How to Make Purple

Learn how to make the color purple. Find out which two colors make purple paint and food coloring and how to make it dark and light.

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The way to make purple is by mixing red and blue. Be sure to not use too much blue to start. Therefore, begin with a very small amount of blue and as more until you get the color you want.

Red

+

Blue

=

Purple

To get some sort of purple color is easy, but getting the correct shade you want can be difficult. This makes getting the right tone for your project or craft more challenging.

Frequently Asked Questions About Making Purple

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What two colors make purple?

Blue and red make purple. I recommend you start with red and then gradually add blue to it.

It doesn’t matter what you’re using, whether paint (including fabric paint) or food coloring or something else, the process is the same.

Why can't I make purple?

As long as you have mixed blue and red, you have made a purple. The issue is there are different kinds, created by what are called “undertones.”

These undertones are called warm and cool. Warm tones are reds, yellows, and oranges, whereas cool tones are blues and greens. Funnily enough, this means you can actually have a “cool” red, meaning a red that has blue undertones.

Looking at the color wheel (this is my nifty pocket color wheel), you can see there are different tones of purple made by mixing red with a blue (cool blue) with a blue-violet (warm blue). You can see the one mixed with blue-violet ends up more red because the “blue” actually has red in it so no matter how much of that “blue” you add, the final color will always be somewhat more red.

A “classic” version is made with a red with warm undertones and a blue with cool undertones. This way the warm and cool undertones are balanced so it’s not too red or too blue.

You can click on the images to make them larger.

For example, in order to get more of a blue purple color, mix a blue with cool undertones with a small amount of red with cool undertones.

How to get dark or light purple

If you’re using paint, you can make a darker shade by adding black. To make a lighter shade, add white.

If you’re using food coloring, add black to make it darker. In order to lighten, use the same proportion of red to blue, but use less of it. Similarly, to make a deeper and stronger color, use more.

What is violet vs purple?

As you can see on the color wheel (click on it to make it larger), violet is the warmest possible “blue” you can get. This means violet is technically a purple because it has so much red undertone.

If you want to make violet, mix a blue with a red with a warm undertone. To make blue-violet, use more reds and blues with more cool undertones.

What is the opposite of purple?

The short answer is yellow. If we look at the color wheel at the color directly opposite (also known as its complimentary color) is yellow. That being said, depending on the cool and warm tones, it could be a more cool or warm yellow. You can click on them to make them larger.

Learn how to make other colors:

How to Make Purple

Learn how to make the color purple. Find out which two colors make purple paint and food coloring and how to make it dark and light.
Project Time 1 min
Total Time 1 min

Materials
  

  • Blue Paint
  • Red Paint

Equipment

  • Paintbrush or mixing tool

Instructions
 

  • Start with red
  • Mix in a small amount of blue until you reach your desired color
    color wheel showing mixing blue and red to make purple

Notes

As long as you have mixed blue and red, you have made a purple. The issue is there are different kinds of purples, created by what are called "undertones."
These undertones are called warm and cool. Warm tones are reds, yellows, and oranges, whereas cool tones are blues, purples, and greens. Funnily enough, this means you can actually have a "cool" red, meaning a red that has blue undertones.
A "classic" purple is made with a red with warm undertones and a blue with cool undertones. This way the warm and cool undertones are balances, making a balanced purple.color wheel showing mixing blue and red to make purplecolor wheel showing purple made from adding red to blue-violet
Keyword Color Mixing, Colors, Paint Mixing

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