I’ve been mulling over a way to incorporate some pretty striped trade beads into a design with perfect balance. The beads have a very soft blue tint, with stripes of darker blue, yellow, red, and orange. The trick is to find colors - and finishes - that contrast or complement the existing ones without covering up the unique personality of these beads.
I started by filling in the missing hues and trying for a rainbow effect. Bright and cheerful wisteria lined crystal goes really well with the soft blue background color. All I needed was a little green. I would have liked something equally bright, but I went with white lined peridot to match the finish. A lime or olive lined crystal would have been perfect, but I still like the Spring feel that this palette has.
With two blues already on board, I tried adding a third to really highlight the bright stripes of yellow, orange, and red. Dark and moody transparent Montana sapphire was a perfect fit. Once again the final color in this trio was a tough choice. I finally decided one a strong yellow in 8/o seed beads that contrasts beautifully with the Montana blue, while also linking up with the stripes in the trade beads for a Summer palette.
When in doubt, start with a neutral. For the final palette, I began with bone white seed beads. The very light beige goes really well with the soft blue, and leaves plenty of room for one more pop of color. I chose light olive green - with its earthy appeal, the red, yellow, and orange stripes look less playful and more organic. This trio is perfect for Fall.
Do you like working with multicolored beads? How do you build palettes around them?
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