Color Theory: Using Split-Complementary Colors

The first time we talked color on the blog, back in January, we reviewed complementary color schemes and how to use them. We defined complementary colors as two colors opposite the color wheel, such as Cranberry and Willow (red and green), and Goldrush and Pacifica (orange and blue).

Complementary Colors #ctmh #closetomyheart #complementary #color #colour #theory #scheme #diy #card #scrapbooking #colorfamily #colourfamily #family

Today we want to expand on this scheme. Split complementary colors are pretty much what the name implies. You take two colors opposite each other on the color wheel, like red and green, and split one of them into its two adjacent colors on the wheel.

Color Theory: Split Complementary #ctmh #closetomyheart #color #theory #split #complementary #scheme #design #colorwheel #exclusive #palette #diy #easy #doityourself #combination #coordination #coordinate

Take for example red-orange and blue-green. They are opposite each other on the color wheel and therefore complementary. To add a third color using the split complementary scheme, split red-orange into two and use red and orange with the blue-green instead.

How does that translate into our exclusive colors? Take a look:

Color Theory: Split Complementary #ctmh #closetomyheart #color #theory #split #complementary #scheme #design #colorwheel #exclusive #palette #diy #easy #doityourself #combination #coordination #coordinate

This card was made using Pomegranate (red), Goldrush (orange), and Lagoon (blue-green) patterned papers and cardstock.

As you know, our exclusive color palette is made up of more hues than the 12 basic colors you see in a color wheel. You can easily add a fourth (maybe dare a fifth and sixth!) color and still be in a split complementary scheme. If you look back at the card, we also incorporated Glacier cardstock, which works well since it also fits into the blue-green family.

Color Theory: Split Complementary #ctmh #closetomyheart #color #theory #split #complementary #scheme #design #colorwheel #exclusive #palette #diy #easy #doityourself #combination #coordination #coordinate

In the page above, we used Canary (yellow). Since Canary fits into the yellow category, its complementary color would be violet. Instead of going with the complementary color, we split the complementary and went with hues that fell to either side: Pansy (blue-violet), and Bashful and Pixie (both in the red-violet). Adding different hues in the same color is an easy way to enhance an already winning color combination. Our two-toned cardstock, makes it especially easy to get more variety of the same color when you use both sides.

In case you’re wondering how to classify our exclusive colors in the range of blue-green or red-violet, use this color wheel to simplify your color selection process:

Color Theory: Split Complementary #ctmh #closetomyheart #color #theory #split #complementary #scheme #design #colorwheel #exclusive #palette #diy #easy #doityourself #combination #coordination #coordinate

Download color wheel here.

Are you enjoying learning about color? Let us know what you think and what you want to know in the comments below!


4¼” x 5½” You Make My Heart Happy Card (Horizontal)
Make It from Your Heart Vol. 1: Pattern 22
A1192 My Acrylix® Happy Heart Stamp Set, Z3351 Adventure Fundamental Paper Packet, Z3352 Enchantment Fundamental Paper Packet, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, X5978 Glacier Cardstock, Z2826 Heather Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2854 Pomegranate Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z3189 White & Gold Ribbon, Z2060 Thin 3-D Foam Tape, Sewing Machine

12″ x 12″ Shine Page
Make It from Your Heart Vol. 1: Pattern 18
D1757 My Acrylix® Stargazer—Scrapbooking Stamp Set, X7230B Chelsea Gardens Paper Packet, Z3350 Whimsy Fundamental Paper Packet, X7227B Make Waves Paper Packet, X7229B Stargazer Paper Packet, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, X5984 Pixie Cardstock, Z2844 Pixie Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z2843 Canary Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, X7227C Make Waves Complements, X7229C Stargazer Complements, Z4142 Make Waves Sequins & Gems, Z1297 Edge Distresser, Z4575 Black LePen™, Sewing Machine

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13 thoughts on “Color Theory: Using Split-Complementary Colors

  1. I am loving the color discussion on the blog! It’s awesome information, and the take away tools are included… It just helps us lift our own artwork and benefits customers, consultants and corporate when we can be present with great artwork in our own designs! Thank you so much!!!

  2. Please make these colour wheels available to purchase as I, for one, don’t have a good colour printer. I will need to re-read this fabulous article a few times to fully grasp this. Colour matching is a very weak spot of mine. Please make the wheels available for purchase – I am sure I am not the only Consultant (or customer) who struggles. But thank you for providing this advice and wheels.

  3. I greatly appreciate these color lessons. I miss going to Convention and learning these things. CTMH is the best.

  4. We all have bad photos that we can’t discard because the importance of what is IN the photos.
    For me, it is a whole scrapbook full of ones with artificial light.
    This series came along just as I was wondering if use of the color wheel could tone down these Goldrush tinted photos.
    I think the beautiful colors in our product pallette is one of the reasons I love being a CTMH consultant- my favorite color is the rainbow!

  5. I love your color wheel. Never thought about how much it is used for scrapbooking. I use it on a daily bases with my painting and teaching. I would love to use and share your wheel on my biz page, with full credit linking back to here.
    Thank you Renee

  6. Wonderful! I always wondered where exactly or inks for on the colour wheel, now I know and that makes me happy

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