Hey Everyone, welcome back to Colourful Friday.  Last week I introduced you to the Colour Wheel and the Color Star.  Each of these tools can help create different colour schemes.  This week I am going to talk about complementary colours and how to use these two tools to create different complementary colour combinations.

A complementary colour scheme consists of two colours and only 2 colours.  These colours sit directly opposite each other on the colour wheel or star.  They can be the true colour or any value of the true colour whether it be lighter or darker.

The Colour Wheel

The colour wheel has a wheel in the middle of it with all kinds of shapes and lines on it to help recognize different schemes.  The complementary scheme is depicted by the black bold straight line down the centre of the wheel with an arrow on each end.  This line lines up with colours directly across from each other which create complementary colour schemes.

The straight line across points to opposite colours on the wheel.

The straight line across points to opposite colours on the wheel.

The Color Star

The colour star uses pre-cut dies to show the different schemes.  To create a complementary scheme with the star the die with only two shapes cut out is the one to use.  Placing it on the centre of the star the two cut outs will show different colours – these two colours are directly opposite each other and are each other’s complement.

The two cut outs show opposite colours on the star.

The two cut outs show opposite colours on the star.

Complementary Colour Schemes in Quilt Design

The most common complementary colour scheme is red and green.




Red and Green



What other complementary colour schemes can you think of?  Take a look at the wheel below and see which colours are opposite each other.



colour wheel



Most people will come up with yellow and blue but in truth it is actually yellow and purple that are exactly opposite each other on the wheel and complement each other. Yellow and blue still look great together as they are primary colours but they are not a complementary colour scheme.




Purple and Yellow



The wheel which is made up of 12 colours then has 6 complementary colour schemes in total.  The other colour schemes include:




Blue and Orange






Yellow-Green and Red-Violet






Yellow-Orange and Blue-Violet






Red-Orange and Blue-Green (Turquoise)



Do you have a favourite complementary colour scheme?  One of my favourites is red/orange and turquoise – absolutely stunning together as evidenced in the photo of Colour Connections at the top of the page.

That’s a bit about complimentary colours.  Now that you know what colour combos to look for you will see complementary colour schemes everywhere.

Happy Quilting!

Jen Transparent Signature