Paint Chip Building Blocks

Paint Chips

Paint chips are not only an easy way to start exploring the basics of color theory.  They provide a they a great material for creating colorful and sturdy building blocks!

Start with a variety of colorful paint chips, showing 7 levels of saturation (as shown above).    The simple instructions below show how to quickly create a series of building blocks in any combination of the three


  • Paint chips (with 7 levels of color saturation)
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape


Simple Triangle

Fold paint chip as shown below.  Overlap last swatch and secure with tape.

Triangle Block Simple

Interlocking Triangle

Fold and tape the same as the Simple Triangle.  Cut 3/4″ slots at the center of color swatch as shown below.  Carefully slide and “lock” onto another triangle by weaving flat top edges of other triangle block through the cut slots.

Triangle Block Stack

Stack simple triangles or stack and “lock” interlocking triangles (or combine the two styles) to create color-filled towers!  Play with primary, secondary, and complimentary colors to create patterns.  Rotate blocks to mix and match colors, hues and saturations.

Triangle Towers


Basic Arch Building Block

Cut the top edge off the paint chip (if required) so both ends are flat.  Fold as shown below and secure cut ends with tape at the edge, do NOT overlap.

Template Arch Block


To build an arch, use a small block at each end to hold the bottom “blocks” in place.  Begin stacking the sides of the arch and end with the central keystone.   Play with patterns and colors to create arched rainbows or striped patterns.  Mix and match with the triangle blocks to build other geometries.

Paint Chip Arch


Looking for even more architecture and engineering projects for young designers like the projects shown below?

Structures Preview.jpg

For more entertaining and engaging building activities that test the strength of geometric shapes (preview images above), check out the following posts:

Looking for more than just a bridge and hoping to build your own tiny houses (like those shown above (bottom center)?  See Introduction to Architectural Model Making.

For a fun hands-on group activity with children of all ages, grab some friends and act out multiple structures while really feeling forces in action with Architecture Body Building!




5 thoughts on “Paint Chip Building Blocks

  1. Pingback: Paper Columns | Design in Play

  2. Pingback: Paper Bridges | Design in Play

  3. Pingback: Architecture “Body Building” | Design in Play

  4. Pingback: Gumdrop Engineering | Design in Play

  5. Pingback: Introduction to Architectural Model Making: Plans + Elevations = 3D Model | Design in Play

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