Ways & How

How to Mix Paint Colors to Make Purple

How to Mix Paint Colors to Make Purple

Purple is produced by combining the primary colors of blue and red. Just like any other secondary color, it has many variations in tints, tones, and shades that you can create simply by mixing it with different amounts of white, black, or gray. But the key to achieving the exact hue of purple that you want lies in understanding how a third and fourth color-green and yellow-influences the kind of purple you can produce. So after you mix red and blue, it is possible to achieve a whole spectrum of purple, each with its particular visual nuances. In this article, we break down how to mix paint colors to make purple.

1. Since blue and red make purple, you can appreciate how variations in these base colors affect the final result. Let's first discuss blue pigments. In the color wheel, blue lies between red and green. That means that other than pure blue, most blues are biased toward red or green. Using the former produces more intense purples. On the other hand, green is complementary to red, and this means the presence of any green reduces the intensity of red, so using a blue pigment biased towards green will lead to a more muted purple.

Common blue hues in order of red to green bias are as follows: Winsor blue, French ultramarine, cobalt blue, cerulean blue, and phthalic blue.

2. Next, let's consider the Reds. On the color wheel, orange and blue sit beside red. Similarly, using red biased toward blue results in a more intense purple, while using a red-biased toward orange results in muted purple. Common red paints in order of blue to orange bias are as follows: quinacridone red, alizarin crimson, Winsor red, and cadmium red.

3. So, taking what you now know about blues and reds, you can achieve the desired intensity of purple. Mixing quinacridone red (strong blue bias) with Winsor blue (strong red bias) would create an intense purple. Add some titanium white for brightness to have a rich, royal purple tint.

4. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you mix phthalo blue (strong green bias) with cadmium red (strong orange bias) and some titanium white, the result would be a rather muted, powdery shade of purple featuring strong gray tones-something closer to taupe than purple. That's because this combination incorporates both orange and green, which are complementary to blue and red. As for purple, yellow is complementary to it; thus, the more yellow, the more lifeless the purple would be.

5. By playing around with combinations of varying hues of blues and reds with titanium white, you can create the exact tint of purple you want.

As you can see, learning how to mix paint colors to make purple requires an appreciation and application of the principles of color theory.


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