How to mix color theory concepts to create your color palettes

Jan 28, 2024

If you’ve been following this series on how to combine colors for wet felting, you know about

Complementary, triadic, and analogous colors are now clear to you.

You also understand how to create a monochromatic palette, and you’re aware of the warm and cool sides of the color wheel.

And you know what neutral colors are and how you can use them to reduce overwhelm in a color palette and create harmony.

With all these tools in your color toolbox, you’re now ready to start mixing your wet felting color palettes.

If you have a deeper knowledge of color theory, you may think “Wait, Vanda, why haven’t you talked about which colors to mix to create brown or what are hues and value in color?”

My answer to that is I never intended this series to be about going deep into color theory. There are thousands of sites online doing exactly that. I wanted to prevent the overwhelm that color theory means for those of us who haven’t studied arts. Besides, as felt makers, we don’t really need to know how to mix brown. That’s for painters.

So, the way I selected the content for this series was by asking myself “will this help felt makers decide how to choose colors for their next wet felting project?”

Having said that, let’s look at concrete examples, so that I can show you how I go about working with the concepts we’ve talked about until now. And how you can too.



Let’s say I’d like to felt a project with yellow-orange as my base color. I know I can combine it with blue-purple, for example, because it’s the COMPLEMENTARY of yellow-orange. I also know that purple and blue are ANALOGOUS colors of blue-purple.

So, it’ll also work if I combine these 3 ANALOGOUS colors with yellow-orange. The same is true if I combine blue-purple with the ANALOGOUS of yellow-orange.

And, with that, I’ve just mixed the concepts of COMPLEMENTARY with ANALOGOUS to create two different options.



Now, let’s see how we can expand on the concept of ANALOGOUS colors. I’m going to pick 5 consecutive colors from the color wheel.

But I find this palette too intense. So, I decide to remove 2 colors and soften the palette with a neutral.

And here’s a similar palette applied to a real example.



Let’s have a look at TRIADIC colors and how we can play with them.

Again, I can decide to remove one of the colors because I feel like the combination is too intense. And I can add new colors that create a MONOCHROMATIC combination with one of them (with purple in this case).

Again, here’s a similar palette applied to a real example.



Now, picking up the same TRIADIC colors, let’s remove the green.

And see what the MONOCHROMATIC schemes for orange and purple would look like.

And here’s this color palette applied to a real example.



Let’s go back to the COMPLEMENTARY colors and stretch this concept a bit further. Let’s play with orange and blue again.

Now, let’s see what the MONOCHROMATIC palettes for orange and blue would look like. In this case, I added black to the orange, and I added white to the blue.

So, here’s a way to create a palette, using the MONOCHROMATIC schemes of orange and blue, without exactly using orange in the palette.

This may not look very obvious, but here brown derives from orange (by mixing black). So, here we have a palette that has a COMPLEMENTARY, as well as a MONOCHROMATIC side to it.


And I think this is the right moment to answer a question I got about color:

“When adding a neutral to colors, does the choice of a warm or cool neutral depend on the other colors being warm/cool?”

Choosing a warm or cool neutral depends less on the other colors being warm or cool. It will depend more on what you want to do with your palette. You may add a warm neutral to a cool palette to give it warmth, for example. This is exactly what I’ve done with the orange/blue combination above.


To sum it up, as I see it, it’s in extending the concepts of COMPLEMENTARY, ANALOGOUS, and TRIADIC colors, as well as in mixing these with MONOCHROMATIC schemes and NEUTRALS, that you can obtain rich color palettes for your felting projects.

And you don’t have to use everything at the same time. A little bit goes a long way. In your next pieces, try testing just one of the aspects we’ve talked about. And go on experimenting. You’ll be surprised how much it’ll become intuitive and automatic after a while.

And remember that these ideas should only be seen as tools to help you. Ultimately, if it feels right to you, it IS right.


Before I go, I have something to ask you. The next time you share images of a project, for which your color choice was influenced by what you’ve learnt here, would you tag me? It would mean the world to me to know that I was able to help you with this!


P.S.: If you REALLY want to understand other concepts of color theory like HUE, TINT, TONE, SHADE and VALUE, here’s a link to a site where I find this is very well explained. Scroll down to about the middle of the page to find a simple explanation.

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