DIY Montessori Materials: Colour Box 1

The Montessori Colour Box 1 is amongst the first Montessori Materials to be presented, and one of the easiest DIY Montessori Materials for those trying to do Montessori on a budget.

First, I need to say — if you’re not going to make all of the colour boxes, or if you plan to buy the third or fourth box, skip this DIY Colour Box 1. The main purpose of the Colour Box 1 is to introduce children to the concepts and processes that will be necessary in working with the later Montessori Colour Boxes.

(If you have a purchased box, I would simply “borrow” the primary colour tablets for as long as you need the Colour Box 1 available.)

So, when purchasing materials for the Colour Box 1, I like to consider the whole scope and purchase the materials for Colour Box 3 (the most extensive set of tablets) right off of the bat.

Materials Needed to DIY Colour Boxes:

*I mention 100 or 155 tablets. 100 means that the boxes are not “free-standing” but all use a combination of the same set of tablets. If you want four stand-alone Colour Boxes, you need 155.

If the colour boxes are for home use, you do not need to have wooden tablets; cardstock or cardstock with a cardboard backing would more than suffice, but I like the sensory satisfaction of snapping the wooden tablets down onto a table and they are easier for little hands to pick up. I’ve since used the Etsy shop that I linked to above (and loved working with them) but for this project, I purchased strips and had them cut at a hardware store (1″ by 2″), before hand sanded every tile and would not do it again… ever.


  1. Select either 3 shades of paint or 3 paint chips that are “true” primary colours and not shades or tints. If using paint chips, you will need two of each of the three primary colours.
  2. Sand the tablets if they need to be smoothed.
  3. Paint, or glue the paint chip onto, the tablet, trim off any excess from a paint chip with an exacto knife (by placing the paint chip-covered side down on a protected surface and tracing around the outside of the tablet with the knife)
  4. Once the paint or glue has dried, seal the tablet with Modge Podge and place in a small box for presentation.


Once the tablets are ready, you can present Colour Box 1! Be sure to check out our other Montessori Material DIYs for the subsequent colour boxes and if you’d like to see more Montessori and hands-on learning inspiration, you might consider subscribing to our free weekly newsletter, delivered straight to your e-mail inbox!

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