Mix it Up!

When I open a new box of crayons I love thinking about each color's story. I look at the color and think about how someone mixed it, what they called it and how I feel about it. What if I could make my own colors?  

People have invented colors made from plants, gems, metal… even bugs and snails! Forty thousand years ago, people mixed rocks and clay to paint caves with red, brown and yellow. How cool is that? You and your child can invent your own colors, too.


Let’s make some homemade paint!

First, gather things to use to add color to your paint. I have used beets, spinach, berries, grass, curry, chili powder, mustard and cheese puffs--but there are a million things that might work. Look around and see if you can find stuff to squish or mash or blend to mix into your paint. 

You'll also need:

  • a bowl
  • a spoon or masher
  • water
  • flour

For each paint color:

  • Smash your item (the thing you’re getting your color from) in a bowl. You can use tools like a blender, masher or a wooden spoon. Experiment with what works best!
  • If you have lumps after smashing, you can try squishing it through a sieve (like a strainer, coffee filter or paper towel).
  • Add a splash of water and a pinch of flour to your bowl. Mix well.

Once you’ve made a few colors, it’s time to use them! You can paint with your finger or a tool like a paint brush or cotton swab.

Don’t forget to have your child name each color you’ve invented. These are your own special paints, so they can have any names that mean something special to you and your family.  Practice writing by labeling each paint color with the name you give it!


Honeysmoke: We’ve all had times when we were searching for just the right word for something. Simone is looking for the name of a color--the color of her!

My colors, my world: No matter where you are, even if you live in a desert full of sand, you can find beautiful colors all around you.

Sky Color: Marisol’s supposed to make a big new painting for the library. But there’s no blue paint! How will she paint the sky?

Have a wonderful, colorful summer!