What Colors When Mixed Together Make Purple?

By Staff WriterLast Updated May 27, 2020 7:54:10 PM ET
What Colors When Mixed Together Make Purple
[ThePixelman/Pixabay]

Whether you’re trying to learn more about the psychology behind colors or you’re a budding artist trying to mix colored paints together to make a masterpiece, it’s imperative to know a bit about primary and secondary colors and how to mix them to create purple shades ranging from soft pastels to vivid hues for royalty. Read on to learn more about primary and secondary colors, complementary colors, and of course, how to mix colors to make purple.

Primary, Secondary & Tertiary Colors

To understand how to make purple, you should first familiarize yourself with primary colors. The three primary colors in the color wheel are red, blue, and yellow. Essentially, this means that any other color in the world is a mixture of two or more of these colors. There are also three secondary colors, and they are purple, green, and orange. Secondary colors are a result of mixing two primary colors together. Beyond these six colors, there are also six tertiary colors. Tertiary colors are a mixture of primary and secondary colors, or a mix of many colors together. These six colors are vermillion, magenta, violet, teal, chartreuse, and amber. If you’re mixing colors together for the purposes of art, knowing how to make tertiary colors is vital.

What About Black and White?

Neither black nor white appears on the color wheel because they are not traditional colors. Black indicates the absence of light, which means no colors on the color wheel are visible. White is a combination of all visible colored light, but this is only in nature. If you tried to combine all of the colors on the color wheel, your end result would not be white. In fact, it would likely be a muddy brown.

How to Make Purple

Because purple is a secondary color, it is the result of mixing two primary colors together. To make a shade of purple, you would mix red and blue together. If you mix an equal amount of red and blue together, you’ll have violet, a tertiary color and a mixture that is known as “pure purple.” If you mix together different amounts of red and blue, you’ll create hues that are redder or bluer, depending on the ratio.

Making Different Shades of Purple

Beyond pure purple, you may want to create different shades, such as lavender or aubergine. Remember that pure purple is a 50/50 combination of red and blue. To make lavender, which is a light shade of purple, your aim would be for 50 percent blue and 50 percent red, cut with white paint. To make aubergine, a darker hue, you’d want 51 percent red, 43 percent blue and 6 percent black. A plum color requires 41 percent red, 39 percent blue and 20 percent green. 

Complementary Colors

Depending on your project, learning about complementary colors may be worthwhile. Essentially, complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel. When used together, they complement each other well (they are a good match). Purple’s direct complementary color is yellow.