What Colors Make Purple?

Have you ever wondered what color makes purple? It’s made by mixing red and blue colors. However, it’s not like you mix these colors, and you’ll get purple. There’s more to the story. 

To learn how the purple color is made, you should know the science behind color blending. Today’s blog will discuss some important points about making purple. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • History of purple
  • What makes the color purple? 
  • How to make different tones of purple?

So without making you wait any longer, let’s jump to our first topic. 

History of Purple

An amalgamation of cultural and historical relevance is steeped in every color. Many artists believe that knowing this history can give life to your art.

Colors have been a crucial part of humankind’s history for a long time – more specifically when the first time humans turned berries into pigments. 

Let’s understand the history of purple in detail, starting with its invention!

Tyrian Purple – The First-Ever Shade of Purple

The purple color was first seen during the Neolithic period. Many Neolithic archeological sites contain paintings made with sticks of manganese and hematite powder.

In most of those art pieces, Tyrian purple was used. Tyrian purple is basically a purple dye produced from snails. 

At that time, the process of creating Tyrian purple dye was incredibly expensive and laborious. If anyone wore purple robes in ancient Greece, they were only the royals and wealthy.

And being used only by royals, this color became associated with magistrates, nobles, priests throughout history. When it comes to the history of purple, China also has a huge and essential part in it. 

Purple in China

Other than Greece, Purple was seen in Chinese history, too. However, the story is a little different from other civilizations that discovered it.

Purple wasn’t exported to China; they independently found it. It was in the form of the dye.

The ancient Chinese, instead of using small snails, used purple-colored flowers to produce the purple dye. The die was then used to adhere clothes, making the pigment more expensive. 

The ruler of the QI state also loved purple. As a result, the purple dye became more popular, and its price soared.

There’s an important fact about how ancient Chinese relate to colors. They used to rank colors based on their importance and propriety. 

The most valued colors were the primary ones. And surprisingly, purple wasn’t as favorable as crimson. But by the sixth century, the popularity of purple rose dramatically high and overlooked crimson. 

What Colors Make Purple?

Purple color is made by mixing red and blue together. The amount of red and blue color you use determines which shade of purple you will get after blending.

If you add redder, you will get a redder purple. On the other hand, adding more blue creates bluer purple. 

Red and blue are two primary colors that are necessary to create purple. But it’s not like you cannot create other shades of purple without these two. When added yellow or white to the blend of red and blue, it will create a lighter shade of purple.

Similarly, incorporating darker shades like black or grey into the mix of red and blue gives a darker shade of purple.

However, getting the purple colors isn’t a challenging task. What’s complex is getting the desired shade of purple. Here’s how you do that.

How to Make Different Tones of Purple?

When objects with reflective nature get mixed, the way they reflect lights also gets mixed. That’s how complex colors such as purple are created – through lightwaves.

There are basically two primary methods to create colors through mixing lights – additive mixing and subtractive mixing. Let’s understand how colors are created from these two methods. 

Additive Mixing

The additive mixing method is specifically used to blend lightwaves. It is used to create colors for disco lights, computer monitors, televisions, etc.

This method makes colors by adding layers to different wavelengths of lights on each other, after which they are combined with a white object. 

So what are the two colors that make purple via additive mixing? In this mixing method, purple can be created by combining blue light wavelengths and red light wavelengths in different proportions.

Depending on your combination, you will get purple in a lighter shade like lavender or dark shade like merlot!

Subtractive Mixing

In subtractive mixing, you can create colors by removing the wavelengths of lights. It’s done through physical elements like dyes, pigments, or paints.

The method is known as subtractive mixing because wavelengths are absorbed but not reflected back, as the color pigments get mixed together. When it’s about making purple paint, most people follow this method.

So how do you make purple color with subtractive mixing? From blue and red! When blue and red dye or paint are blended, it results in a mixture of different wavelengths of light.

Blue paint reflects one wavelength and red paint reflects another. When both these colors are combined, the compounds present in the blue and red wavelengths reflect differently.

That combination of reflected lights is what our eyes see as purple!

Final Words

To summarise this blog, here’s what we have shared with you today:

  • How purple is made, i.e., by mixing red and blue colors
  • The history of purple – origin and evolution
  • The two common methods of creating purple – additive mixing and subtractive mixing

Purple is an amazing color to be used in your paintings. Making purple might appear like a tough job initially, but it will become easier with practice.

So keep mixing blue and red with other colors to get your desired purple shade. 

We hope you understand everything clearly. If you find this blog useful, you can share it with your artist friends, or someone fascinated about colors.

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I have always been a shopaholic. A lot of times my questions went unanswered when it came to retail questions, so I started Talk Radio News. - Caitlyn Johnson

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