How to Make Your Own Shade Packs

Shading in cross wrap patterns is very popular and looks amazing.  You can create such a beautiful accent to the main pattern or to the background pattern by adding shading.  For those of you that aren’t sure of the ratio for shading, here is an example:

Sample Shading – Southwest Color Pack

Color #1 – 1 2 3 4 5
Color #2 – 0 1 2 3 4
Color #3 – 0 0 1 2 3
Color #4 – 0 0 0 1 2
Color #5 – 0 0 0 0 1


You read this chart going down.  So on Pass #1 you would wrap 1 thread of Color #1 and 0 threads of Colors #2-5; Pass #2 you would wrap 2 threads of Color #1, 1 thread of Color #2, and 0 threads of Colors #3-5; Pass #3 you would wrap 3 threads of Color #1, 2 threads of Color #2, 1 thread of Color #3, and 0 threads of Colors #4-5; Pass #4 you would wrap 4 threads of Color #1, 3 threads of Color #2, 2 threads of Color #3, 1 thread of Color #4, and 0 threads of Color #5; Pass #5 you would wrap 5 threads of Color #1, 4 threads of Color #2, 3 threads of Color #3, 2 threads of Color #4, and 1 thread of Color #5.  Then just continue with the shading for the rest of the colors.  Of course, you can increase and decrease the number of threads and colors based on what affect you are looking for.

In the example above you’ll notice that the dark brown and fluorescent orange colors show through under the lighter colors.  This is something to think about when using dark and bright colors with light colors.  It wasn’t a concern in this particular piece of work because it was just a sample on a piece of PVC that we took to an event last year.  However, if we had been making this rod for a customer, we would have adjusted it.

Color Wheel

Ok…so let’s talk about how you choose colors to create a shade pack, now that you know how to apply the colors to get the appropriate shading.  There are 2 things that you need: 1) Color Wheel and 2) Color Chart or a full assortment of threads to choose from.  You can get a color wheel from any arts and crafts store (i.e. Hobby Lobby).  To the right here you see the color wheel…and you see that the work has actually been done for you already.  For this example, we are going to use the Blue-Green pure color.  What you see here is actually the tints of the blue-green color, meaning that white has been added to the color to make it lighter.  If you wanted a darker shade pack, you would just simply flip the color wheel over and line up the pure color to the color you desire (our example is blue-green) and then you’ll see the pure color with black added to the color.  See…super simple, super quick, and super easy!!!

Blue-Green Shade Pack

Now to create the shade pack, I just matched the thread spools to the color wheel.  If you could see it in person, you can see that the shade pack to the left matches the color wheel shades to the right.  In fact, you can see this in person at the CRBG Houston event at FTU at the end of March.  I will be bringing this shade pack along with the color wheel to the event and giving a live demonstration on how to make your own shade packs, as well as, how to create custom color themes with your personal pictures (or customer pictures).

Color Chart

You may be thinking, “Umm, I don’t have every color that Madeira makes so this isn’t going to work for me.”  Not true…if you don’t have a large selection of thread colors in your stash, you can use the Color Chart to match the colors.  The color chart has actual samples of the thread colors so you know that the colors that are chosen are the colors that match as you expect.  The color chart samples are on a flap so it lifts up to lay on top of the color wheel.  Or, you can fold the color chart back to lay the colors next to each other.  Another option is to make a color copy of the color chart and match the copy up to the color wheel.  Just make sure that the color copy is accurate with the color chart.

I absolutely love working with color and helping people create their own personal custom color packs.  I’ll be writing a blog on how to create your own personal color themes in the near future.  Until then, if you need help with custom shade colors or personal colors, please feel free to Contact Us.  Feel free to share your ideas on how you create your shading colors and/or personal color schemes.  We’d love to hear from you!

Keep Calm and Wrap On!

Melody 🙂


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