How to Choose Floss Colors

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Today I'm talking about choosing floss colors as a part of Friendship Bracelet Week, hosted by Amanda and Jenn!

This was originally published as a guest tutorial on The Modern Marigold.


Personally, my favorite part about making Friendship Bracelets is choosing the colors! There are so many different colors of embroidery floss, it's like candy for crafters! I know however, that it can be overwhelming, especially since you're usually only choosing 4 or 5 colors! How do you narrow it down? I'm going to walk you through how I choose three different types of color palettes. I hope it makes it easier for you to put together your own color combinations!

1. Inspiration Fabric or Photo

This is my go-to method for choosing a color scheme. Find a fabric, photo, item of clothing, or any other object that has an appealing color scheme to you. If you can, take it along with you when you shop for floss and match colors to your item. Easy! For my scheme, I choose this plum Heather Ross Mendocino print. I choose colors from the background, the mermaid's hair, her tail, and the octopus. I ended up choosing the following DMC floss colors: very dark grape (154), dark mauve (3803), very dark cranberry (600), and dark straw (3820).

2. Monochromatic

Especially if you're doing a funky patterned bracelet, a monochromatic color scheme can create some cool effects! So, choose a color that you like, then choose the same color in different values (light--dark). And don't forget about neutrals! For my monochromatic scheme I went with gray. From light to dark I choose the following DMC floss colors: winter white (3865), ultra very light mocha brown (3866), very light brown gray (3024), light beaver gray (648).

3. Two-toned

If you still find yourself struggling to choose colors, this is a great, easy way to put together a color scheme. In this method, you're letting the floss do the work for you! Choose any two colors that you like. In my case I choose tangerine (740), and dark seagreen (958). Now, for the next two colors, I simply choose a lighter value of my first two colors. So to pair with tangerine, I choose medium tangerine (741). And for dark seagreen, I paired it with light seagreen (964)!


It's a lot easier, and more fun, to shop for floss in person. Most craft stores carry a good selection of floss! Don't be afraid to play around with different color combinations, it may take a few tries before you find something that you like! These are just a few of the many ways to put together color schemes! :)

I would like to point out two great online resources if you're using DMC brand embroidery floss. The first is a Color Descriptions Chart. This lets you look up the floss by # and find the color name. The second is a Color Chart. You can see a preview of each color along with it's color #.

4 comments :

  1. Hi Jeni! I just hopped over to tell you I signed up for the swap and basically gone hog wild over friendship bracelets. I'm in 4 QAL's and a friendship bracelet swap and have a mini vacation coming up to visit my mom next week. A little overload on my commitments, ha! Anyway, I've mastered the chevron and I'm currently working on the basketweave before I get to the complicated diamond patterns. Phew! Thanks for all the inspiration you've provided me whether it was from vintage sheets, awesome quilts or color pairings (I bought one of you embroidery floss pairings!), I appreciate it all!

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  2. Very fun. Brings back childhood memories for sure. No time now, but I'll tuck it away for my mom gave me all her floss.

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  3. Does anyone have a complimentary color chart. I'm looking for specific colors to go with DMC #552 (medium violet) I need a light blue and a medium pink, as im using the purple as the dark color.

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    1. The color descriptions chart (here: http://www.dmc-usa.com/~/media/Media/Conversion%20Charts/Color%20Descriptions.ashx) and the color chart (here: http://yarntree.com/075dmcolors.jpg) are the only two I know of!

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