Mixing Effects
by Primary Color Printing

When giving first time thought to primary colors, you might also be thinking of the many different colors that emerge from them. In this Unit, we are going to perform a primary color print, using a paint box. However, this project is not about mixing the different colors with each other, but using them on top of each other.

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Further material for this article.

Mixing Effects by Primary Color Printing

Primaerfarbdruck 1
Using a butterfly as a printing template is an easy way to discover the primary color print with your paint box.

Teachers' Information

When giving first time thought to primary colors, you might also be thinking of the many different colors that emerge from them. In this Unit, we are going to perform a primary color print, using a paint box. However, this project is not about mixing the different colors with each other, but using them on top of each other. For this matter, we go back to the printmaking technique of monotyping , in which a template, e. g. a butterfly, is placed on a pane of glass coated with paint. Then you peel the template off again.

Information on Primary Colors

The 12 color wheel will serve as a basis for our observation. In the color wheel, all colors are arranged in a circle. Certainly, there are many more colors; however, this simple depiction will do for a basic apprehension. In our example, the black triangle marks the primary colors yellow, cyan blue and magenta red. In theory, any other color in the color wheel can be mixed using these three colors. For example, you can compose the color orange red by mixing yellow and magenta red together. Magenta red mixed with cyan blue makes purple and cyan blue and yellow make green.
Primaerfarbdruck 2
12 color wheel including the three primary colors yellow, cyan blue and magenta red.
 

Material for the Teaching Unit "Mixing Effects by Primary Color Print"

Opaque paint box/Tempera paints:

  • Piece of glass, approx. 10x15 cm (e. g. from an old picture frame)
  • Paint box
  • Long-haired paintbrush, size 12
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Old newspaper as a place mat

 

All materials at a glance:

  • Printing and drawing templates::
  • Butterfly
  • Fish
  • Kite
  • Dragonfly

 

Combine our templates or the ideas you like best and make "your own" lesson plan. Let your students create their own printing templates, too. You can use these again as presentation material, later on.

Preparation

For the first couple of tries, cut out several templates.

Variations

The students should be allowed to experiment on their own as much as possible. The following topics are good combinations to vary among each other:

  • The consistency of the applied paints (hard, liquid, watery).
  • The different paper prints on a glass surface.
  • Change in sequence of colors, e. g. yellow or cyan first.
  • Peeling off the paper many times in a row using different colors, e. g. yellow, magenta, cyan and then yellow again.
The fish as a printing template (left ) and as a printed version (from top to bottom): Yellow + magenta red + cyan blue.

It's as easy as this:

  • Apply any primary color onto the piece of glass, e. g. yellow.
  • Press the butterfly onto the applied paint and pull it off again. Let it dry well!
  • Repeat this step using the other two primary colors.
  • Finally, let everything dry thoroughly again.
 

Between the printing steps

It is important to let the paint dry between the single printing steps. Otherwise the colors will mix and you might create a "grey soup". Always try pulling the paper off of the glass pane as quickly as you can, ss the coats of paint, which are already dry, might become wet again.

After printing with one color, let the paint dry thoroughly before starting the next printing process.

To prevent every single student from having to rinse their glass pane after every step of printing, why not let them work in groups of three: Each of the three students prepares their pane of glass with the primary color of their choice.

Advice for clean hands

Hint on monotyping with already cut out shapes.

  • Place the already cut out shape of paper onto the glass with paint.
  • Lay a clean sheet of paper over the piece you cut out.
  • Press on the spot - do not move it!
  • First, pull off the extra sheet of paper, it will wear most of the paint. Then remove the template.

 

This way your hands stay clean and you can even use the cover sheet, too. In order to do so, simply glue a clean sheet of paper in the middle and decorate it with a nice saying or quote, or perhaps decorate it with previously cut out flower petals.

The following pictures have been made out of cover sheets, on which additional sheets of paper have been glued (left:a nice quote, right: cut out flower petals).
 

If a particularly nice printing emerges, why not put it in a picture frame.

This beautiful fish was completed by decorating it with a painted blue frame. Also the wings of the dragon fly, which have been printed in primary colors, have first been glued on, then they were completed with a body painted in blue opaque paint.

When you are finished printing and all pictures are thoroughly dry, it is time for further processing. The fish will stand out even more by accentuating the outlines with a black fineliner. It will also bring a great effect, if several animals are made. No fish will look the same, each one of them is unique!

Thanks to primary color printing, every fish is unique.

Invitation card

Now that the printing process is completed, it is time e. g. to make an invitation card. Therefore, copy one of the templates onto the printed paper, cut it out and glue it onto the front side of an invitation card.

Due to its colorful composition, printed paper offers many decoration purposes. Consequently, the butterfly will look a little different, by cutting it out from the side of the page and not from the middle. Alternatively, you can also print directly onto the "butterfly" template and then cut it out along the outlines.
 
This is what self made invitation cards could look like. This method provides an easy way of making seasonally decorated cards, like in our example the kite and the butterfly.
 
We offer you four different motifs as templates to download: Dragonfly, kite, butterfly or fish.