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What colors do you mix to get navy blue?

What colors do you mix to get navy blue?

Navy blue is a very popular color that has been used in fashion, design, uniforms, and more for decades. But unlike primary colors, navy blue is not found on the color wheel. To get this deep, rich blue hue you need to mix a few different paint colors together. Learning the basics of color theory and knowing which colors to mix will help you easily recreate this versatile color.

The Basics of Mixing Colors

Mixing colors is based on basic color theory. The primary colors are red, blue and yellow. These are the 3 pigment colors that can not be created by mixing other colors. Secondary colors are created by mixing two primary colors together. For example, mixing red and blue makes purple. Tertiary colors are created by mixing a primary and secondary color. Navy blue is a tertiary color.

The easiest way to visualize color mixing is by looking at a color wheel. The color wheel displays the primary, secondary and tertiary colors and how they relate to each other. Complementary colors are located opposite each other on the wheel. These color combinations create a very high contrast. Analogous colors are located next to each other and create color harmony.

When mixing paints, adding more of one color will change the hue towards that color. White will lighten the color and black will darken it. The more white you add, the tinted the color becomes. Adding black creates a shade of the color. Neutral grays are created by mixing complementary colors. Understanding these color relationships is key to mixing the perfect navy blue.

Mixing Navy Blue with Paint

Navy blue sits between ultramarine blue and cobalt blue on the color wheel. This means the easiest way to mix this color is by blending these two blue paint colors. Here is a simple navy blue paint recipe:

Ultramarine Blue 2 parts
Cobalt Blue 1 part

Start with a base of ultramarine blue, which leans towards purple. Add in less cobalt blue, which leans green. Combining these two blue shades results in a rich navy blue.

You can use either acrylic or oil paints to mix this color. Make sure to thoroughly mix the two shades together. Acrylics will dry a slightly darker shade than when wet. Oils will take longer to mix and dry but provide richer blending.

Here are some more variations you can try:

– Add a small amount of black paint to darken the navy blue. Use no more than 1 part black to 5 parts blue.

– Mix in a very small amount of purple paint to give the navy a red-violet undertone.

– Add white paint to lighten the blue to a pale navy. Start with a 5:1 ratio of blue to white.

– Mix in raw umber or burnt umber paint to give navy a greyed down look.

Mixing Navy Blue with Dye

Dyeing fabrics navy blue requires mixing dyes rather than paints. Both liquid dyes and powder dyes work for mixing this color.

Here is a simple navy blue dye recipe:

Navy Blue Dye 2 packets or 2 tsp
Royal Blue Dye 1 packet or 1 tsp

Combine 2 parts navy blue dye with 1 part royal blue dye in very hot water. You can use any brand of navy and royal blue dyes. Make sure the fabrics or yarns are wet before submerging them in the mixed dye bath. For a darker navy, add another packet of navy blue dye. For a lighter navy, cut the dyes back by half.

Navy blue fabric dye will give you an intense, saturated color. Mixing the dyes yourself allows you to customize the perfect navy blue hue.

Mixing Navy Blue with Food Coloring

Navy blue food coloring is perfect for coloring frostings, cake batters, candy, and more. Here is a simple recipe:

Blue Food Coloring 5 drops
Purple Food Coloring 3 drops

Mix 5 drops of blue food coloring with 3 drops of purple food coloring. You can use gel or liquid food coloring. Make sure to count the drops carefully for accurate color mixing.

For a darker navy, add 1-2 more drops of blue food coloring. For a lighter shade, reduce the food coloring by 1-2 drops of each color.

Food coloring mixes differently than paint or dye. The navy blue may turn out slightly more purple than expected. You can offset this by adding a toothpick tip amount of black coloring. Black adds depth and neutralizes the purple tone.

Mixing Navy Blue with Makeup

Cosmetic makeup allows you to mix custom navy blue shades for eyeshadows, eyeliners, lipsticks and more.

Here is a simple navy blue makeup recipe:

Navy Eyeshadow 2 scoops
Royal Blue Eyeshadow 1 scoop

Combine 2 parts navy eyeshadow with 1 part royal blue eyeshadow. Make sure to crush and blend the eyeshadow thoroughly so there are no streaks. You can use any brand eyeshadows, powders or pigments.

For a darker navy, add a small amount of black shadow. For a lighter navy, add a scoop of white or silver shadow to lighten the color. Navy blue eyeliner can be mixed using the same ratio of navy and royal blue cream eyeliners.

Navy blue makeup allows you to coordinate your eyeshadow with our outfit for a pulled together look. Mixing your own custom shade gives you infinite navy blue options.

Household Items That Make Navy Blue

You may be surprised by some common household items that can be mixed to create a DIY navy blue dye:

– Blueberry juice + purple grape juice
– Blue sports drink + purple electrolyte drink
– Blueberries mashed with purple cabbage
– Frozen blueberries + frozen blackberries

Boil or blend the ingredients first before adding your fabrics. Monitor for color accuracy as household items don’t blend as consistently as commercial dyes. But this eco-friendly way allows you to mix up a navy blue dye with items found in your kitchen.

Pro Tips for Mixing Navy Blue

Here are some helpful tips when mixing your own navy blue:

– Always start with a darker blue base. It’s easier to lighten up blue rather than darken it.

– Add the second color slowly and check the color after each addition.

– Blended colors may dry slightly darker than when wet. Allow paint or dye to dry fully before adjusting the color.

– Crush powdered ingredients together so there are no streaks of color.

– Mix in a glass or plastic container that won’t alter the color.

– Write down custom mixes that work so they can be replicated.


Navy blue is an easy color to mix at home once you understand basic color theory. Combining a deeper blue with a brighter blue produces the perfect navy hue. You can use either paint, dye, food coloring or cosmetics to create custom navy blues. Follow the recommended mixing ratios and make adjustments based on your desired darkness or brightness. With a little practice, you’ll be expertly mixing up gorgeous navy blues.