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Building a rainbow

This is a terrific art project that I like to do at the end of the school year with my early childhood students. It is a wonderful way to re-examine several materials and techniques that we have used throughout the year and the little ones especially enjoy using the rainbow as a symbol for spring.

Step 1: Supplies

The supplies are familiar to the students because we have used them through out the year to create other projects. A large 18X24 white base paper, an 18X24 poster paper, pencil and scissors. I choose to use, red tempera paint, a brush, orange construction paper, a glue stick, yellow cray-pas, yellow water colors, green do-a-dot markers, blue color pencils and purple water based markers. 
I choose these particular materials to coincide with projects from the school year. Other materials including, but not limited to might be crayons, pastels, tissue paper or acrylic paint. Think of activities and make those materials part of the creation.

Step 2: First Step

Using the poster paper draw dividing lines to represent each color of the rainbow.

Step 3: Red

cut off along the top line. With a pencil trace along the top of the poster paper to make a section on the white paper to be used for the red color of the rainbow. 

Step 4: Red Tempera

My kids use red tempera paint to fill in the first section of their rainbow. We remember the beginning of the school year when they studied a unit on the color wheel, primary  and secondary colors and also the proper way to use a paintbrush. 

Step 5: Orange

The next section of the poster board is cut off then placed on the base paper, a pencil line is traced to create a space for the orange color of the rainbow.

Step 6: Orange Section

Using construction paper we tear a pile of pieces to use for the orange color of the rainbow. We remember making torn paper snow flake patterns this past winter. 

Step 7: Orange Collage

Using a glue stick the torn orange papers are added to the rainbow. At this point we remember that the glue stick cant be rolled out too much or it can get stuck and then unable to roll back in. 

Step 8: Yellow

The next piece of the poster paper is cut off and the line is drawn for the yellow color of the rainbow.

Step 9: Yellow Watercolor Resist

When the yellow area has been colored in we do a cray-pas resist technique where the area is painted with yellow water color. We remember an under the sea project we did earlier in the year where brightly colored fish were drawn with cray-pas and then painted over with a blue watercolor wash. The paper only absorbs the paint where there hasn't been any cray-pas applied. The oil in the cray- pas resists the paint. 

Step 10: Yellow Water Color

Yellow water color and cray-pas

Step 11: Yellow Watercolor

The children are reminded that watercolor is 90% water and 10% color and that when using pan watercolors they need to make a puddle of paint before washing it over the cray-pas.

Step 12:

The green area is traced and using a green Do-A-Dot marker the area is filled in. We remember a do-a-dot landscape we made and reminded the reason the markers are called do-a-dot and not do-a-smear. If we smear with the markers it car rip the foam tip and cuse the marker to leak paint everywhere. Also that we make quiet dots. Better work isn't produced by banging the marker on the paper. 

Step 13: Blue

The blue section is traced from the poster board and colored pencils are used to make the blue area of the rainbow.

Step 14: Blue Pencils

One shade of blue can be used or more than one blended. We remember using colored pencils this past winter to write and illustrate a story about the snow. 

Step 15: Purple

The last area is purple and the children get very excited to use purple markers to color the space. All year when my classes use markers they are not allowed to color large areas with them. Every child I teach in my art studio uses the same supplies, therefore, the rule in my art room is that the markers can only be used for making lines. Large areas can be colored in with a different media, crayons or color pencils. I explain that if everyone that used the markers colored with them that pretty soon all the juice would be sucked out of them and they would be dried out, and no good to anyone. 
When I announce that the one and only time this year that they can color a large area with the markers, its amazing how thrilled they are!

Step 16: Finished Rainbow

Purple area of rainbow

Step 17: Finished Rainbow

The rainbow is done. They can then cut off the top corners or color them in with crayon to make the sky.
I always remember the colors of the rainbow by the name Roy G. Biv "Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet". (n_n)
Wonderful!! I loved your comment about how you use markers and how excited the kids get to color a large area! Every little guy and gal I know as well adore when they get to dive into the marker bin! Well done!

About This Instructable

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Bio: I am an artist living and teaching ART in NYC for over 30 years, and I am a CZT, Certified Zentangle Teacher. I love to ... More »
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