Creating Colour Charts for Your Art Supplies

As we collect colours of paints, inks and other essentials of our favourite art supplies, it can be pretty handy to know what colours are available as which products. I also love to see all the colours at once, so I can choose which ones I want to use for a project, see which ones I've got in the studio and how many I have yet to collect.

The first two charts in this blog are ready-made colour charts are for the complete ranges of Tim Holtz Distress and Dylusions by Dyan Reaveley mediums (all made by Ranger). Following these are a few blank ones for you to personalise and make your own swatch charts! Use for paints, pens, pencils, inks, anything :)

Ready-made Charts for Dylusions and Tim Holtz

To any of these charts, click the small image of each colour chart and it should open in a new tab or window. Then choose to download or print for your own personal use. Each one should fit at 100% on an A4 or 91% on US Letter, or you can always choose the print option "fit to print" as well.

Tim Holtz Distress Ranger Ink chart showing all the colours in the collection   Ranger Inks Dyan Reaveley's Dylusions Colourful Range of Paint Pens, Acrylic Paints and Ink Sprays in both Shimmer and Matte

Dylusions by Dyan Reaveley range of 36 gorgeous colours includes Matte and Shimmer Acrylic Paints, Ink Sprays, Shimmer Sprays and Paint Pens.

Tim Holtz Distress range includes Distress Ink Pads, Mini Distress Ink Pads, Distress Reinkers, Spray Stains, Oxide Ink Pads, Oxide Reinkers, Oxide Ink Sprays, Embossing Glazes, Archival Ink Pad Stack (full sized), Mini Archival Ink Pads, Archival Reinkers, Distress Paints, Crayons, (retired) Watercolour Markers, Collage Mediums, Textures, Grits, Dry Glitter, Mica Flakes and Crackle Pastes. Its a growing range of essential arty goodness!

Make Your Own Colour Chart

These two blank charts are labelled with the names of both the Dylusions and Distress ranges. Once you have coloured with the different mediums (inks, stains, paints, etc), you will have an instant reminder of how each looks and feels once they are dry.

If you print the page out on different kinds of paper (plain copy paper, watercolour or mixed media paper) your customised colour chart will give you even more examples. Tags are also a great way of saving examples, especially for all the different mediums, textures and crackles. Why not store them in a book, folder or use a piece of ribbon to tie your tags together.

blank colour chart for swatching inks, stains and paints of Tim Holtz Distress     Blank colour chart that is purrfectly suited to Dylusions by Dyan Reaveley mediums

Having a colour chart is useful for organising supplies but I find it most useful for those that look different on the labels to their actual contents. Some pigments look so dark, but add a splash of water and they come to life! I love watching paints react like this :)

How to use Blank Colour Charts ... Click on the picture to either download and/or print. Use the printout or trace onto another sheet of paper. Colour them in with your arty treasures, any kind and any brand. Why not make a new chart for each different sort you have, so you can easily keep track of your collection and see at a glance what each colour really looks like. 

Another way to create charts is to stamp out your favourite character dozens of times and colour them in. Just remember to use an Archival Ink (or a solvent based ink) and let it dry completely before using watersoluble media like Distress Inks and Dylusions Sprays.

To see how each medium reacts and dries on different surfaces, create the charts on different types of paper (plain, glossy, watercolour, mixed media). Creating swatches on fabrics like cotton, burlap and denim is a great resource too.

Create a Portable Directory ... a journal or book with a complete showcase of your treasures that can be taken everywhere you go... especially when visiting shops or craft fairs :) A fantastic idea from a wonderful customer. Basically, get any book or binder (one that has pages that could be added might be better) and add printed or stamped images, cut out die cutting templates, everything. Add labels and names, tabs to pages and maybe an index when it gets larger. Such a great idea! Love it!

On the jigsaw patterned chart, you could add the colour you've mixed inbetween the colours you used to make it. For example, red with yellow and between them, their combined colour (orange). Don't forget to jot down what colours you used to create your new fave! It can be useful as a reminder if you've made something you want to use again.

make your own instant reminder of the colours in your collection - cat shapes from Art by Jenny  make your own instant reminder of the colours in your collection - puzzle shapes from Art by Jenny  make your own instant reminder of the colours in your collection - splash shapes from Art by Jenny

A fresh thought for the day... save the blank charts to your phone, iPad or tablet and use them as a reminder of what you have! Use the edit function to tick off each colour as you buy them :)

Some artists create huge charts of squares ... It looks so beautiful when they're done and while it does take a fair amount of time (hours and hours and hours), it can be so worthwhile. Especially if you mix your own colours from scratch. Its like a times table chart - the colour in the square along the side mixed with the colour across the top makes the colour in the square where they meet.

How to do this ... Start with a grid of lots of squares (mark them out with a ruler or use graph paper or Dylusions Dyalog Grid Insert Books). Colour the top row and the left (or right) vertical column with your colours. In all the intersections from each of these rows, add a mixture of the two colours. It can be half and half or tints of one more than the other - it's your chart to create it your way!

If you need help doing this or have questions of any arty kind, use the 'say hello' button to drop me a line or pick up the phone.

I hope this blog post inspires you try new colours, discover new colour combinations, mix colours, find new favourites and help you organise your art supplies! Have fun :)

Happy a Wonderfully Creative Colourful Arty Crafty Day!