February 22, 2010

Messy Monday – Color Wheel Cupcakes

For today’s Messy (and yummy) Monday I’m going to do a fun lesson in Color Theory (think back to your ROYGBV days) by making a color wheel with frosting – did your ears just perk up? I’d recommend this little computer activity to do with your kids before you start the color/frosting mixing – it simply shows how primary colors can be turned into secondary and intermediate colors. Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a great children’s book that illustrates primary and secondary color mixing.
Here’s what you’re going to need:
  • white frosting (homemade or out of a container )
  • 6 -12 cupcakes (or muffins, cookies, graham crackers….)
  • six mixing containers 
  • six spoons
  • food coloring (red, yellow, blue – primary colors)
  • empty tummies
And the How-To:
  • Make or get out your cupcakes (or muffins, cookies, graham crackers….) I made these banana muffins without the topping. Make or get out your frosting – I made a half recipe of  this cream cheese frosting.
  • Set up your space like this:
6 containers, 6 spoons, red, yellow, blue food coloring and 3 plops of white frosting – placed in a circle – like a color wheel
6 muffins (cupcakes, cookies, graham crackers….) placed in a circle – like a color wheel
Add 1-2 drops of food coloring to each frosting cup – one red, one yellow, one blue
Mix up the frosting and food coloring
Frost the primary cupcakes (red, yellow, blue)
Add a spoonful of each of the primary colors to the empty cups to make the secondary colors –  
red + yellow = orange     yellow + blue = green     blue + red = violet
Mix away until secondary colors appear (orange, green, and violet)
Frost appropriate cupcakes – this is a basic color wheel with primary and secondary colors and may be a good place to stop if you have kids under 2 years old.
If you are going to add the intermediate colors to your color wheel, set up your cupcakes like this – with a “blank” cupcake in between each primary and secondary cupcake.
Mix a primary and a secondary color to make an intermediate color – like this:
red + orange = red-orange
orange + yellow = orange-yellow
yellow + green = yellow-green
green + blue = green-blue
blue + violet = blue-violet
violet + red = violet-red
And there you have it – a completely edible color wheel with  primary, secondary, and intermediate colors.
From start to finish, this took about an hour and a half – we made the muffins, while they were baking we looked at the color mixing website and talked about color. While the muffins were cooling, we mixed up the frosting and made the edible color wheel. By the time we were done with all the mixing, tasting and frosting it was time for lunch – perfect timing!
A couple color wheel extension ideas:
  • use the same technique with water and food coloring in clear glasses and spoons – it could also become a lesson in measuring once the color wheel has been made
  • homemade play clay (see this Messy Monday for the recipe that I use) – mix up primary colors and then mix lumps of clay to create the secondary and intermediate colors
  • go to the library and check out books about color (Mouse Paint)
  • paint a color wheel with watercolor paints
This post is linked up to DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land and Today’s Creative Blog’s Get Your Craft On.