Create a Color Idea Book

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Article Courtesy by Patter Cross

Have you ever participated in an online color challenge?  How about using a catalog for color inspiration?  When you are lacking motivation, need inspiration, are out of ideas, or just want something a little different, a color idea book can be a great reference or jumping-off point.  I created an idea file to reference when I need a little challenge or motivation.  Let's look at how I created my file.

My Color "Book"

My "book" is not really a book.  I used an old Rolodex file I had sitting around but you could certainly use a spiral notebook, a composition book, a ring binder filled with baseball card holders, or anything that you think would work best for you.  Here is my file:


Next, as I see color challenges online that I like, I print them for my file.  When I look through catalogs, I cut out ideas I like.  Sometimes I will even print pictures of fabrics I see online and put them in my file.  Fabrics are so beautiful!  You can see some of my printed cards here.  Online color challenges are on the left, and catalog photos are on the right.


The cards are then filed by color groups.  Right now I have 12 color groups in my file.  If I feel like working with green but I am not sure what colors I want to coordinate with it, I can turn to the green section and pull a card.  I can challenge myself and use what is on the card, or I can pull another card.  I personally like the challenge though!


Another way I use my file is to just pull a card from any section and go with what I pull out.  It's a very fun challenge!  You should try it!

Sources of Inspiration

There are several places where I get inspiration and ideas to store in my file.  Here are a few I reference regularly:

Scrap by Color

Here you can actually upload your photo and it will generate a color palette based on the image's primary colors.  I use this one if I have a specific photo and want specific colors. This is a site I reference but I do not print the information for my file.  It is a great site!

Kristina Werner

This is a wonderful site for color challenges.  I size the color cards to 4" x 2 ¼" and print them for my file.  They are wonderful.


I love using home décor, clothing, stationery, and fabric catalogs for color inspiration.  Some of my favorites are Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Teen, and Vera Bradley.  For printed catalogs, I tear out a color combination I like, cut out a 1 ½" x 4" section of the page, and put it in my file.

I hope you will put together your own color inspiration book or file.  It really comes in handy when you need a little motivation or just want a little challenge.  Enjoy!


Visit our Scrap by Color page


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