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What Do Blue and Purple Make? Color Mixing…

The next exploration in our color mixing chart adventures is one of my all-time favorite combinations. It’s the answer to the question, “What do blue and purple make when the colors are mixed together?”

As background, I’m an artist and teacher, and I do hands-on illustrations in these tutorials to help explain what happens when paint hues are mixed — such as figuring out what red and green make. Here’s my first drawing from our purple plus blue experiment, showing the beauty that results from just swirling together the two pigments…

Blue and purple make...
Mixing purple and blue paints.

What Does Purple and Blue Make?

Unlike the answer to the question, “What do blue and red make?” which pretty much has just one answer (purple), the correct response to what blue and purple make is a more complicated one. Why is that?

Well, the former color combination of the two listed above is a mix of two primary colors (red and blue), which yields a secondary color (purple). The latter combo, however, is an example of tertiary or intermediate colors made from mixing a primary color (in this case, blue) with a secondary color (purple). This tends to introduce more variations of results, as the “ingredient colors can vary.

Another complication is that sometimes the secondary color I’m calling purple is labeled “violet” on certain color wheels. But what’s the official answer to the question of blue plus purple?

Making Violet Color

The technical name for the tertiary color formed by 50% true primary color blue plus 50% true secondary color purple is blue-purple. More commonly, this combination is known as the color violet (sometimes called blue-violet, in versions of color wheels that call the color I’m labeling “purple” here as “violet” instead).

Because blue and purple are next to each other on the color wheel, they are known as “analogous colors,” and thus the resulting intermediate color from their mix is a bright and happy combination right between the two hues. In contrast, orange and purple are complimentary colors — colors that sit across from each other in the color wheel — and thus cancel each other’s brightness out when mixed, forming a muddy brown, gray, or even black.

Other bright, clear, and happy intermediate colors like violet include magenta (what red and purple make), teal (what blue and green make), chartreuse (what green and yellow make), and amber (what orange and yellow make).

What color does purple and blue make?
What color does purple and blue make?

Periwinkle, Indigo, Lilac, and Lavender

But wait — it’s not just violet that blue and purple produce when mixed, because we all know that the “ingredient” colors are usually not perfectly pure, and the ratios are rarely 50-50. So what are some other resulting colors from this combination? In my illustrations above and below, you can see the range of beautiful blue-purple and blue-violet hues that come from playing with different shades and types of pigments coming together.

Periwinkle is a personal favorite resulting color from the mix: it is a lighter blue with a dash of purple — pictured in the second line from the bottom in my drawing above. The colors lilac and lavender are the same idea in that they’re a lighter color and slightly dusty, but they have more purple, with a dash of blue. Lavender is slightly darker and less dusty than lilac.

Indigo is bold and beautiful: it’s a deep, rich blue-purple, with an emphasis on an almost sapphire blue base. In the world of chakra colors, that hue often associated with the 6th or Third Eye Chakra, and has a spiritual and mystical vibe because of its powerful pigmentation.

Making violet, lilac, lavender, periwinkle, and indigo.
Making violet, lilac, lavender, periwinkle, and indigo.

Blue and Purple Make…

Now you know the answer: technically, when combined, the colors blue and purple make violet or blue-purple. However, the combination can also yield variations of bluish-purple and purple-ish blue, including lilac, lavender, periwinkle, and indigo, depending on which ratios and “ingredient” shades you use, as well as how much white or black is added into the swirl.

Do you love this mix as much as I do? Do share in the comment section, below!

Want more? Check out, “What Does Orange and Blue Make?” “What Do Yellow and Purple Make?” and “What Does Purple and Green Make?”