Introduction: Color Sphere

Picture of Color Sphere

The color sphere is a three-dimensional color model. The color sphere represents all of the colors and tones that may be mixed from combinations of red, yellow, blue, white and black.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials

RedYellowBlueWhite and Black Sculpey or  another doughy claylike substance.

Clean Surface


Dry Paper Towel

Damp Paper Towel

Step 2: Roll Out

Picture of Roll Out

Roll the colors out into snakes that are approximately the same length and diameter. 

Step 3: Divide & Mix

Picture of Divide & Mix

Cut each snake into fifths.
Mix a fifth of yellow with a fifth of red to make orange.
Mix a fifth of red and one of blue make purple.
Mix one fifth of blue and one of yellow make green.
Additionally, mix a fifth of white and one of black to make grey.

Any combination of folding, twisting and rolling will blend the colors together.

Step 4: Greyscale

Picture of Greyscale

Cut and mix small chunks of white, grey and black to create a grey scale. Greyscale is the vertical axis of the color sphere. Note the size of the chunks and the length of the scale. The vertical axis represents the diameter of the final product. If the chunks are too large there may not be enough material to complete the project.

Step 5: Equator

Picture of Equator

The primary colors will be three equidistant points on the equator. The secondary colors are midway between the primary colors. Utilize red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple to make a hexagon. Mix tertiary colors to fill in the rest of the circle. For a clean product wipe excess clay off fingers when switching between colors.

Step 6: Grey Hues

Picture of Grey Hues

Work across the circle mixing complimentary colors. As orange and blue are mixed they approach grey. The same is true for any pair of colors directly across from one another in the circle.

Step 7: Value

Picture of Value

Place the light half of the greyscale line as the vertical axis and build the light half of the sphere. Mix white with each color to lighten it as it approaches pure white. The center of the light hemisphere is a mixture of white and complementary colors. The exterior of the sphere is colorful the interior is increasingly grey. Once the light hemisphere is created the same technique can be utilized to create the dark side. 

Step 8: Condensing & Blending

Picture of Condensing & Blending

Gently press the sphere together. The adjacent edges of colors will blend together.

Step 9: Investigate

Picture of Investigate

A completed sphere may be dissected in any number of ways. Depending on the angle and depth of the cut different color spectrums will be revealed.


eliana013 (author)2015-06-10

muy bueno

ckburcham (author)2013-09-29

Are you entering in the play with clay contest

Hisart (author)2011-09-01

Very cool! This would be a great project in an art class to get the color concept into the students' minds! However, from what I know about Sculpey, this was not a cheap project {for a classroom}. How much did it cost, approximately, for the one-off? Maybe do it with food-coloring and salt-clay?

Nice Ible!

jesse.hensel (author)Hisart2011-09-01

I used Play Dough for this version. The ten color set was about $5.50.

Hisart (author)jesse.hensel2011-09-05

How much did you use of it? Even half would take it to $45 for a single class of twenty students, a little out of the ballpark.

aniraangel (author)Hisart2011-09-08

Perhaps you could make the play dough? Salt dough is easy to make, which is more or less what play dough is.

jesse.hensel (author)aniraangel2011-09-08

Yes, great ideas aniraangel and Hisart. Play dough is salt dough. It would be possible (and cheaper) to make everything from scratch. There are some great salt-dough Instuctables including

shortone (author)jesse.hensel2011-11-27

Also, in many art colleges (such as the one I go to), students are required to pay for their own supplies. Spending $5.50 on playdoh would be nothing.

Even making it all out of sculpey wouldn't be an issue for most classes or students, who are used to dropping $10 for a tube of paint!

