What Colors Make Purple? How to Make Different Purples?

The purple color is closely associated with royalty, and most artists can’t do without it in their paintings. However, getting purple from a mix of colors might be challenging, especially for beginners. That’s why we’re here to help!

We’ll tell you what colors make purple and how to use them properly to get the shade you need. So grab your color palette and jump in!

Short Answer

The two colors that make purple are blue and red, but it doesn’t end here. If you mix the two colors, you’ll only get one shade, and not necessarily the one you need.

So, let’s dive into more details about the different shades of purple.

How to Make Different Shades of Purple Paint

Purple has a myriad of attractive shades, and each one has different requirements regarding blending. Here are four shades and how to get them.

Cool Purple

You’ll need to put more blue than red in your mix to get a cool purple shade. But first, you should study different blue tones, ranging from cool to warm tones. For example, the coolest two blue tones are cerulean and phthalo blue, while the warmest pair are ultramarine and indanthrone blue. 

The cooler shades are more likely to give you a muddy purple shade. So, if you want a pure color, you should go for the latter two.

Warm Purple

Naturally, you should add more red paint than blue to get a warm purple tone. But this time, to avoid getting a muddy purple shade, you should use cooler red hues, like spectrum crimson and quinacridone rose.

More so, generally, when mixing colors, you should always add tiny amounts. This way, you’ll ensure that you don’t miss your desired shade.

See also: What Two Colors Make Green?

Light Purple

The most straightforward method to get a light purple shade is to add a tiny amount of white paint to your mix. This step won’t affect the purity of the hue you achieved, but it’ll lighten your color as you desire.

Another way you can try is to add a little bit of yellow, preferably cadmium yellow. However, adding yellow will soften the purple shade you got. So, if you’re aiming for a bright shade, you’ll be better off using white.

Dark Purple

Most people believe that the best method to get a dark purple shade is to add black. However, this isn’t always the case because it might give you dark and muddy tones. Instead, you can go for phthalo green or burnt umber if you want a rich shade. The former will result in a perfect, dark purple color, while the latter will give you warmer shades.

If you’re confused about using the two, you can experiment with both and see which shade works with your paintings better.

Read also: What Colors Make Black?

Factors to Consider When Making Purple Paint

Here are three factors you should consider before blending colors to get purple paint.


Saturation refers to how much the hue dominates the color. If the color doesn’t have any white or black added, it’ll be the most intense, thus the most saturated. On the other hand, every time you add white or black, the color becomes more washed out and less pure.

As a rule of thumb, if you want an intense and pure purple, then you shouldn’t add black or white. If you need their effect, try adding tiny amounts, not more than that.


The pure color that doesn’t have any black or white added to it is called a hue. And since purple consists of red and blue, the hue you get will depend on the hues of the two colors.

In other words, if you use saturated red and blue without black and white, you’ll get an intense purple color. But if the red you’re starting with already has white added, you’ll end up with a less pure purple. So before mixing the two colors, you should check their hues.


The value of a color refers to how much light it reflects. In other words, it refers to its darkness or lightness. As we’ve mentioned before, you can control the value of your purple color by using different amounts of white and black. Finally, if you achieve a dark purple, you have a shade, but if you achieve a light purple, you have a tint.

See also: How to Draw a Hand Holding Something

Frequently Asked Questions

What Colors Complement Purple?

The colors that complement each other always have opposite positions on the color wheel. So, naturally, the color that complements purple is yellow. If you want to highlight and brighten any color of them in your painting, you should add the other.

How Can I Make a Neon Purple Paint?

Neon colors are brighter than regular shades. So, if you want to achieve a neon purple, you should add more white to your mix. Also, make sure to use a warm blue and a cool red shade.

To Wrap Up

Purple is an elegant color that adds to the aesthetic of any painting. And while making it might be challenging at first, practice makes perfect. You can practice blending red and blue a few times, and you’ll eventually get it right.

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