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How do you make dark purple with purple paint?

How do you make dark purple with purple paint?

Purple is a popular and versatile color that can be made in various shades from light to dark. If you want to mix a rich, deep purple using only purple paint, it can be done by carefully adding and blending complementary colors together. With some basic color theory and the right paints, you’ll be able to mix up the perfect dark purple for your project.

Understanding Color Mixing Basics

When it comes to mixing paint colors, it helps to have a basic understanding of color theory. The primary colors are red, blue and yellow. Secondary colors are created by mixing two primaries together – green (blue + yellow), purple (blue + red) and orange (red + yellow). Tertiary colors are made by mixing a primary and secondary color. Compimentary colors are located opposite each other on the color wheel.

Mixing complementary colors together creates browns, grays and dark, muted shades. For purple, the complement is yellow. Adding yellow to purple paint produces more earthy, brownish purple tones. White and black can also be used to lighten and darken purple without dulling the color too much.

The intensity and darkness of the mixed color depends on the ratio of the original colors used. Using more yellow will make a lighter, less saturated purple. Increasing the amount of purple will create a deeper, richer purple tone. The key is gradually adding small amounts of the complementary color until you achieve the exact shade of purple you want.

Choosing the Right Purple Paints

You’ll get the best results mixing dark purple by starting with a vivid purple paint in a primary or secondary hue. Here are some of the most common purple paint colors:

  • Violet – This is a primary purple, located between blue and red on the color wheel.
  • Purple – A secondary purple made from mixing red and blue.
  • Mauve – A soft, light purple with more red undertones.
  • Orchid – A bright, pinkish purple that leans more towards red.
  • Lilac – A pale, lighter purple closer to lavender.

Violet and purple paint provide the richest base for mixing dark purples. Stay away from pale purple shades like lilac or lavender as your starting point. The darker and more vivid the initial purple color, the better.

Complementary Yellows for Darkening

Choosing the right shade of yellow is also important for making a rich, dark purple. Here are some yellows that work well:

  • Cadmium yellow – A pure, saturated yellow.
  • Golden yellow – A warmer, goldenrod-type yellow.
  • Lemon yellow – A bright, intense yellow.

Stay away from dull or muddy yellows like ochre or greenish yellow shades. You want a vibrant, clear yellow that will create a bold brownish tone when blended with purple. Cadmium yellow and lemon yellow are classic mixers for deep, muted purples.

Mixing Steps for Dark Purple

Follow these steps to mix a custom dark purple using purple and yellow paint:

  1. Start with a base of vivid violet or purple paint, filling at least two-thirds of your mixing area.
  2. Add a small amount of yellow paint – start with 1 part yellow to 3 parts purple.
  3. Thoroughly blend the two colors together. Mix well to ensure proper pigment blending.
  4. Check the color. If it’s still too light or bright, add more yellow paint in small increments.
  5. Continue gradually mixing in more yellow until you achieve a deep, dark purple.
  6. Adjust color intensity as needed by adding more purple or yellow paint.

Mixing complementary colors can create thick, muddy paint that loses vibrancy. If the paint seems chalky or dull, remix by adding a few drops of acrylic medium or water to improve consistency and shine.

Achieving Different Purple Tones

You can fine-tune the purple to create slightly different hues by tweaking the yellow shade:

  • Cadmium or lemon yellow will make a purple with subtle red undertones.
  • Golden yellow will create a colder, more blue-based purple.
  • Ochre yellow will produce an earthy, brownish purple.

Pay attention to color temperature as you mix. Do you want the purple to lean slightly towards warmer red tones or cooler blue tones? Use different yellows to influence the final color outcome.

Darkening With White, Gray and Black

While complementary yellows are ideal for rich, natural dark purple tones, you can also darken purple with white, gray and black paints. Here’s how they affect the color when mixed with purple:

Color Effect on Purple
White Makes a lighter, softer, less saturated purple.
Gray Creates a muted, dusky purple tone.
Black Produces a very deep, dark purple shade.

When darkening purple with black or white, mix in very small amounts at a time. It’s easy to overdo it and end up with gray or light lavender instead of dark purple.

Testing Your Mixed Purple

It takes some trial and error to mix the perfect shade of dark purple. Always test out the blended color on a spare canvas or piece of paper before applying it to your main project. Here are some tips for testing:

  • Paint a large swatch of the mixed purple to view the actual color.
  • Let it dry completely to see if the tone changes.
  • View in different lights – sunlight, indoor light, etc.
  • Compare to purple swatches or color charts to evaluate the tone.
  • Adjust the mix as needed to reach your desired purple.

Mixing custom colors takes some practice but also gives limitless options. With the right purple and yellow paints, you can blend a wide range of dark purple tones to use for any project.


Creating a rich, deep purple color is possible by blending complementary yellows into a vivid purple paint base. Follow basic color theory – purple’s complement is yellow. Start with a saturated violet or purple and mix in small amounts of lemon, cadmium or golden yellow. Test swatches to achieve the perfect hue and saturation.

Careful color mixing allows endless variation from light purples to striking dark purple shades. Mastering mixing techniques opens up a world of custom color options for all your artistic creations and DIY projects.