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Lesson: Overlapping Glassware

July 26, 2015 | By Rachel Zink

July is Printmaking + Color Theory Month at Arts For Life! Teachers have been concentrating on a variety of lessons designed to impress upon students the very important role color has in artistic composition. In this lesson, students explore the brilliant effects of layering color.


  • Use paint to encourage discovery of color mixing.
  • Explore color theory while learning basic drawing techniques.


  • Watercolor paper
  • Pencil
  • Black Sharpie, ultrafine
  • Primary watercolors
  • Paintbrushes
  • Color wheel


  • Discuss primary and secondary colors, explaining color mixing by showing the color wheel.
  • Choose a collection of glass items to draw: light bulbs, vases on a shelf, marbles, beads, etc.
  • Draw the items overlapping each other. Cover the page with the items.
  • Outline the items in black Sharpie.
  • Begin with red watercolor paint. Paint one third of the glass items red. Let dry.
  • Paint one third of the items blue. If it overlaps red, it will turn purple. Let dry.
  • Paint the remainder of the items yellow. If it overlaps red, it will turn orange, and if it overlaps blue it will turn green.

Tweak It!

  • For young artists, trace simple shape templates and designate a shape to a color. For example: red = triangle, blue = circle, yellow = square.

Photo: Colored Bulbs by Betsey
Lesson inspired by:

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