Mixing clay is like mixing paint. Choosing the right color scheme or combination is one of the key elements in designing great polymer clay pen blanks. I recommend using a color wheel and other color theory to better understand important details about your color choices.

The first color wheel developed by Sir Isaac Newton (1666). It currently has twelve standard colors (yellow, green, blue, violet, red, orange, blue-green, blue-violet, red-violet, red-orange, yellow-orange, and yellow-green).

PRIMARY COLORS:

  • red
  • yellow
  • blue

SECONDARY COLORS (primary color combinations):

  • orange = red + yellow
  • green = blue + yellow
  • violet = red + blue

TERTIARY COLORS (primary + secondary color combinations):

  • blue-green
  • blue-violet
  • red-violet
  • red-orange
  • yellow-orange
  • yellow-green

Polymer Clay Variations

Neutralize colors with (complements) which are opposites on the color wheel.

YELLOW VIOLET
YELLOW-ORANGE BLUE-VIOLET
ORANGE BLUE
RED-ORANGE BLUE-GREEN
RED GREEN
YELLOW-GREEN RED-VIOLET

 

Other ways to adjust polymer clay colors include adding value (add white), decreasing value (add black), making rustic tones (add brown) or dusty colors (add gray). Here are more specific formulas to alter the original polymer clay colors.

Pearl: 1 part color + 1 or more parts pearl
Pastel: 1 part color + 1 or more parts white
Muted pastels: 1 part color + 1 or more parts beige
Translucent: 1 part color + 1 more parts translucent
Metallic: 1 part color + 1 part gold or 1 part silver or 1/4 part copper
Deeper colors: 1 part color + 1/16 part black

 

Contrast and Context

Contrast refers to the lightness or darkness of the background definition of a clay design. Context relates to how color behaves in relation to other colors and shapes. Depending on how you plan to design your clay patterns will determine which colors you want to use to border your cane designs.




INTERACTIVE COLOR WHEEL: Adobe Kuler