How to Make Cyan Paint

How to Make Cyan Paint

Do you have a passion for art or design? Are you looking to unleash your creativity and add a personal touch to your projects? 

Knowing how to make your own paint can be a game-changer. It gives you the freedom to customize colors to your heart’s desire, and to explore a world of vibrant hues. 

In this blog post, I’ll focus on making cyan paint. It’s a brilliant blue-green shade that you’ll love to learn how to create.

I’ll also take you through an overview of the process and materials needed to create your own cyan paint. I’ll explore both the pigment-based and dye-based methods, guiding you step-by-step through each approach. 

How to Make Cyan Paint

Cyan is made by mixing blue and green paint. To form cyan light, combine equal amounts of green and blue light in the RGB color model. Remember to take safety precautions while handling chemicals and experiment with different ratios of pigments or dyes to achieve your desired cyan shade.

A History of the Color Cyan

The history of cyan is a testament to its enduring allure and ongoing relevance in human expression. 

Cyan, the captivating color with its mesmerizing blue-green hue, has a storied history that spans centuries. 

Natural pigments like Egyptian blue and turquoise were used to create cyan shades (see the battle of cyan vs teal vs turquoise). During the medieval and Renaissance eras, cyan pigments gained prominence in illuminated manuscripts.

It, later on, became a symbol of wealth and luxury in art. 

Scientific discoveries further propelled cyan’s significance. It came with the invention of cyanotype photography and the exploration of its place in the electromagnetic spectrum. 

In modern times, cyan has influenced art movements. It has found iconic usage in pop culture. 

Symbolizing tranquility and connection to nature, water, and the sky, cyan continues to leave its mark in contemporary applications, from digital design to sustainable fashion.

A History of the Color Cyan

Color Theory and Cyan Color

Basics of color theory

Color theory is a set of principles and concepts that help us understand how colors work together and how they can create different visual effects.

It gives you a foundation to make informed decisions when choosing and combining colors in your work. 

Here are the key aspects of color theory:

Primary colors: In color theory, primary colors are the basic colors that cannot be created by mixing other colors. They are red, blue, and yellow. All other colors can be created by combining various proportions of these primary colors.

Color wheel: The color wheel is a visual representation of colors arranged in a circular format. It consists of primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. 

Hue: Hue refers to the attribute of a color that allows us to differentiate it from other colors. For example, red, blue, and green are different hues.

Saturation: Saturation, also known as chroma or intensity, refers to the purity and vividness of a color. A highly saturated color appears vibrant and intense, while a desaturated color appears more muted and dull.

Value: Value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color. It’s represented on a grayscale from white to black, with white being the highest value and black being the lowest.

Color harmonies: Color harmonies are combinations of colors that are visually pleasing and create a sense of balance. Some common color harmonies include complementary colors, analogous colors, and triadic colors.

Color psychology: Colors can evoke emotional and psychological responses. Color psychology studies the impact of colors on human perception and behavior. 

Cyan color in the color spectrum

Cyan is a color that falls within the blue-green region of the color spectrum. The color spectrum, also known as the visible light spectrum, is the range of colors that the human eye can see.

It spans from red to violet, with cyan occupying a position between a blue and green pallet.

In terms of wavelength, cyan light has a shorter wavelength than blue but longer than green. It is closer to the blue end of the spectrum.

It contains a noticeable amount of green. This unique combination gives cyan its distinct blue-green appearance.

Cyan is a cool color and is often associated with qualities such as calmness, tranquility, and freshness. It’s reminiscent of clear skies and tropical waters. 

Cyan can be found in nature, particularly in elements like water bodies, certain plant leaves, and some gemstones.

In color mixing, cyan is a primary color in the subtractive color model, commonly used in painting and printing. 

When combined with magenta and yellow, it forms a set of primary colors that can create a wide range of secondary and tertiary colors. To make a secondary color, mix two primary colors. 

What Colors Make Cyan?

Cyan can be created by combining equal parts of green and blue. In the additive color model, green light and blue light mixed at full intensity, create cyan. 

In the subtractive color model, mixing equal parts of green and blue pigments or paints in the subtractive model will result in cyan. 

The specific shades of green and blue used can affect the resulting cyan color. So experiment and make adjustments to achieve the desired hue.

What Colors Make Cyan?

How to Make Cyan Paint

Materials and tools needed for making cyan paint

To make cyan paint, you will need the following materials and tools:

  • Pigments
  • Grinding tools
  • Binder
  • Palette
  • Mixing tools
  • Containers
  • Protective gear
  • Palette paper or palette pad

Method 1: Pigment-based method

By following these steps, you can create your own cyan paint using the pigment-based method. Experiment and make adjustments to achieve the precise hue and intensity you desire.

Step 1: Grinding pigments to a fine powder

Start by grinding the pigments, Phthalocyanine Blue and Titanium White, separately. Use a mortar and pestle or a palette knife on a glass slab to grind the pigments into a fine powder. 

This step ensures that the pigments are well dispersed and will mix well with the binder.

Step 2: Mixing pigments with a binder and medium

In a clean container or palette, combine equal parts of the ground Phthalocyanine blue and titanium white pigments. 

