Building the colour wheel

The colour wheel is your most important tool when you work with colourschemes - so you need to understand how it work and make one yourself to get anywhere!

How it works, basics

Primary and secondary colours: Shamelessly stolen on the internet, I really ought to make one with proper coloursOk, basically the colour-wheel is based on the three primary colours yellow, red and blue seen in the middle triangle.
You get the secondary colours by mixing the primary ones: yellow + red = orange, that's the three colours arranged as a hexagon.

Tertiary colours: And then we get to the colour wheel proper: When you mix a secondary colour with a primary, you get tertiary colours orange + yellow = yellowish/yellow orange (you always start with the most important colour).

Very nifty way to show which colours relate to each other when you mix dyes, eh?

Contrasting and harmonious colours: But the colour wheel is *much* more than that, because it also helps you to figure out how different colours match up, because colours next to each other will always be harmonious (like warm reddish, or cool bluish), and colours directly opposite each other are contrasting. More about that later, in the contrast-section.

Why should you build a colour-wheel out of lego?

Now, you *could* save your parts for MOCs and simply print out a colour-wheel from the net. But there's two important reasons why you should prefer the brick-built version:

Ok, so how do you go about it?

Start building!

Designing the frame: The trick is to arrange the colours so contrasting colours point directly at each other.

After tingering a bit, I found out that this could be achieved by attaching long beams of the primary colours to a basic hinged triangle, and spreading out the secondary and tertiary colous using hinges.

The tertiary colours aren't pointing excactly at each other, but it's nothing you'll notice.

Notice that I added a 2x3 brick to the bottom colour (purple) so the wheel can stand on the edge.

Picking the colours: is the tricky part of the process: As mentioned in the previous section it's almost too easy easy to get plenty of parts in primary and secondary colours (purple finally became available in sufficient variety with the Harry Potter triple-decker bus), while the tertiary colours are mostly rare or lacking entirely.

The trick is to substitute them with colours that actually exist:

This leaves bluish purple and reddish orange: I haven't been able to find anything in my collection that match these colours.

Depending on your collection, you migth want to substitute bluish purple and reddish orange with other colours - or simply leave the slots empty to remind yourself of the limitations in your collection: Like with the colour preference test, building the colour-wheel is a way to familiarize yourself with your collection in order to use it better.


This section ends the basic part of the tutorial. In the next section we look at colour-theory and how you can use your brand new colour-wheel!

[return to colour tutorial index]

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