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A color adventure in beads

A color adventure in beads, Katie Dean, Beadflowers

We’re now halfway through August 2020. International Beading Week seems like a distant memory. But the beading fun is still very much ongoing. You see, this month, I’m going on a color adventure in beads… And I’m taking you with me, if you want to follow! (And if you do want to follow, make sure you’re on my mailing list!)

Where did it all start?

Well, back in the Spring of 2020, I launched a huge new online class for anyone who struggles with putting together bead color schemes. And many people do. I mean, how often have you finished a project, then thought,

“I’m really not sure about those bead colors. I think they might clash. Or at least, they don’t look as good as I hoped.”

I know I’ve had that experience a lot, especially in my early days of beading. And it’s very frustrating. So, I decided to see what I could do about it.

Along the way, I made a few discoveries…

  • You can’t always predict how bead colors will work together
  • But once you understand a bit about color theory, you can make some good guesses which will help you get things ‘more right’
  • And, if you take that a step further, there’s a really simple structure you can use to get it ‘right’ pretty much every time.

So, I began putting all those discoveries into my new online class. I launched it in the Spring, and, to my great delight, it has been helping a lot of beaders, just like you!

“Thank You for this class I have enjoyed it from beginning to end. It has been very helpful in picking out colors and putting them together.”


A color adventure in beads, Katie Dean, Beadflowers


One thing leads to another…

…and I now find myself here in August, taking another color adventure in beads. You see, I continued to make more discoveries, and I wanted to share them with more beaders.

So, throughout this month, I’ve been leading a color adventure in beads on the ‘Seed beads and more’ facebook group. I’m very grateful to Anita Adamson (group founder) and Sylvia Burns (group admin) for inviting me to do this, and for their support and help as the event progresses.

But I’m not just leading this – oh no! – I’ve also been busy continuing my own color discoveries. Specifically, applying my tried and tested method of creating color schemes to my newest beaded box…

Click here to get your copy of the Art Deco beaded box pattern

How does the experiment work?

Well, for a box like this with a complex design on the sides, I like to use BeadTool4 to create the design. It’s a fantastic tool for designers. But, like any tool, it has its limitations. And the biggest limitation is the color selection.

You see, we all know how bead colors appear different on screen to how they look in reality. (I know I’m not alone in having bought beads that looked great on the screen, then had a terrible shock when they arrived ‘in the flesh’.)

Well, that problem becomes even worse when you’re trying to represent the bead colors in a chart. And, no, this is not a criticism of BeadTool4, or its designer. It is simply a fact that you can’t really convey the color of glass in a color generated chart.

Problem solving…

That’s absolutely fine, as long as you are aware of that fact. And there is a solution. Just try out some little samples with actual beads so you can test the colors before you embark upon your project.

So, I created my chart (left-hand image, above) and I liked the way the colors looked. But, just to be sure, I beaded a little sample… and I wasn’t so happy. You see, my choice of green beads were in a transparent finish, so they were getting overwhelmed by the beads around them. That wasn’t so obvious from the chart. In fact, do you think the chart is really a good representation of the actual beads? The little sample on the left of my sample strip (photo above, right) is the actual bead colors from the chart.

Not to be deterred, I switched some individual colors in and out, until I felt happier with my sample. I then updated my pattern chart and beaded my box. But I ask again, do you feel like the pattern chart (middle photo, above) is a good reflection of the actual bead colors (right-hand photo, above)?

Personally, I feel the chart gives a really helpful guide, but it’s not a substitute for actually trying out the beads.

How can you go on a color adventure in beads?

If this little adventure of mine has got you curious, then maybe you’d like to join me? If you want to use the precise framework that I use, then you can. I’ve put together a second class on bead color combinations, specifically to teach that framework. So, you can find that class by following this link.

Both online classes are open for enrollments right now. You can then get started whenever you’re ready. You get to work at your own pace, and in your own time. Everything is online, so you can also choose where and how you work. All beautifully flexible for you! And, you can use the materials as often as you want. So, if you need a refresher in a year or two, you’ve still got everything there to go back to.

But if you’re not interested in learning this way, I’ve also got plenty of information on My World of Beads website. So, just use this link to discover all the blog posts about bead colors. Then you can make your own discoveries and go on your own adventures.

And that’s not the last of my adventures… I’ve already been putting the system to use in my Golden Anniversary beaded box, not to mention my beaded stars, Peyote bracelets, and more!

Click here to get your copy of the golden anniversary beaded box pattern

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