What Are Your Favorite Colors for Beading Projects?

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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