Ways & How

How to Mix Paint Colors to Make Gray

How to Mix Paint Colors to Make Gray

Gray is one of the most common colors used in paintings. You can also use it to neutralize warmer tones or create balance in a mix of colors. Fortunately, you can easily combine different colors to create the ideal tint, tone, or shade you need. Follow this guide on how to mix paint colors to make gray to get your project going.

  1.  Know your complimentary colors. The color wheel is a great reference when mixing colors. It makes it easy to identify primary, secondary, and complementary colors. The latter sit directly opposite each other, and when combined, they creates neutrals, like browns and grays. Since most of the methods below involve using complementary colors, you should get a color wheel to reference or memorize them. When mixing complementary colors, use a bit more of the cooler color to make gray. Cool colors are those in the blue spectrum (blue, green, and purple), while warm colors are those in the red spectrum (red, orange, and yellow). Adding more of the warmer color would result in brown.

  2. Mix purple and yellow.

    Adding a bit of yellow to purple can produce a beautiful gray. Use purple as the base, then combine in yellow paint a little at a time. To make the grayish shade more distinct, add a tiny bit of white to get a cool gray color.

  3. Mix blue and orange. Blue is a great base for gray because of the similarity in the coolness of their hues. Mix in incremental amounts of orange into blue paint until you get a grayish color. The gray produced is usually of a warmer tone, which sometimes comes across as grayish brown, because of the brightness of the orange. Simply add in more blue if you want a cooler tone and a bit of white to lighten up the resulting bluish-gray.

  4. Mix green and red. Combining green and red in the correct proportions also produces a gray color. The key is to add in more green to tone down the red. Mix them together, then add a touch of white to make it grayer. The resulting color is somewhat of a greenish-gray.

  5. Mix black and white. One of the most obvious ways to make gray is to mix together black and white. The color produced from this combination is more of a real neutral gray. When mixing, add black paint to white in very small amounts. If you need a lighter shade, use less black paint. If you’re opting for a deep gray, add in more black paint until you get the intensity you want.

  6. Mix the primary colors together. Mixing red, blue and yellow together can create either brown or gray depending on whether the warm or cool colors predominate the resulting mixture. Aside from mixing them all up and adjusting the warmth or coolness at the end, a better way is to first mix red and blue to make purple. Then, add in yellow to make it lighter until you create gray. If you want to emphasize the gray tint as opposed to a brownish shade, add in a bit of white. This helps you produce a cooler gray color.

Once you learn the basics of how to mix paint colors to make gray, you can experiment and try various combinations and mixes to create a whole spectrum of gray colors to suit your paintings and projects!


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