Using Color
Color theory for beaders.

Color Theory

The concept of the color wheel is an important one in most types of visual art work. Here are two ideas to remember:

Complimentary Colors

Colors that sit next to each other on the color wheel work well together aesthetically. Combinations such as:

 Orange and Yellow,

Yellow and Green, or

Green and Blue

are pleasing to the eye. By using a variety of different shades, many different looks can be achieved with a single pair of complimentary colors.

Contrasting Colors

By pairing colors that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel, one can create very interesting and appealing images or affects.

Orange and Blue,

Yellow and Purple,

Green and Red

all make great combinations in beads, fashion and art.


Experimenting with Color

A quick way to explore color variations is with photography. Take pictures of bead combinations and use a photo editor to adjust the Hue. Each color in the photo will change at the same rate, creating new contrasts to consider. If you don’t have photo editing software on your computer, many image hosting websites offer editing tools for free when you upload your pictures.




To make color choosing easier when working with seed beads, use your favorite stitch to create small samples of your beads when you purchase them. Keep them on a cord or other handy storage place, and use them to plan color combinations when designing beadwork.

To keep track of color names and where you purchased them, you can also attach ID cards to the bead samples. Include the size, color name, product number and store or brand name on the tags. This way you can remember colors when you‘ve run out of a particular bead, and you can match them if a dye lot is discontinued.

For more ideas on using color in beadwork, visit:

A Sage's Cupboard: Beading Calendar

A Sage's Cupboard: Inspirational Beading



Finishing Beadwork



More Beading Cupboards

Beading and Beyond

Just Beads

Beading Calendar

Inspirational Beading