Using a Color Wheel to Select Temari
One of the first steps in making a
temari is deciding what combination of colors you are going to
use. #5 pearl cotton, the most common thread used to do the
embroidery, comes in over 300 colors. Selecting just the right
colors can be a challenge. While there are certainly no hard and
fast rules to follow, you may find that using the theories or guidelines
given in books on color theory can help you come up with some striking
combinations. Many of these theories are based on a color wheel
composed of 12 colors that was invented around 1731. The wheel
serves as a way to learn color relationships by organizing the colors in
a circle so you can visualize how they relate to one another.
Hundreds of books have been written on color theory and many are far
more scientific that is necessary for our
selecting temari colors. Color wheels are standard art
tools; one is shown to the right, but it's helpful to purchase one (they
come in various sizes). They are readily available at craft, art and
To use a color wheel you need
to know that the primary colors are
red, blue and yellow
. Green, orange and violet are secondary colors, obtained by mixing 2
primary colors together in equal amounts
. Blue and red make
violet; yellow and red make orange; yellow and blue make green. Mixing 2 secondary colors in equal amounts
gives you the tertiary colors
: yellow-orange, red-violet,
blue-green, blue-violet, and yellow-green. The tertiary colors may
also be referred to as intermediate colors.
Hue is the term used to refer to these 12 pure colors.
combining these 12 colors in unequal amounts you come up with an endless
variety of other colors.
Other terms that are used to
describe color are tint, tone, shade, value and saturation. When
you add white to a color it is called
. Pink, for example is a tint of red. Gray added to a color gives you a tone
Mauve is a tone of red, since gray is added to red to achieve it.
A shade results from black being added
to a color.
black to green results in Forest green as a shade of green. Value refers to the lightness or darkness
of a color
in relationship to black and white. Burgundy
is a darker value of red compared to pink. Saturation
is the brightness or dullness of a color.
The pure hues
are the most intense and brightness. One way to diminish the
saturation is to add a small amount of the color opposite it on
the color wheel.
Can't you just pick 3 or 4 colors
that you like together? Sure you can, and that often results in
some beautiful color combinations, but using the color wheel can open
your eyes to all kinds of new combinations and may encourage you to use
colors you would not try otherwise. The color wheel is also a
great help when you know that a combination isn't exactly right, but may
not know just what;s throwing it off. If you compare your color
selections to ones from the color wheel, you most likely will be able to
see the problem. Sometimes something as simple as replacing say, a
red-violet with a blue-violet, can make a big difference.
When planning the color
scheme for your temari remember that it's not just the embroidery thread
colors. Remember to consider the dodai mari wrap (unless you are working
), as well
as any metallic threads that are being planned.
The easiest way to select colors
for your temari may be to use only one
color. One-color schemes are known as monochromatic. A
red based monochromatic temari could have a white thread base and be
embroidered in red, pale pink and black. By using a dark, medium
and light color plus 1 or 2 neutrals (if desired), you can easily
come up with many simple but effective combinations.
The following information lists
some of the standard color combinations used regularly by artists and
craft persons. Keep in mind that "color" means all the shades,
tones and tints of that color. If you think only in terms of
bright colors some of the combinations may not appeal to you, but if you
think peach instead of orange for example, you may find just the mix
you're looking for. Try dividing up all your threads
according to the 12 colors of the color wheel. If you have
problems doing this you can find color wheels with many of the shades,
tones and tints added. Then go through some of the following
suggested combinations and try them out. Remember that neutrals
can be added to any of the combinations without affecting the
harmony. Neutrals include white, cream, gray, beige and
The following abbreviations apply to the color names listed on all
standard color wheels, including the one illustrated above.
Red= R, red-violet= RV, violet= V, Blue-violet= BV, Blue= B,
Blue-green= BG, Green= G, Yellow-green= YG, Yellow= Y, Yellow-orange=
YO Orange= O, Red-orange= RO.
One striking way to select a
2-color combination is to use
colors are 2 colors that are opposite one
another on the color wheel.
Usually it works best to use
the cooler color so it is not overwhelmed by the hotter color.
Here are the possibilities:
1. G+R 2. V+Y 3.
B+O 4. BG+RO 5.
BV+YO 6. YG+RV
Other effective combinations
using 2 colors can be found by looking at
the color wheel and selecting colors that are separated by 1, 2, 3 or
. These are sometimes called spaced color harmonies and
Combinations separated by one color are:
1. R+O 2. G+B 3.
O+Y 5. O+YG
6. B+V 7. Y+G 8.
BV+RV 9. RV+RO
10. BG+BV 11.
YG+GB 12. V+R
Combinations separated by two colors are:
1. R+RO 2.
4. G+BV . 5, YG+B
6. B+RV 7. BV+R 8.
Y+BG 9. RV+O 10.
O+YG 11. R+YO 12. YO+G
Combinations separated by 3 colors are:
1. R+Y 2. YO+BG 3. G+V 4.
BV+RO 5. RO+YG 6. B+R 7.
BG+RV 8. V+O 9. O+G 10.
