Well todays lesson was great fun. It was hands on and we ended up with some really pretty results! As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we are looking at colour from colourants (ink) today.

Before you get started, it may be a good idea to review a few things:

  • yesterday’s lesson (colour from light)
  • the covenant promise we made with the Lord

All the notes I used for today’s lesson, can be downloaded from this pdf and fall under the section entitled ‘Day 6’.

We began today’s lesson by going through the theory:

  • what colourants are
  • how they are used
  • the difference between dyes and pigments

Then we looked at what happens when two colourants are mixed together and how certain wavelengths from white light are reflected or absorbed depending on the colour of the colourant. This is called Colour By Subtraction.

We pasted our notes into our workbooks and filled in the missing words. I also drew a bit of a diagram on the whiteboard explaining how it all works.

We did our copywork about primary and secondary colours and we coloured in the circles that show what happens when primary colourants are mixed together.


Here’s where things got exciting! We tried to make a walking water rainbow. We got the idea from this website.

First we took some food colouring in our three primary colours: blue, yellow and red.

Then we put a few drops of each in three separate jars.

Then we filled those three jars up with water. We arranged the jars in a circle shape and placed an three extra empty jars between each ‘colour’ jar.

Next we took some folded-up roller towel and placed one end of the roller towel in a colour jar and the other end in an empty jar. We did this for all the jars. Immediately, the roller towel began to soak up the colour ink from the colour jars.

Then came the waiting part – it didn’t take too long. The roller towel soaked up the ink from the colour jar and began to drip it into the empty jar.

And now we have secondary colours forming before our very eyes! In the picture below you will see the colour green emerging from the dripping yellow and blue ink!

If you leave your jars for a while longer, you will have the colour jars emptying out into the empty jars resulting in the same amount of ink in each jar. Your secondary colours that you made will then start to seep up the roller towel and you will end up with a beautiful rainbow jar circle!

This experiment was fun to do and we enjoyed it, but if I’m honest my favourite part was taking the roller towel out of the jars and laying them out to dry. As they overlapped each other, the colours mixed even further and we ended up with some beautifully decorated roller towel!

Well, this brings us to the end of Day 6. There are so many different hands-on ways to learn about mixing colourants. Please share with us any activities that your children enjoyed!

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