertical parallel lines. He can make the lines the same distance apart or lay down randomly distanced parallel lines.
  2. Now he'll make a horizontal line intersecting the vertical ones. This line can be angled or straight, whichever he prefers. Encourage him to use the ruler as needed. When he's done he'll have 20 various sized rectangular shapes!
  3. It’s time to get mixing! Invite him to put a small amount of red tempera paint on a sheet of scrap paper. You can talk to him about what a gradation and color gradient is: the gradual mixing of one color into another.
  4. Have your child paint the top upper-most right rectangle, and the lower left-edge rectangle, red. Now he’s ready for gradation painting!
  5. Next by mixing a small amount of white paint together with the red he can make a new gradiation of color to fill in the following two rectangles, working from right to left on the top half of his paper and left to right on the bottom!
  6. Invite him to start painting in the rest of the rectangles by mixing different amounts of white paint together with the red.
  7. Encourage your child to continue mixing and painting until his whole paper is filled with the different gradations of color created with red and white!

Display the finished painted gradation design where others can enjoy it for Valentine’s Day!  

Sarah Lipoff has a K-12 Art Education degree and enjoys working with kids of all ages.

Updated on Jun 20, 2013
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See more activities in: Fifth Grade, Valentine's Day
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