The colour wheel. (And how to use it)

Lots of people have asked me how I pick my colours for my projects and colours schemes in my house etc. tbh this is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while but I’ve just not got round to it. I’m going to essentially show you how to use a colour wheel to get the best use of colour and link you to a few other blogs that have invested their time to explaining how they do it too. I love colour. So I wanted to share the love with you guys too. Hopefully it might help to lift those January blues of dieting and being skint after christmas. Also I’d love to hear from you if you have a different method of colour selection 🙂 
So, here goes.
Colours are very powerful things, they have the ability to change our moods, emotions and balance. It is believed that colour choices you make reflect a deeper meaning on your personality. Part of the reason I want to show you the colour wheel, so that colour selection remains your own as I truely believe selecting colours are part of the artistic process and if one is using art as a form of therapy it’s important that this isn’t influenced by anyone else other than yourself.
The colour wheel is based apon 3 different types of colours, primary, secondary and tertiary.
It’s so easy to make your own colour wheel, you can paint it, mixing the paint as you go, colouring pens/pencils, download one, buy one, or collage one like the one ubove using free paint charts.
Red, yellow, blue.
These hues cannot be made by mixing any other colours, but these are the colours we use to make other colours.
Orange, green, purple.
Secondary colours are made by mixing two primary colours together.
These colours are formed by mixing a primary and secondary colour together. Thus resulting in two word colours, red-orange, yellow-green, blue-purple etc.
I like to have an even balance of warm and cool colours in my work, these can be easily found on the colour wheel like so:
Warm and cool colours have a clear divide on mood, for instance, introverted people tend to like cool colours like blue, that lower blood pressure and can often by a very calm colour. Extroverts like colours such as red and orange for the opposite effects and people who need more emotional balance opt for colours like green and purple, colours that are on the edges of the warm/cool divide.
Tonal colours follow all these principles but are colours that have either had white or black or grey added to them.
Colour schemes
So now we can look at how we use the colour wheel to build colour schemes that work. A good starting point would be taking inspiration from something, a cushion, a piece of art, or material for instance. Starting with your favourite colour is also a really good place to start. Remember those pillows I made? It inspired the blanket below.


But what if you have no starting point? This is where the colour wheel comes in.
Three colours sat next to each other are harmonious colours or an analogous scheme.


These colours sit opposite each other on the wheel, they create contrast when used together.
Split complementary
This scheme is a variation of complementary that uses 3 colours.


This scheme also uses 3 colours but that are evenly spaced around the wheel, normally with this scheme one colour is more dominant and the other two are accent colours.


This is four colours evenly spaced around the circle


Similar to square but is actually any two sets of complimentary colours.
These are a few of the basic colour schemes, have a play and see what you come up with. I have a few favourite pages that go into further detail about how they use colour in their projects. I hope you enjoy them. I’ll share them below. Hope this helps and I hoped you enjoyed 🙂
For ready made colour schemes check out Design seeds
One of my favourite quilt bloggers Jeni Baker shows you how In color order
And not forgetting the goddess of crochet Lucy at attic24
Peace, and happy new year x
If you want to learn more about how you can use colour in your work Benny Rens hosts a colour workshop and how to you could use it for your crochet projects. Find out more info here



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