This instructable is the first in a series designed to help you confidently choose colors for your projects. Whether you're looking to match fabrics for a quilt, design accessories, work in tile, or any other craft that requires you to pick your own colors.
Working in a fabric store and helping people choose fabric on a regular basis I'm always surprised how often I hear that people think that the fabrics they pick out won't look as good as a pre-chosen kit, or that they're scared to do it themselves. This id designed to make you more confident, so you can make beautiful things!
You can find links to other tutorials I've written on my blog at http://antelucandaisy.blogspot.com
Step 1: Inspiration Is Closer Than You Might Think!
As the title says, inspiration for color choices is closer than you might think. In this first section of Colo Picking 101, we're going to head to the local do it yourself store for colors.
You're probably going to want to look for a larger chain type store for a few reasons (I like to hit up Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowes). The first main reason is you're not actually going to buy paint. The second reason is not only are you not going to buy paint, but you're going to take color cards and you want a wide selection.
The first photo attached is probably what you're NOT looking for which is a pure color gradient. Unfortunately, there's not much difference in trying to choose from this selection than there is in walking into your local fabric store and choosing blindly from a color wall.
The second photo is the type of paint display you're looking for (this one is from my local WaltMart). Notice that there are lots of pre-coordinated room painting suggestions!
Step 2: Why Reinvent the Wheel?
So as you've probably guessed, we're going to use pre-coordinated paint chips to help guide our choice to coordinate colors for our projects.
This is part of my collection of paint chips and brochures from various stores, and various seasons. There are palettes to fit every style, pictured below are Disney, Major League Sports, Ralph Lauren, Martha Stewart, and several house brands of paint. I do try to pick up new cards about once a year, as colors and trends do change, though I do keep the old ones. This is also useful if you're crafting for a gift, and the recipient's style is completely different from your own.
Step 3: Stepping Out
So for an example we're going to choose two very different color styles and match fabric from the local shop to the chips. I chose the Magenta/Red/Burgundy Shaded grouping from Valspar and the Disney Tinkerbell by Behr as case studies.
Step 4: Digging Deeper
The cards both have complete collections of colors inside the brochures, and the work of picking complementary and contrasting colors has all been done for you.
Step 5: More Options
I also personally like to pick up the actual color chips in addition to the coordinated brochure (this is a big perk to chain stores as opposed to little stores, no one bothers you when you walk out with a huge bag of paint chips).
Notice the Valspar chips have neat little windows on them to match things with, and the Behr/Disney chips are dual colored.
Step 6: Picking Fabrics
As this is an example, and I work in a fabric store, I'm using fabric as an example but you could very easily be choosing scrap booking papers, quilting fabrics, embroidery floss or threads, or tile for a mosaic.
As I find a fabric that matches the paint chip (also another reason to pick up individual chips) I pull the bolt (or a fat quarter depending on what I'm looking for). I choose which ever piece of fabric most closely matches the chip I have in my hand. This is the easy part- Everyone can match!
Step 7: Ready to Move On!
You now have completed your color selections for your project and it was as easy as pie! You at this point could use all the colors, or select a few that you like, to create something with.
The fabric for the Tinkerbell colors were scattered through our color wall, but the fabrics from the Valspar colors are from Wyndham's Civil War III Reproductions and RJR's Thimbleberries. (see "Color Picking 102: Letting the Store do the Work for You" for more on fabric lines)