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What colors make cherry red?

What colors make cherry red?

Cherry red is a bold, rich shade of red that evokes the bright color of ripe cherries. It’s an eye-catching hue that stands out in everything from fashion to interior design. But what colors actually combine to make that signature cherry red tone? Let’s take a closer look at the color theory behind this vibrant shade.

The basics of color mixing

In art and design, secondary colors are made by mixing pairs of primary colors. The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. When you mix two primary colors, you get the following secondary colors:

Red + Yellow Orange
Yellow + Blue Green
Blue + Red Purple

Tertiary colors are made by mixing a primary color with a secondary color adjacent to it on the color wheel. For example:

Red + Orange Red-Orange
Yellow + Green Yellow-Green
Blue + Purple Blue-Purple

So to make a cherry red, we need to mix red with small amounts of adjacent tertiary colors.

How to mix cherry red

Cherry red sits between the primary color red and the tertiary color red-orange on the color wheel. So to mix it, we need:

– A strong red base
– A touch of orange to warm it up
– A hint of purple to add depth

Here are two classic cherry red mixes:

95% red 4% orange 1% purple
92% red 6% orange 2% purple

As you can see, the main color is red, with orange to give it vibrancy and purple for subtle richness. Adjusting the exact percentages gives different shades, from bright cherry to deep wine red.

Matching cherry red shades

Rather than mixing custom colors, you can also match existing cherry red paint swatches and pigments. Here are some options:

Crayola Red-Orange
Pantone Bright Red U
Sherwin-Williams Fireweed
Benjamin Moore Caliente AF-15
Behr Flirt Alert

These specific shades have been premixed to achieve a cherry red tone. Swatch books and online color finders can help you track down the exact mix you want.

Using complimentary colors

Complementary colors are located directly across from each other on the color wheel. Red’s complement is green. Adding a touch of green to a red base is another way to mix an appetizing cherry shade.

Green is cooler and more subdued than orange. So smaller amounts are needed to achieve a cherry hue without getting too brown. Here’s an example complementary cherry blend:

97% red 2% green 1% blue

This creates a cherry red with a bluish tint. Adjust the percentage of green to control the warmth.

Effects of different materials

The base colors you mix will interact differently depending on the paint, dye, pigment, or medium you use.

Oil and acrylic paint colors tend to stay true when mixed. But watercolor or fabric dye mixing produces more muted tones.

Here are some examples:

Oil paint Vibrant, true cherry red
Acrylic paint Bold, intense cherry red
Fabric dye Muted cherry red
Watercolor Pastel cherry red

Test your colors before committing to a full project, as the end result may shift lighter or darker.

Adjusting tint, tone, and shade

Changing the tint, tone, or shade of the base cherry red mix also alters the look. Here’s how:

Tint – Add white to lighten and soften the shade. A cherry red tint feels pinkish.

Tone – Add gray to create a more muted, earthy tone. The lively cherry vibrancy dulls.

Shade – Add black to make a richer, deeper shade. This can create a bold burgundy.

Keep these effects in mind when fine-tuning your cherry red mixture. Adding white, gray, or black profoundly impacts the finished color.

Best uses for cherry red

Now that you know how to mix and match cherry reds, here are some fun ways to use this fetching hue:

Fashion – Cherry red is a staple shade for dresses, skirts, blazers, and accessories. It flatters most skin tones. Pair it with neutrals or black for drama.

Home decor – Use cherry red in moderation on accent walls, throw pillows, lampshades, and kitchenware like mixers or blenders.

Special events – It’s the perfect color for party decor, invitations, gift wrap, and treats for Valentine’s Day, graduations, weddings, and more.

Transportation – Give your car, bicycle, or boat a shiny new cherry red paint job. It’s sporty and eye-catching on vehicles.

Branding – In corporate branding, cherry red conveys energy, cheerfulness, determination, creativity, and approachability.

With so many great applications, cherry red is truly a sensational stand-out shade.

Achieving the right cherry red

Cherry red is one of those colors that you know when you see it. Finding just the right balance involves:

– A strong red base for richness
– A splash of orange and/or green to add lively warmth
– Careful tweaking of the color percentages
– Testing on your actual materials/medium
– Adjusting the tint, tone, or shade as needed

It’s helpful to have an actual cherry in front of you for reference as you mix and match. Study the way the rich red exterior graduates to the lighter pink interior. This reveals all the nuances that give this fruit (and color) its succulent, mouthwatering appeal.

When you nail that ideal cherry red hue, it will look fresh-picked for any project. Have fun mixing up this juicy shade!


Cherry red is one of the most appetizing, inviting shades. It combines a strong red base with hints of orange, purple, or green to achieve that signature cherry vibrancy. Mixing the color requires carefully adjusting the percentages of the different components based on your materials and the exact tone desired. But the end result is worth it, as cherry red adds energy and flair to fashion, decor, events, branding, and more. Paint your world with this luscious color and get ready to savor the sweet, bold vibes it creates.