Don't Be Intimidated by Color: Easy Steps to Harnessing the Power of Color

From Jennifer: Margie Deeb is an internationally known author and bead artist. She has written two books about color specifically geared for bead artists, and is a popular instructor at Bead Fest. If you've ever felt intimidated by using color theory in your beadwork, check out Margie's thoughts and easy suggestions for getting the most out of your innate sense of color.

We are all capable of creating beautiful color harmonies with a little knowledge, a little confidence, and a lot of play.

Color and design are two of my most burning passions. I've published four books, two of which were about color for bead artists: The Beader's Guide to Color, and the award- winning The Beader's Color Palette. The ultimate goal of both books is to inspire bead artists to find their unique color voice and confidently express themselves through color.

In my journey I've learned that many people are afraid of color. Color is the strongest determinant of a first impression: when someone sees your beadwork, they'll accept or reject it in less than one minute. The colors you use account for 60% of that decision.

Given this, being intimidated by color is an understandable predicament.

A palette from the seashore designed by Margie Deeb, as seen in The Beader's Color Palette.

The biggest obstacle to tapping color's power is fear: fear of not knowing how to use color consciously and fear produced by too many choices.

You can let go of the fears now! Here's a secret: You already know how to use color in a uniquely expressive way…. you just are not conscious of it. I know that's hard to believe. But open your mind to it. Every participant I've ever had in class – despite trying to convince me how "bad" they are with color – has proved this to me. After gaining a basic understanding and being given permission to play, even the most color-timid people create stunning color combinations… right before my eyes. These people inspire me the most.

To begin tapping this innate power take small steps, like you do when getting in shape, or navigating your way around a new app. Try this approach:

Great color is easier than you think. Bright, saturated colors in every hue form the essence of the color scheme of "That Silver Ribbon of Road".

1. Learn the basic properties of color: hue, value, intensity, temperature (don't let the words intimidate you, this is easy stuff!). My Margie's Muse archives are a great place to start learning: over 84 articles with illustrations, diagrams, and photos explaining concepts of color and design…free!

2. Cultivate an understanding of the color wheel and its geometric relationships. (You might want to check out my Instant Colorwheel Guide, an invaluable reference guide to getting the most out of your color wheel.)

3. Develop intimacy with hues: their physical, physiological, emotional and cultural impact. Start being conscious of why certain shades of purple make you swoon, and others bore you.

4. Most importantly: PLAY! You create your most delightful harmonies when your heart and mind are open to color's magic. Play with it and let it play with you.

Two vivid tones combined with gold and black make a spectacular combination.

On a solid foundation you'll start tapping that innate power and voice within you. Together, you and color will create beauty you never knew you were capable of.

Beverly Ash GIlbert, (author of Beaded Colorways) and I have partnered to create a twice-a-year color journal and website that will offer all kinds of color info, including your questions answered, for free. To subscribe to the journal, "Ask the Color Queens," email me at with the word "subscribe" in the subject line.

You can read more about Margie, her work, listen to her podcasts and purchase her digital publications about using color in your beadwork on her website,



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