Color Theory 101

Photo Credit: Sean Hillmeyer

So you’re trying to decide what colors to make your next necklace, scarf or other creative and beautiful craft. If you’re like me, you follow popular color trends, but sometimes get stumped when it comes back to the basic color theory. Here is what I have made of it:


Monochromatic is sort of like ombre. It is one color or varying shades of one color. As not to clash too much, try to do different shades of one color. (IE if you’re doing peach, try light peach, medium peach, dark peach).


Opposites are just that.. the opposite color on the color wheel. This would be like red and green, blue and orange or yellow and purple. Consider sticking with one major color and just accent with the opposite.

Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds involves choosing colors that are no more than 3 pallets away from each other on the color wheel. (IE green with blue and yellow or orange with red and dark purple).


Neutrals are the colorless colors. This is earth tones, ivories, pale yellows, browns.. you get the idea.

Temperature Colors

If you want a seasonal color scheme or to evoke certain emotions, try going for hot and cold families (IE red, orange and yellow for tropical colors and green, blue and purple for cool).

Colors That Just Look Good Together

There are some color combinations that go well together, just because. Here are some popular color combos:

  • mint and brown
  • purple and green
  • hot pink, black and white
  • gray and yellow
  • turquoise and orange
  • black, brown and ivory
  • pink and brown
  • gray, lavender and teal
  • dark red and purple
  • copper, green and brown
  • blue, brown and green
  • ivory, turquoise and brown
  • cobalt blue and turquoise

Rainbow Assortment

I like the mantra in Totally Twisted – Innovative Wirework & Art Glass Jewelry by Kerry Bogert that states “when in doubt  pull all the colors out”. Kerry recommends instead of using all 6 colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) together, drop 1 or 2 and maybe even incorporate black and/or white. She recommends combos like red, orange green blue and purple or yellow, orange green and blue.

PS – I party here!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: