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What colors blend purple?

What colors blend purple?

Purple is a secondary color that is created by mixing red and blue. There are several different ways to blend colors to create different shades and tints of purple. The specific colors that are blended will determine the hue and intensity of the final purple color. In this article, we’ll explore the primary colors that can be combined to create purple shades.

Combining Red and Blue

The most common way to make purple is by mixing red and blue. Red and blue are primary colors, meaning they cannot be created by mixing other colors. When blended together, these two primary colors produce purple.

The exact shade of purple will depend on the ratio of red to blue used. Using more red will create a red-purple, while using more blue will make a blue-purple. Equal parts red and blue will produce a pure, vivid purple.

On the RGB color wheel, purple falls between red and blue. By increasing one primary color over the other, different purple hues can be made:

More Red Red-Purple
Equal Parts Pure Purple
More Blue Blue-Purple

For example, combining a bright red and bright blue will make a bright purple. Mixing a darker blue with a lighter red will create a more muted, dusty purple. The possibilities are endless!

Combining Primary and Secondary Colors

While red and blue make the standard purple, other color combinations can produce purple as well. Mixing a primary color with a secondary color adjacent to purple on the color wheel is another way to achieve a purple color.

The secondary colors adjacent to purple are red-orange and blue-violet. Mixing one of these with a primary color can make a version of purple.

Some examples:

– Red + Blue-violet = Purple
– Blue + Red-orange = Purple

Adding more of the secondary color will skew the purple toward that hue. The red-orange will make a warmer, pinkish purple, while more blue-violet will create a cooler, blue-leaning purple.

Tertiary Color Mixing

Tertiary colors are made by combining a primary and secondary color. These colors can also be blended with primaries to create different purple hues.

Some tertiary mix options include:

– Red-violet + Blue = Purple
– Blue-violet + Red = Purple
– Red + Blue-violet = Purple

Red-violet contains red and purple. Adding more blue will neutralize the redness. Blue-violet has blue and purple. Mixing in more red will offset the blue tones.

Using complementary tertiary colors is a great way to neutralize and create a nice, balanced purple. The more tertiary color added, the more muted and grayed the purple will become.

Mixing Analogous Colors

Analogous colors sit directly next to each other on the color wheel. Blending analogous colors together creates pleasant, harmonious color combinations.

The analogous colors on either side of purple are red-violet and blue-violet. Mixing these together will make a subtle, blended purple.

Red-Violet Purple Blue-Violet

Adding more of one analogous color will shift the purple slightly towards red or blue tones. Keeping the ratios balanced makes a soothing, natural purple.

Using Tints and Shades

Once a base purple hue is created, tints and shades can modify the color further. A tint is a purple lightened with white. This makes soft, delicate purples.

A shade is a purple darkened with black. Shades produce deep, rich purple colors.

Adding white and black to a purple in different proportions creates a spectrum of light, medium, and dark purple shades and tints.

For example:

Light Purple Medium Purple Dark Purple
25% white Pure Purple 25% black

Using black and white is a simple way to achieve a wide range of purple shades from any hand-mixed base purple color.

Blending with Paint Colors

When working with paints, blending colors to form purple works the same way as mixing light. The primary paint colors are red, yellow, and blue. Combining red and blue paint makes purple.

The amount of each color used still affects the purple hue:

– More red = redder purple
– More blue = bluer purple
– Equal parts = vivid purple

White paint lightens the purple into tints. Black paint darkens into shades. Levels in between make purple tones.

Some examples of paint colors that can mix purples:

Alizarin Crimson Phthalo Blue
Cadmium Red Ultramarine Blue
Quinacridone Magenta Primary Cyan

Any red or blue paint pigment will blend a purple. Experiment with different pigment combinations to get the perfect purple paint color.

Mixing Dyes and Inks

Purple can also be created by mixing dyes and inks. With dyes and inks, the primary colors are cyan, magenta, and yellow. These are the opposite of paint pigments.

To make purple with dyes:

– Mix magenta + blue
– Cyan + red will also make purple

The proportions will change the purple shade as before. More magenta makes a pinker purple, while more blue makes a colder, blue-toned purple.

Adding the third primary dye color can modify the color further:

– Magenta + blue + yellow = warmer, softened purple
– Cyan + magenta + yellow = greener, desaturated purple

Controlling the dye ratios creates an endless variety of purple colors and shades. Using complementary dye colors together produces rich, vivid purples.

Making Purple with Food Coloring

Food coloring provides an easy way to blend custom purple colors. The standard primary food colorings are red, yellow, and blue.

To achieve purple:

– Mix red + blue food coloring
– Use more red for reddish purples
– Use more blue for bluish purples
– Equal parts makes bright purple

Adding a small amount of yellow will create a warmer, more red-violet purple tone. The yellow offsets the blue shades.

Varying the number of drops of each color provides creative control over the final purple result. For a pure purple, combine 4-5 drops red and 4-5 drops blue food coloring.

Electronic Color Mixing

On digital devices, purple can be made by mixing RGB (red, green, blue) color values.

The RGB values that create purple are:

– Red: 102-153
– Green: 0-51
– Blue: 102-153

By increasing the red and/or blue values, while keeping the green value low, any imaginable purple can be displayed on a digital screen.

Common purple RGB values include:

Purple RGB Code Purple Color
128, 0, 128 Vivid Purple
148, 0, 211 Bright Purple
75, 0, 130 Dark Purple

Digital artists can use RGB sliders to select purples for designs and illustrations. Photo editors can also adjust image colors to purple shades using RGB filters.

Textile Dyeing and Tie-Dye

To dye fabric purple, fiber reactive dyes are commonly used. These dyes bond permanently to natural fibers like cotton, linen, and silk.

Basic mixing rules apply:

– Red + blue dyes = purple
– More red = warmer purple
– More blue = cooler purple

But the dyeing process allows for blending multiple colors for unique effects.

In tie-dye, folding and bunching fabric creates patterns by controlling dye flow. Applying red, then blue dye to crumpled fabric lets the colors merge randomly into purple shades.

With ice dyeing, ice is placed on the spread out fabric before applying dyes. As the ice melts, the dyes blend softly into purples.

Using resist patterns like stitching or shapes, a design can be created with purple and white un-dyed areas.

There are endless ways to use fabric dyes to create original purple dyed textiles.

Natural Dye Extracts

Purple can also be produced naturally from plant materials and minerals using low impact natural dye techniques.

Some natural purple dye sources are:

Purple Cabbage Elderberries
Beets Purple Basil
Blueberries Purple Carrots
Hibiscus Mangosteen Skin
Purple Grapes Purple Sweet Potatoes

The plant material is simmered in water to extract the colorful compounds. Modifiers like vinegar or iron can shift the color, creating an array of purple shades.

It takes experimentation to achieve the perfect hue, but natural dyes produce subtly beautiful, eco-friendly purples.


Purple is a secondary color with many facets. By manipulating primary colors and their mixtures, endless purple possibilities arise. Changes in color proportions, lightness and darkness, and color mixing techniques alter the final purple color produced.

Red and blue are the standard mix, but adding secondary colors like red-orange and blue-violet can expand the purple palette. Tertiary mixes, adjacent colors, tints, and shades all provide nuance.

Painting, dyeing, and digital coloring likewise blend purple through ratios of primaries. Control of the fundamentals in each medium gives creative flexibility.

Understanding the basics of color theory allows you to mix and fine-tune beautiful purples. So grab some red, grab some blue, and get blending!