Oh so many colors! How do you decide which color will pair nicely with some other color? Let's start with color basics before we move on to combining the colors.
The primary colors – Red, Blue & Yellow
The secondary colors – Violet (Red + Blue), Green (Blue + Yellow) & Orange (Yellow + Red)
The tertiary colors – Red-orange, Orange-yellow, Yellow-green, Green-blue, Blue-Violet & Violet-red
For information sake will keep it to primary and secondary for now, but the rules apply for tertiary as well...
Color mixing basics -
Primary colors easily pair with each other, 'nuff said.
Complimentary colors (these sit next to each other on the color wheel and combine easily); Red with orange or violet; Blue with violet or green; Yellow with green or orange.
Contrasting colors (these sit opposite each other on the color wheel and are a bit more challenging to combine; Red and green (think Christmas); Yellow with violet (think pansy flowers); Blue with orange (think Denver Broncos).
Tones (warm and cool) -
|Complimentary Cool Tones|
|Complimentary Warm Tones|
Warm tones; Red, Orange & Yellow; these pair easily with gold, copper and brass (complimentary), but will really pop when paired with “cool” metals like silver, pewter or steel (contrasting).
Tints and Shades -
Tints and shades are the degree of a color (i.e.. Light Red, Red, Dark Red). Tints are a color made lighter by adding white; Shades are a color made darker by adding black. It's an easy way to combine colors, as they are all the same color just different degrees of it.
This actually takes me back to my painting class in High School; My teacher required us to do a color blend chart for all of the primary colors using black and white in various amounts (ie. ½ white + ½ red = pink). The Chart actually had white and the bottom, red (or blue, or yellow) in the middle and black on top. It didn't go too deeply into each color gradation, but was kept pretty simple; 100% white, ¾ white + ¼ red, ½ white + ½ red, ¼ white + ¾ red, 100% red, ¾ red + ¼ black, ½ red + ½ black, ¼ red + ¾ black, 100% black...but I digress
You can combine neutral colors (i.e.. White, black, grey, brown, etc.) with most other colors and with themselves to lovely effect.
Now that you have the basics, take a little time to lay out your crafty project, or paint some swatches next to each other and just see if you like the way the colors look together. If you do, well, get crafting!