Savvy Use of Warm and Cool Thread Colors

Using Warm and Cool Colored Threads to Your Advantage

 The unusual qualities of the warm and cool hues can be used in embroidery to create a feeling of depth.

 A peculiar characteristic of warm and cool hues is that they appear to have a determined visual size and weight:

  • Warm hues advance; cool hues recede. They appear larger and lighter than cool hues. They have more of an opaque quality than the cool hues. They appear earthy and dry.
  • Cool hues appear smaller and heavier than warm hues. They have more of a transparent quality than the warm hues. They appear wet and airy.


Warm and cool hues also appear to have movement:

  • Warm hues advance toward the observer. They expand, explode, radiate and have erratic movement. They appear to separate each other and appear near to the observer.
  • Cool hues recede from the viewer. They contract, implode and have concentric motion. They blend into each other and seem far away.

 Warm and cool hues also have psychological impact on the observer:

  • Warm colors are sunny, inviting and stimulating.
  • Cool hues are shadowy, mysterious and calm.

 Wet cool hues can be used for water and for blending reflected light into that water.

 Bright and warm hues or light hues can be given a bluish appearance with the right combination of colors—and used to create a feeling of distance. Objects at a distance always appear bluer. They can cause shadows to appear to be darker the closer the shadows appear to be in the design. They can create real depth in a design if they are used in a way that progresses from warm to cool hues.They can make hues which are distance appear to be the lightest in the design.

 The progression of cool to warm hues in a design is more easily accepted by the brain if the cool hues on the right progress to warm on the left, or cool hues on the bottom progress to warm on the top.

 To cool a warm hue, place blue-green or black near it or use it in a blending effect.

To warm a cool hue, use red-orange or white near it, or use it as a blending effect.

 If you use warm and light value hues and white, small spaces will appear smaller and light weight objects will appear heavier.

 If you use cool or dark value hues and black, large spaces will appear smaller and lightweight objects will appear heavier.

 If you vary the value, chroma and proportions of cool and warm hues, you can vary and even control the ways they seem to move as well as their size and weigh