Save Money Buying Supplies–Let the Color Wheel Help You



The Color Wheel

Staring at 25 beautiful colors of ink pads–how do you decide what to get? They all look good! Oh lord, you think, at this rate, I’m either gonna break the bank or never get started.

I say, rely on the color wheel to help you get the most bang for your buck.

What the heck am I talking about? Let me explain.

Yellow, Blue and Red are considered the 3 primary colors, right?

(Unless you use Ewald Hering’s color wheel, which has four: yellow, red, blue and green.  I think this webpage does a great job introducing the basics of the different colors wheels before I get too far off track.)

Now, when you’re painting or dyeing, you can mix your colors from the 3 primaries plus black and white and save yourself a lot of money. Well, even though you’re not “mixing” colors in the same way when you stamp with inkpads, using the color wheel as your guide still works for buying great inkpad colors that you’ll use time and again in your stamping projects.

When you look online or go to the craft store, it can be difficult to figure out what to choose or to overspend and buy colors you just don’t use very often. What you want is a good range of go-to colors that you are drawn to again and again–a versatile selection that is still affordable. (Of course, buying all the colors is very versatile, but generally not affordable.)

So we all have our favorite colors. But the key word here is versatility. Sometimes just buying our favorites doesn’t give us enough versatility in creating things and we don’t find out until it’s 10pm and we’re waist deep in a project. Ugh.

What you really want to do is buy your favorites from each section of the color wheel.

Let me say that again: What you really want to do is buy your favorites from each section of the color wheel.

For instance, in the deluxe set that we offer here, the Topaz is my “Yellow”, the Turquoise is my “Blue” and the Raspberry is my “Red”.  I gravitate toward the pink-y end of red (most of the time), the orangey side of yellow, and the green-y side of blue. That is my palette.

Maybe you like aqua, bisque and coral. Or maybe cobalt, fire-engine red and lemon. Just pick your favorite color in each of the three “sections” of the color wheel. (It’s true that some secondary and tertiary colors are really starting to straddle two primary “sections”, but if you’re really not sure where a color lives, bring a color wheel with you to the store.)

Using this technique, we create a small versatile palette that speaks to us and still covers each main area of the color wheel.  And once you add Black, then you have a nice dark that functions easily as the focal point–stamp your image in black and add the other colors around it. Perfect. (You should try using this technique whenever your buying color–paint, beads, dye, etc.)

When I do overlap my stamp colors on a project, my turquoise and raspberry make a nice purple, my topaz and my turq make a nice green, etc. And if you don’t really “mix” them or overlap them by rubbing colors on top of each other on the page, they still look great next to each other–in either twos or threes. I love using just the raspberry and topaz on a project, for instance.

Have a few more dollars now and want to get one more? Buy a green! (See the color wheel link at the top of this post.) And then one more? Okay, one purple–but that’s it!! Any more than that and you’re just getting sucked into the marketing machine that’s endlessly trying to get you to part with your money. You’ve got other supplies to buy!

Speaking of buying supplies–want to skip the searching and just get one of our stamping and embossing kits using supplies that I rely on every time I stamp and emboss? That would be great! Click here to learn more.


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  1. Laura says:

    This is really helpful, and easy to remember. I will definitely keep it in mind the next time I am buying supplies.

  2. T.D. says:

    I do crafting in spurts and tend to over buy each time I feel the ‘whim’ to be creative. This is a great suggestion for keeping my shopping under control and on budget! Do you have any ideas on where I can find an inexpensive color wheel so I will have one to take with me as you suggest?

  3. Sarah says:

    Great question! I don’t know one off-hand, but I will check around and let you know here in the comments section!

  4. [...] Another great angle for more general bead buying (versus the one-pair-of-earrings approach)  is to choose beads that represent each area of the color wheel. I talk about how to do that in more detail here: Save Money Buying Supplies–Let the Color Wheel Help You. [...]

  5. lisedaddy says:

    great info, sarah. planning a trip to jewelry district and was feeling a little anxious about it for fear of overspending. thanx for your tips

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