In a split complementary scheme, use the colors to either side of  your base color’s complement.

by Debbie Hodge

A split-complementary color scheme uses a base color and then the two colors on either side of its complement (i.e., the color across from it on the color wheel). With this scheme your page will have contrast but with more nuance and less tension than with a straight complementary color scheme.

Think about it this way — you’re using two (almost) analogous colors with one contrasting color. Because analogous colors sit near one another on the color wheel, it’s easy to get harmony with these two colors. The third color provides the contrast and energy on the page.


Lynnette Penacho‘s summery page about her favorite things in August is presented on a neutral woodgrain print. She’s paired blue-green with its split complements of orange and pink. The result is a fun page with bright spots that’s still harmonious enough to present lots of journaled details.

Aug Faves by Lynnette Penacho | Supplies: Indian Summer by Zoe Pearn Alpha from Those Who Want to Sing by Zoe Pearn Blissful Stitches: Square by Traci Reed Bad Sewing Machine XXIV: Small ‘N Round by Traci Reed Font is DJB Lynnette by Darcy Baldwin

Michelle Clement has scrapbooked the blues in her photos with orangey reds and yellows on “Oh, How Does My Garden Grow.” A white canvas with off-white foundation layers makes the bits of colored papers and the photos pop. The page has energy — but it’s a sweet and playful energy resulting from the split-complementary color scheme.

How Does My Garden Grow by Michelle Clement | Supplies: Patterned Paper, Letter Stickers, and Stickers by Sassafras Lass. Letter Stamps. Embroidery Floss by DMC. Masking Tape. Staples. Washi Tape. Fabric Scrap.

The dominant color in Kelly Purkey‘s “Ice Cream” is an orangey-red, and it’s paired with split complements of blue and yellow-green for a warm and happy page.

Ice Cream by Kelly Purkey | Supplies: Cardstock – American Crafts; Patterned Paper – Studio Calico, 7 Gypsies; Basic Grey, Crate Paper; Stamps – Studio Calico; Stickers – Crate Paper, Making Memories, Jenni Bowlin; Arrows – Maya Road; Jewels – Making Memories; Stapler – Ranger