Two Methods for Making Colour Wheels

Two simple methods of making your own colour wheels come to mind, using a Skinner blend or measuring and mixing.

Using a Skinner blend layout

For speed and simplicity, mix equal amounts of your Red, Yellow and Blue colours. Set up as you would for 3 2-colour skinner blends: RY, RB, BY. Retain a small amount of each R, Y & B to make the pure colour samples.

  • Divide the resulting blend into 7 (or 3) identical parts
  • Mix each part

You now have an 8(or 4) step blend of 3 sets of two primaries.

Assuming you blended Red to Yellow in 8 steps this would be: R8Y0 (8 parts Red, 0 Parts Yellow) through R1Y7 (1 part Red, 7 parts yellow). To recreate any of these colours in the future you would know that your value came from a specific quantity of two colours.

Measured Blends

The other alternative is to measure and mix equal sized ‘chips’ of colour. The results should be very similar.

  • Mix your 3 primaries
  • Roll them out on the pasta machine, to the same thickness
  • Using a small cutter tool, such as Kemper, cut 64 (for 8 step blends) pieces from each colour
  • Arrange like the diagram below and mix each column

What Now

You should now have one wheel or 24 separate colours. Roll these into balls and flatten slightly. Pierce. Bake at the manufacturers recommended time and temperatures, being careful not to mix the order up. When they’ve baked, take them out and note the ratios on them using a Sharpie marker. Store them or string them.

Mine hang from a shelf unit in my studio / office for quick reference. These strings are 3 colour wheels with variations of each value. The end result was the 24 colours + 5 variations for each of those colours.