Scrapbook Layout Design: Scrapbook Color Wheel



When planning your scrapbook layout, choosing your paper, or matching your embellishments COLOR deserves special consideration during scrapbook layout design.

Considering color scheme and using a scrapbook color wheel can make the difference between a good design and one that truly attracts attention. Fortunately, choosing a color scheme is not as difficult as it sounds. In fact, the art world has already created a tool to help you do just that:

The Color Wheel


EK Success Color Selector Wheel - $ 4.98

Traditionally colors are represented on a wheel of 12 colors: three primary colors, three secondary colors (created by mixing primary colors), and six tertiary colors (created by mixing the primary and secondary colors). Artists use a traditional color wheel based on the RYB model (red/yellow/blue) with secondary colors of orange, green, and purple.

There are many details that go into the scrapbook color wheel that are not necessary for your scrapbooking. I won't bore you with all the graphic design details, but if you want more information about

tints and shades,
primary, secondary, and tertiary colors,
and where neutrals fit in

Check out this Introduction to the Scrapbook Color Wheel


Now to the nuts and bolts of color in your layout...

To use the scrapbook color wheel, you must first pick your base color. The best way to find your base color is to look at the photos you plan to use in your layout. Is there a color that they all have in common? What color can you pull out of your photos that will make a good base color for your page? Picking a color can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. You can pick your favorite color out of your photos, or you can consider the feelings different colors evoke . Once you have your base color chosen, a scrapbook color wheel will help you bring your color scheme together very easily.


Color Harmony

Harmonious colors are colors that work well together and produce a color scheme that looks attractive; the color wheel can be used as a valuable tool for determining harmonious colors.

However, the scrapbook color wheel is simply a tool - ultimately it comes down to what you think looks appealing. Color harmony is a natural phenomenon - like the Golden Ratio and Rule of Thirds . Artists for years have looked to nature to find what is naturally appealing and applied it to their art. Now, you can do the same with your scrapbook layout designs.



Choosing a Color Scheme

Once you have chosen your base color, find it on the scrapbook color wheel. Choosing a color scheme is as simple as finding the complementary, analogous, and triadic colors for that base color. Complementary colors are colors directly across from each other on the wheel.

When choosing your color scheme, look at all the different options and cross reference them with your photos. Remember how we said that color harmony is a naturally occurring phenomenon? Well, chances are you will find some complementary, analogous, and/or triadic colors for your base color in your photos.


Hold on! Analo-what? Tria-who? Let's take a moment to define a common vocabulary ...

Analogous Colors

Any colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. Typically harmonize well, but may not provide much contrast.
  • purple and blue
  • red and purple
  • yellow and green
  • red and orange
  • orange and yellow

scrapbook color wheel

Complementary Colors

Colors that are directly opposite one another on the wheel. Typically produce strong contrast.
  • red and green
  • blue and orange
  • purple and yellow

Split Complementary Colors

Colors on either side of the complementary colors. Provide contrast, but not as strong as complementary colors.
  • red and blue-green or yellow-green
  • blue and red-orange or yellow-orange
  • yellow and red-purple or blue-purple

Triadic Colors

Any 3 colors that create a triangle on the wheel. Provide a balanced color scheme with reasonable contrast.
  • red, yellow and blue
  • purple, orange and green


Because they are colors that naturally look good together and are appealing, they can be found in fashion, home decor, nature, and most likely, in your photos. If you look at all your harmonious color options next to your photos, chances are one color scheme will jump out at you.

For example, consider the number of Halloween supplies that use purple, orange and green (triadic colors) or the classic red and green of Christmas (complementary colors).


Still struggling with matching photos with products and finding color schemes for your layouts? Scrapbook.com just unveiled a FREE, online color matching tool that will change the way you prepare to scrapbook, create your projects, and think about color in scrapbooking.

Scrap by Color helps you find the perfect color schemes and coordinating products for your projects. Upload your photos and we'll suggest matching color schemes and layout ideas.

  • Color-match your photos.
  • Use the color wheel to find beautiful color schemes and matching products.
  • Color-match any product in the superstore.
  • See sample sketches for any color scheme.


Above all, Remember that there is no such thing as a perfect color combination, and there is more than one color combination that will work on any given page. However, using the scrapbook color wheel to choose color combinations will improve the sense of balance to your scrapbook pages.


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