What Colors Make Black

What Colors Make Black? – Directions on How to Make Black Paint

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Black paint is a very common color used by many prominent artists. However, many do not have black paint and rather choose to blend their own. This is because black paint in a tube is only one shade of black, and some artists may want to have a black that leans more toward one or another color. Mixing black paint will give you a far better and more vibrant color than you can find in any tube of black paint.



What Is Color?

The scientific definition of color is “an expression of light”, as some materials will reflect and absorb wavelengths of visible light, which in turn results in the eye seeing a certain color. A blue object, for instance, disperses and reflects blue light to our eyes while absorbing all the other wavelengths of light so that we see only the color of blue.

When almost all light is reflected, our eyes will see white, and similarly, when no light is reflected in our eyes, we will see black.

So, are white and black colors? Any scientist will say black is not a color, and white is a color. On the other hand, if you ask an artist or a child the same question, they will say that black is a color, but white is not. So, how do we understand the difference?

The scientist sees color as light generated by forming the primary colors green, blue and red. When viewing your television screen, you can see black and white, which is created by light, so black is the absence of light. So, we can then conclude that black is not a color. Similarly, white is a blend of all the colors and appears white, like sunlight. Thus, we can say that white is a color.  

How to Make Black Paint

However, artists see colors as pigments or coloring agents, and white and black are considered more as values than as colors. A value refers to how dark or light a particular color is. White is, therefore, the lightest in value, while black is seen as the darkest. However, in color theory, some artists may consider black a color and white not.

So, what colors make black paint? When you mix equal amounts of the primary colors red, yellow, and blue, you will end up with a shade of black. Similarly, in the printing field, the three colors magenta, yellow, and cyan will give you black.

But what two colors make black paint?  Black paint can be made by mixing two complementary colors like orange and blue, green and red, or purple and yellow.



What Colors Make Black Paint?

Colors that make black include mixing equal amounts of the three primary colors blue, red and yellow, which will give you a nice shade of black. You should be careful not to use a lighter blue or red, as you will then end up creating more of a brown color.

For this exercise, we will be using ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, and yellow ochre. When creating a softer black, you can also use cobalt blue, aureolin yellow, and rose madder red. When it comes to bolder colors try Winsor yellow, Winsor blue, and alizarin red. 

When you mix your paints, you can use acrylic paints, oil paints, or watercolors.

Squeeze equal small amounts of each color onto your palette, making sure that they are spaced about one and a half centimeters apart – this is to avoid the paints running into each other. To make different shades of black, you can use a bit more of one or two of each original color. If you do not keep records of how you made each color, it is very unlikely that you will be able to reproduce the exact shade of black when mixing a second batch.

Colors That Make Black

You can choose to use a paintbrush or a palette knife to blend the paint.

When using a paintbrush for the color mixing, make sure that you have a different brush for each of the colors to avoid mixing too much of each color. When mixing the paint using a paintbrush, swirl the brush gently around and do not push down too hard, as you may damage the bristles.

Now, you can adjust the paint to the black shade you want by adding a small amount of white paint. You can also create a lighter black by adding small amounts of blue for something like a black night sky. By adding a small amount of green or brown, you can create a black color for trees at night, or, to reflect the sun shining off a metal object, you can add a small amount of yellow.  


What Two Colors Make Black Paint?

How do you make black paint by using only one secondary color and one primary color? The paint colors that occupy opposite positions on the color wheel, when mixed, will create a black color. This means that when the opposite colors are mixed, they are inclined to cancel out the color properties of the opposing color. For example:

  • Naphthol red mixed with phthalo green will give you black. 
  • Cobalt blue mixed with translucent orange will give you a vibrant black, or Prussian blue mixed with burnt umber brown will give you a very dark black that can be used for night scenes.
  • Mixing purple with yellow will give you black, but we recommend that you mix 40 percent yellow with 60 percent purple to give you the best black. 

When you consider the color wheel, you will see that there are many more color combinations for creating black when mixing secondary and primary colors. You only need to experiment to find the right color black that will suit your project.

