Beadwork colour schemes present one of the greatest challenges when starting a new beading project. It’s not a problem if you’ve bought a kit or you’re following a pattern where the colour scheme has been decided for you. However, if you enjoyed the kit or pattern and want to re-make it, you’re into the colour choice territory! A lot of people end up using the same colour palette over and over again because they know they will like it. So what happens if you want a taste of adventure? How do you choose a new beadwork colour scheme? You can just pop into your local bead shop and try different tubes of beads against one another to see what takes your fancy, but it’s often a good idea to have some thoughts about what you might like to try before you start, so here are five ideas to guide you.
Option 1: look out of your window. Nature is a great source of inspiration for colouring. Mother Nature has already arranged colours for us that we find pleasing to observe, so why not follow her lead? When I made this lariat, I was thinking of the seaside – beautiful turquoise waters and sandy beaches.
Option 2: look at fabric. This could be one of your favourite outfits, or perhaps the cushion covers or curtains from your home. Chances are, if it has a pattern, this will have been designed by a professional designer who has studied colour theory and has managed to put together a combination that you find pleasing, so don’t be afraid to borrow it. Of course this is particularly useful if you are making jewellery to go with an outfit. Your beadwork colour scheme can just be taken from the clothes.
Option 3: find some inspiration online. Take a look at Pinterest – this could be a beading board, or an art board. Either way, it is bound to have plenty of colour to inspire. If you don’t use pinterest, then google images is just as good an option. A quick search for ‘colour schemes’ brought up this Farrow and Ball colour palette.
Option 4: if you want to be on trend, then take a look at the Pantone colours. Every season, designers influence a colour palette announced by Pantone. This is likely to keep cropping up in designs across all areas, so if you use it for your beads as well you should be in good company!
Option 5: learn the basics of colour theory and use this to help you choose your beadwork colour schemes. Although this is a vast subject, you can very quickly start using some of the basic rules. Experiment for yourself and see which bead combinations work for you. If you need some help with this, I put together an exercise to help you discover how bead colours will work (or clash!) with one another. You can find it here.
Most of all, have fun and don’t be afraid to try something different.