Red is a primary color, so it cannot be produced pure in any medium. You can, however, make various shades of this color by combining pure red with other colors.
Method 1 of 4: Understanding Color Theory
Step 1. Know that you cannot make red
Red is a primary color, so it cannot be created by mixing other colors.
- Primary colors are those that exist on their own, without containing traces of other colors. In addition to red, the others are blue and yellow.
- Although you can't make pure red, you can get other shades of that color by mixing pure red with other colors. You can change the value of any shade of red in a similar way.
Step 2. Change the hue by adding other colors
Mixing pure red with other colors will change its tone. You can match it to most other primary and secondary colors, and each match will have a different result.
- When mixing red with other primary colors, use only a small amount of the other color to prevent it from becoming another color entirely. A little yellow can create an orange-red hue, but if you use too much, you'll make orange. A little blue can create a reddish-purple hue, but too much will make purple.
- Mixing the red with the orange secondary color will make an orange-red, but limit the amount of orange to the same or less red to prevent the hue from becoming more orange than red. Likewise, mixing red with the secondary color purple will make a purplish red, but you should also limit the amount of purple to the same or less red.
- You can also mix red with small amounts of the last secondary color, green. Since the two colors are complementary, that is, they are on opposite sides of the color wheel, adding green to red will give this last color a little brown. Using too much will change the tone to brown or moss green.
Step 3. Change the value by adding black or white
If you want to change the value of red without changing the hue, you will have to mix the pure color with black or white.
- Adding white will lighten the tone, but overdoing it will make pink.
- Adding black will darken the color, but too much can make it difficult to see the original red tone.
Method 2 of 4: Mixing the Red Paint
Step 1. Prepare several paints
When painting, you will probably need several shades of red. Most of them can be created by combining pure red with other colors.
You need at least red, yellow, blue, orange, purple, green, black and white. For each color, try to select paints with the purest shade possible
Step 2. Examine the pure red
Place a droplet of red paint on the color palette and use a brush to transfer a stroke of red paint onto the middle of a scrap paper.
Take a good look at the red brush stroke. This will be your original sample. You should compare it to the other reds you make along the way
Step 3. Practice mixing red with other primary colors
Put two more dots of red on the palette. Add a little yellow to one and a little blue to the other.
- Add each color in very small amounts and mix until there are no traces of paint. Using too much of each can change the red too much and turn it to another color.
- Draw an orange-red line, made with yellow, next to the original red line. Draw a reddish-purple line, made with blue, on the other side of the red line. Compare the two tones.
Step 4. Mix red, orange and purple
Start with two more dots of red paint. Add orange to one and purple to the other.
- You need to be able to mix the two colors in equal parts and still make a shade of red; the red element will be stronger if you use a little less of the secondary color.
- Make another line with your new orange-red next to the old one. Repeat with the purplish red. Compare these new shades to their counterparts and to the original red swatch.
Step 5. Mix red to green
Put more red on the palette and mix it with a very small amount of green. The result should be a reddish-brown.
- It's best to start with dots of green. If you want, you can gradually increase the amount of this color to change the tone even more. The excess, however, will make it brown or grayish-brown.
- Stroke the new color on the paper next to the original red swatch and compare the colors.
Step 6. Change the intensity
Put some white into the fresh red paint and some black into another drop of red paint. Mix well.
- Stroke the dark red near the reddish-brown sample and compare the two. Both colors should be dark, but the reddish-brown sample should have a noticeable brown element, which will be absent from the dark red.
- Also paint a streak of light red on the paper and compare it to the other samples.
Method 3 of 4: Making Red Covering
Step 1. Prepare coverage in advance
Making a vibrant or deep red frosting can be difficult, but its color will darken over time. It is best to prepare it 24 to 72 hours before use so that the shade can be ready.
This advance is even more important if you want a red coating with only red dye, but the same also applies to variations of that color if they are not as dark as you would like
Step 2. Try the coverage every now and then
When you need to make dark or strong shades of red, the amount of coloring used can make the coating turn bitter.
- Taste it while working to monitor the change in flavor and prevent it from getting too bitter.
- If the frosting turns bitter, you can fix it by adding more flavoring. Use clear extracts and about 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) for every 1 cup (250 ml) of topping.
Step 3. Place the red dye on the white coating
Place the topping in a non-reactive bowl and add the coloring in small amounts, mixing well after each addition. Continue until you get a bright red.
- It is best to use a gel or paste food coloring specifically formulated for use with coatings. Ordinary liquid colorant is not concentrated enough, and the amount needed to make a red coating would spoil the taste and texture of it.
- The general rule of thumb is to use about 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) of red food coloring for every 1 cup (250 ml) of white topping. If using unflavored formulas, you may need to use 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of coloring for every 1 cup (250 ml) of topping.
Step 4. Try mixing red to brown
If you want to make a deep red coating but only have bright red dye, the best way to get the color you want is to add a little brown.
- Place the red coloring in a white topping dish, following the same procedure as before. Continue until you get a very dark pink or light red.
Add brown coloring to red topping and mix. The amount of brown dye should be about 1/4 the amount of red, if not less. After mixing, you will have a dark red topping with a little brown.
You can also mix cocoa powder into the red frosting to darken the color; it still tends to improve the taste
Step 5. Experiment with other variations
As with other media, you can change the shade of the glaze by mixing pure red with other colorants. Try several different combinations, always starting with fresh white topping in a clean bowl.
- Make a burgundy frosting using five parts pink dye and one part purple dye.
- Leave the burgundy topping by combining two parts red and one part wine.
- Create a raspberry red by combining pure red with pink.
- Get a rust red by mixing two or three parts red, five to eight parts orange, and one part brown.
- Prepare a dark ruby red by adding a drop of black to the prepared red topping.
Method 4 of 4: Mixing Red Plastic Ceramics
Step 1. Make hot reds
If you need a warm hue but only have bright red, mix it with a little orange or yellow.
- Use golden yellows and avoid greenish ones, which can leave a brownish color. Most orange clays will do.
- In order not to change the color too much, just add a little of the new color to the red swatch. Roll, knead and mix the ceramics well until no streaks of color remain. If you need to change the hue further, add more of the new color and repeat.
Step 2. Make reds cooler
If you need a cool tone, mix the red ceramic with a little blue or purple.
- Warmer blues, with streaks of violet, are better than cooler ones, with a little green and can bring the final tone closer to brown. Most purple ceramics work.
- As with warm reds, you should prepare cool reds by placing the color on the red ceramic in small amounts at a time.
Step 3. Make the color darker
You can darken the red pottery using some brown or black pottery. Whichever color you choose, use only small amounts to avoid changing the red too much.
- Brown pottery will gradually darken the color, but it will also turn a brownish hue.
- Black ceramic will darken the red more drastically without changing the tone itself.
Step 4. Lighten the red
You can make the red tile lighter by using some white or translucent tile.
- Add small amounts of one of the two to the red sample. If the color still isn't light enough, work slowly until you get the desired result.
- White ceramic will change the value, and the excess can turn red to pink.
- Translucent ceramic will make the color less strong without changing its value. Up to a third of the total mix can be made up of this ceramic, but using more than that can turn the red into a semi-transparent color rather than an opaque hue.