Monday, July 14, 2014

Bead Color Ideas: Aqua Picasso

Subtle bead colors can often be the most difficult to find palettes for, as they can look washed out and forgotten next to more exciting colors. The trick is to find contrasts and complements that enhance the existing colors to make them stand out, blend in, or shine in just the right way.

I recently added some pretty Czech glass coins to my stash of accent beads. The translucent, pale sea foam shade is delicate and airy, requiring just the right colors to make the coins ideal focals in beadwork. The Picasso finish helps a little allowing for a little more play with a two-tone finish.

Surf Bead Color Idea

First I started with seed beads in the same colors as the coins, but with very different shades. Transparent dark amethyst plays up the Picasso finish, making it much more obvious and adding to its beauty. Meanwhile, cobalt complements the pale blue, and washes out some of the green tinge. Although the blue is so much stronger than in the coins, the colors work well together with the rich brown backing them up. Surf would look great in a multi-strand piece, or a design where the coins stand out dramatically from the beadwork.

Sprout Bead Color Idea

Next I wanted to experiment with more organic colors, to highlight the greens in the finish. I started with dark pearl cream, bringing to mind harvest vegetables or fields of grain. Next I tried out some opaque apple green, but it looked much too busy next to the sophisticated Picasso finish and the shimmer of the pearl seed beads. Instead I found that transparent rainbow lime adds a lot of personality, without being too bold. Sprout would be really fun with light stitches such as daisy chain, or designs with lots of fringe.

Splash Bead Color Idea

Finally, I wanted to include a neutral. Starting with some turquoise iris, I considered both black and white seed beads to complete the palette, and found white to be a better match for the delicate nature of the coins. Rather than go with a stark opaque, I used a custom mixture that includes opalescent cream and white AB. Not only does the mixture look great with the shimmer of the turquoise beads, but it has a playful look that provides a nice backdrop for the pale Picasso. Splash could work in both cool summer designs, and frosty winter ones.

Do you like to use soft bead colors in your work? What’s your favorite?

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  1. I prefer the bead color ideas for dragonflies the best. The blue and orange are rather bold while the turquoise and white just, well, crystal ab might look better with that one or a pearl. The green and cream or orange look very good. Makes me think of flowers. I really like the focal beads.

  2. I agree with the previous post. That palette stood out for me.

  3. The green is my favorite as well - very fresh and vibrant!


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