Color Mixing Using a Color Wheel

Using primary colors to mix secondary, tertiary, lighter, duller, darker, and browner hues.

Step 1

Guide students through filling in color wheel worksheet.

step 2

Invite volunteers to set up materials. Students should clean their brush before using new/shared paints: stir brush in water, press to side of container, check that brush is clean, and touch on paper towel to pull excess moisture. Each group needs only a nickelsized amount of paint per color. Start with primary colors.

step 3

Fill in primary colors with paint on the wheel. Practice painting techniques: hold brush vertically, don’t overload brush with paint, and use the tip of the brush to paint with.

steps 4 and 5

For mixing secondary colors: With brush, pull out a larger amount (dime-size) of the weaker primary color from shared paint and put it in a different area of palette.

Clean brush. Pull a smaller amount of the stronger primary color (just tip of brush) and place it at edge of the weaker color already pulled out. Mix together starting at edge and taking in more and
more of weaker color. Once you achieve the color you want, stop mixing. (Mixing in ALL the paint you pulled out will change the color from what you want). If you’ve mixed all the paint you pulled
out and still don’t have the correct color, look at what the color needs and pull more of that paint from the shared primary colors with a clean brush.

step 6

Fill in the color’s area on the wheel, holding the brush upright (keep wrist off table) and painting with the tip of the brush.

step 7

Repeat steps 4-6 until all secondary colors are finished.


Continue with tertiary, lighter, duller, darker, and browner colors.

clean up

Color Wheel worksheets are placed where they can dry, brushes are cleaned and stored tip up, dirty water is carefully poured into bucket, and everything else is thrown out.

Art Making

Individual: Color Wheel Template
(see Templates under Resources section)
Paper towel
Practice paper

Palette (wax paper recommended)