How to Make Yellow Paint? – What Two Colors Need It?

Thousands of people don’t believe that it’s possible to make a primary color. But if we think beyond traditional color mixing theory, there is a term ‘subtractive color mixing’ which allows you to make yellow paint (yes, a primary color!).

How to Make Yellow Paint? – What Colors Make Yellow?

Sounds complicated? We’ll take care of this. Here’s what you’ll get to know about from this article:

  • Colors that make yellow
  • Ways of making several yellow shades
  • How to make bright yellow paint
  • Making dark yellow paint
  • How you can make light yellow paint
  • The ways you can make yellow cooler and mute
  • And, a lot of fun facts!

Ready to dive deep? Let’s get started!

What Two Colors Make Yellow?

The answer to ‘what colors make yellow?’ is red & green.

What Two Colors Make Yellow?

So, how to possibly make a primary color? To understand it, you need to think beyond the traditional color mixing theory. What the basic color mixing theory says is that you can’t blend other colors and get a primary color.

But if you think from the subtractive color mixing theory which subtracts wavelengths from white, you can make yellow. However, you still need one primary color to make yellow.

Let me explain. If you combine red and green together, you’ll get yellow. How does it work?

When you mix red and green, the colors’ incompatible aspects balance each other. Eventually, they draw out the remaining shared yellow aspects. This is how you can end up making yellow paint.

Not only this, but you can also make customized shades of vivid, dramatic, and pale yellows.

How Can You Make Different Yellow Shades?

Trust me, you will love to play with colors and make them different and exciting yellow shades.

For all these, you have to mix an intensifier and an additional color to yellow. Here’s what you’ll get once you mix the colors with yellow.
IntensifierAdditional ColorResult
RedOrangeMustard Yellow
OrangeCadmium Yellow
GrayFlaxen Yellow
WhiteBanana Yellow
BlueLemon Yellow
(Chart: Different Yellow Shades)

See how many custom shades of yellow you can get easily! To draw gold jewelry, you can simply add black and red to yellow and you’ll love the outcome. Similarly, adding red to orange will give you mustard yellow paint. See? Not complicated at all!

However, one thing to add, most people don’t like to add black to yellow because black may rob yellow of its splendor and make it really dull. Still, there are other ways to darken yellow, pin it for later.

Other than these, you can make other exciting shades of yellow as well. Making cadmium yellow is as simple as just adding orange to yellow. Or, if you want to get flaxen yellow, mix gray with yellow, that’s all.

Painters often need to make customized shades. No matter what you’re going to paint, there are always ways to make different and desired yellow shades.

How to Make Bright Yellow Paint

Bright Yellow Paint

The simplest formula for making bright yellow paint is to mix yellow and bright green together.

Now, if you ask how to make yellow warmer? The answer is, combine a warm color with a warm yellow shade. Cadmium yellow will work here as a warm yellow base. Then, you can add warm red shades to this base and get a warm yellow color.

Also, mixing burnt sienna and scarlet will give you a warm yellow shade as well.

If you want to create a fiery yellow color, there’s also an easy formula- mix cadmium yellow and scarlet. Mix them gently, add small amounts of scarlet to the cadmium yellow gradually, and you should end up having a perfect fiery yellow color.

Another confusion you may also have, how to tone down bright yellow paint?

Since bright yellow is the combination of bright green and yellow, you need to use the complementary color of green to tone down the bright yellow. So, mix red (complementary color of green) with yellow and paint over the original bright yellow coat.

How to Make Dark Yellow Paint

Now, pondering another frequently asked question, how to darken yellow paint?

Dark Yellow Paint

The key to darken any color is to add its complement colors. You can use black, green or purple for the job. If you can’t figure out which shade you should use then play around with the shades somewhere else before you start painting.

Moreover, you can simply mix multiple yellow shades together. For instance, you want to darken cadmium yellow light paint. What you can do is mix cadmium yellow medium paint with light paint.

This will not dilute the tone of your paint and will add some depth and nuance to the shade perfectly.

Now, we would like to add a relevant part here, how not to darken yellow paint. There are some things you must know before darkening yellow paint.

As we said before, adding black to yellow for darkening purposes isn’t the best option because it may give you a grayish or muddy color instead of a dark yellow color.

So, here are some color recommendations if you want to darken yellow without using black:

  • Gold
  • Orange
  • Green
  • Red
  • Purple
  • Brown

If you’re not experienced working with paint, it’s worth mentioning that the paint can look a bit darker (beyond your expectation) when it’s dry. To avoid this, firstly, paint only a small area with yellow paint.

After that, wait for it to dry completely before you proceed with evaluating the shade.

What If You Want to Make Yellow Paint Lighter?

The most popular and simplest way to make lighter yellow paint is to combine white with yellow.

But hence, the white may disappoint you because it will mute the yellow a little bit. Also, it may reduce the sparkling brightness of the yellow. Using grey instead of white will work the same as white here.

Grey will make the yellow lighter without making the final yellow-brown. But the brightness of the yellow will be no more.

If you want the brightness and liveliness of the yellow and want to make it light at the same time, then you can use a cool green shade (e.g lime green). Through this method, you don’t have to worry about losing the brightness of the existing yellow.

Can You Make a Yellow Cooler?

Yes, why not! But for this, you have to do a couple of things. First thing first, you’ll need a cool yellow shade, something like cadmium yellow light. Then, add a cool blue shade.

If the base of yellow you’ve chosen is warm, then it has a bit of red. What the red will do here is, will mix with the yellow and blue and create a bit of brown shade. Make sure you add blue very slowly and gently. It will help you to get a yellowish greener shade.

Cobalt Teal Blue and turquoise are almost similar color shades. Both are cool and very light shades of blue. Hence, cobalt blue has a strong bias towards green which makes it a great option to mix a cooler yellow.

When you mix these two cool shades of blue, you’ll get a lively and vivid cool yellow color. But remember, the more blue you add, the more green the final color will be.

If you want to make a vivid cool yellow that’s a bit less bright, then mix cadmium yellow light and cobalt blue.

Related Topic: Magenta Acrylic Paint Making Guide.

How to Make Yellow Muted

So, here’s a listing that might help you when you need to mute too much vibrant yellow color. Undoubtedly, a vibrant yellow color is a wonderful creation but sometimes it may be overwhelming. So, if you need more muted yellow shades, use:

How to Make Yellow Muted
  • Violet purple
  • Burnt sienna
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Or grey

Parting Words

Now, you know the exciting ways to make tons of shades of yellow paint. I’m sure you’re whispering ‘it’s an easy-peasy task to make yellow paint’ (chuckle). So, overall, this was today’s discussion, we hope you’ve enjoyed it.

Try to go through some trials before you actually start painting. It will help you to avoid any mistakes while working on the desired process. It’s also a great practice to jot down the color ratios while playing with different color shades.

Good luck with your project!

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