Unlocking the Magic of Colours: Let’s learn about the Original CMY Cube

Unlocking the Magic of Colours: Let’s learn about the Original CMY Cube

Welcome to the world of CMY Cubes, where we merge playtime with learning to create a magical experience for children of all ages! Certified by the Good Play Guide, our enchanting CMY Cubes not only promote fun and education but also offer a tangible way to understand the complexities of colour theory.

Embark on an adventure into the realm of CMY (Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow) colours, where each interaction with our Original Cube is a step into a universe of wonder. These aren't just simple toys; they're powerful educational tools designed to illuminate the fascinating science behind how colours work. Whether you're a young child or a seasoned enthusiast, The Original Cube offers endless possibilities for discovery and creativity.

In this exploration, we'll dive into how the remarkable colours of The Original Cube come to life through the magic of subtractive colour mixing. We'll see how combining these vibrant colours can lead to new and unexpected hues, teaching us the profound basics of colour theory in a hands-on, engaging way. Get ready to see colour in a whole new light, and remember to explore our range of CMY Cubes to enhance your understanding and enjoyment of colour theory!

How do the amazing colours work?

For 5+ years:

Imagine you have a magic colouring book that starts with white pages. When you use your special paints on it, you can make the white disappear and show different colours instead!

With the CMY Cube, it's like you have Cyan, Magenta and Yellow magic paint brushes. You can think of Cyan as light blue like the sky, magenta as pink like a pretty flower, and yellow like the sun. Each brush takes away some colours and leaves others. When you mix these paints, you're actually taking away more and more colours! All colour can be made by Red, Blue and Green. Cyan, Magenta and Yellow are their opposites and take them away!

How Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow Help: 

  • Cyan Paintbrush: This magic brush takes away the red colour. When you paint with it, you see lots of blue and green.

  • Magenta Paintbrush: This one takes away the green colour. When you use it, you see lots of red and blue.

  • Yellow Paintbrush: This brush takes away the blue colour. So, when you paint with it, you see lots of red and green.

Mixing the Magic Paintbrushes: 

So now try and think about what happens when you mix 2 of these colours together, and have a guess.

1. Cyan and Magenta Together: When you mix cyan and magenta, they take away green and red. So what's left? Just blue!

2. Cyan and Yellow Together: These brushes take away red and blue. That leaves you with just green!

3. Magenta and Yellow Together: They take away blue and green. So, you end up seeing just red!

What Happens When You Mix All Three? 

If you decide to use all three magic paintbrushes together—cyan, magenta, and yellow—they take away all the red, green, and blue. Since all the colours are taken away, you end up with black! The CMY Cube still lets a lot of light through, so you won’t see this, but get your paint set out and try mixing all the colours together. Notice what starts to happen. How intriguing! 

Just like this:

So, Why Does This Matter?

Subtractive colour mixing is important for anything that involves pigments or dyes, like painting and printing. When you print a picture in a book or paint with colours, you're using subtractive colour mixing. Understanding how these colours mix helps you predict what colours you'll get in your final work.

These magic brushes show us how to mix and make lots of different colours just by taking colours away. It's like a colour adventure on your white page, and you're the captain deciding what colours to show!

We’re almost ready to put these magic paintbrushes to the test with your CMY Cube! But first, there’s more amazing knowledge to absorb.

The Amazing Math of a Cube 

Math of a cube? That’s right. Get ready to be amazed.

We’ve talked about the amazing science behind the colours of the The CMY Cube, but did you know there’s amazing mathematics to learn too! And this math is a big part of what makes the cube as beautiful as it is. 

For Young Children (Ages 5-12): 

Imagine you have a toy block that’s shaped like a dice. That shape is called a cube! A cube is a very special toy because it has six faces, and all the faces are exactly the same size. If you draw a smiley face on each side of your cube, every smiley face would have the same amount of space to live in. Cool, right?

Faces, Corners, and Edges: 

  • Your cube has 6 flat faces, 8 pointy corners where you could poke a little bit (but be careful!), and 12 edges, which are like the lines you draw with your crayons. They’re the straight paths that run from one corner to another.

Why a Cube Is Important: 

  • Cubes are like building blocks. They can stack up perfectly because all their faces are squares that match. If you’ve played with building blocks, you know how important it is that they fit together just right!

CMY Colours on a Cube: 

  • Now, let’s imagine your cube is magical and it can change colours. We have three special colours: Cyan (like the ocean), Magenta (like a bright pink flower), and Yellow (like the sun). Because your cube has six faces, two faces can be each colour. So, the opposite sides are like mirror images - one side is cyan, and the side directly across from it is also cyan! This is very important, and it’s because of this that your CMY Cube is able to do what it does.

