CD Color Spinners: basic color theory explored

Today Bode and I made CD color spinners.  Since my last post "Shamrock Color Viewer: A craft and a tool in one" I have wanted to continue exploring basic color theory with him. 

I enjoyed this craft because it was almost entirely made up of recycled materials. Fortunately, the town I live in is home to MECCA, a non-profit store that "is dedicated to diverting scrap materials from the waste stream and into the creative endeavors of [the] community". It is here that I found the ping pong balls, CDs and bottle cap lids used for the spinners.  Also, I found inspiration for this craft from Maya who blogs for the center. Please check out her post here

In addition to this craft being super cool in an environmental way, the resulting activity was fun and educational as well. We made a total of 3 spinners — a blue and red one, a blue and yellow one, and a red and yellow one. When each of these were spun around, the 2 colors blurred together and appeared to create a single color — purple, green and orange, respectively. 

Here are the materials you will need:
  • CDs
  • paper and a pen (or a print-out of the template below)
  • markers in red, blue, yellow (or alternate media - paints, crayons, colored pencils, will work too!)
  • Scissors
  • Elmer's glue or Tacky glue 
  • plastic bottle caps
  • Ping pongs balls (marbles work too!)
  • Hot glue and hot glue gun


First off, I used a CD and drew a circle around it, then drew 6 "pie pieces" within it. You can do the same, or click on the above image, control click (MAC) or right click (Windows), save to your computer, and print out.

I then had Bode fill each "pie piece" with alternating colors in each pie. For example, one pie had red and blue alternating colors, one pie had red and yellow, and one pie had yellow and blue. I outlined each triangular pie piece with a specific color so he knew which color to fill each pie piece with. The beauty of this project is that the coloring doesn't have to be perfectly in the lines (which is kind of difficult for a 4-year-old).

After my son drew a total of 3 "pies" in each of the 3 possible combinations of 2 primary colors each, I then cut the circles out, and had him glue them to the CDs.

Once the paper is glued down on each of CDs, I then hot-glued bottle caps to the center of the tops of each CD (this part is for the parent to do!). I applied the hot glue directly to the CD (eyeballing it), not the bottle cap, to avoid risk of burning myself.

And then I hot-glued a ping pong ball to the bottom (parent's job as well!). Again, I applied the hot glue directly to the CD and not to the ping pong ball.
Then we were set to go! Simple as that!

CD spinners completed

Spin away! Notice how the 2 colors "appear" to become one color when the movement blurs them! Yellow and red becomes orange. Red and blue becomes purple. Blue and yellow becomes green!  This was a great opportunity to talk about the terms "primary colors" (red, yellow, and blue) and "secondary colors" (purple, green and orange). The spinners proved to be very easy for little 4-year-old hands to handle and operate! Have fun!
If you liked this post and you want to stay informed of more kid activity ideas I post or find around the blogosphere, remember to "like" me on my Facebook Page! Thank you! Have a wonderful day!

Pin It!


  1. Love your DIY tops! So creative and very cool. Pinning :-)

  2. This are FANTASTIC!! I love them Such pretty!!! Will go and pin them for you :-)

    Thanks for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!


  3. These are so great and so much fun!! Would like to invite you to share this with us at Sharing Saturday here...

    Thanks so much and have a great weekend,

    1. Great stuff! You always make art projects fun.


  4. What a fantastic idea and none messyy way of teaching colour theory.

    Thank you for linking up to Tuesday Tots and look forward to seeing your ideas again this week

  5. I love it. We have been talking about color and this is a great project.

  6. These colour theory spinners are THE neatest idea. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Thanks everyone for your comments!

  8. I'll have fun making these with my grands, or with my art club students when they say, "I'm done, now what do I do?" Thanks for the idea! :D

  9. Found you through The Crafty Crow. My kids will love this! Thank you for sharing! :)

  10. What a fun project! Thanks for linking up to the Kids Co-op! I liked this project so much, that I'm featuring it as one of my favorite posts for the week!

  11. Love them. I am sharing those on fb.

  12. I love recycled projects too. This project receives a double bonus for the color mixing learning! Wonderful! I'm pinning too.


I value your comments! Thanks for taking the time to tell me what you think!