What Are Your Favorite Colors for Beading Projects?

Jul 22, 2011

Once upon a time, I was totally baffled by color when it came to selecting beads for my beading projects. I would choose colors for a project based on what I liked from my bead stash - sometimes it would work, and sometimes it would be a total disaster. I never understood what I was doing wrong, or why there were some colors that I just couldn't get to work in my beading projects. Then one winter, I noticed that bead artist and color expert (and member of our Question of the Week panel) Margie Deeb was offering personal color consultations through her website. It was perfect! After going through the exercises and coloring book, I came to understand why I liked and disliked certain colors, and my beading projects took on a whole new life! (But that's a story for another blog.)

Using color in your beading projects is a very important and very personal part of doing beadwork. We all have our reasons for choosing certain colors. Some of us prefer Earth tones, some prefer intense jewel tones, and some feel comfortable working in the clouds with light, pastel colors. There's so much more to choosing colors for your beading projects than we realize - for some people, it can even take on a spiritual nature.

So, for this week's Question of the Week, I asked our panel of bead artists and experts:

What are your favorite colors to work with? What are your least favorite colors to work with?

And here's what they said:

Margie Deeb: So sorry, this question cannot be answered! I love color, and love working with any color... even those I don't prefer, because they have something to teach me about light, reflection, saturation, harmony.

Michelle Mach: As a child, I had a turquoise and silver ring that I adored.  I still love that color combination for beads. Orange is the most challenging bead color for me, but last year I decided it was time to get over my fear of this color.  I forced myself to buy some orange beads to make jewelry.  And guess what?  Those pieces--like my purple, turquoise, and orange glass flower necklace in Stringing--ended up being some of my favorites.  Orange now seems like a happy color, not one to be feared.

Kelli Burns: My favorite color of bead: Chartreuse green silverlined AB seed beads. Chartreuse green makes any additional colors pop and the silverlined AB will pick up surrounding colors. I'm not sure that I have a least favorite color to design with but a monochromatic piece is very difficult for me to achieve - like solid whites, blacks, reds, with any degree of satisfaction.

Jill Wiseman: I'm a sucker for the metallics! Bronze, gold, silver, copper...they all send me to my happy place. I find the metallics are wonderful compliments for the rest of the color wheel. I rarely make a piece without at least one metallic bead in there somewhere. I'm more of a cool colors kind of gal, so my challenging color is orange. Oh, what to do about that orange! I have managed to work it in darker tones, but the bright oranges? I love their look...just usually not in my designs! My hat is tipped to those who do orange justice.

Kerrie Slade: Oh that's a tough question!  I honestly don't think I have a favorite or even a least favorite.  It really depends on the project and whether I am taking my cue from Nature and trying to make a realistic flower, or if I am making a fantasy flower and using the colors that speak to me.  Sometimes I see a particular colour of bead and think 'I must find a way to use that!'.  Truly, it could be anything from metallic moss green to acid yellow - if it's a bead, I will want to possess it!

Shelley Nybakke: My favorite colors of beads as of this moment to work with are gold followed CLOSELY by silver.  Probably a toss up between the two.  I love metal-looking pieces of beadwork but have never had the knack or desire to twist or hammer wire.  So, I have found the next best thing to work with.  A color that I don't think I have ever used is lime green.  Maybe I have just never found the perfect lime green color.  

SaraBeth Cullinan: My all time favorite colors to work with are purples and violets.  You can't go wrong with a color that is universally considered to be both regal and spiritual.  Lavender, lilac, orchid, eggplant, amethyst!  You name, I love it.  Purples and violets paired with greens, and accented with yellows or golds is my all time favorite color combination.   

A least favorite?  Nope, don't have one.  One single color can have so many variations.  Warm, earthy oranges don't excite me, but bright, juicy orange can be fun to work with. 

So let's continue the color conversation here! Leave a comment and tell us what your favorite colors are and why. We can also talk about colors that we don't like - what they are, why we don't like them and if we think we might ever use them again! Stay tuned for some more blogs about how to use color successfully in your beading projects!

Bead Happy,


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mistreasures wrote
on Jul 23, 2011 9:11 AM

My favorite colors change with time but the constant favorites are all shades of green, blue and silver which show in most of my pieces. Brown is my personal least favorite but I use it frequently (and lovingly) for pieces destined to my friends for whom it's their favorite color.

ninacolors wrote
on Jul 23, 2011 11:15 AM

That's really interesting that you find Margie Deeb's books helpful.  I can't make head nor tails of them.  They seem (to me) to be of the sort that if you follow exactly what she does, you'll do OK, but as far as teaching one to go out on their own...nope.

I'm a painter and do wonderfully w color in that area, but of course, beading has all those different finishes.  I just have to try, try, try until I find a combo I like:-)

Chibabies6 wrote
on Jul 26, 2011 6:59 PM

Well there isnt a color that I dont like and dont probably have somewhere in some form.. LOL   But I just adore color.  Sometimes I like a more monochromatic scheme and others its a free for all.  I'd say the green and blues with splashes of pinks are my favorite though.  

Playing with color is one of the best parts of beading and I usually start with color and then go from there.  As a photographer I find that balancing color and texture comes easier for me as I have been evaluating that for years.  :-)

Ricki Ayer wrote
on Jul 27, 2011 12:29 PM

My most favorite colors are any shade of turquoise - usually mixed with either silver, copper or topaz.  I also love cobalt blue.  I am just starting to use more shades of green - I have never been a green person before, but am finding myself drawn to it more recently.  I also use a lot of black - mixed with all kinds of other colors.   Reds and purples are also favorites.  I usually stay away from pink (light) and yellows  - I am not really a pastel person at all.  I do love to mix colors and put together colors that I never would have thought would go together and be pleasantly surprised when they work!  


on Jul 30, 2011 1:35 AM

Red is my own personal favorite color,but when I started out making jewelry I figured I'd need every color. Oh, boy,what craziness that turned into! :) My 1st order was for a pendant with a green bead. Sounds simple enough,right? Well, light green or dark green? Green green or yellow green,etc,etc! I drove myself crazy. Finally I picked out a green that i really loved, used it and the customer loved it too! I've found over time that that is usually the case.

Black and browns are my least favorite colors to work with, and I really love turquoise, although otherwise I'm not a blue person. Whatever the color is, I like intense shades of it.

My next challenge is to find a color theme that is what I'd call ethereal. I think dark blues and purples would do it, or maybe blues and purples. Any advice anyone?

latkins48 wrote
on Aug 1, 2011 7:40 AM

I am new to beading, but have done other crafts for years. I just love finding that special bead or focal piece that just calls out to me, and then figuring out what other colors or shades will work with it. I am just working on a multi-strand necklace that started with a black glass focal with copper foil highlights. Love blues, purples and all shades of pinks..but have been venturing into black/silver/grey combinations as I just designed a set for a friend using those colors.