Introduction to the Colour Wheel

What is a colour wheel? It is a circle-shaped disc that is divided into 12 sections which displays colour according to their pigments.

Colours are made up of red, yellow, and blue. These colours are known as primary colours because they cannot be created by mixing any other colour. The remainder of the colours on the colour wheel are called secondary because red, yellow and blue are mixed to create these colours.

There are many shades of each colour as you can see above.

Let’s take a closer look at the colour wheel.


Monochrome colour is made up many shades of one colour.  One example is the green above.  It starts with a cool shade of kaki green and graduates to a very deep kaki.  When cardmakers and scrapbookers use monochrome colour, white/cream or black is often added.

Associated Colours or Analogous

Associated Colour consists of colours that are side-by-side on the colour wheel.  Associated with the kaki green are gold and blue-green.  Normally one chooses a colour as the dominant colour and then uses the associated colour as an accent.


Opposites attract.  No, they really do.  Take a look at the colour wheel above, and look at the opposing colours.  Notice how kaki goes  well with the pink-red.  This is a bold use of colour, and is my favourite to use.

Split Complementary

Just as the name says, split complementary is the use of opposites and the addition of a third colour.  The third colour is to the left, or to the right, of the main colour.  For example, red-pink and kaki are the chosen main colours, and gold or blue-green would be the third colour if I left the wheel as it is seen in this photo.

Turning the wheel around, pink-red and kaki are the main colours, but this time orange and violet are the chosen colours to use as a split complementary.


Triadic sounds like triangle, right?  Looking at the colour wheel above, can you pick out the triangular colours to use?  The answer is:  kaki, orange and violet.  Isn’t this easy?

I’m absolutely in love with this colour wheel that I found on Letter Seals.Com

This colour wheel is non traditional, and perfect for cardmakers and scrapbookers.  Why?  Because it shows a wide variety of colour combinations.  This colour wheel is yummy.

Let’s look closely at the colour wheel again.  Notice that each colour is broken up into five colour segments.  Each colour wheel can be broken up into as many colour segments as the producer of the wheel chooses.  In this case my wheel is produced by Bazzil paper company, so my wheel matches with the colours at the time the wheel was printed.  One does not have to purchase Bazzil paper.  Case in hand, I use Stampin’ Up paper yet I can follow along on this colour wheel.

Getting back to the segments of colour, let’s look at the lightest shade on the wheel.  If I choose the lightest blue, the best colour choice to compliment my light blue would be the lightest shade of green, violet or gold.  In another example, if I choose the third from the top blue, the complementary colour choice would be the third from the top of the green, violet and gold.  Are you catching on?  I knew you would.

Isn’t colour grand?!

Did you read my other posts?

Work Wonders with the Colour Wheel

Colour Wheel

For a list of more tips and tricks, please see my page above

Weekly tutorials can be found on two pages listed at the top of my blog


Posted on : Jun 21 2010
Posted under Uncategorized |

11 People have left comments on this post

Jun 21, 2010 - 02:06:23
leslie said:

I love this! I checked their site, but I can’t find the color wheel. Help?

Jun 21, 2010 - 10:06:13
Rob said:

Hi Beth,

Thanks, this is great information, I will post a message on my blog later when I get the chance.

Jun 22, 2010 - 01:06:55
Elizabeth said:

The link for that colour wheel is or even this –\images/ink/ColorBoxWheel.jpg

Whzt I find interesting about that particular wheel is the location of the different blacks and whites – that really does clear up some of my bewilderment and confusion over the different blacks out there and how to use them.

Thanks Beth, this is stuff I should know but forget about. You put it very clearly.

Jun 22, 2010 - 03:06:16
Maryann said:

Hi Beth, Thank you so much for this tutorial. I´s just what I have been looking for, for quite a while.
Can´t you please tell me, where I can find and buy a wheel, like the first one, you have shown? It will just be perfect for me to use, as it´s a real easy way to teach the girls about this too, and this seems sooo easy to use, that even the smaller girls can find out.
Be very sure, I´ll post this on my blog already today, as I have a lot of friends inthere, who´s just starting to learn about stamping too,and I have already used more of your lessons to help them on too and given them the link to all your lessons, as they have´been such a great help for me too. So thanks sooo much once again for the huge work, you do to help all of us. I just love your site.
But if you could tell me, where I can buy some of these wheels, I would be really grateful.
It´s sooo great to have you back in full speed here again dear,. have a great day and take care okay? Don´t overdo anything,
Biig hugs Maryann

Jun 22, 2010 - 05:06:31
Maryann said:

Hi again Beth, I have made a blogentry about this, and I´ve attached my colorbox to it there too so all my great friends can see and follow your lesson too.
Here´s the link for my entry:
Can I ask you, where you´ve got the colorwheel, you have shown here? Can I buy it somewhere, or have you got it from the compagny or how? I would love it, if I could buy some of them, so the girls could have one too, as it would be a valuable help to learn them about these things too.
have a great day hun.
Biiig hugs Maryann

Jun 22, 2010 - 12:06:42
Gillian said:

Thank you so much for a great tutorial, so very helpful. I knew I was getting your emails for a reason.
Have a great day and take care of yourself. Love your blog.

Jun 22, 2010 - 09:06:05
Bunga said:

Hi Beth,
Thanks for Maryann who share this link to us and also thanks for this tutorial dear, it’s so useful n help me alot, hope I can learn much more from you ahead.

Jan 24, 2013 - 09:01:50
Edith said:

like it

Sep 18, 2016 - 10:09:40
Maggie said:

Hi Beth,

I was unable to find a way to email you privately. The word is complementary.

Warm regards,


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