Double Complementary Contrast

Anyone who only sees a colorful bird house here, might not has heard about our teaching unit double complementary contrast, yet. The bright colors encourage building one of your own. We will gladly show you how to make the perfect choice of colors.

Further material for this article.

Double Complementary Contrast

Anyone who only sees a colorful bird house here, might not has heard about our teaching unit double complementary contrast, yet. The bright colors encourage building one of your own. We will gladly show you how to make the perfect choice of colors.

In the color wheel, the colors opposite from each other are called complementary colors. These colors create such a contrast that, when mixed together, they would delete each other (on this, see also: "All colors gray?" at the Pelikan's Teachers' Info site). The double complementary contrast is an expansion to the color theory. The two complementary color pairs that are used here lie directly beside each other. This teaching unit extends the range of contrasts and shows how manifold teaching the color theory can be.

Information on Complementary Colors

The 12-color wheel serves as a basis for our observation. In the color wheel, all colors are arranged in a circle. This simple depiction will help to gain a basic understanding, despite the numerous other colors there are.
Complementary colors face one another in the color wheel, in our example we have used yellow and purple. In the double complementary contrast, two further complementary colors are used, as in our example yellowish green and reddish purple. Alternatively, you may want to use yellowish orange and blue, as they lie directly beside yellow and reddish purple, only on the opposite side (gray arrow).


Material for the Teaching Unit "Double Complementary Contrast"

This is what you need:
• Paint box K12
• Paint brush with long bristles, size 8
• Fresh water
• Sketch block
• Glue, a pair of scissors
• Pelikan color wheel
• Nadel, Faden
• 1 rectangular, empty milk carton (9x9x5.6cm) or similar; alternatively: a toilet paper roll
• White colored paper
• Shashlik skewer

It's as easy as this:

Choose two complementary color pairs using the Pelikan color wheel. In doing so, bare in mind that the colors you choose should be beside each other in the color wheel, e. g. yellow - violet and yellowish green and reddish violet. Due to the numerous options, everyone can decorate their bird house individually!
Then paint an area of about 10x10cm on a piece of sketch block paper using the chosen opaque paints. Please let the paint dry thoroughly! These areas will be needed as material for the "roof tiles", later on.

The shown color fields form two pairs of complementary colors and are used as the roof surface of the bird house. Certainly, you may also use complementary colors of your choice.

Building the Bird House

The bird house is made of an empty milk carton, which must be cut out first.

Unfold the side flaps of the package upwards and flatten out the carton as far as possible, in order to cut off the upper edge. Print out the two halves of the house on a piece of white colored paper.


Cut out the house halves of the download template and glue one onto the front side of the milk carton and the other on the backside. Glue colored paper onto the sides of the milk carton, as well. Cut off the top part of the carton by cutting around the two halves of the house that are glued on. By the way, the side parts are approx. 2cm longer, because the included flaps are used to hold the roof, later on. So, as a next step, fold these flaps to the outside.

Cut out the approach hole on the front side. Punch through the black dot with a pair of pointed scissors. A shashlik skewer will run through there, later.

Push the shashlik skewer through the black dot from the front and glue it tight on the inside of the back of the milk carton (for a better understanding, we marked the front piece of the house in red).


Print out the roof of the house also on a piece of white colored paper. Paint the roof, the front of the house and the side parts in one of the four complementary colors. When they are dry, fold the roof in the middle and, using a needle, loom a piece of thread through the center of the folding edge. Loom the piece of string twice and tie a knot from the inside, so the hanger cannot slip out again.


Glue the colorful "complementary roof tiles" on the outside of the house. In order to do so, cut the colorful areas into small, uneven‑sized stripes. The roof will appear more authentic by only gluing the top edge of the tile onto the house.
Now glue the roof onto the gluing flaps of the bird house that you had bent to the outside beforehand.


Cut out the bird and paint both its wings with black opaque paint. After it has dried, paint the beak in red and glue the wings on both sides. When the glue is dry, bend the wings outwards and glue the bird onto the shashlik skewer.

Your birdhouse is now completed. In our example, you can still see the original cover of the milk carton that hints to what it was originally used for.


Quick alternative: A bird house made of a toilet paper roll

A "miniature version" of a bird house can also be built with less using a toilet paper roll. Choose four colors that form a double complementary contrast. Paint four small areas of a sketch block (each 5x5 cm) out of which you will make the roof tiles, later on. Paint the toilet paper roll with one of the colors, too. After the paint is dry, press the roll together on the sides and make a pointed cut.

The pointed cut is for the gable and the roof is glued onto the resulting edge, later on.

Cut an approach hole for the bird on the front side and poke a hole beneath for the bar. The bar is made of a tooth pick that is glued onto the inside of the roll.
To complete this bird house, please orientate yourself by the instructions of the previously shown bird house. Please keep in mind that you must use the download templates with the alternative roof sizes.
By the way: Finally, glue the roof's colorful tiles made of double complementary contrasts onto the gable, which you have cut pointed earlier. To hang up the house, loom a piece of string through the center of the roof. To avoid it from slipping out, fasten it with a knot from the inside.

We have used the complementary pairs reddish orange-cyan blue and red with bluish green for this version. The bird house itself was painted in reddish orange. If you would like to set the bird house up somewhere, you can strengthen the ground with colored paper.