Friday, July 12, 2013

Blending Colors with DIY Tops

This activity combines art, science, and play. I'm not overselling it when I say, it's downright mesmerizing.

Both my boys played with these tirelessly, and it was only until it was bedtime when they were forced to stop (truthfully, I had to confiscate them).

Even my husband said he wanted one for his office. I can just picture him spinning and spinning while on long teleconferences.

Any how, enough already. Here's what we did and how.

All you need is:
Old CDs
Plastic bottle caps
Hot glue
Paper (we used printable CD labels)

On printable CD label stickers, we divided most of the labels into quadrants or eighths by folding. Then we colored them using markers, choosing colors that when combined make another color:
blue and yellow = green
black and white = grey
red and yellow = orange

We decorated two additional ones however we felt - one with dots in a circle, and the other with numerals.

(If you don't have CD labels, cut paper in a circular shape the same size as the CD and cut a hole in the center, tracing the CD to get the right size. Then use glue to adhere it. Or use permanent markers and draw directly on the underside of the CD!)

Once the labels were stuck on, we applied hot glue liberally around the hole on the bottom of the CD and stuck a marble (the small ones work perfectly) in. Within a minute, the glue had hardened and the marble was secure.

Now we applied a ring of glue to the top of the CD around the center hole (on top of our colored label) and added a plastic cap.

All that was left to do was grip the cap and get our tops spinning. It was SO much fun to see how the colors blended together. Our dotted top looked like it had a circular solid grey line on it, which my son was surprised by.

We studied the tops a long time. Sometimes the color we expected only appeared when the top's spin began to slow, other times it was immediately apparent.

This was a perfect indoor activity for a hot summer day.

Our inspiration came from Mini Matisse and the wonderful book Science Wizardry for Kids.


  1. My youngest made these last summer at Scout camp and played with it a lot.

  2. That's amazing, I'll try to do it with my son, surely he will like it !!!
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. What a cool idea! I love the color blending one - my kids have been asking about blending colors lately, and this would be perfect to try...maybe this weekend. We're supposed to have rain all weekend and I'm going to need something to entertain them!

  4. I'm the Editorial Assistant for Fun Family Crafts and I wanted to let you know that we have featured your project! You can see it here:

    Thanks for a wonderful project idea!

  5. What a CLEVER idea! You always come up with the neatest ideas.

    I featured this at TGIF this week here: Thanks for sharing your creativity & linking up. I hope to see you linked up again this week.

    Have a great weekend,
    Beth =)

  6. Wow. I've never heard of this before, Thanks so much for sharing it. An art lesson on blending colours that isn't messy, who knew?

  7. Love this!! What a fun idea. I am featuring you tomorrow on Share It Saturday.

  8. This looks like a lot of fun! I have so many old CDs that I knew I was keeping for a reason! Thanks for sharing. :)

  9. Great activity but I used hot glue but after a few spins the marble came away from the cd. Going to try Araldite or another stronger glue. I printed a photo of the grandchildren on each cd for them...they loved it.