Mixing Colours

The person who taught me how to mix colours was my grandma. We used to paint together and we still sometimes do when I visit her ;) That is why when I started decorating cakes, mixing colours was quite easy for me...
In this tutorial I'll try to explain all there is to explain. You'll see that mixing colours can actually be FUN!


Step 1

Mixing Colours

Primary colours (red, yellow, blue) are colours that cannot be created through the mixing of other colours.

Step 2

Mixing Colours

Orange, green and purple are called the secondary colours. They are formed by mixing the primary colors together. (Yellow + red = orange; Yellow + blue = green; Blue + red = purple)

Step 3

Mixing Colours

Depending on the proportion of the colours used you get different shades.
So f.ex.:
If you want to make green and you add more blue than yellow you'll end up with a blue-ish green. If you add more yellow than blue you'll get a yellow-ish green.

I think this is the most crucial ability when it comes to mixing colours - the ability to see how much of a certain colour is in a colour. Look at the purples in the photo... Can you see which one has more red in than blue? and which one has more blue than red?
Take a look at the oranges... can you see which one has more red in? and which one has more yellow? If yes, great! If not, don't worry, you'll get there! it's all just practice! :)

Step 4

Mixing Colours

To colour my sugarpaste I use paste colours. The only sugarpastes I buy coloured are black and red. I wouldn't have the patience to colour black and red paste each time I need it! ;)
The colours listed above are the only colours I have been using for the past few years. You could probably reduce them to the primary colours, but I find it useful to have some additional colours.
If you know that you use a certain colour often and you're happy with the colour you buy, don't stop buying it just because you can get it from mixing basic colours... But if you don't use a certain colour frequently (f.ex. eucalyptus green) perpaphs it's better to make it rather than buying a whole pot ;)

All colours listed above are Wilton brand (apart from Dark Brown which is Sugarflair). Please note that I'm not an ambassador of any brand and I don't get paid for including the names of the above brands :) I suggest buying different products and choosing the brand/brands you prefer the most :)

As you can see in the photo - the more colour you add, the more intense colour you get. Adding small amounts of colours lets you create delicate pastel colours. The more colour you add to the white paste the brighter the colour gets.
It works the same way the other way around - so if you have a bright colour and you need to make a pastel colour out of it, simply add some white paste.

Note that the amounts of paste colours shown are not the amounts I added to the white paste. Be aware that all computer/phone screens have different settings so the colours I see on my computer/phone might differ slightly from the ones you see ;)

Step 5

Mixing Colours

Look how many colours and shades of blue you can get by mixing sky blue with other colours! :)

I always make my greens from sky blue and yellow. If I want the green to be more bright/fluorescent, I add lemon yellow. If I want it to be more warm, I add golden yellow.

Look at the balls placed in the middle of the second row from the bottom... can you see the brown showing in those blues? If not... compare those colours with the other balls placed in the same columns. Look again at those middle balls with added brown... do you see the brown in them now?

Look at the last, bottom row...do you see black touches in those balls? Look at each ball from that row starting from the left and going to the right... when do you start seeing the black touches?

If you want to practice, you can make a few blue balls of sugarpaste and add different colours to them... Add the colours gradually and observe how the colour changes.

Step 6

Mixing Colours

To make vintage colours add a bit of black, brown or ivory depending what kind of shade your after.

Look at the sugarpaste balls placed more to the right... they look as if they were a bit dirty, don't they? When I try to figure out which colour I need to add in order to get the shade I want I ask myself 'Does this colour look dirty? Or is it bright and clean?' Then I know whether I should or should not add some black, brown or ivory colour.

If you want to practice, you can add some black, brown and ivory to other colours than the ones shown in the photo f.ex. yellow or green and observe how the colours change.

Step 7

Mixing Colours

These are the combinations of colours I often use :)

To get purply pinks, add violet to rose.
To get peachy pinks, add yellow to rose.
If you want the violet to be more vibrant, add some rose to it.
To make skin colour add a bit of rose to ivory.

It's not possible to go through all colours and all possible combinations ;) But I hope that by now you are starting to see more :)

Step 8

Mixing Colours

You won't always get the colour you need by mixing just two colours. The photo above shows the process of getting the colour from the image.

Colour on the left:
I looked at the image and thought to myself 'this is some kind of pink' so I added a bit of rose to the sugarpaste.
A - I put the pink near the image and thought 'the pink in the photo is more peachy (yellowy)' so I added a bit of golden yellow.
B - I once again put the ball near the image and noticed that the colour in the image is more dirty, so I added a bit of black.
C - The created colour seemed too dark comparing to the image so I added a bit of white sugarpaste to it.
(I was happy with the colour, but by the time I took the photo the colour darkened a bit ;) so remember to keep that in mind too - that the sugarpaste changes the colour a bit when you leave it for some time)

Colour on the right:
I looked at it and though to myself 'I see blue in this colour', so I added some sky blue.
1 - 'I also see a tiny bit green in it comparing to the blue, so I need to add a tiny bit of yellow'
2 -' Comparing to the photo the colour is too bright... I need to add some black to make the colour a bit more dirty.
3 - 'Now the colour is too green and too intense, I'll add some white sugarpaste and a bit of blue colour.'
(same thing as above - by the time I took the photo, the ball darkened a bit ;) )


Source of image: design-seeds.com (they have some beautiful colour palettes btw! )

Step 9

Mixing Colours

I'll try to update this post from time to time whenever I'll come up with something I can add... and after I recover from the rolling-ball-dizziness! ;)
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial!
Hugs, xx