Easter Egg Color Theory

Looking for a fun new way to color easter eggs? Try incorporating color theory into the project and add a little suspense by experimenting with different color combinations.

This is a fun way to create your own custom colored easter eggs, and to introduce (or review) the basics of color theory.

The Project:

Begin by gathering your supplies... 

You'll need:

  • hard boiled eggs that have cooled
  • heat proof containers for each color (we used 10, but you could use more or fewer)
  • a spoon
  • a towel that you don't mind getting food coloring on
  • somewhere to dry the eggs- baking rack, newspapers, etc.
  • food coloring
  • vinegar
  • boiling water
  • this printable guide to record your colors
  • painters tape (or any removable tape)

The Process:

Decide what colors you'd like to mix, and start filling your cups. We used 1/2 cup boiling water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and food coloring. We found a great chart on the food coloring website that told us how many drops of each color to use for a variety of different colors. We used that as our base, but experimented from there. Some colors only used 4 drops of food coloring, and some used up to 50! It's really fun to customize your color beyond what you typically see in Easter eggs. Teal, magenta, jade green, indigo blue. We had a lot of fun deciding which colors to do.

Once you have all your cups filled with colors, you can start to gently put the eggs in them. It's fun to take the eggs out every minute or so to see how the colors intensify with time. In color theory this is called value. Value is the lightness or darkness of any given color. 

This is the part of the project where you can really experiment and have some fun. The most important thing to remember is that this is about creating happy memories, not nailing the concepts of color theory. If you conversationally introduce the color theory, kids will become naturally curious and have fun exploring. They will retain the information that comes from their exploration, and the project will be fun and successful. If they aren't interested in color theory, I suggest you just follow their lead, and have fun with wherever the project takes you. They might have different ideas, and that's great. There will be plenty of time later to learn color theory. The most important thing is to keep their spark of curiosity and love of learning alive.

 

We live in a rainbow of chaos.
— Paul Cezanne

The Experimentation

You can start with the basics... red and yellow make orange, blue and yellow make green, red and blue make purple. You could introduce the word hue into your discussion. Hue is just another word for a color on the color wheel. From there you can go a little further. More yellow and red makes a darker orange. Leaving the egg in longer also makes a darker orange. What happens if we put this orange egg in the purple dye just for a second? 

You can also experiment with design. Sometimes we dipped an egg only halfway in a color, then used a different color for the other half. What happens if you do this technique, but overlap the colors in the middle, creating a trr-tone egg? You can explore complimentary colors, secondary colors, and tertiary colors using this technique. What would it look like if we made eggs with tertiary colors? Cool colors? Warm colors? Be sure to subscribe to Art History Kids for free access to a great resource library, including a color theory guide to record your results.

We tried taping off a stripe with painters tape, putting the egg in one color, removing the tape, and then briefly putting the egg in another color. See how the second color changes the original color of the egg, while adding a new color to the now uncovered stripe.

The possibilities are endless. There is no right or wrong here, it's just a great way to experiment and start a fun color conversation that you can continue and move further along the next time you are looking at art together at the museum or painting at home.

Show and Tell

I'd love to hear how this project went for you. Leave a comment below and tag your photos #arthistorykids on Instagram.