How to pick a colour palette for your craft project

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

In the spirit of my confidence post (thanks so much for your kind words btw) I want to talk about one of my favourite subjects and one I know that I'm really good at - putting colours together. I think about colour combinations all the time, I look for the unusual and interesting where ever I go. Flowers naturally are one of my biggest sources but I love to discover the patina of crumbling brick work and peeling paint or colourful packaging in random supermarkets, anywhere can be a source of inspiration. 

Since last year I've had a few embroideries on the go, I stitch freehand as I'm not great at following patterns and I love to watch a design grow before my very eyes. I thought they would be a great way to start showing you how I pick and put colour palettes together. 
Sweet vintage - In my head this is a vintage colour scheme, soft bright colours that sit really prettily together. The base colours are the mauve-y grey, mauve and pink, I picked these colours as they are the main colours on the base fabric. To bring the pinks and mauves 'alive' I added in some accent colours, a buttery yellow and mint green - they all harmonise together as they're from the same colour range but provide enough contrast to be interesting. 

If I was using this palette for a room I'd use the grey colour as a base on walls and then build up layers and accents with the other colours. 
 Bright florals - I had to work a bit harder on this palette to get it to sit well together but when the embroidery was finished it looked great. I created three palettes in one - the orange, pink and grey all work together as do the greens and the grey. To make all the colours work as one I made sure the pink, darker green and grey all complimented each other making the orange and spring green the accent colours. 

When using more difficult colours, I never use more than five colours in one piece of work. I once read a colour rule from the 1920's which said always pick two colours to compliment and one to contrast, I've used this as a guide ever since. 
Tonal colours -  I talk about tonal colours a lot in my projects. I love to use varying shades of a similar colour to add depth to a craft project. Here I have gone for warm orange, coral and pink shades stitched onto a red and pink base fabric. I have done a simple running stitch with a few knots added in inspired by my love of Indian quilts. 

This leather, jewel and chain necklace or jewel box clutch are perfect examples of how I use tonal shades. This method works especially well when you have contrasting textures like jewels or in a patchwork or knitted quilt when you can use slight variations of a similar colour. 

Before I end this post I should talk about the base fabric I have been using to stitch on. I hand painted silk with random lines, dots and splodges, I made sure the fabric was damp before I painted so the colours would be soft and blend into each other. You can buy silk here and silk paints here. Make sure you dry your fabric flat so the patterns stay as you painted them.

I hope this post has given you some insight into putting colours together. I'd like to do some more posts like this so if there is anything you'd like to see just let me know.


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