Playing With Colour

An essential part of the designing process when it comes to jewellery and other crafts is the colours. A great use of colour can make or break a piece, and different colours can give a different feel.

For example, my Celtic dragon necklace has been made in 3 different colour schemes, each giving the piece a very feel for each one. The olive green and gold, feels a little more sophisticated and adds a vintage feel. The bright and light, blue and white feels a bit more fun and really pops for summer wear. The red and black gives it a classic goth style feel. All of the colours work, but it it is what it makes you think of that counts.

My Celtic Dragon design

Playing with colour is one of my favourite parts of designing a piece, sometimes it is the centrepiece that speaks to me. For example my Seafoam heart necklace, the stone had the colours in it already, I just worked the balance to compliment the stone and show it at its best. This meant highlighting the highlights, I wanted the stone to shine, so I left out blues from my design and focused on the bronze and the white. It creates a truly stunning centerpiece that draws the eye and gives the stone its chance to shine.

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My Seafoam Heart Necklace

Colour theory is instinctive to a lot of people, we naturally know what colours we love together and what colours play well, but it isn’t always that easy. To help me along the way there are tools most artists love to use. The most common one is a colour wheel. You can work out complimentary colours, look at tones and shades that work well together and break yourself out of a design habit.

Another option I love for this is a book I have recommended before, The Beader’s Guide to Color by Margie Deeb, this beautiful book not only teaches you about colour theory, but takes into account those particular issues you are likely to have with beads, such as coatings and textures. No matter how often I flick through and read it, it never fails to inspire ideas.

The Beader’s Guide to Color

Nature is a wonderful inspiration for colour, a design focusing around a peacock is going to bring the colours in itself, those colours will compliment each other and allow you to work your design naturally, but colour theory would allow me to realise that throwing in some orange or red will really make the piece pop and create something that will draw the eye to it.

Colour can be used to highlight part of the design, and playing with tones, shades and colour contrasts can create a natural flow along the piece making your eyes land on the final focal point.

The balance of colours is so important, a piece in magenta and purple can be amazing if you throw in a couple of yellow beads, just enough to add something of interest without it taking over the whole design.

I love this tool it is a great way of working with colour, tone and shades without spending hours fooling around. Though it can drain time. I use this when I have a palate of colours I want to enhance. I might have two split complimentary colours and want to be able to find the third. Or I might want to work out how a few tones will look together. All in all, it helps when the design sticks a little.

But really my main bit of advice when playing with colour is to allow your personal aesthetic to work for you, most people have an instinct for colour, we tend to find that our favourite colours form a natural colour palette for to work with. If you are outside of your comfort zone, using tools will help you create a piece that could change from pretty to stunning, in an easy and effective way.


2 thoughts on “Playing With Colour

  1. I love color, the theory of color, the color wheel, all of it. I checked out your link. You’re right, that could be a time drainer. I just want to play and see all the combinations.


    1. It is one of those things I go onto and start to play with, and then 15 minutes later I have lost track of the original reason for being there and am loving how acid green and hot pink go together. 🙂


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