How Do You Make Black



Color Coding for the Color Black

The color black does not just consist of one tone – there are numerous shades of the color black. These are all represented and identified by using a hex code and an RGB (red, green, blue) code. The RGB Code indicates how much of the colors red, green, and blue are included in a particular color. Each component carries a number from zero to its maximum value of 255.

This means that if all the components values are zero, then the color is black, and if all the components values are at their maximum of 255, then the color is white.

The CMYK color code is used in the printing industry and describes the printing process. The code refers to the printing ink colors, namely cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, referred to as CMYK. Below are a few black colors with their Hex and RGB codes.


Type of BlackBlack ShadeHex CodeRGB CodeCMYK Code
Asphalt #0C040412,4,40, 67, 67, 95
Black #0000000,0,00, 0, 0, 100
Charcoal #36454F32,13,032, 13, 0, 69
Ebony #555D5085,93,809, 0, 14, 64
Eerie Black #1B1B1B27,27,270, 0, 0, 89
Jet Black #34343452,52,520, 0, 0, 80
Licorice #1A111026,17,160, 35, 38, 90
Midnight Black #2B1B1743,27,230, 37, 47, 83
Night Black #0C090A12,9,100, 25, 17, 95
Onyx #35383953,56,577, 2, 0, 78
Raisin Black #24212436,33,360, 8, 0, 86
Smoky Black #100C0816,12,80, 25, 50, 94



How to Make Black Paint

To create different effects, you can blend the color black to make it darker or lighter and warmer or cooler. This helps to highlight areas or create darker shadows. Changing the temperature of a color can add more dimension and is especially useful for painting landscapes. 

How to Make Black


Creating a Dark Black Color for Painting

You may want to use a darker shade of black in your painting. So, how do you make black and what are the colors that make a dark black shade? The most common mixture is ultramarine blue and burnt umber, which when mixed, will give you the very dark shade of black you need.

Another alternative to creating a dark shade of black is to mix any color green with red. For a dark black shade, you need to mix phthalo green with alizarin crimson, as both of these colors have dark hues and will create a rich, deep black color.

However, you need to make sure that you mix equal amounts of both colors to create that deep, dark black color.  

This mixture does not only create a dark black shade, but also creates a cool shade of black. If you experiment, you will also find that when you combine yellow with this mixture, you can create a greenish-black or dark shade of green.


Creating a Light Black Color

If you want to create a lighter shade of black, you will need to mix ultramarine blue with burnt sienna. Since burnt sienna has a reddish earth tone, it not only creates a light black shade but also gives you a warmer shade of black.

This is a direct contrast to the mixture from above, where ultramarine blue was mixed with burnt umber, creating a darker and cooler color black.

Another alternative for a light shade of black is to mix blue with orange. If you want the best combination, then you need to mix phthalo blue with pyrrole orange to give you a lighter black. Both of these colors have very strong shades, and when mixed, they will neutralize each other and create the light black you want. 

How Do You Make Black Paint


Creating Warmer and Cooler Shades of Black

You can create cooler shades of black that tend to lean towards shades of blue. There are also warmer shades of black, and these tend to lean more towards shades of red. This is the joy and beauty of mixing your very own colors – you can control what shades of black you want.


Mixing Cooler Shades of Black

You can experiment in creating a cool shade of black by mixing ultramarine blue, dioxazine purple, and phthalo green. You will be able to control the shade of black you want by adding a small amount of each color, which will make it slightly cooler. You can also add more of each color to adjust the shade accordingly. Once you have mixed the paint, you need to test it out on a piece of white paper or canvas to see if it is the shade of black you want. 

Remember, the darker the black, or the more color that has been mixed in, the more difficult it is to detect the color temperature. 


Mixing Warmer Shades of Black

Warmer shades of black are perfect for using as a foreground to your painting, as the warm colors tend to bring things forward. To create a warmer black shade, you have a few options available. The best option is to mix alizarin crimson with your black, as this color has a dark hue. If you need to have a warmer black, then you can rather mix in quinacridone red, which will give you a warmer black hue. The third option is to mix cadmium orange, which is much lighter than the quinacridone red or alizarin crimson. This will create a much warmer shade of black, but the black color will be slightly lighter. 