Add binders such as acrylic paints, oil mediums, or watercolor mediums. Mix the pigments and binder using a palette knife or brush until they form a smooth and consistent paste.

Step 3: Adjusting the hue and intensity

Observe the color of the mixture and assess if it matches your desired cyan shade. 

To adjust the hue, you can add more Phthalocyanine blue for a bluer cyan or more Titanium White for a greener cyan. ‘

For a more intense color, increase the amount of pigment, and for a lighter shade, add more binder or dilute the mixture with water.

Step 4: Testing the color and making adjustments

Dip a clean brush into the paint and apply a small amount on a test surface, such as a piece of paper or canvas. Let it dry completely to evaluate the color accurately. 

If necessary, make further adjustments by adding more pigments or binder until you achieve the desired cyan shade. 

Method 2: Dye-based method

Step 1: Choosing suitable dyes for the cyan color

Select dyes that produce cyan shades. Common options include Acid Blue 9, Direct Blue 86, and aquamarine blue paint. 

Ensure the dyes are suitable for the medium you plan to use, such as fabric dyes for textiles or watercolor dyes for paper.

Step 2: Preparing a dye solution

Dissolve a measured amount of dye in a specific amount of water or a dye solvent. Make sure to measure and mix the dye and solvent to achieve the desired concentration. 

Step 3: Mixing the dye solution with a binder or medium

In a clean container or palette, combine the prepared dye solution with a suitable binder or medium for your intended application. 

For fabric, use a fabric medium. For paper or other surfaces, use an appropriate medium like watercolor medium or acrylic medium. 

Mix the dye solution and binder well until they are incorporated.

Step 4: Testing and adjusting the color as needed

Apply a small amount of the mixture onto a test surface to see the resulting color. Allow it to dry completely to assess the color. 

If the color is not as desired, adjust it by adding more dye solution for a deeper cyan or more binder/medium to lighten the shade.

How to Store Cyan Paint

Properly storing cyan paint is essential to maintain its quality and extend its shelf life. Here are some guidelines on how to store cyan paint:

1. Transfer your cyan paint into clean, airtight containers to prevent air exposure and drying out. Choose containers that are suitable for the type of paint you are using, such as paint pots, jars, or tubes with sealed caps.

2. Label each container with the name of the paint, date of preparation, and any additional relevant information. This helps you easily identify the paint and track its age.

3. Store the containers of cyan paint in a cool dry place. Put them away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures since excessive heat or cold can affect the paint’s consistency and longevity. Ideal storage temperatures are usually between 50°F (10°C) and 77°F (25°C).

4. Ensure the storage area remains above freezing temperatures to prevent any freezing and thawing cycles.

5. Stir or shake the containers to maintain a consistent texture and color.

Ensure proper airflow to minimize the buildup of fumes and maintain a healthier environment.

6. Organize your stored cyan paint in a way that allows for easy access and retrieval. This will save you time and effort when you need to use or reference a particular shade of cyan.

Table: Different Shades of Cyan

ShadesHEX codesRGB codeCMYK codeColor
Light cyan#E0FFFF224, 255, 25512, 0, 0, 0Color
Aqua#00FFFF0, 255, 255100, 0, 0, 0Color
Teal#0080800, 128, 128100, 0, 0, 50Color
Electric cyan#00FFFF0, 255, 255100, 0, 0, 0Color
Steel cyan#4682B470, 130, 18061, 28, 0, 29Color
Mint green#98FF98152, 255, 15241, 0, 41, 0Color
Turquoise#40E0D064, 224, 20871, 0, 7, 12Color

Applications and Use of Cyan Color

The cyan color finds various applications and uses across different fields due to its unique and vibrant characteristics. Here are some common applications and uses of cyan color:

Art and design

Cyan creates visually appealing compositions. You can employ it in paintings, drawings, digital art, and graphic design to evoke specific moods.

Printing and packaging

Cyan plays a crucial role in producing a wide range of colors in printed materials.

Web design and digital media

Its vibrant and soothing qualities make it suitable for creating modern and visually appealing website layouts, user interfaces, social media graphics, and digital illustrations.

Interior design

Cyan can be incorporated into interior design schemes to add a fresh and calming atmosphere. It is often used in spaces associated with relaxation, such as bathrooms, bedrooms, and spas. 

Cyan accents, such as furniture, decorative objects, or wall art, can bring a sense of tranquility and serenity to a room.

Fashion and apparel

As a versatile color in the fashion industry, cyan is found in clothing, accessories, and footwear. 

Cyan hues are especially popular during the warmer seasons, as they evoke a sense of beachside vibes and tropical aesthetics.

Branding and advertising

Cyan is used in branding and advertising to grab attention and convey specific brand qualities. It can symbolize freshness, innovation, and reliability. 

Many companies incorporate cyan into their logos, marketing materials, and advertisements to create a memorable and impactful visual presence.

Photography and Videography

Cyan creates interesting color effects. You can use it in filters, lighting techniques, or post-processing adjustments for specific elements in an image or video.

Applications and Use of Cyan Color

What Colors Make Cyan Darker Shade?

