Paper Plate Rainbow Mandalas

Mar 28, 2016

After a long, dreary winter, we’re ready for some colourful spring crafting here in my daycare. What better way to start than with a cheerful rainbow mandala complete with fluffy white clouds suspended below? It’s perfect for hanging in a window at home or in a classroom.

Mandalas are beautiful to look at. Their circular, symmetrical patterns are said to represent balance and wholeness, so they’re very calming and relaxing to make. Traditionally, a mandala’s design would be very intricate and detailed, but our paper plate rainbow mandala is simple enough for even the youngest children to make.

While making mandalas, your child will learn about the order of the colour spectrum. Their fine motor skills will be challenged as they decorate the paper plate with tiny pieces of tissue paper.

You Will Need:

  • paper plate
  • tissue paper in all colours of the rainbow
  • blue yarn
  • cotton balls
  • white glue
  • paint brush
  • clear tape
  • scissors

Supplies for rainbow mandalas.


To decorate our mandalas, we’re creating circles of colour, starting at the centre of the paper plate and working all the way out to the rim.

For a very young child, you may want to draw the circles of colour on your paper plate with a crayon or marker to serve as a guide for your child to follow. Older children will not likely need a visual guide.

Begin by cutting your tissue paper into small squares. As you’re doing this, you can discuss colour order with your child. The mnemonic ROY G. BIV is an easy way to remember which order the colours appear in: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.

A child glues tissue paper to a paper plate.

Have your child spread a thin layer of glue all over the plate with a paintbrush. This is much easier than gluing each square of colour to the plate individually.

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Start at the centre of your plate with a few squares of violet tissue paper. Continue building your circles of colour, radiating out from that starting point. 

Each circle will be a complete ring of colour with the tissue squares overlapping somewhat. 

Small squares of tissue paper glued onto a paper plate.

I had an 8-year-old and a 4-year-old making our mandalas today and they both really enjoyed the process. 

When the mandala has been completely filled in, finishing with the outer red circle, it’s time to add those puffy clouds.

Have your child gently stretch a few cotton balls into clouds. Pull the cotton in all directions so the clouds look fluffy and natural.

Then attach the clouds to the bottom of the rainbow mandala with the blue yarn and clear tape. 

A finished paper plate mandala with fluffy clouds.

Beautiful! Won’t this look lovely hanging in a window? 

Come on, spring!

Article Author Jackie Currie
Jackie Currie

Read more from Jackie here.

Jackie Currie is a mother, daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind the blog Happy Hooligans. A self-proclaimed glitterphobe, she specializes in easy, affordable arts & crafts and good, old-fashioned play.

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