Calling all K’ARTwheels Kids: Make a Fabulous Color Wheel Gecko!


Captain’s Gecko turned out great…. Turn the color wheel (poking out on the left hand side) and the gecko changes color!!!

Once in awhile, when working with kids, we come across a project or idea that is truly remarkable.  When a project really lights a kid up and makes them want to create something special, and they are willing to see it through to the end, it is a keeper.  This project has it all! Captain has been working on a science project involving geckos and wanted to add an art piece to it, so I looked around online and found this fabulous color wheel gecko conceived by Gail Bartel of  that artist woman.  Her site is incredible!!!  She is a terrific artist, and educator, and we will certainly be visiting regularly as there are so many great projects.

I want to share photos, the materials list, and a general idea of how we put this project together.  If you decide to try this, PLEASE use the link above to visit Gail and see the original project and photos. You won’t regret it.  The moving color wheel-in-a-painting concept could be adapted in so many creative ways.  The opportunities are endless! From this project, your child will gain an understanding of the basic color wheel, as they create one themselves, and understand how different components can come together to create an interactive piece that will wow family and friends.  I want to add that we did this project in several sessions.  This is not a super quick process, and I followed Captain’s lead as to how much we did each day, so you’ll want to plan accordingly.  There were times that she was ready to keep going but the paint had to dry!  Now, lets take a little peek!

IMG_5748 IMG_5749

After the circle was cut out, Captain painted her color wheel first.  

Materials you will need:  

Tempera or watercolor paint (we used watercolor)

2 sheets of watercolor paper (we used a larger size: 11×15)

Fine sharpie

Template: click here to use Gail’s, or make your own.  I looked at Gail’s drawing and sketched one for Captain

Scissors, pencil, eraser

Paper fastener


Transparency sheet, optional but WORTH IT! (I found an old, clear report cover that worked great.) It just has to fit the gecko cutout.


Captain’s dad cut out the gecko template for her.  Gail shows a way on her site that students can do this step themselves without using an exacto knife, which can be dangerous.


Once the gecko was cut out, Captain sketched her background using Gail’s example on that artist woman as inspiration.  When she was done, we got out the watercolors!


She painted the sky in the background last and was really excited!


This photo shows the gecko painting upside down on the counter with both the fastener and transparency taped in place.  Time to add the color wheel!


She lined it up and got the fastener up through the hole.  This is the point when she realized why we put the color wheel “off center”.


This is a super fun step.  After everything was attached, she turned it over and got to add the gecko’s details right onto the the transparency with the sharpie.  Cute!!


Turn the wheel (showing on the left) and the gecko changes color!  She took her piece to one of her classes to let her friends see it and turn the wheel.

Yay!  This a terrific project and I want to thank Gail Bartel again for the inspiration.  If you decide to do this project, we would LOVE to see the results!

Cheers and colorful-friendlieness to all!


Categories: Art Rocks For Kids!, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

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19 thoughts on “Calling all K’ARTwheels Kids: Make a Fabulous Color Wheel Gecko!

  1. What a fabulous activity! I can’t wait to try it with my students!! Thank you for sharing!!

  2. Pingback: Calling all K’ARTwheels Kids: Make a Fabulous Color Wheel Gecko! | kristijohnstonartworks

  3. Absolutely awesome!!! Karen, yours is the best blog/site out there!! 🙂 Dy

  4. kwinds

    What a cool idea! I’ll check out Gail’s site too for the details. Thanks so much and tell Captain I love her gecko!

    • I will tell her and thank you! You will love that artist woman, Gail, she is amazing! Have a terrific day!

  5. Love this idea. N and I will love doing this one together. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hey Melanee, I think with N’s already artistic talents, he might really have fun with this project. Glad to hear you are going to do this one together!

  6. Great idea. I’d also like to use it with my class. Thanks.

  7. What a great colorful project. I love how you not only produced some beautiful art but also had so much fun applying the colors from the color wheel.

    • Thanks so much for writing! Making the color wheel was really fun for Captain and we ended up talking about rainbows refracting light while we were doing it 🙂

  8. This is so creative and awesome! I love love your blog! I will definitely be referring back to it when my son is a little older. We will be homeschooling and since I am the least creative person ever, I need ideas and yours are awesome! Thanks

    • Hello! Thanks for checking out kartwheels! It doesn’t seem like that long ago that Captain was the same age as your son…. time does fly! Take good care and I am glad to hear you will be homeschooling!

  9. LOVE THIS ART ACTIVITY! Thanks for posting this 🙂

  10. This is such a fun way to make a color wheel more exciting and a great way to teach kids about camouflage in nature! Def. gonna try this..thanks:)

  11. good idea … thanks

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