SPECIAL MEMORIES – Colour Mixing and Pattern

Students create a colourful frame for a special picture using coffee filters they have coloured with markers and water.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Pre-Kindergarten to Kindergarten


Language Arts
Visual Arts



Crayola Non-Washable Broad Line Markers - 10 Count Crayola Scissors Crayola Washable No-Run School Glue Crayola Coloured Pencils - 12 Count Spray Water Bottle Cardstock Paper - White Coffee Filters - White - 6 per student Cardboard Picture Frame - 1 per student Picture of Student

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SPECIAL MEMORIES – Colour Mixing and Pattern - Step One

Step One

  1. Colour lots of different patterns and colours on about 6 coffee filters.
  2. Try lots of different ways to add colours, for example, use:
    ​- only primary colours
    - only non-primary colours
    - 1 colour
    - 2 colours 
    - 3 colours
SPECIAL MEMORIES – Colour Mixing and Pattern - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Scrunch the coloured coffee filters into balls. 
  2. Place them onto a washable surface, such as a plastic tablecloth or garbage bag. 
  3. Spray the coffee filters about 3 times
  4. Turn the coffee filters over after the first spray to make sure the whole filter gets wet.
SPECIAL MEMORIES – Colour Mixing and Pattern - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Gently open each coffee filter and lay it flat to dry. 
  2. What do you notice?
    What kinds of patterns do you see?
    - What happened with the primary colours?
    - What happened with the other colours?
  3. Allow the coffee filters to dry overnight.
SPECIAL MEMORIES – Colour Mixing and Pattern - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Cut the coffee filters into 4 quarters.
SPECIAL MEMORIES – Colour Mixing and Pattern - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Choose one of the coffee filter quarters.
  2. Pinch the centre and glue the pinched part onto the frame. 
  3. Continue gluing the coloured quarters all the way around the frame. 
  4. Make sure you fill the entire frame with coloured quarters. 
  5. You shouldn’t see any of the frame once you have finished.    
SPECIAL MEMORIES – Colour Mixing and Pattern - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Practice writing a caption about your picture on a scrap of paper.
  2. Glue your picture onto the top half of a piece of card stock paper.
  3. Write your caption below it.
SPECIAL MEMORIES – Colour Mixing and Pattern - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Glue the picture to the back of the frame.
  2. View your frame with fresh eyes.
    - What do you like best about it? Why?
    - Who would love this frame? Why?
    - How does the frame make your picture look?
    - What did you learn about colours while making this frame?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • work independently and self-regulate;
  • create personal responses to the activity materials;
  • share their ideas with peers;
  • demonstrate a sense of accomplishment.


As a class:

  • experiment with mixing colours of paint;
  • mix 2 primary paint colours together;
  • discuss what happens and why;    
  • mix 2 non-primary colours together;
  • discuss what happens and why;
  • make up fancy names for the colours you mix.


  1. Have a class discussion about accomplishments and why they are important.  
  2. List some of the things students have already accomplished, for example,
    - level one in swimming lessons
    - graduating kindergarten 
    - completing their first dance recital
  3. Have students bring in a picture of themselves of a special memory and place them on display.
  4. Gather materials listed under requirements.
  5. Download and display the Colour poster available on this website.


  1. Encourage students to view and discuss their pictures with other classmates.
  2. Explain to students that they will be creating a colourful picture frame for the special picture they brought in.
  3. Conduct a read-aloud with a book such as Mouse Paint, by Ellen Stohl Walsh focussing on what happens when you mix specific primary colours together.
  4. View the colour wheel and list the primary and secondary colours on a chart paper.


The Challenge

  1. Mix new colours.
  2. Identify primary and secondary colours.
  3. Cut circles into 4 quarters.
  4. Create a special picture frame.
  5. Use your imagination and problem-solving skills as you explore ideas.

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 new colours
    - cut circles into 4 quarters
    - glued paper to a frame so that is sticks
    - created a special picture frame using coloured paper
    - written a caption for my picture

    - 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 groups of 3 or 4 and ask them to share their picture frames with each other. Ask students to share the following:
    - What do you like best about your frame? Why?
    - How does the frame make your picture look?
    - What do you see that makes you say that?
    - What did you learn about colour mixing while making the circles?
    - What did you like best about making this frame? Why?
  2. Display the picture frames in the classroom.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their frames – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the frame, 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. (Downloads - Frame_tracking.sheet.pdf)