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Using Color in Rubber Stamping Projects

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Color Wheel

Color Wheel

Kate Pullen

Learning how to use color in rubber stamping projects is an important technique to learn. Color affects every aspect of rubber stamping, from the choice of the shade of ink, through to the color of the background. Good use of color will help you turn a simple stamped image into something very special. Even the most basic project can be transformed by using a good color scheme.

Understanding Color

Understanding how to create great color schemes is very useful for novice and experienced rubber stampers alike. It is extremely useful for beginner rubber stampers as it enables a whole range of different projects to be created from a limited range of supplies. Color helps identify the theme of a project and there are some traditional color schemes that are commonly used, these include:

  • Pink - female, romance, warm
  • Blue – male, sea, cool
  • Red and green - Christmas
  • White and silver – weddings
  • Pastel shades - baby, soft
Being able to create different overall effects means that maximum usage can be gained from a few well chosen stamps and other supplies. Experienced stampers will enjoy exploring the effect of color with different techniques.

Color Theories

With the wide variety of colored inks available, it can sometimes be a daunting task to pick colors for a rubber stamping project. Some people are blessed with a natural eye for color and can instantly create a wonderful color scheme. For those of us without this blessing, there is help at hand in the form of some basic color theories.

There are a few basic theories that are useful to know when working with color. These are based around the color wheel. The color wheel demonstrates how colors are formed from the three primary colors which are red, yellow and blue. Familiarity with the color wheel will help you to understand the color spectrum and plan effective color schemes. There are a number of ways to use the color wheel and apply these theories:

Cool and Warm Colors

The color wheel splits into two with colors on the red side being described as warm while the colors on the blue side are described as cool. These can be useful to know when picking colors for a rubber stamping project.

Example: A rich mix of reds, oranges and pinks are typical warm colors and ideal for romantic projects. Cool blues and greens give a very relaxing over all feel.

Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are colors that appear on the opposite side of the color wheel to each other. These colors are very different to each other, but work well together. These colors give the greatest degree of contrast and are extremely striking together.

Example: A good example is red and green. Red is opposite green on the color wheel and these striking colors are a popular choice for many different Christmas projects.

Monochromatic Colors

Monochromatic colors are tonal variations of a single color on the color wheel. The varying shades of a single color can give a subtle yet highly effective color scheme. A simple way to achieve a monochromatic color scheme is to use a transparent ink on colored paper or card. The transparent ink will leave an image in a slightly darker shade to the original paper.

Example: A selection of different shades of reds can make an interesting backdrop for a Valentine project.

Analogous Colors

Analogous colors are a selection of colors that are all related on the color wheel. This gives a wider range of colors and can offer both subtle changes and more dramatic.

Example: An example of analogous colors are cool blues and greens. These blend into each other on the color wheel and offer a delicate mix of colors or a strong contrast, depending on how these are used.

Tips for Working With Color
  • Keep a file with clippings from magazines and color swatches of your favorite color schemes
  • Experiment with a range of inks on different colored backgrounds and see what works well
  • Make a note of people´s favorite color, this is useful when planning a special project
Express Your Individuality!

Lastly, while these principles are useful to know, they are just theories and not rules! Do not feel that you have to adhere rigidly to these principles. Practice and have fun with different color schemes. Color is a great way to express your individuality and to turn a stamping project into something exciting and unusual.

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