Technique Thursday: Using a Color Wheel

Most people know what a color wheel is from grade school art class – but have you used once since? I want to show you how I use my color wheel to help me choose paint colors. The great thing is that no formal education is required! You don’t have to go to four years of art school to follow along with my method.

A likely scenario for a crafter, using myself as an example: I recently pulled a piece of fabric out of my stash that I wanted to use in a project, and couldn’t figure out what colors I wanted to use with it. In comes the color wheel. I use an EK Success Rainbow Color Selector that was gifted to me. Here’s how I started:

I placed my color wheel down on my fabric and eyeballed my starting point – meaning I figured out where my fabric matched on the color wheel. At this point you’ll need to make a decision: what color combination works for you? My color wheel has a magic spinner center to help me answer this question! There are arrows that help me choose between the following options:

  • Complementary – color directly opposite your starting color
  • Triad – combining every fourth color on the wheel
  • Split Complement – your starting color and the two colors on the opposite sides of your complementary color

This may sound like Greek to you, but my color wheel comes with a complete instruction book to explain everything. Once you read the instruction book and start playing with the wheel, it will all make sense. I decided to do a color triad for my project.

I used the triangle on the wheel to guide me (and color chips in my pictures for illustration). The first color indicated by the wheel was in the Aqua family. . .

The second color suggested by the wheel was in the Orange family. Now I have two FolkArt paint colors to use on my project with my fabric! My colors are slightly wild, but no matter your color preferences, a color wheel will help you with your craft painting projects.


One Comment to “Technique Thursday: Using a Color Wheel”

  1. I am a color wheel junkie! I use mine everyday.

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