What Color Do Red and Blue Make?

Mixing red and blue creates purple or magenta. Both red and blue are primary colors on the color wheel. Mixing two primary colors creates a secondary color, in this case, purple. The shade of purple varies with the mixing ratio and the undertones of red and blue.

Red and Blue Make

Red and Blue in Painting and Pigments

Red is a warm color used to create shades of pink, orange, and violet. Red pigments are derived from iron oxides and cadmium.

Blue is a cool color that creates shades of green, gray, and purple. Blue pigments in painting come from azurite, lapis lazuli, or synthetic sources like phthalocyanine.

The Resulting Color When Mixing Red and Blue in Paint

Mixing equal portions of red and blue paint produces a vibrant shade of purple. Using red paint with warm, orange undertones gives the mix a reddish-purple (magenta) color. Also, blue paint with cool, green undertones gives off a bluish-purple when combined with red. 

Using pure red and blue paint guarantees a true purple color. When choosing red pigments to use, avoid those with a yellow bias. Warm reds like cadmium red and Winsor red have an orange cast resulting from their yellow bias. Likewise, avoid green paints with a green or yellow bias.

The Impact of Paint Pigments on the Final Hue

The ratios of red and blue pigments determine the final hue. When red and blue are mixed in equal parts, the resulting purple is often a vibrant and intense hue. Vibrant shades of purple create bold and striking compositions.

Using more blue pigment than red results in a deep violet color. But, mixing more red pigment gives the resulting paint a red color bias.

Techniques for Mixing Red and Blue

Tools and Materials:

  • Red paint (permanent rose)
  • Blue paint (Ultramarine blue)
  • Palette knife/paintbrush


  1. Start with equal red and blue paint on your palette or mixing surface.
  2. Mix the two colors thoroughly with a palette knife or a brush.
  3. If the resulting color is too red or blue, adjust the mix by adding more of the opposite color. For example, add a small amount of blue paint if the mixture is too red. Add a small amount of red paint if the mixture is too blue.
  4. Continue mixing and adjusting the colors until you achieve the shade of purple you desire.

The Aesthetics of Mixed Red and Blue

Purple is a rich and bold combination of blue and red. The color is often associated with royalty, luxury, and creativity. By adjusting the ratio of red to blue, you can create a range of purples, from light lavender to deep, dark violet.

The aesthetics of mixed red and blue paint creates a range of shades and tones of purple. Purple shades are popular for high-end fashion and artwork.

Applications in Art and Design

In the traditional RYB color model, purple is a complementary color to yellow. Artists combine complementary colors to create contrast and balance. For example, a painting with yellow flowers against a purple background can be visually striking.

Different shades of purple evoke various moods and emotions. Lighter shades of purple create a calm and soothing atmosphere. They’re suitable for relaxation spaces such as living rooms or yoga studios.

Darker shades can be mysterious and dramatic. They’re essential for creating depth and dimension in artwork or design. Designers also use vibrant purple shades to create imposing garments.

Factors Affecting the Resulting Shade of Purple

  • Proportions of red and blue: More red paint will produce a warmer, reddish-purple color. Using more blue paint produces a cooler, blue-purple (violet) color.
  • Type of paint or medium used: The paint medium, for instance, acrylic, oil, or watercolor, varies in consistency and pigment color.
  • Color temperature of red and blue: Color temperature distinguishes warm red and blue tones from cool ones. While warm colors have a red or yellowish hue, cool colors have a green or bluish hue.
  • Pigment quality and concentration: High-quality pigments produce a more vibrant and consistent color than lower-quality pigments. A high pigment load makes the paint more saturated and vivid.
  • Lighting conditions: The lighting conditions can also affect the perceived color of the resulting purple. Different types of lighting affect the perceived brightness or intensity of the purple.
  • Surface texture and material: Texture affects how a color absorbs and reflects light from the surface. Shiny, glossy materials reflect light, giving off a vibrant purple shade.
  • Mixing technique and tools: A mixing tool with a flat surface ensures even pigment distribution. Over-mixing the paint causes air bubbles to form, affecting the texture and appearance of the paint during application.
  • Presence of other colors or additives: A dirty mixing tool contaminates the paint with other colors, changing the final product’s color.
  • Drying process and time: Consider the drying process and time when selecting and applying paint. If the drying time is prolonged, the color turns dark and more saturated than intended. Conversely, if the paint dries too fast, the color appears lighter and less saturated.
  • Transparency or opacity of the paints: Opaque paints are dense and appear matte. Transparent paints allow light through the layers, giving off a vibrant purple shade.
  • Paint layering and application method: Gradual mixing and layering is necessary to see how red and blue colors interact.

Purple Shades and Their Characteristics 

Red and blue color mixing

ShadeHex NumberCharacteristics
Lavender#E39FF6Soft, delicate, and cool-toned
Lilac#B65FCFLight, airy, with a slight pink undertone
Wisteria#C9A0DCMid-toned purple with a slightly grayish hue
Amethyst#A45EE5Rich, gemstone-inspired purple with cool undertones
Royal Purple#6B3FA0Deep, vibrant, and regal with a blue undertone
Eggplant#311432Dark, intense, and warm with a brownish undertone
Mauve#7A4988Subtle, dusty purple with a hint of gray and pink
Orchid#AF69EFBright, playful, and slightly pinkish purple
Magenta#A1045AVivid, saturated purple with strong pink undertones
Indigo#4B0082Deep, dark purple with blue undertones, bordering on navy

Mixing Different Shades of Purple Paint

Mixing red and blue paint produces various shades and tints of the color purple. 

Paint Medium (Acrylic, Oil, Watercolor, Gouache)

Oil mediums like linseed oil are easy to use when mixing red and blue paint. White gesso acrylic is a suitable medium for mixing a purple paint tint. When using watercolors, mix small proportions since the medium becomes viscous with time.

Tints (White Addition)

Adding white paint to a red and blue mix makes a tint of purple. Tinting the color increases its transparency and lightness. The resulting hue is highly reflective and creates a soft, delicate look.

Shades (Black Addition)

Mix a small amount of black paint to create a dark purple shade. Use black paint with charcoal gray undertones, such as graphite black paint. Mix the black paint with a bit of white color to determine its undertones.

Muted Tones (Complementary Color Addition)

Adding a hint of yellow mutes a vibrant purple color. Bright yellow hues like lemon yellow make a muted tint of purple. But, using too much yellow gives the paint an undesirable brown undertone.