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Tints and Shades with a Cherry on Top!


Second Grade artists are learning about values and how to create a range of values in their art. They learned how to mix paint to make tints and shades of a single color to create a value scale. Tints are light colors, or colors mixed with white. A shade is mixed with black, and it looks dark. You can also mix black and white to make gray, and mixing that with a color is called a tone. Tints, tones and shades are values. Each student mixed tints and shades to create 6 different values of a single color. After they dried, the students cut out each different value or “flavor” of their color to become a scoop of ice cream in paper collage. It was so much fun to create, and I loved seeing the students discover how the paint mixed before their eyes. Many students came up with names for their various ice cream flavors.


  • 12×18″ paper
  • 6×18″ paper
  • pencils
  • brushes
  • paint palette with one color (student’s choice) plus black and white paint
  • scissors
  • glue
  • scrap paper
  • crayons
  • hole punches
  • texture plates

Procedures:On the first day of the project, the students fold and divide their paper up into 6 equal sections or squares. They select one color, and I give them a mixing palette (Styrofoam plate) with black and white paint to mix with it. I instruct them to paint one square with their chosen color (unaltered) and then begin mixing it with white to make lighter and lighter tints. After making a few tints, they may add a small amount of black to create shades. Finally, they can mix up the remaining paint on their plate to paint the last square. I remind them to make sure each square look different than the others, like each one is a different “flavor” of that color (value).


On the second day, the students cut out all six values and drew a large, round scoop of ice cream on the back of each one and cut them out. I showed them that they can cut out more than one at at time and trace one they have already made to make it a little faster and easier for them. Next, we make an ice cream cone by cutting out a paper trinngle out of light brown construction paper and adding texture with a crayon and a texture plate underneath. The texture rubbing makes it look a lot like a real waffle cone. If you don’t have texture plates, you can use plastic embroidery canvas for the rubbing, or simply draw a pattern on the cone with crayon. They glue the cone down first on a long piece of white paper and then begin gluing on the ice cream scoops one at a time (making sure to overlap) from darkest to lightest. The overlapping makes it appear that each scoop is on top of another. They may add any topping they like by cutting out shapes themselves or using a hole punch.

The results: They really remind me a lot of Eric Carle’s illustrations.


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