Complementary Colors

With help of the colorful clown, the students are supposed to find the complementary color pairs. Moreover, a black&white clown coloring template provides them the possibility to color the clown in complementary contrasts of their choice.

Further material for this article.

Complementary Colors

With help of the colorful clown, the students are supposed to find the complementary color pairs. Moreover, a black&white clown coloring template provides them the possibility to color the clown in complementary contrasts of their choice.

Teachers' Information

The following teaching unit is divided into three steps:

Step 1: While balancing, the clown jumbled up his balls. In step 1 the students' task is to try to find each of the two complementary colors that belong together, using the color wheel if help is required.
Step 2: The hat of the clown is painted in complementary colors. In step 2 the students should try to make a hat like the one shown and paint it in a complementary color of their choice.
Step 3: The students receive a coloring template of the clown. In step 3 the students can now show which contrast colors they already know. Therefore, one side of the clown is to be painted complementary to the other side.

Color wheel including 12 colors and the primary color pair blue and yellowish orange. The other primary colors face each other in the color wheel, as well. (see grey arrows)

The colors facing each other in the 12 color wheel are called complementary colors. Our example shows the complementary colors yellowish orange and blue. There are 6 different complementary contrasts: Blue and yellowish orange / red and bluish green / orange-red and cyan blue / yellow and purple / yellowish green and reddish purple / green and magenta red.


Material for the Teaching Unit "Complementary Colors"

Material needed (per student):

  • Opaque paint box/Tempera paints
  • Pelikan color wheel or similar color wheel
  • Exercise for recognizing the complementary colors (download template)
  • Long-haired paintbrush, size 12
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Old newspapers as a place mat
  • Paper plates (pary plates))
  • Silver foil
  • Black colored paper

Download templates:

  • Colorful balls for sorting
  • Black&white balls to decorate individually and for sorting
  • Solution "Colorful balls for sorting"
  • Cut-out template for the hat 1 (basic shape)
  • Cut-out template for the hat 2 (basic shape)
  • Crafting template for the top hat
  • Black&white coloring template "clown"

Step 1

Print out the download template "Balls for sorting". Now there are two possibilities:

  1. The students paint the balls themselves. (The names of the colors are written in the circles)
  2. You use the colored template to draw the lines between the two complementary colors that fit together.

The juggling balls of the clown are all mixed up. Try to help him by connecting the two complementary colors that fit together.

The download templates, beginning left: Black&white coloring template for individual decorating, colored template for connecting and the solution sheet.

Step 2

The students should make a hat out of the paper plate. Later on, the tips of the hat are painted in contrast colors and therefore provide a visible handling of the complementary colors.

Shape of hat 1(basic shape):

First, the basic shape of the hat is made from a paper plate. For this, divide the inner circle of the paper plate into pieces of the same size (45° each). Alternatively, cut out our download template and place it in the middle of the paper plate. Copy the cutting edges (e. g. with carbon paper) onto the plate. Cut in the pieces along the lines and fold the tips upwards, as shown in the drawing.
Please mind the meanings of the different lines!

The drawing emphasizes the cutting and folding edges of the paper plate. The lines needed can be copied onto the plate by using the download template.

Finally, the tips of the hat can be painted in complementary colors. Who wants to can paint the brim of the hat in black.

The download template will help you divide the peaks evenly. Finally, the hat should fit you like the clown's does his.

Shape of hat 2:

First, the students make the basic shape of the hat out of a paper plate. The hat is painted in a complementary contrast. For this, paint the hat, entirely, as shown in our example painted in magenta red. Accentuate the peaks by decorating them with green dots.

Cut out the peaks made of silver foil using this crafting template.

When everything has dried, print out the download template "shape of hat 2", copy it to the silver foil and cut it out 8 times. Finally, glue the 8 pieces of silver foil carefully onto the inside of the upward folded peaks of the hat.

Shape of hat 2 including the additionally decorated peaks made of silver foil.

Shape of hat 3 (top hat):

Make a hat using the basic shape. Decorate the tips of the hat colorfully (in our example, 4 complementary colors are facing each other). For the actual top hat, cut out a rectangle from the black colored paper of the size of the hat's inner diameter, which is approx. 54 cm x 20 cm. Glue the colored paper together to a roll and affix it to the tips from the inside - finished