Colorscheming with Variables

go colorscheming!


It’ s one thing two have your color variables declared on top of your Sass/Less/Stylus stylesheet. It’ s another thing to find the time to use them in an intuitive and meaningfull way in your designs. That’s where c-Tiles16 comes in to help out. There are two parts:

  1. A build script named ctiles16 that is a fork of Base16, which can be executed from the terminal/commandline and generates preprocessor variables to be used by Sass, Less, or Stylus
  2. A colorscheming test playground that is assembled to have the best colorscheming tools, alongside colorscheme-tiles on one webpage-test-playground, making it convenient to create your own colorscheme, with sixteen variables

Getting started

A possible way to make this tool, or rather collection-of-tools, your own can be:

  • download the zip-file (, or clone the repo)
  • when using Sass, open assets/sass/ctiles16-custom.scss (which is a copy of ctiles16-ctiles.scss) in a text-editor. Don’t rename it just yet, but:
  • (this works best full screen) start editing the values of the variables with the text-editor on one side, and the browser-window with the test colorscheming playground (colorscheming/index.html) on the other side of your screen
  • play with the hsl-picker to help you get along
  • try some live editing with the hidden styles at the top
  • from the dropdown-menu you can pick and see how other colorschemes look
  • there’s a button for toggling the page background-color, and you can also hover with your mouse over the colortiles, to see the effect of a larger amount colorfield
  • refresh the colorschemer-webpage after each time you edit your ctiles16-custom.scss -colorscheme-variables file (or use something like LiveReload)
  • When following the workflow above, you have been using c-Tiles16 to make a colorscheme made out of sixteen colors


  • Now put the colorscheme you just made as one of the first partial files to import in the _base-partial file (the one that is included throughout the whole project)
  • Keep using the colorschermer any time you like to generate color-values during the design phase of the website
  • One can make it a personal challenge to only use the colorscheme values, or variations of those with Sass color-functions
  • BTW: You can also try to make a pull request on Github, in order to submit your colorscheme to this collection here on c-Tiles16

Usage of buildtool

Since c-Tiles16 is a fork of Base16-builder, you can look it up on Github for more information.

Build color variations of c-Tiles16 with YAML scheme definitions and ERB templates. Requires Ruby 1.9 or greater.

go in the terminal to c-tiles/schemes/

cd  c-tiles/schemes/

To build all schemes:


Build only the ‘default’ theme

../ctiles16 default.yml

Build a scheme stored on some webspace:

./ctiles16 https://awesome-schemes.com/my-scheme.yml