Some Polymer Clay How To Tips For Creating Beautiful Jewelry Colors

Polymer Clay Summer Color Palette

Is Fimo Color Mixing A Challenge For You? Here’s 4 Creative Ideas To Ponder:

A very common challenge for many people working with polymer clay, is how to create colors that go well with each other. In other words how to create a color palette.

I know this can be a very tricky thing to do but I will share with you some easy tricks that can make this a little easier.

1) Use a photograph for inspiration: I have done that for you in a couple posts, like the Spring Color Palette and the Summer Color Palette. At those links you will see how I used the colors in the photographs as a basis for putting together my palettes. Because each color in a photograph has been taken in the same light and put through the same lenses, the colors will naturally go together. I will be creating lots of palettes this way as well as the recipes that go with them, which will help considerably with the learning process. Once you get good at mixing colors you will be able to look at your own photos to create palettes.

2) Use fabric for inspiration: Copying the color combinations you find in a pretty blouse or a sofa is a great way to choose colors that go well together. If you choose outfits from the current year, you also know they are in fashion. Though vintage or retro color combinations are very in as well. So go with your gut on that.

3) Use paint chip combinations: When a paint company puts together a set of colors that will look good in your home, chances are they will look good in a necklace too.

4) Add the same color to every color you have: For example, to get a dusty old vintage look to your palette, add a little black to each of your colors. Now your Dusty Red, will go with your Dusty Yellow, Dusty Purple and Dusty Orange. The same idea goes for adding white, or gold, or brown, or green, etc. Just a pinch of the added color will tie the whole palette together.

There are so many things you can do to create color palettes with polymer clay. I find them very fun and instinctive to create. My background in art certainly helps a lot. I know for a lot of you it isn’t as easy as that. But don’t despair. With these tips and the fimo-primo-sculpey color recipe cards I’ll be sharing with you over the coming months, you will learn how to come up with your own little tricks for mixing color too!

If understanding color comes naturally for you, care to share any of your insights? Do you like to mix as you go or do you like to create a palette and work with that exclusively? Please share in the comments below!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Silverleaf, 28 October, 2008

    I’m pretty good with colours. I tend to mix up one colour with only a vague idea of what I want to end up with, then I purposely mix colours which will go with it. Mostly I find it easy to get the colours I want, without thinking too much.

    If I’m struggling, I do it this way. I start with the base colour, and think about what I need to add to get it closer to the target colour. Does it need to be darker, or more red, or whatever. Then I take a tiny piece of the base clay and add a little red, or black, or whatever I think it needs, and mix.

    Then I compare this new small piece to the target, and see if I’m closer. If not, then I’ve only wasted a tiny bit of clay, and I try a different addition in the same way.

    If I was right, I go ahead and mix more of the addition into the base colour, a little at a time if necessary.

    Then I start the whole process again, assessing what the new base colour needs, doing a little trial mix, adding a colour to the base.

    After a while you’ll get the exact shade you want.

    My big problem with colours is that once I’ve decided which colours I want to use in my beads (colours I know will work together), the beads don’t always turn out the way I want. Two colours can look great together, but if you marble them they look awful, for example.

    I’m just not very good at finding the right way to combine colours just yet!

    Apologies if this doesn’t make sense, it’s 4am and I really should go to bed!


  2. Cindy Lietz, 29 October, 2008

    Thank you Anna for your fantastic tips! I like how you use tiny amounts to try and get to the color your looking for. That is how I do it too… keeps from having too much sent to the scrap pile. Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate it as I am sure everyone else does too!

  3. Maria, 10 November, 2008

    I only have Sculpey 3 and Premo! clay so I get disappointed when the recipes are for Fimo. Does this mean I should buy Fimo (more $$$) to get the colors I want?

    What is your opinion on “strengthening” colors by using Sculpey 3 mixed w/ Premo transluscent? – would this work for caning? Thanks :)

  4. Cindy Lietz, 10 November, 2008

    In regards to the recipes that are for Fimo, some people prefer Fimo and I don’t want to leave them out. What you can do is either wait for the sale at Michaels when all the brands are the same price or try to find an similar color in Premo or Sculpey III and substitute them. You can write down your new recipe in the notes part of the recipe card and make a separate color chip to add there too. In order to get the exact color I made in the recipe however, you will need to use Fimo, since each brand’s colors are different.

    As far as strengthening the Sculpey III with Premo that works very well. If you add translucent, the color will be the same but it will become translucent, so make sure that is what you want.

    Also make sure to firm up your new blend if you find it is too soft, especially for caning. Since you have purchased the beginner’s bead making course, you will find a video in there that will show you how to leach the plasticizers out of the clay with a pasta machine, so view that.

  5. Beadspiration, 30 August, 2009


    Color mixing seemed so easy until I tried it the first time. Everything ended up a murky brown or gray. :D The idea of observing nature’s pallette was one of those AHA! moments for me. As a nature photographer, I am constantly noticing tiny details I didn’t see before:colors, textures, shadows, light.

    It makes perfect sense to apply that to polymer clay work.
    I can’t wait to experiment this week!

    With thanks from a grateful new MEMBER! No more lurking…


  6. Cindy Lietz, 05 September, 2009

    It is wonderful to have you here Bonnie! Color is an interesting thing isn’t it! With practice your eye for photography will really help with your color mixing. Keep mixing up the recipes and you will eventually understand how the colors effect each other. Thanks so much for your comment!

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