To create a darker shade of cyan, you can mix cyan with a small amount of a darker color. The specific combination will depend on the color model you are using. 

Here are some common methods to achieve a darker shade of cyan:

Mixing cyan with blue

Adding a touch of blue to cyan will deepen its tone and create a darker shade. Introduce small amounts of blue paint or dye into the cyan until you achieve the desired darkness. 

Experiment with different ratios to find the right balance.

Cyan and black

Incorporating a small amount of black into cyan can also darken the shade. Black has the effect of reducing the intensity and lightness of a color. 

Mix a tiny amount of black paint or dye into the cyan. Be cautious not to overpower the cyan completely.

Add and mix until you reach the desired darkness.

Cyan and dark green

Introducing a dark green acrylic paint color to cyan can create a darker and more subdued shade. Mix a small amount of dark green paint or dye into the cyan to achieve the desired depth. 

Adjust the ratio until you achieve the desired darkness while maintaining the cyan undertone.

What Colors Make Cyan Muted?

Muted cyan refers to a desaturated or toned-down version of the vibrant cyan color. It is achieved by reducing the intensity or saturation of cyan. 

To create a muted or desaturated version of cyan, you can mix it with complementary or neutral colors. Here are some common methods to achieve a muted cyan shade:

Mixing cyan with gray

Adding gray to cyan can desaturate and mute its vibrancy. Gradually introduce small amounts of gray paint or dye into the cyan, and mix thoroughly until you achieve the desired level of muteness.

Gray acts as a neutralizer, reducing the intensity of the cyan color. 

Cyan and magenta

Mixing cyan with a small amount of magenta can also mute the color. Magenta is the complementary color to green, which is one of the components of cyan.

Mixing magenta paint with cyan will create a more muted and subdued appearance.

Cyan and brown

Incorporating a bit of brown into cyan can also mute the color while adding warmth.

Mix a small amount of brown paint or dye into the cyan, adjusting the ratio until you achieve the desired level of muteness. Brown can help create a more earthy and subdued version of cyan.

What Colors Make Cyan Lighter and Brighter?

To make cyan lighter and brighter, you can mix it with a lighter color or add a white tint. Here are some common methods to achieve a lighter and brighter shade of cyan:

Mixing cyan with white

Incorporating white acrylic paint into cyan is an effective way to lighten and brighten the color. Add small amounts of white paint or dye to the cyan. 

Mix thoroughly until you achieve the desired level of brightness. This method is particularly useful when working with paints or dyes.

Cyan and light blue

Mixing cyan with a light blue color can also lighten the shade while maintaining its cyan undertones. Add a small amount of light blue paint or dye to the cyan and mix it well. 

The light blue will help create a brighter and more vibrant cyan shade.

Mixing cyan with a light blue color can also lighten the shade while maintaining its cyan undertones. Add a small amount of light blue paint or dye to the cyan and mix it well.

If you’re wondering how to mix light blue, the light blue will help create a brighter and more vibrant cyan shade.

Cyan and yellow

Adding more yellow paint to cyan can create a brighter and more luminous appearance.

Mix a small amount of yellow paint or dye into the cyan and increase the amount until you achieve the desired brightness. 

The yellow will enhance the vibrancy of the cyan, making it appear lighter and brighter.

Related posts: How to make the color bronze and How do you make rose gold


What paint color is closest to cyan?

The paint color that is closest to cyan is called “Cyan” in most paint color systems. It is a bright, greenish-blue color with a hint of turquoise. Some paint manufacturers may have specific names for shades that closely resemble cyan, such as “Aqua” or “Turquoise.”

How do you make true cyan?

To make true cyan, mix equal parts of green and blue pigments. In the RGB color model, true cyan is created by combining full-intensity green (0, 255, 0) and blue (0, 0, 255) light. This balanced combination produces a pure and vibrant cyan color.

How do you mix cyan paint?

To mix cyan paint, you can start with blue paint and add small amounts of green paint until you achieve the desired cyan shade. Experiment with different ratios to find the right balance and adjust the intensity of the cyan as needed.

What colors make up turquoise?

Turquoise is created by mixing blue and green pigments in varying proportions. It lies between blue and green on the color spectrum. The specific shade of turquoise varies depending on the ratios used.

What is the difference between teal and cyan?

The color teal and cyan are often used interchangeably, but what colors do you mix to make teal and cyan. Teal is a medium to dark greenish-blue color, leaning more towards green. Cyan is a brighter and lighter greenish-blue color, leaning more towards blue. Teal has a slightly more muted and earthy appearance, while cyan is more vibrant and intense.


Making cyan paint is a rewarding and creative process. Whether you choose the pigment-based method or the dye-based method, the key is to achieve the perfect balance of green and blue to create the vibrant hue of cyan.

By grinding pigments or selecting suitable dyes, mix them with binders or mediums. Adjusting the color to your liking, you can create your own custom cyan paint. 

Test and make adjustments along the way to achieve the desired shade. With a little experimentation and creativity, you can unlock the beauty of cyan and use it in your art, design, or other creative projects. 

So, go ahead and embark on your journey to make cyan paint, and let your imagination soar with this captivating and versatile color.


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