Activity: Colour Maker

In Our Silver City, 2094 Céline Condorelli explores and experiments with colour and materials in old and new ways, all inspired by nature.

In this activity you are going to explore colour to become a Colour Maker!

two hands pressing flowers and leaves onto card with a stone
flowers and leaves pressed onto card and a word document

You have been tasked to make colours using only natural materials and explore how they might change through the seasons.

Which colours can you make in Autumn, and Winter?

How are they different to Spring, and Summer?

flowers and leaves across a pink background
a hand spread out holding a stone
an envelope on top of a newspaper

Gather natural objects such as leaves, grass, and petals. It might be a little harder to find them at this time of year, but keep looking.

Only pick a few of each and only what you need, we want to make sure that we leave lots for the animals and insects to use.

Remember to always wear gloves when gathering and working with plant materials.

Next, you’ll need to find yourself a nice large stone that can fit in your hand, so not too big!

Gather some different papers, you could use old envelopes, newspapers, or the inside of a cereal box. Try to use recycled materials rather than new sheets of paper.

a piece of card on a pink background
flowers and leaves placed on top of two pieces of card
two hands using a stone to press down flowers and leaves onto cardboard
two hands using a stone to press down flowers and leaves onto cardboard
flowers and leaves pressed onto card to produce colour
flowers and leaves pressed onto card and a word document

Lay down a piece of cardboard on a flat surface, with a piece of paper on top. Layer some leaves, grass, or petals on the paper.

Now try banging, smashing, and twisting the stone on top of the natural materials until the colour leaks out onto the paper. Make sure you watch out for your fingers!

How many different colours can you make?

Are you surprised by any of the colours? List all the colours you have created in your crushed, smudged artwork.

You can try this activity again in Spring to see the differences in what you gather and the colours they create.

flowers and leaves laid across a pink background
flowers and leaves pressed onto card and a word document

We have been using natural materials to make colour for hundreds of years, and now you have been experimenting with creating colour from natural materials.

What might you use this kind of colour making for?

How do you think you might use natural materials as a Colour Maker in 2094?

Tips at home:

  • Adult Supervision Required: this activity is recommended for children 8+
  • Wear gloves to protect hands when working with plant materials
  • Ensure plant materials are not ingested
  • Don’t pick berries if you don’t know what they are
  • Be mindful of fingers when hitting with rocks

We would love to see your work as a Colour Maker, share your colourful works and your ideas for the future with us at #NCmaking

This activity was created by Play and Learn Facilitator, Ursula Rae

Your support is vital

A small one-off or regular donation helps us present free exhibitions, events and education programmes across the city, up and down the UK, and around the world.