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Margie DeebThe Art of Color for Bead Artists


Making Your Monochromatic Magnificent
by Margie Deeb

Monochromatic color schemes need never be boring. And if they are, then the person creating them has a lot to learn about color.

Because they feature one color, monochromatic schemes are psychologically powerful, evoking the emotions associated with that color. If blue is your choice, your piece will speak either of peaceful reflection or of melancholy, depending on how you deal with the color properties.

When different intensities, tones, shades, and tints of one color are combined, gorgeous and evocative harmonies emerge. In the medium of beads, monochromatic options expand further to include different textures and finishes of the same color.

How about a New Years’ Resolution to work with monochromatic schemes in a new way?
Here’s how...

1. Know Your Color Properties:

    Value: the lightness or darkness of a color

    Temperature: the warmth or coolness of a color

    Intensity: the relative saturation of a color (is it muted or full-strength vibrant.

2. Know Your Bead Finishes:

    The vast array of bead finishes will add depth and intrigue to your one-color wonders. Matte, transparent, opaque, silky, luster, alabaster, and AB finishes are just a few available to seed bead artists. Lampworkers and fused glass artists have their own finishes to work magic with. Combine at least two different finishes into your work, or as many a you can and still create a cohesive visual unity.

3. Contrast (the verb)

    I teach color and design on a college level, and this is one of the mantras we repeat in unison: “A strong color scheme must have contrast.”

    Contrast! I am using that as a verb right now: CONTRAST the color properties. Contrast the bead finishes!

    If green is the star of your scheme: aim for a variety of greens in different values, temperatures, and intensities. And contrast the bead finishes, combining matte finishes with opaque and transparent surfaces.

    When you consciously contrast all the members of your one-hued palette, you will conjure up magnificent monochromatism. Good luck, and I’d love to see your finished pieces!


Each of Linda Breyer’s meticulous pinecone beads is a monochromatic scheme. The colors radiate light to dark from the inside to the outside of each scale. She consciously used contrast to great effect, varying the value, intensity, and temperature of the hue of each color scheme.


If you are interested in having your local bead store or bead society sponsor my teaching of color or beading classes , please contact me at


About The Author

MargieDeeb_portrait_3Artist, designer, musician, and color expert Margie Deeb is the author of several beading books, including the popular The Beader’s Guide to Color and The Beader’s Color Palette.

She teaches color courses for artists, interior designers, and beaders and her free monthly color column, “Margie’s Muse,” is available on her website. She produces a free graphically enhanced podcast, “Margie Deeb’s Color Celebration,” available on iTunes.

Her articles have appeared in Bead & Button and Beadwork magazines and BeadBugle.Com, and she writes a regular color column in Step-by-Step Beads. She has appeared on the PBS show “Beads, Baubles, and Jewels” speaking about color. Visit Margie’s website for her books, patterns, jewelry, inspiration, and more:

To visit our Color and Style Archives pages to read past articles, click on the
Color and Style Archives Table of Contents

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