Foolproof Ways To Choose Bead Color Combinations for Jewelry Design
Do you ever sit down to start beading a new jewelry project or bead pattern and then struggle to decide on what bead color combinations to choose? I know I have! If you’re like me, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when surrounded by so many luscious bead colors without knowing which ones to choose.
Bead patterns are so fun to buy – but we all know patterns take some time to follow. Choosing a beading color combination can be a commitment we live with for the next days or weeks! Do you want to LOVE your chosen bead color combination and feel confident your bead colors will look good together?
If so, I’ll share some of the tips and tricks I use when choosing bead color combinations. Let’s get started!
1. Use A Focal Bead Or Centerpiece As Inspiration.
Do you have a colorful cabochon or focal bead already selected for your design? Then you’re halfway there with choosing a bead color palette for your beading project!
If the colors in your cabochon or focal bead work well together and are pleasing to the eye, use that centerpiece as a roadmap for choosing your bead colors.
In the statement necklace shown above, I based the color palette off of the colors in the handmade peacock feather glass cabochon – shades of blue from aquamarine and teal to turquoise and navy, and shades of green. I simply pulled every green and blue bead tube from my stash and placed them on an empty bead tray. Then I compared each tube to the center cabochon and created a “keep” pile for beads that matched back to the cabochon (and worked well with each other).
The rest I put away for another time. As I worked on beading the necklace, I drew from my keep pile whenever I needed a new color. I used lots of different blues and greens that were very similar in color to create harmony in the final piece.
2. Use An Online Color Palette Tool.
If I don’t have a focal bead to base my bead color combination off of, I visit one of my favorite color palette websites for some beading inspiration.
Whoever invented these color palette websites is a sheer genius! They feature carefully pulled together colors pulled from gorgeous stock photography images of flowers, sunsets, fruit bowls, and other vignettes.
One of my favorites is Design Seeds. This amazing FREE website features gorgeous photography and sophisticated color palettes pulled from the images. Here is an example of what you’ll find on Design Seeds:
The site is searchable by Color, or by Collection. For example, the photo above displayed in a search for greenish blue from their Search By Color feature.
The main color you select is displayed in a variety of palettes you can get inspired by! The above palette is obviously all shades of the same teal, but there are so many different color palettes to explore – dramatic ones, light colored ones, vibrant ones, dreamy ones, and more.
Search by Collection lets you browse color schemes that organized by season, or type, like animals or nature.
A quick search on a color palette website like Design Seeds will give your color selection a jumpstart!
Once you find a color palette that speaks to you, you can quickly pull beads from your stash that match the swatches, and get started!
I love, love love Design Seeds and I think you will, too. (If you do, please consider donating to the site from the link on their home page.)
3. Pull Colors From A Favorite Image In A Snap!
Sometimes you don’t know what bead color combination you want to use, but you know you want to design a beaded necklace that is inspired by a certain theme. It could be a trip to the beach, or your favorite flower.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could use your own image as color palette inspiration for your bead color combination?
Well, you can! One of my favorite programs that does just that is Adobe Color – and it’s FREE!
From the link above, select Extract From An Image from the top left of the screen and then choose the photo on your computer that you’d like to use as inspiration. I chose this photo from a summer trip to the beach:
Adobe Color CC will automatically choose pinpoints of color from the image, and display them in a color palette below the image! So cool! Here’s a example:
You can change the “mood” of the color palette. The above photo is their “Muted” palette, but a quick click on the dropdown menu will show you Colorful, Bright, and Dark palettes, just to name a few.
You can also select a “Custom” mood, and drag the little pinpoint circles to any area on the photo to customize the palette.
Adobe Color CC allows you to save your color palette, too. I hope you’ll try it out and show me the beading creations you’ve made with colors selected from your own photos as inspiration!
4. Search Pinterest For Color Inspiration.
Pinterest is chock full of amazing beaded jewelry and bead embroidery images. Visit Pinterest when you need some color choice inspiration and you won’t be disappointed!
I work on my Pinterest beading boards regularly to be sure I have lots of inspiring content when I need it. It’s also something fun to do when you aren’t able to bead, like in line at the bank or the parent pick up line after school.
One idea is to start a series of Pinterest boards that are organized by bead color, which can be very helpful when looking for bead color combination inspiration. Here’s an example of what a Bead Color Story Board can look like:
You can see my Bead Color Story boards here.
Remember, you don't have to limit your color story inspiration boards to just beads or beaded jewelry. You can create boards with any photos or items that have colors that appeal to you. Fashion, textile, and travel photos are good places to gather a lot of colorful pins. Get creative with your pinning so you'll have lots of color inspiration to draw from when you need it.
5. Use Your Favorite Dress, Scarf, Pillow, or Painting For Color Inspiration.
We can look beyond beaded jewelry for bead color combo inspiration. Look around at the things you already love, whether it is a a colorful printed top, a bedspread, or an accent rug for bead color choice inspiration.
Once you find a colorful print or pattern you find appealing, you know those bead colors will look great together in a necklace or bracelet pattern.
Use the proportions in the inspiration item to have the same pleasing color balance in your beaded item. For example, using the navy pillow in the above photo, your main bead color would be dark blue, followed by smaller amounts of white and yellow, with pops of orange and/or green.
- Once you settle on your color palette, take your selected beads outside and look at them in natural light to be sure you still like how they look together.
- Keep in mind that beads with AB (Aurora Borealis) finishes and matte finishes may result in the bead color looking different in your final piece.
I hope these tips help when you are inspired to bead but can’t decide on a color scheme! What tips and tricks have you used to choose colors for a recent bead project? Let me know in the comment below!
Until next time... and happy creating!