Color Wheel Wall Hanging
- Laura Richert
Picture this: you’re itching to quilt, energized by all the exciting fabrics, inspired by the incredible patterns, gazing into a new, big world of color and creativity! You know what colors you like to look at, but how do you go about coordinating them? What colors complement each another? What color combinations create visual contrast? If only there were some kind of reference tool to help out! Enter: the color wheel.
The first color wheel ever made is attributed to Sir Isaac Newton from around 1706 when he was studying light and prisms. Painters use the color wheel to coordinate colors for desired visual effects in their artwork, and the same color guidelines can be easily applied in quilting too. Now, when it really comes down to it, there aren’t hard-and-fast rules that anyone has to follow. If you love a certain combination, just go for it! If you want to throw all the rules out the window, great! But if you do want to follow a few rules from an artistic perspective, the color wheel is a great reference tool for complementing or contrasting colors to add visual interest to your quilt. No matter which camp you land in, or whether you’re brand new to quilting or an accomplished professional, this wall hanging is an adorable decoration for any sewing room.
FABRIC REQUIREMENTS & MATERIALS NEEDED:
Background fabric (solid):
1 – 34” square
1 – 4.5” square
12 – 4” x 8”
Color Fabric: for each of 12 wedges: 4 strips 2.5” x 6.5” in gradient shades
Note: The 12 wedges should display each of the following colors: (a) red, (b) red-orange, (c) orange, (d) yellow-orange, (e) yellow, (f) yellow-green, (g) green, (h) blue-green, (i) blue, (j) blue-violet, (k) violet, (l) red-violet. To minimize fabric waste, you can have shorter strips on the lighter end of the block, but be sure that the darkest one (top) is the full 6.5”.
If you want to create a more drastic gradient effect, you can choose 8 strips 1.5” x 6.5”
The color wheel is constructed like a dresden plate block. To create 12 wedges, you will need a 30-degree ruler or template.
A rotating cutting mat is helpful but not necessary.
MAKING THE COLOR WHEEL:
Assume a ¼ inch seam allowance.
Sew together the 4 color strips in gradient order from lightest to darkest, and one 4” x 8” background strip to the top end of the block (where the darkest shade is) for each color family. Press seams in opposite directions (all of one block toward the background fabric, then its adjacent block all toward the lightest shade).
Center the 30 degree ruler on the block, aligning the 2” mark with the bottom of the block. Use the lines of the ruler and the seams of your block to check that your cuts will be straight.
Cut one side of the wedge, hold the ruler firm on the block and rotate your cutting mat (or body position) to cut the other side.
Fold each wedge the long way, right sides together, and sew ¼ inch along the edge background fabric.
Using your fingers and a poking tool, careful turn the corner inside out so the wedge now has a pointed end in the background fabric.
Sew the wedges together in order they will appear in the color wheel. Start with pairs, then sew pairs together to make sets of four, then sew the sets of fours together.
Your color wheel Dresden plate is now completed and ready to attach to the background piece.
Find the center of the 34” background piece by folding it in half two times and pressing the folded edges. Lay the background piece on a flat working surface and place the color wheel Dresden plate on top, with the center of the circle aligned with the enter of the background piece. You can use the pressed lines and the points of the Dresden plate to make sure it is centered and squared how you want it. (Do not worry about the raw edges in the center, these will get covered up with the background circle piece.) Pin it in place.
Secure the color wheel to the background piece by stitching along the seams about every other wedge.
Out of the 4.5” background fabric square, cut a circle to the size you need to cover the raw edges of the color wheel. You want it to cover the edges by about ¼ to ½ inch. Once it is covering the raw edges and centered in the block, pin in place.
Using a blanket stitch, sew around the circle.
Your quilt top is now complete! Quilt and bind as desired.
Enjoy this reference tool and fun pop of color anywhere in your sewing space!