Learning how to mix acrylic paints is an extremely fun process that can be mastered through continuous experimentation and practice. Though it may seem a bit daunting at first to mix your own colors, understanding the basics will help you improve your paint blending skills over time.
Aside from knowing the basics, there are also simple tips and tricks you can follow to make mixing acrylics much easier to do. Read our guide below to learn them all!
How to Mix Acrylic Paints
The Basics: Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Colors
It’s very important to understand basic color theory if you want to learn how to mix acrylic paints. Having this in your arsenal of knowledge will help you create any color you need for your painting. This will also save you money as you no longer have to buy individual paint colors.
With that being said, here’s a rundown of what you need to know about color theory:
1. Primary Colors Primary colors are composed of red, yellow, and blue. All colors are derived by mixing these three pigments. When you start combining these colors, you’ll be able to create your secondary colors.
2. Secondary Colors
Secondary colors are composed of green, orange, and purple / violet and are all derived by mixing two primary colors. Here’s how to get your secondary colors:
Red + Yellow = Orange
Yellow + Blue = Green
Blue + Red = Purple / Violet
3. Tertiary Colors
Tertiary colors are formed by mixing a primary color with a secondary color. Here is a list of tertiary colors and how to make them:
Yellow + Orange = Yellow-Orange
Yellow + Green = Yellow-Green
Red + Orange = Red-Orange
Red + Purple / Violet = Red-Purple / Red-Violet
Blue + Purple / Violet = Blue-Purple / Blue-Violet
Blue + Green = Blue-Green
How to Use A Color Wheel
Aside from knowing how to create basic colors, it’s also very important to use a color wheel if you’re just beginning to learn how to mix acrylic paints. The color wheel will show you which colors to combine to get the exact colors you want.
To make a new color based on the color wheel, simply use the two colors adjacent from your color of choice and mix the two together.
Paint Blending Tips & Tricks
Here are some useful hacks you can follow to refine your paint blending techniques: 1. Add white to your paint to lighten your colors and add dimension. Adding white will also help make your paints look more opaque.
2. Conversely, adding black paint will darken your colors. This is also called “shading.” Black is a strong color, so remember to use it sparingly when you are darkening your pigments.
3. Mix all your primary colors together to make brown. Brown can be used to darken other colors and might be a better option than black as black has the tendency to make colors look muddy.
4. You can also create brown or skin tone colors by combining equal amounts of complementary colors together.
5. Add more vibrancy to blue paint by mixing in a small amount of red paint
6. Acrylic paints tend to darken when they dry. Make sure to make your paints a shade lighter than your desired outcome to get the color that you want.
7. After creating a color that you like, compose other versions of it by slightly adding different colors to your paint.
Nothing beats practice if you really want to master mixing acrylics. We suggest you try our tips now and see what you come up with! Remember to save the colors you create by keeping them in air tight containers so you can re-use them again. Happy Painting!