Tate Kids



Light Labs

Tate St Ives

The Idea

Keiko Mukaide is a Japanese-born artist who lives and works in Scotland. She creates small glass sculptures and large glass installations. She created the Light of the North Installation using shards of dichroic glass lit by a beehive lighthouse lens. Dichroic glass is glass that has two colours.

Keiko Mukaide Light of the North Installation at Tate St Ives 2006 Artist's collection © Keiko Mukaide Photo: Tate


The Plan

You are going to experiment with colours and shapes using glass jars, coloured water and torches. Then you are going to get imaginative with the shapes you create!


You Need

  • Three glass jars – each filled with coloured water – one blue, one red and one yellow. You should use food colouring or paint.
  • Two or more torches.
  • A large a piece of white card (as large as possible).
  • Crayons, coloured pencils, pastels.

Do it!

  • Tightly seal the lids of the jars.
  • Bend the sides of the white card and set it up as the background.
  • Place the jars in front of the white background.
  • Experiment with shining the torches through the glass jars to see what light and colour effects you can get.
  • Cross the beams of light from the torches.
  • Try to create other colours by shining the torches through more than one jar.
  • Use your pastels and crayons to create different landscapes with the images you have made. Think weird and wonderful, dreamy and fantastic or maybe other-worldly and alien.

Top Tips

  • Don’t be afraid to experiment, try different ideas and combinations of colour and light.
  • Try bringing in other reflective surfaces like mirrors, prisms or sunglasses and see what happens when you shine your torches through these.
See It