What Are the Colors That Make Black



How to Create Shades of Black Using Watercolors

We all know that mixing the three primary colors in equal portions will give you black. When mixing paint to create black, you should take one warm and one cool of the three primary colors to create a strong and pure black color. The problem, however, lies in using the correct amounts of each color, as this will produce color variations.  


Using Primary Colors to Make Black Watercolor Paint

The three primary colors are an ideal choice for making black, but the type of black will depend on the colors used. This means that changing any of the three colors slightly, like using a deeper blue or red, will give you a different color black. 

When mixing watercolors, the easiest way to make black is to first mix two of the primary colors. For example, you can mix yellow with red, which will give you orange, after which you can add your blue. Alternatively, you can mix blue and yellow, which will give you green, and then add your red. You can also mix red and blue, giving you purple, and then add your yellow.

When it comes to watercolors, keep your mixture as diluted as possible, otherwise, you will end up with a very weak purple, gray, or brown.

Here is an example when combining different types of primary colors: Combine equal amounts of lemon yellow with scarlet red and you will come out with orange. Now, add ultramarine blue, and you will get black with a brown bias. Continue adding small amounts of blue until you are satisfied with the shade of black you have achieved. Looking for a warmer shade of black? Simply change the lemon yellow to cadmium yellow.

Next, you can try mixing yellow with blue to give you green and then add red. Or, you could mix the red with the blue and make purple, and then add yellow to make a neutral black color. As you can see, it is amazing how many different shades of black you can create by just changing some of the colors slightly.

How Do You Make Black With Watercolors


Using Two Colors to Make Black Watercolor Paint

You can also use just two colors to create your black hue, like orange and blue, green and red, or purple and yellow. For example, take cadmium orange and add ultramarine blue or viridian green, or use alizarin crimson or mauve with Hansa yellow.

Another alternative is to mix blue and brown together, which seems to be a perfect choice as you can take any variety of blue or brown and will always come out with black color. The best selection is to take raw umber and mix it with indanthrone blue, which can give you a warm or a cool black. You need to take care not to add too much water with the mix, or else you will end up with a gray color.

By varying the amounts of blue or brown, you will be able to create warmer or cooler shades of black.

If you follow the guidelines correctly, according to color theory, the above mixes should give you black color, as they all contain the three primary colors. However, this is not always the case, as you will often find yourself ending up with browns, greens, or reds instead of black. 

The best way to solve this problem is to take note of the colors you are using. For example, when you end up with green after mixing orange and blue, then you know that you need to add some more red. Similarly, if you end up with brown, you have to add more blue paint. This is why using all three primary colors is preferred, as you will always end up with black. 

How to Make Black Shades



Frequently Asked Questions


How to Make Black Paint?

You can simply go to the store and purchase black paint. Colors that make black can also be found at home. You can combine a whole range of different colors, like green or blue as your base, or mix all the primary colors. 


Is It Possible to Turn a Black Color to White? 

You can always add some white to the black and you will create a light gray, but you can never turn a black color white.


What Primary Colors Make Black Paint?

Mix red and blue together to create a purple color, and then just add a little brown or dark gray (with a yellow base). For the best results, mix a night blue with a burgundy red. Thus, combining all three primary colors will give you black.


Can You Make Black Paint From Green Paint?

Yes, all you need to do is take your green paint and mix it with some red. You should then result with black. Remember, if you do this, you can never make a true black color.


How Can You Turn Gray Paint Into Black Paint?

You can add some black paint to the gray, which should give you a shade of black paint. However, for the best result, mix some red, blue, and yellow paint in a separate container, which will make a bold black. You can then add this mixture to your gray paint, and you will have solid black paint.


What Two Colors Make Black Paint?

There are different ways to make black paint, but when it comes to using only two colors that make black, you can take a dark green like phthalo green and mix it with a red like alizarin crimson. Alternatively, you can take a blue color like ultramarine blue and mix it with a color like cadmium orange.


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