Right Angles: 

  • All the corners of your cube are right angles. That means if two lines meet and make a perfect L shape, like the corner of your colouring book, that’s called a right angle. Cubes are very neat because they only have right angles, which makes them perfect for stacking and building, and is super important for letting the colourful light bounce around and bend inside your magic cube. But how?

Reflection and Refraction: 

  • We know these are big words, but you’re smart! When you look at shiny things, sometimes you see the light bouncing back. That’s reflection, like seeing your face in a mirror. But sometimes, light bends when it goes through things, like when you look at a straw in a glass of water and it looks like it’s broken. That bending is called refraction. Your magic cube can do both! If you turn it this way and that, you’ll see different colours because the light is bending inside and making a rainbow. 

Mathematics and the CMY Cube

For Older Children (Ages 12 and Above) 

Platonic Solids and the Cube:

When we talk about shapes that are the same all over, we're talking about something really special in maths called Platonic solids. These shapes are like the superstars of geometry – they have faces that are all the same shape and size, and every angle and edge lines up just right. A cube is one of these because every face is a perfect square, and the corners (called vertices) are all the same. There are only five of these superstar shapes in 3D space, and the cube is one that's easy to find in your daily life – like dice for board games! Ask your math teacher about the other 4 Platonic solids and be ready for an extra fun lesson.

Reflection and Refraction Explained: 

Now, let's get into some cool light tricks that cubes can do. Have you ever looked at a straw in a glass of water and noticed it looks bent? That's refraction – it's what happens when light passes through stuff and changes direction. Objects refract light because they slow it down to different speeds, which makes the light bend. With your cube, if you turn it slowly and look at an edge through the coloured sides, it might not line up where you'd expect. That's the cube refracting light!

For Older Children (Ages 12 and Above) 

This bending has to do with something called the 'refractive index'. Every material has its own refractive index, which is just a number that tells us how much it can bend light. It's a bit like how different people can bend a flexible ruler more or less depending on their strength. You’ll notice that as you slowly rotate your cube, sometimes the light inside will bounce off the inside like a mirror, and sometimes it will pass through. This is all to do with that important refractive index number of the cube! This is a cool maths concept that your teacher can explain even more, and you can bring your cube to class to show off how light bends – it's like a magic trick, but math!

Mathematics within the CMY Colours: 

Colours are not just fun to look at; they have their own maths too. It's all about wavelengths and frequency. Imagine a wave in the sea: the wavelength is the distance from one wave peak to the next, and frequency is like how many of those waves hit the beach in a second. Different colours have different wavelengths and frequencies – that's why we see them as different colours! In your senior years of high school, you might learn more about the complex maths that explain why colours mix the way they do and how we can calculate it.

By exploring these concepts with your cube, you’re touching on real maths principles and maybe even getting a sneak peek at what you’ll learn in your later school years. So go ahead, take your cube to school, and see who else is fascinated by the shapes and colours that can be explained by the maths all around us.

Interactive Education 

For 5+ years 

Colour Explorer Quest 


Discover how the world changes colour through the CMY Cube and understand which colours are subtracted to create new ones.

 Materials Needed: 

  • The Original Cube with cyan, magenta, and yellow sides.



1. Introduce the cube and the concept of subtractive colours briefly: Explain how cyan removes red, magenta removes green, and yellow removes blue from white light.

2. Demonstrate how to look through each colour and rotate the cube.

3. Stimulate your creative brain through some logical thinking. What is going to happen when you view the world through these different lenses?


Step 1: Exploring Primary Colours 

  • Task: Hold the cube up to their eye and look through one of the primary coloured sides (cyan, magenta, or yellow).
  • Discover: Notice how the world changes colour. For example, when they look through cyan, things that are red might disappear or change colour because cyan removes red from the light. Red objects will all of a sudden appear much darker!
  • Discuss: After looking through each colour, discuss what colours disappeared and reinforce which colours are removed.

Step 2: Discovering Secondary Colours

  • Thinking: Without looking at the cube, stop and think about what is going to happen when 2 of the CMY colours are mixed.

  • Task: Rotate the cube around each of its three axes to look through areas where two colours overlap (cyan and yellow, cyan and magenta, magenta and yellow).

  • Observe: Notice the new colours that are created through the combination of two CMY colours.

