what colors make purple

If you’re a color enthusiast or a regular artist, you may be quite familiar with purple. This intermediate color between blue and red fascinates us all and it is one of the favorite colors for many artists. The color associated with royalty, magic, mystery, and piety.

One may be using this color every so often in your art, but have you ever wondered what colors make purple?

People may be thinking, you’ve known this answer since schooldays. They can mix blue and red to make purple (after all purple is the intermediate color of the two). However, in this case, you’re wrong! Why you may ask? Let’s explore why you’re wrong and which colors we should combine to make purple.

Mixing Red and Blue Doesn’t Make Purple.

Why mixing red & blue wonGÇÖt give you purpleFrom a very young age, we’ve been taught the basic color theory. It stated that red, blue and yellow are primary colors while green, orange and purple are secondary colors. It taught us that mixing blue and red makes purple. Well, it’s not true. Mixing blue and red will give you a kind of blackish purple, which is not even close to the traditional dark purple.

This phenomenon occurs because common red and blue colors contain tiny yellow pigments. Yellow is a color complement (opposite) of purple, and when we mix together, both colors with de-saturate each other. This is why you’ll get the blackish purple instead of the bright purple.

Making Purple: The Proper Way

Now you may wonder, if red and blue are not the colors that’ll make purple, then what two colors make purple? Well, it’s as simple as it seems.

To make purple, you must have a specific color pallet that contains red that carries a strong bias of blue and no yellow.

There are a few methods that you can use to make a perfectly bright purple. Let’s now look into the methods that you can follow in order to make your own purple color.

Method 1: Mixing blue with magenta

Mixing blue with magentaMagenta is a light mauvish-crimson color, which has a distinctive characteristic. This is, mixing yellow to magenta will create red. What this signifies is that magenta has no yellow pigments. Mixing magenta to blue will create a bright purple color. To get deeper shades, you should use deep blue with magenta. For other shades of purple, you can try mixing magenta with cyan (or any other turquoise color). Keep in mind that different proportions of each color will determine your final shade of purple.

Method 2: Using ‘true’ colors

Using true colorsAs we’ve discussed previously, mixing red and blue doesn’t end up with purple. This was mainly because of the yellow pigments existing in red. If you look closely, you’ll find out that colors contain a lot of other color pigments to ensure the shade and texture. A tube of red may contain yellow and orange pigments, which can affect the end product after mixing.

‘True Colors,’ on the other hand, are of specific color pigment and doesn’t contain any other colors. By using true red and true blue, you’ll be able to get a bright red without having to worry about all the other color pigments destroying the color tone of the purple.

Method 3: Customized purple

Customized purpleThis method is a bit tedious than the other two methods discussed above but will help you to get bright purple without having to worry about finding magenta or cyan.

In this method, you should at first mix red with blue. This will give you a blackish purple color. Add white to this end product to lighten this color. Next, add a little bit of black paint to the purple and white mixture to ensure a proper shade. Be careful not to add extra; it will turn your color into a blackish purple again. Now add a little bit of magenta to turn this color into a pinker purple. We will advise adding magenta slowly so that you can understand the color shift. This will let you get the purple of your favorite shade.


From our childhood, we know that mixing blue and red makes purple. This is a wrong concept. Mixing red and blue will create a blackish purple, which is nowhere near the bright purple that you’ll be expecting. This can make all of us think, what primary colors make purple?

Well, if you’re looking to make purple, you should mix magenta with blue. Magenta is a color that contains no yellow pigments. Other than that, you can try mixing ‘true’ blue and red together. ‘True’ colors do not contain any external color pigments so that it won’t affect the end product (purple). You can also try mixing red, blue, white, black and magenta together to customize the tone and hue of the purple.

All in all, making purple isn’t that hard! You will just have to know what colors to use!


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