We all have colors we’re drawn to and find easy to work with. But what happens when we’re forced to step outside of our comfort zone and use colors we’d otherwise avoid?

In one of our summer bead meetings, I asked each member to write down three colors they found hard to work with.

Then I deviously challenged everyone to use those colors as the dominant tones in their next project.

Despite the whining, as you’ll see from the photos, the results were terrific. The next time you’re feeling stuck in a rut, try combining colors you’d ordinarily run from, screaming. You may surprise yourself!

Above: While the necklace is unfinished, you can see where Michelle is headed with this. She combined neon yellow, brown, and burnt orange into a necklace that looks tasty enough to eat. She started with an idea she saw in Beadwork Magazine and improved on it, adding red accent beads for texture.

Above left: Marcia used a bead loom to weave together orange blue, and silver beads into this beautiful bracelet. It’s simple but so wearable.

Above right: Lauren has an aversion to lime green, purple, and electric blue . She combined daggers and peyote stitch into a necklace that she admits she now wears all the time.

Left: Nancy wasn’t able to attend but provided us with a virtual submission. “These are not colors I would typically wear, but I was inspired by the shiny purple/gold seed beads. I knew I could work with them into this relatively easy earring pattern from Kim.”

Below: I normally avoid Easter colors, but I forced myself to use these bright tones and came up with a bracelet that’s really fun.