YG+BV 11. Y+B 12. RV+Y
Combinations separated by 4 colors are:
1. R+YG 2. YO+B 3. G+RV 4.
BV+O 5. V+YO 6. Y+BV 7.
YG+V 8. R0+G 9. O+BG
10. BG+R 11. B+RO 12. RV+Y
(Now you have 54 two-color combinations to select from. Add
in all the tints, tones and shades of these colors and you should have
enough ideas to keep you making temari for a long time)
To use 3 colors, start by looking at the analogous
. Analogous colors are the colors that are
side by side on the color
. By selecting any 3 of these you get these
1. YO+Y+YG 2. R+RO+O 3. BV+V+RV 4.
G+BG+B 5. O+YO+Y 6. RV+R+RO 7.
B+BV+V 8. YG+G+BG 9. RO+O+YO 10. V+RV+R
11. BG+B+BV 12. Y+YG+G
Another way to find 3 colors
that harmonize is to select 2
complementary colors, then as an accent color use a color that is 2
colors away on the color wheel
. Here are the options:
With R+G select one of these accents: Y or B or V or O.
With RV and YG select one of these accents: BV or BG or RO or YO.
With V and Y select one of these as an accent: O or G or R or B.
With BV and YO select one of these as an accent: RV or BG or YG or RO.
With B and O select one of these as the accent: G or V or Y or R.
With BG and RO select one of these as the accent: BV or YG or YO or RV.
Split Complementary Colors
offer more 3 color options: Choose
a color and then add the color on either side of
1. OR+BG+BV 2. BG+R+O 3. G+RV+RO 4.
R+YG+BG 5. RV+Y+G 6. YO+B+V 7. B+RO+YO
8. RO+G+B 9. YG+V+RV 10. Y+BV+RV
11. V+YO+YG 12. BV+O+Y.
Another set is: pick 2 colors
on the wheel that are separated by 2 colors and then
skip 3 colors on the outer side of each. Use one of the 2
remaining colors as an accent color. This gives you 24
The first 2 colors listed are the main
colors. Select one of the other 2 colors as an accent.
1. RV+OR accented by BG or
YG+B accented by RO or R .
3. G+BV accented by O or
BG+V accented by O or YO.
5. B+RV accented byYO or
BV+R accented by Y or YG
7. V+RO accented by G or
Y+BG accented by R or RV
9. R+YO accented by B or
RO+Y accented by B or BV
11. O+YG accented by V or
YO+G accented by RV or V
Yet another 3-color set: Choose
1 color and then get the
other 2 colors by skipping one color, selecting 1 color, skipping 1
color and selecting the next color. Use 1 as your main color and
the other 2 in smaller amounts.
Here are the
V+R+O 6. R+O+Y
7. RO+YO +YG 8. YO+YG+BG 9.
There are four other
combinations are possible by using the triads
3 colors equally spaced on the color wheel.
combinations make striking, well-balanced temari balls.
1. O+G+V 2. YO+BG+RV
3. Y+B+R 4. YG+BV+RO
Since most temari balls are relatively small, 4 or more colors on a
ball may be used less often than the 1, 2, or 3 color combinations, but
some patterns do lend themselves to the use of more colors. One
easy way to select 4 harmonious colors is to select 3 analogous colors
(side by side) and add a color directly opposite one of them as an
accent. This gives you 36 possibilities. The first 3 colors
listed are the side by side
colors. Select only one of the next 3 colors as an accent.
1.YO+Y+YG accented by BV or V or
R+RO+O accented byG or BG or B 3.
BV+B+RV accented byYO or Y or
G+BG+B accented by R or RO or
O 5. O+YO+Y accented by
B or BV or
RV+R+RO accented by YG or G or BG
7. B+BV+V accented by O or YO or
YG+G+BG accented by RV or R or RO
9. RO+O+YO accented by BG or B or
V+RV+R accented by Y or YG or YO 11.
BG+B+BV accented by
Y+YG+G accented by BV or V or RV
The following 4-color possibilities are found by selecting 2 colors
separated by a single color, then adding the 2 colors directly opposite
them. It may look best to use one color as the main color
and the other 3 colors in smaller amounts.
Another way to use 2 sets of complementary colors is to select 2 side by
side colors and their opposites:
4 color combinations are tetrads,
found by using 4 colors equally spaced on
the color wheel. There will be 2 colors between each
6. RO+ Y+O+B
more options for the 4-color combinations can be found by selecting
alternate colors and using the color opposite the middle color as an
accent. The last color below is the accent color.
accented by one of these B or R or Y.
YO+BG+RV accented by one of these BV or RO or YG.
accented by one of these V or O or G,
accented by one of these RV or YO or BG.
more combinations can be found by using the triads. They are 3
equally spaced colors on the color wheel. Then, as an
accent, use one of their complements.
six color combinations will probably not be used very often on a
temari ball, but here are some options. For a 5-colored temari
using any 5 side by side colors. For a 6 color
5 side by side colors and the complement of the middle color of
or pick 3 side by side colors and their complements or pick every
color around the wheel.
thanks to Sue Leishman
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