How to Make Purple Paint

It’s a lot more complicated than just mixing red and blue together. Here is everything you need to know about how to make purple paint.

how to make purple paint

The Basics of How to Mix Purple Paint

Here is the nitty gritty about how to make purple paint. Take some red, add some blue, and then voila! Purple paint.

Except not really.

If you have ever mixed red and blue together and got, well, muddy brown, this is why. And don’t worry, we will teach you how to fix it.

Want to really master color theory? Check out our Yay! Color Theory Worksheets.

How Color Works

Every color has a value, a chroma, and a hue.

Value is how light or dark a color is.

Chroma is how intense the color is.

Hue is where it lands on the color wheel – red, orange, yellow, green, blue or purple.

Want more great color theory information? Read this article on colors opposites on the color wheel.

Ugh, What Is This Purple Sludge? How Do I Make Purple Paint Look More Purple-y?

The problem with purple is that when you mix red, which is a fairly dark-value color, with blue – which is a very dark-value color, the resulting color is so dark that it is difficult to decipher whether or not it is even purple.

One quick fix? Add white.

White will lighten the value of your red-and-blue-sludge, and make it appear more purple-y.

Want more great color theory information? Check out this Colour Theory article.

What If I Want to Make a Better Purple Paint?

If you want a more purple-y purple, you need to find a better paint to start with.

Dioxazine purple, for example, is much more chromatic than any purple you can mix with just red and blue.

This is because any time you mix two colors together, the resulting color will be more neutralized than many colors that come directly out of the tube.

The reason for this has a lot to do with things I do not claim to be an expert on – something about particle size of pigments and how they lock together.

But what I DO care about is mixing the exact color that I want. And I know that if I want to mix a purple color that is very intense (chromatic) that my best bet is to reach for my tube of purple paint.

Barring that, if you only have red and blue to mix your purple with, adding white to the mixture helps the purple come alive a bit more than the dark brown sludge red and blue make on their own.

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How Do I Mix THE RIGHT Purple?

What also matters when it comes to purple is how reddy-purple versus bluey-purple you want your final purple to appear.

Every color can be both warm and cool. And purple is no exception.

Do you need to know how to make a purple that is warm? Make sure to add more red than blue.

Do you need to know how to make purple that is cool? Make sure to add more blue than red.

How to make purple paint

Read More Color Theory Articles:

Colour Theory

How to Make Blue Colors

How to Make Purple Paint

How to Make Brown Paint

How to Make Yellow Darker

Color Theory for Beginners

Color Theory Lesson Plans

What do you think about mixing purples? Let me know in the comments below.

Check out our free Color Theory Lesson Plans

Master color theory once and for all with our Yay! Color Theory Worksheets.

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