Skip to Content

What can I mix yellow to make white?

What can I mix yellow to make white?

Quick Answer

The primary colors yellow and blue can be mixed together to make white. This is because yellow and blue are complementary colors opposite each other on the color wheel. When mixed, they create a neutral gray or white. The exact shades of yellow and blue will determine how bright or dull the resulting white is. Lighter shades will make a brighter white, while darker shades will make a more muted grayish white.

Explaining the Color Wheel

To understand how to mix colors to make white, it’s important to understand the basics of the color wheel. The color wheel shows the relationship between different colors. There are three primary colors – red, yellow and blue. These are the main colors that can’t be created by mixing other colors. By mixing the primary colors in different combinations and ratios, you can create all the other colors on the wheel.

Opposite each primary color on the wheel is its complementary color. Red and green are complements, as are yellow and purple, and blue and orange. These color pairs contain both a warm and cool color and when mixed, create a neutral gray or brown.

The key complementary pair for making white is yellow and blue. Yellow is a warm, bright color on the wheel, while blue is a cool, deep color. When these opposites are blended, they cancel out the saturation of each other to produce a neutral white or gray.

Mixing Paint Colors

When learning how to mix paint colors to achieve white, the first step is choosing the right shades of yellow and blue paint. A warm, light or lemon yellow will mix best with a cool, deep or ultramarine blue. Darker shades like golden yellow will make a more muted result.

Start with equal parts yellow and blue paint on your palette. Use a paintbrush or palette knife to blend them together thoroughly. The resulting color should be a neutral light gray or off-white.

You can then adjust the ratio of yellow and blue paint to fine-tune the white color. Add a touch more yellow to make it brighter or more blue to mute it down. Mixing just takes some experimenting until you achieve the clean, bright white you desire.

Pay attention to the proportions as you mix. Use more yellow than blue for a warm white. Use more blue than yellow for a cool white. Mix them in equal amounts for a balanced neutral white.

Other Paint Color Options

In addition to yellow and blue, some other paint colors that can be mixed to create white include:

– Titanium White + Zinc White: These basic white oil or acrylic paints will produce a very bright, clean white when blended together.

– Yellow + Violet: Combining yellow and violet paint makes a similar neutral white to yellow and blue, since violet is the complement to yellow.

– Yellow + Black: Mixing yellow paint with just a touch of black will produce an off-white or cream color.

– Red + Green + Blue: Combining all three primary colors together will also make a muted gray or off-white depending on the amounts used.

Mixing Color Pigments and Dyes

The same color theory applies when mixing pigments or dyes to make white. Pigments are powders used to dye or color materials. Common pigments include products like paint or colored chalk. Dyes are used to saturate liquids and color materials like fabric.

To make white pigment, combine complementary yellow and blue pigments until you achieve the desired neutral tone. Start with equal amounts and adjust the ratios as needed.

For white dye, you can mix equal parts yellow and blue dye together. Or combine dye solutions of the three primary colors – red, yellow and blue – to make a neutral white or gray dye.

Complementary pigments and dyes balance out their saturation when blended to allow the white of the material underneath to show through.

Mixing Light Colors

When working with light instead of physical pigments, the same principle applies – combining complementary colors produces white light. In lighting or on a computer screen, colored lights blend together.

Overlapping beams of yellow and blue light will mix to produce white. Stage lighting technicians use this to create different colors by overlapping filtered lights. On a computer screen, combining yellow and blue light pixels results in white displayed on the screen.

Primary colored stage gels or computer monitor pixels blended together make white by overlapping the spectrum of visible colored light into a complete beam. This allows the eye to perceive the combination as a neutral white.

Everyday Examples

We can observe the mixing of yellow and blue to make white in some common everyday situations:

– Yellow Post-it notes against a blue background appear white from a distance as the colors mix optically.

– A yellow banana on a blue plate combines to look more neutral and white.

– Morning daylight (with blue undertones) mixed with afternoon sunlight (with yellow undertones) creates a bright neutral white light together.

– A yellow lemon slice in a blue cocktail blends the complementary colors to look more pale.

Mixing Techniques

No matter what type of colors you are working with, the key techniques to successfully mix yellow and blue to achieve white include:

– Starting with equal amounts of vivid yellow and deep blue colors. Pure, saturated shades work best.

– Thoroughly blending the two colors together. Mix them until there is an even consistency with no streaks.

– Paying attention to the proportions as you mix. Add more yellow for warmth, more blue for coolness.

– Adjusting the ratios gradually. Add small amounts of each color and mix again to fine tune the white tone.

– Mixing cleanly to prevent muddiness or dullness from too much blending. Use a fresh mixing surface.

– Allowing colors to dry fully to see the true mixed color accurately. Some blends look different wet vs. dry.

Finding the Right Yellow and Blue Shades

Achieving the perfect clean white comes down to choosing the right shades of yellow and blue to mix. Here are some recommended color pairs:

– Lemon or canary yellow + ultramarine blue

– Yellow oxide + Prussian blue

– Cadmium yellow + cobalt blue

– Hansa yellow + cerulean blue

– Chrome yellow + phthalo blue

Avoid choosing muted or olive yellows, which may dirt the white. Pick soft muted blues over too intense royal or electric blues, or the white can look slightly purplish. Testing out sample swatches first helps pick the best shades.

Pro Tips

– Add a couple drops of white paint to the mix to brighten it up further. Titanium white works well.

– Mix the yellow and blue on a white surface to better see the true neutral white tone.

– Use soft brushes and avoid over-blending so the white doesn’t get dull.

– Mix more than you need and discard unused mixed white paint, as it can turn gray over time.

– For fabric dyeing, use equal amounts of turmeric powder (yellow) and blueberries (blue) boiled together to naturally dye cloth white.


Mixing the complementary colors yellow and blue makes white because together they create a balanced, neutral tone. The key is choosing vibrant versions of yellow and blue, mixing them thoroughly in equal amounts, and adjusting the ratios to achieve a clean, bright white. With the right shades and techniques, you can successfully mix yellow and blue paint, pigments, dyes, or light to produce a pure white color.