Hisart (author)shortone2011-11-29

I was talking about a class of twenty to thirty students in a public school setting, where the expense would be 30 (students) x $5.50 x 6 periods= $990.00 for a single project!

shortone (author)Hisart2011-12-18

Ah, public school would be a bit different. But I'm sure if you made your own playdoh, it wouldn't be as much of a price issue! :)

mstyle183 (author)2011-09-26

good luck.. looks great

suayres (author)2011-09-05

That is simply brilliant! How long did it take you to figure out and then construct the sphere? My friend and I are presently working our way through "Polymer Clay Color Inspirations" by Lindley Haunani and Maggie Maggio. I see we're going to make your sphere, too! Thanks for yet another "Color Inspiration".

jesse.hensel (author)suayres2011-09-05

I took basic color theory in college, but I have always disliked the fact that no one image concisely shows all of the colors. In 2009 I was teaching stop motion animation at the San Francisco Children's Museum. Part of my demonstration involved teaching families to mix colors. During a demonstration the layout of the Color Sphere occurred to me and I set to work making a model. A quick google search pulled up the wiki article on "color solid" and had images of Philipp Otto Runge and Albert Henry Munsell's color spheres. I realized that the project would make a good Instuctable but I didn't have the impetus to remake it until this week. I am teaching art at a high school and I was contemplating color spheres as a class project. However, this sphere took three hours to construct. I think that color spheres would be too monotonous for a week long unit. Enjoy making your own, let me know how it comes out.

Kiteman (author)jesse.hensel2011-09-24

Possibly something to challenge the pupils to build with 3d modelling software?

for the students have them make the first flat layer, maybe with more divisions. a flat circle with primary, secondary, tertiary, (quadrary?) around the edge, and mixing towards in the center.

show them the sphere. perhaps someone will tackle it for extra credit!

Heck, what you could do is take the sphere in, show it to them, and either give them printouts of your instructable or tell them where to find it if they want to make it on their own :D

Yeah, I was thinking I would use the photos for a slideshow, and the students could choose to make their own.

Puzzledd (author)2011-09-09

Fascinating project, beautiful result:)

chaitanyak (author)2011-09-08

brilliant exercise for art students!
and older enthusiasts like me :)

LunaSun (author)2011-09-08

I love the idea you got!
The ball both has its inward and outward beauty, that's awesome!

jesse.hensel (author)LunaSun2011-09-08

Thanks, glad you like it.

bowmaster (author)2011-09-08

This is really cool.

jesse.hensel (author)bowmaster2011-09-08


Warren.Sensei (author)2011-09-08

"Axis".... just sayin'.

Thanks for proof reading. Anything else I misspelled?

devophill (author)jesse.hensel2011-09-08

Proofreading is one word. ;)

jesse.hensel (author)devophill2011-09-08

Yes and yes. I love the attention to detail.

Nothing painful enough to register, at least. I just didn't want the one word to ruin an otherwise nifty little 'ible!

Chromacon (author)2011-09-08

I love the slightly maniacal aspect of this! I have worked with color for 40 years, and my father before me, and this project tickles me no end. I second the idea of a claymation version of it! My dad would also have loved this version of the Munsell color solid.

jesse.hensel (author)Chromacon2011-09-08

Thanks. Yay Munsell!

linny (author)2011-09-08

Can see you love beautiful things, love making a beautiful thing. Even each evolving step is colorfully fun to watch. Would make a good animated film.

jesse.hensel (author)linny2011-09-08

Animation would be lovely.

Nana2Peanut (author)2011-09-08

This needs to become jewelry . . . somehow.
Also, graphic design classes would go crazy for this!

splazem (author)2011-09-04


jesse.hensel (author)splazem2011-09-04


splazem (author)jesse.hensel2011-09-05


Kaisei13 (author)2011-09-04

If this was sculpey you could bake it then cut it with a hacksaw and keep the colors from blending. Cool project.

jesse.hensel (author)Kaisei132011-09-05

Great idea, give it a try and post some photos!

seedlingproject (author)2011-09-03

I really like the background of your work space. Trees!!!

Thanks. It is a lovely Alaskan living room. The leaves are starting to change.

lemonie (author)2011-09-03



jesse.hensel (author)lemonie2011-09-03


About This Instructable




Bio: Perhaps I am the heretical harbinger of the New Archaic, perhaps I just like wood.
More by jesse.hensel:Fire Polished SpoonWoven TetrahedronCuboctahedron
Add instructable to: