Colour affects every aspect of rubber stamping, from the choice of the shade of ink, through to the colour of the background. Good use of colour will help you turn a simple stamped image into something very special. Even the most basic project can be transformed by using a good colour scheme.

Understanding Colour

Understanding how to create great colour 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. Colour helps identify the theme of a project and there are some traditional colour 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 colour with different techniques.

Colour Theories

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

There are a few basic theories that are useful to know when working with colour. These are based around the colour wheel.

The colour wheel demonstrates how colours are formed from the three primary colours which are red, yellow and blue. Familiarity with the colour wheel will help you to understand the colour spectrum and plan effective colour schemes. There are a number of ways to use the colour wheel and apply these theories:

Cool and Warm Colours

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

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

Complementary Colours

Complementary colours are colours that appear on the opposite side of the colour wheel to each other. These colours are very different to each other, but work well together. These colours 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 colour wheel and these striking colours are a popular choice for many different Christmas projects.

Monochromatic Colours

Monochromatic colours are tonal variations of a single colour on the colour wheel. The varying shades of a single colour can give a subtle yet highly effective colour scheme. A simple way to achieve a monochromatic colour scheme is to use a transparent ink on coloured 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 Colours

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

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

Tips for Working With Colour

  • Keep a file with clippings from magazines and colour swatches of your favourite colour schemes
  • Experiment with a range of inks on different coloured backgrounds and see what works well
  • Make a note of people’s favourite colour; this is useful when planning a special project

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