  • Identify: Explain that now two colours are being removed. For instance, where cyan and yellow overlap, both red and blue light are subtracted, leaving green.

Step 3: Free Exploration 

  • Task: Encourage children to rotate the cube any way they like, looking through different intersections and angles.

  • Count: Ask them to count how many different colours they can see through the cube.

  • Recall: Have them try to remember and state which CMY colours remove what other colours from white light, reinforcing their learning.


  • Find an object that is red, an object that is green, and an object that is blue. Using their newfound knowledge, instruct children to guess which object will become darker when looking through each of the sides of the CMY Cube.

Follow-up Activity: 

  • Provide a worksheet where children can draw what they see through the cube and label the colours they've created by subtracting the light. This reinforces the concept through art and interaction.


  • They engage in logical thinking to stimulate the learning pathways of their brains.

  • Children gain a hands-on understanding of subtractive colour mixing.

  • They learn to associate the CMY colours with the primary colours of light they subtract.

  • By rotating the cube and creating secondary colours, they apply their knowledge in a step-by-step way to predict and verify outcomes.

This game can be part of a series of interactive experiences that guide children through learning colour theory step-by-step, using their logic and creativity to understand and predict the outcomes of subtractive colour mixing.

Intermediate Education

For ages 8-12+

Colour Mix Mastermind 


To quickly identify the resulting colour from a combination of the CMY sides and then predict the new colour when the third colour is added.

Age Group:  

Older children, ages 8-12+.

Materials Needed: 

  • The Original Cube with cyan, magenta, and yellow sides.


1. Review the basics of subtractive colour mixing and the colour combinations that the CMY sides can create.

2. Explain the game rules and demonstrate how to hold the cube and call out the visible colours.

3. Choose a time limit for how long the rounds will be.


Round 1: Quick Guess 

  • Task for Holder: One player holds the cube at eye level, making sure two sides are visible, and calls out these two colours (e.g., "Cyan and Magenta!").

  • Task for Guessers: The other players, with their eyes closed, must quickly shout out the resulting colour they think is made from the combination (e.g., "Blue!").

  • Scoring: The quickest correct guesser earns a point and is the Cube Holder for the next guess.

Round 2: Advanced Mix 

  • New Challenge: The Cube Holder will call out 2 colours again, but once a correct guess is made, they will rotate it and call out the third colour that is added (e.g., “Adding Yellow!").

  • Task for Guessers: Players must quickly predict the first colour that is made but then also the new colour that results from all three sides combining.

  • Scoring: The quickest correct guesser wins a point for each correct guess

Game Outcome: 

  • Players learn to quickly recall the principles of subtractive colour mixing and apply this knowledge in a logical way.

  • The game promotes fast thinking and deepens understanding of complex colour combinations.

  • It introduces a competitive and social element to learning about colours, which can be especially engaging for this age group.

Tips for Success: 

  • Before starting the game, it can be helpful to have a quick review session or a cheat sheet available with the primary and secondary colours that result from the CMY combinations.

  • For added fun, keep a tally of points on a leaderboard to encourage a friendly competition.

By alternating roles between the guesser and the holder, all players stay engaged, and everyone gets a chance to challenge their knowledge of subtractive colour mixing.

Extra Colour Math for Teenagers 

Colour Equations Unpacked 

Mixing varying amounts of blue, green and red light can create an entire palette of colours. This process can be neatly summed up using basic mathematical equations. These colours are essentially the opposite of yellow, magenta and cyan.

A straightforward approach to this method of colour mixing offers a surprisingly accurate model for how we perceive colours in the world. The following are the basic equations that represent this model:

  • Green + Blue = Cyan

  • Blue + Red = Magenta

  • Red + Green = Yellow

When you mix all three – BlueRed, and Green – you achieve White.

We achieve white, not black as we’re using additive colour mixing in this example, which is like adding lasers together. Not subtractive colour mixing which takes colours away, like paints. But when understanding colour mixing the principle is the same. Expanding on these, we can explore additional "colour equations".

Consider mixing magenta with yellow, for example:

  • Magenta consists of a mixture of Blue and Red.

  • Yellow combines Red and Green.

Adding these together, we get: 

(Blue + Red) + (Red + Green) = (Blue + Red + Green) + Red

which simplifies down to: (White + Red), or simply, Pink.

Let’s say we start with white light, which is a blend of BlueRed, and Green, and we introduce a filter that soaks up all the blue light:

Removing "Blue" from the equation, we are left with:

(White - Blue) leaves us with (Red + Green), which is recognised as Yellow.

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