LIGHT TO DARK – Colour Mixing, Value, Monochromatic

Students use Model Magic to explore value by creating a scale from light to dark and then use the colours they have mixed to make a monochromatic creature. 

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 3


Language Arts
Visual Arts


colour monochromatic tint value


Model Magic - Assorted Colours Crayola Washable No-Run School Glue Crayola Scissors Bristol Board or Cardboard - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") - 1 per student

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LIGHT TO DARK – Colour Mixing, Value, Monochromatic - Step One

Step One

  1. Roll 5 small balls of WHITE Model Magic.
  2. Make them all the same size - about the size of a small plum.
  3. Roll 1 ball of BLUE Model Magic the same size as the white balls.
  4. Roll 10 very small balls of BLUE Model Magic about the size of a large blueberry.
LIGHT TO DARK – Colour Mixing, Value, Monochromatic - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Mix 4 balls of different values of blue Model Magic.
  2. Start by adding 1 blue ball to 1 white ball.
  3. Add an extra ball of blue to each new white ball.
    1 white + 1 blue
    1 white + 2 blue
    1 white + 3 blue
    1 white + 4 blue
LIGHT TO DARK – Colour Mixing, Value, Monochromatic - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Flatten the balls with the palm of your hand.
  2. Arrange them in a row from lightest to darkest.
LIGHT TO DARK – Colour Mixing, Value, Monochromatic - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Use your disks to make a MONOCHROMATIC creature.
  2. You can cut shapes using scissors or squeeze the Model Magic into shapes using your fingers.
  3. Press the Model Magic onto the surface of your cardboard to make it stick.
  4. You may need to glue it down with Crayola school glue to make sure it is secure. 
LIGHT TO DARK – Colour Mixing, Value, Monochromatic - Step Five

Step Five

  1. View your work with fresh eyes.
  2. What do you like best about it? Why?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • mix increasing amounts of coloured Model Magic with white to make a six-step scale of tints;
  • arrange colours in order from lightest to darkest;
  • use the tints they have mixed to create a monochromatic creature;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.


Have students:

  • ​mix different values of various colours and paint them randomly on a large piece of mural paper
  • gradually fill the paper with tints and shades of lots of colours;
  • find magazine photos to match as many colours as possible;
  • cut or tear the pictures and collage them to the painted paper;  
  • give the mural a title;
  • explain how they decided on the title.


  1. Gather and make available books about colour, for example, Pantone: Colors, by Pantone; Mix It Up! by Herve Tullet; A Book About Color: A Clear and Simple Guide for Young Artists, by Mark Gonyea; Mouse Paint, by Ellen Stoll Walsh; and My Many Colored Days, by Dr. Seuss.
  2. Download and display the Value and Colour posters available on this website.
  3. Download black and white, and monochromatic pictures from the Internet, for example,
    Brooklyn Museum


  1. View and discuss the two images -  Brooklyn Museum and Monet.
  2. Explain that in art, value means the lightness or darkness of a colour.
    - Colours are made light and dark by adding either black or white.
    - A colour with white added to it is called a TINT
    - A colour with black added to it is called a SHADE.
    - An artwork made with only tints and shades of one colour is called MONOCHROMATIC.
  3. Challenge students to find as many values as possible in the images. 
  4. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Mix coloured Model Magic with white to make a six-step scale of tints.
  2. Arrange the colours in order from lightest to darkest.
  3. Use the tints you have mixed to create a monochromatic creature.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - mixed 4 different tints
    - arranged 6 disks in order from lightest to darkest
    - created a monochromatic creature
    - explained what a tint is
    - explained what a monochromatic artwork is

    - kept everything in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work.
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students into small groups. 
  2. Ask them to: 
    - Compare their work and describe to each other what they wanted to communicate about their creature.
    - Tell each other how they got specific effects.
    - Discuss how it felt to only work with tints of one colour.

    - Talk about what was difficult and what was easy for them.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask them to tell how they felt about doing this project.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their pictures – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas on the picture, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Download - Tints_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Download - Tints_self-assessment.pdf)