Saturday, September 15, 2007

How to change colors in a design.

How often have you looked at a piece of jewelry, and loved it--except for the colors. You know just what you would wear it with, if it came in yellow instead of blue.

Here, I will show you a few designs that are available for free on the web. We will take a look at how the colors are laid out, and figure out how to substitute colors that will match in the same way.

It helps if you have some idea of how to work with a color wheel. Here are two websites for you that will bring you up to speed.

For a basic overview of color theory, go to this website and for a discussion of how these color schemes look, go here Print out at least the first one so you can see what I'm talking about.

The first piece we're going to look at is "Egyptian Sunset Necklace" by Julie Walker. It can be found on Beadwork Magazine's site at This is a free pattern, however you will have to sign up to access the web site. They do have lots of nice free patterns tho. This is what the original necklace looks like

Ok, lets say we really want a moonlight necklace instead of a sunset necklace.... Looking at the, you can see that the beads are amber and topaz colors. This means that this color scheme is monochromatic--all yellow. So to change it to moonlight change that to various shades of blue. Here's a picture of what it would look like. Due to lack of time, I only made the middle of the necklace.

The next one we're going to look at is the "Flamenco Braid Necklace" by Linda Arline Hartung. This is also on Beadwork Magazine's web page. You can download it at

This is a split complementary design, with purple being the key color, and yellow-green and yellow-orange (the light tan color) being the two other colors. So to change the design, pick a different color as your key color, and then find the two complements. Make sure that you are keeping the same intensity of color...the purple and green are fairly dark and the yellow is very light. This keeps the design interesting.

Here's what it would look like with red (really pink) as the key color. Again, due to lack of time, I only pulled the colors together

Another way to change the colors in a design would be to choose the complementary colors of every color in the necklace. Again, make sure the keep the intensity of the colors the same, to keep the design interesting.

Take a look at your favorite pieces of jewelry, and see if you can recognize the color scheme. It will take a little practice, but soon you'll be seeing color palettes everywhere.

For a look at more color palettes from professional graphic designers, go to

No comments: