Gold is a timeless color that you can use to accentuate or highlight details, including wealth and prestige.
Similarly, you can use gold to showcase luxury, glamor, or extravagance. It’s also the magician’s favorite color. So, it’s very common.
Unfortunately, it’s complex to mix. For instance, no two colors will give you the perfect golden hue.
Yellow and brown come close. But you often need white and a few other colors to perfect your painting.
In this guide, I share my experiences mixing various types of gold using different colors and methods, so you have a starting point to make your gold paint.
How To Make Gold Paint
Mixing yellow and brown is the easiest way to make a gold color. You may add more colors to attain a different shade. Nonetheless, the two colors form a solid foundation for creating a golden color. Alternatively, combine equal portions of red, yellow, and black to form a deep gold color.
What is a Gold Color?
The color gold gets its name from the most precious metal – gold. It’s a yellow-orange or orange-tan color similar to polished mineral gold, though metallic gold has a stronger metallic sheen.
Some professionals prefer to call it a “golden” instead of gold color to distinguish the color from the mineral.
The golden color isn’t the most vivid on the color wheel, but you’ll find it between yellow and orange. You may need it when looking for other tones, like what colors make blonde.
The more yellow it contains, the brighter it is. Meanwhile, orange-leaning gold is darker.
It sits next to warm colors on the color wheel, including yellow, orange, and red, making it a warm color too.
Colors close to each other on the color wheel are called analogous.
Meanwhile, the cooler colors are on the color wheel’s opposite side. These include the greens, blues, and purples. Thus, they are the best complementary colors for gold.
Adding warm colors to gold makes it brighter. Meanwhile, cooler colors make it darker.
But be warned that adding too much of any color to gold can have dire consequences. For instance, too much yellow makes gold paler and less glittery.
Meanwhile, too much blue creates a muddy brown color. Black isn’t ideal, either. The results are too dramatic.
Specifications and color code
Gold has the hex code #FFD700. Thus it comprises 100% red, 84.3% green, and 0% blue if you work with RGB (Red, Blue, Green) colors.
Meanwhile, it is composed of 0% cyan, 16% magenta, 100% yellow, and 0% black in the CMYK color chart.
The hue angle (relative amounts of redness yellowness) is 50.6%, meaning it’s about midway between red and yellow.
Meanwhile, the saturation is 100%, denoting a pure and highly intense color, while the lightness is 50%, making it moderately illuminated.
Shades of gold
The shades of gold are similar to those of mineral gold. The most popular shades are as follows;
- Yellow gold: This is the brightest and most common shade of gold. It symbolizes joy and happiness. Thus, it’s perfect for creating cheerful highlights and conveying a message of excitement. It works equally well in traditional and contemporary settings.
- Rose gold: Rose gold is yellow gold with a warmer tone. Therefore, it has a more romantic feel. For this reason, most artists use it to create beautiful scenes and landscapes. You can also use it in portraits and contemporary designs.
- White gold: Unfortunately, white gold isn’t as common as the other two colors. But you can make it by adding a little silver dust to yellow gold, making a whitish or light-grey gold color. White gold creates beautiful highlights and unique accents. It also makes beautiful focal points when painting.
Read also: what color does gold and silver make when mixed?
Meaning and symbolism
Few colors have more meanings and interpretations than gold. First, gold is closely associated with luxury, achievement, success, and triumph.
Its unique beauty also makes it the color of choice when creating the impression of wealth, royalty, and money.
Meanwhile, religiously, gold is synonymous with divinity and power. For instance, many Christians associate the gold color with God’s strength and royalty.
Meanwhile, it relates to learning, meditation, and self-guided improvement in Hinduism. You may also notice that Hindu idols often feature gold haloes.
Elsewhere, gold symbolizes affluence and high societal standing. It also portrays overindulgence and is the mark of approval in most success stories.
Golden clothes or accessories immediately send a message of triumph and influence.
What Colors Make Gold Paint?
Mixing brown and yellow paint is the simplest way to create a golden color. Begin with a sufficient quantity of yellow.
Then gradually add brown until you hit the desired golden shade.
However, that’s just one approach. Moreover, plain yellow and brown only make the goldenrod shade.
You should consider different techniques to make other shades of gold.
For instance, adding a hint of red makes warmer golden colors, while a touch of green makes a cooler golden color.
Adding a few drops of blue has the same impact as green. It produces a cooler, darker shade of gold.
Warm vs. Cool golden tones: a little about color bias
Perhaps you find the terms “cool” and “warm” in painting confusing. We’ve all been there. But it’s nothing technical. It all has to do with color bias.
Bias refers to the relative temperature of a color. Color temperatures range from very cool (or cold) to very warm (or hot).
The coolest color is blue, while the warmest color is red. The others fall between the two extremes, and their specific temperatures depend on whether the color shade leans more towards blue or red on the color spectrum.
Take yellow, for example. It is generally a warm color but various shades of yellow can be cool or warm. For example, yellow with a dash of red is a warm shade.
Meanwhile, yellows with a green shade lean more towards blue, and thus are considered cool shades.
Similarly, yellows leaning towards blue on the color chart are considered cool tones. Meanwhile, those leaning towards red are warm.
Also read: How to make yellow with paint
Understanding these biases will help you create the perfect golden colors. For instance, if you desired a warmer, more vibrant shade of gold, your base colors (presumably yellow and brown) must be warm-toned.
The opposite is true for cooler golden colors. Ensure both base colors are cool tones.
The evidence is clear when looking at the common shades of gold. For example, pure gold (#FFD700), golden yellow (#FFDF00), and sunglow gold (FFCC33) have the highest amounts of red among golden hues. Thus they are visibly warm and brighter than the other shades.
Meanwhile, rose gold (#B76E79) and pale gold (#E6BE8A) have the highest composition of blue. Thus they are darker or browner.
What Two Colors Make Gold?
To create gold with two colors, combine yellow and brown. Adding brown to yellow provides the desired results much quicker, as brown easily overcomes yellow.
Meanwhile, adding yellow to brown takes significantly longer. But both produce fantastic results if you mix proper proportions.
I make different shades of gold by adding more colors, shades, and hues. For instance, I add more yellow to make brighter golds.
Alternatively, you may add white paint in small increments to control the final shade. Otherwise, you may lose the brown tone and metallic feel.
A different approach is to make your brown and mix it with yellow. Most professionals use this approach because it allows them to make the perfect brown for the project.
Moreover, you can easily make brown using the basic colors – red, blue, and yellow. Therefore, you don’t need expensive brown paint from the store.
Begin by mixing yellow and blue to make green. Then gradually add red to make a brown color.
Note that the shade and tone of each base paint directly impact the properties of the brown color. Once you have a brown color, add some yellow to make a golden tone.
How to Mix Gold Paint with Acrylic Paints
Making gold paint using acrylic paint is easy if you understand the basic concepts of color theory.
I prefer mixing brown with yellow. But I’ll also show you how to make acrylic gold with all the primary colors.
Method 1: How to make gold acrylic paint with brown and yellow colors
For this method, you need warm shades of brown and yellow.
Ochre brown (#CC7722) and a warm yellow such as school bus yellow (#FFD800) are the best picks, but other shades of brown and yellow also work.
Mix equal proportions of the two colors to make a basic shade of gold. It creates a neutral golden color.
But you can add more brown or yellow to adjust the shade. For instance, add more yellow for a lighter golden color.
Alternatively, add more brown to make the color gold darker.
Method 2: How to make golden acrylic paint using all three primary colors
This is a more in-depth process compared to the first method. But it achieves wonderful results using the right color shades in proper proportions.
First, we need to make a brown color. Then we add yellow to make a golden color.
Choose your base colors carefully for the perfect golden shade. I like to use cobalt blue (hex code #0047AB) and Coquelicot red (hex code #FF3800) to make brown.
Then I add yellow school bus (hex code #FFD800) to make a golden hue.
- Red acrylic paint
- Blue acrylic paint
- Yellow acrylic paint
- Copper or bronze powder
- Palette or mixing bowl
- Paint brushes
How to make golden color with red, blue, and yellow: Step-by-step guide
- Mix the first two primary colors: Mix equal parts of the cobalt blue and Coquelicot red paints to make a brown color. A measuring cup ensures equal proportions of each paint color for the best results.
- Add school bus yellow: You need as much yellow as the red and blue paint potions. For instance, add one cup of yellow paint if you used a cup of red and blue paint. The mixture creates a vibrant golden color paint.
- Add more yellow to create a brighter gold color: At this stage, you need to add just a little yellow paint at a time to achieve the desired shade. Stir the mixture gently using a spatula or stirrer for a consistent color.
- Add copper or bronze colors: Many artists love glittery metallic gold paints. If so, sprinkle a little copper or bronze powder on your golden color. Again, the potions are critical. Add enough as too much copper or bronze makes the paint too glossy. (Here’s a quick guide on how to make bronze paint colors and what colors make copper).
How to Make Gold with Oil Paints
Yes, you can make golden colors using oil paint. It’s almost the same process as making gold colors with acrylic paint.
But we’ll use a different set of paint colors for this project. Also, remember to purchase only oil paints for the base colors.
- Titanium white oil paint
- Ivory black oil paint
- School bus yellow oil paint
- Quinacridone rose oil paint
- A mixing bowl
- Paint brushes
Making gold with oil paints: Step-by-step guide
Step 1: Mix the yellow, rose, and black colors: Mix equal parts of the yellow, rose, and black paints in the mixing bowl. Stir thoroughly for a uniform color. It forms a golden brown color.
Step 2: Add white to the mixture: Add tiny bits of white to create a more vivid golden shade. Again, mix it thoroughly for a uniform blend.
Step 4: Test the results: Use the paintbrush to test the resulting color on a spare canvas. Do you like it? If not, add more yellow for a brighter tone or a speck of black for a darker golden shade.
How to Make Gold with Watercolors
Suppose one of the kids needs to make a golden paint for a school project. You can help them create the perfect golden paint using watercolors.
The simplest approach is to mix brown and yellow colors. But be sure to use watercolors throughout.
- Yellow and brown watercolor paints
- Mixing containers
Making gold with watercolors: Step-by-step guide
Step 1: Determine the required gold shade: The tone and shade of the golden color depend on the base paints. Use more yellow for a brighter gold color and more brown for a darker shade. Similarly, warm and cool base colors produce different shades of gold.
Step 2: Mix the two colors: For a basic golden color, you need equal potions of yellow and brown. Gradually add brown to the yellow paint until you achieve the desired shade of gold. However, you may need more yellow or brown to adjust the shade.
Step 3: Dilute the paint with water: Diluting with water is another way to obtain a lighter color shade when mixing watercolor paints. Add more water for a lighter color and less for a darker shade.
Step 4: Test the paint: Use a small brush to test the golden paint. Then re-adjust the color if you’re not satisfied.
How to Make Different Shades of the Gold Color
Now you know how to make basic golden colors. But what if you want a specific shade? Here’s how I make goldenrod, dark, deep, and rose gold paint.
Method 1: How to make a goldenrod shade
It’s easy to make a goldenrod shade. You need yellow and brown paints, a mixing bowl, and a spatula or paintbrush.
- Add yellow paint on a clean mixing surface. You’ll get the best results if you evenly spread the yellow paint.
- Pour an equal amount of brown paint into the yellow one and use the paintbrush to spread it all over the yellow, mixing the two as you do so. This step produces a basic golden shade.
- The final step is adjusting the color to meet your needs. For instance, add a bit of red paint and mix thoroughly to eliminate beige undertones. Alternatively, add a touch of blue to make your gold less bland.
Method 2: How to make a dark gold shade
I use the three primary colors- red, blue, and yellow – to make a dark shade of gold. It’s a straightforward process;
- Add sufficient amounts of yellow to the mixing bowl. Alternatively, spread it around evenly over your canvas.
- Add blue and red to make a golden-brown shade. This is a delicate step, so be extra careful. First, add equal proportions of blue, red, and yellow. Otherwise, it produces a muddy brown color. Secondly, mix the colors thoroughly. It produces a darker color, much darker than the goldenrod shade.
- Adjust the tone and shade if you’re not satisfied. For instance, blending a brush’s worth of yellow into a golden color makes it brighter. Meanwhile, to eliminate purple tones, add a few drops of red and mix thoroughly.
Method 3: How to make a deep gold shade
Deeper shades of gold are very popular, especially where the painter wants a less glossy painting. Fortunately, it’s easy to make deep shades of gold.
Begin by mixing equal parts of red and black. It forms a brownish shade. Mix them thoroughly for a uniform brown color.
Add sufficient yellow to give it a lighter, golden shade. The best route is to add tiny bits of red until you attain the desired golden shade. Alternatively, add an equal amount of yellow as the previous two colors. The resulting shade resembles metallic gold.
Adjust the color to the desired shade. For instance, a drop of red or orange gives it a warmer tone. Magenta has a similar impact. Meanwhile, adding a dash of blue gives it a cooler tone.
Method 4: How to create rose gold paint
Making rose gold is a little different from the other processes. So, what colors do you mix to make rose gold? This time, we use an existing gold color as the base. You can use any gold color you have on hand.
But you’ll get even better results if you start with a golden base with a red undertone. The rest of the process is as follows;
Mix gold and red paints. Pour sufficient amounts of the gold base on the mixing surface and spread it with a palette knife. Then add red and mix it thoroughly into the golden color.
Add silver to the mixture and mix thoroughly. The ideal quantity of silver depends on the golden shade. Generally, you need more silver if the gold is darker. Meanwhile, if the gold color is already bright, you only need a few drops.
Add gold sparkles or silver glitter for a glamorous appearance. It forms a dazzling rose gold.
Mixing Gold Colors: Tips and Tricks
The following are valuable tips for mixing beautiful gold colors. These are tips I’ve used for many years. But feel free to experiment. It’s what artists do, right?
How to make gold colors richer
Placing them next to complementary colors like blue and purple is the easiest way to make gold colors richer.
But that’s not the only solution. The following are other options to explore;
- Add a base color: A base layer beneath the painting helps the golden shade stand out more. Red is perfect for this purpose as it highlights the hidden gold tones. Let the base color dry before painting with gold.
- Be wary of analogous colors: Analogous colors appear next to each other on the color wheel. Unfortunately, they rarely work well next to each other when painting. For instance, yellow next to gold, orange, or red is overwhelming. So, be careful if you must use them together.
- Use neutral colors: Neutral colors are naturally muted. Therefore, they make gold and other bold colors stand out more. For instance, gold stands out more prominently next to brown and grey.
How to make gold colors neutral
Unfortunately, gold tends to overpower the colors around it. You should neutralize it for a more balanced painting or artwork.
The first option is to add more brown. This works best when mixing gold using brown and yellow paints.
Add a few more drops of brown and mix thoroughly for a more neutral shade.
Alternatively, consider a gray-based base. Gray takes away some of the shininess for a more toned-down golden color.
How to make gold paints shine?
Gold is famous for its pop and shine, but not all shades are alike. You occasionally need to “touch up” your colors to make your paintings shinier.
The good news is that making gold glitter is easy. Add 2-3 drops of white to the gold color, stirring extensively after each drop.
Then assess the new shade. If it’s not at the desired level, add 2-3 more drops of white and stir again. Repeat until you reach a color 2-3 shades brighter.
How to make a golden color lighter
There are two ways to make gold lighter. The first option is to add more yellow.
This is the best approach, as yellow and gold are analogous colors. It adds much-needed vibrancy without dulling the tone.
Add a few drops at a time to control the final hue.
Alternatively, you can make your gold color lighter by adding some white. Lightning your gold is not the best way, as white may mute the golden hue.
Moreover, white makes gold colors less vibrant. Nevertheless, it makes a lighter golden color.
How to make gold paint darker
Some settings, such as the setting sun, require slightly darker shades of gold. But can you make any gold paint darker? Fortunately, you can.
You have two options. The first one is to add more brown to the gold paint. Or you can use a higher proportion of brown paint when making the gold paint.
Alternatively, add some orange paint to your gold. A warm, deep orange has the highest impact.
How to make gold paint without yellow
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to make gold without yellow. You’re unlikely to get the brightest shades of gold.
Therefore, you should only consider this option when making darker or cooler shades of gold.
But you can work without yellow nonetheless. The best solution is to mix brown and orange paints, which make rusty golden colors.
Refine the final shade by controlling the potions. Add a sufficient amount of brown to the mixing bowl.
Then add tiny bits of orange until you attain the desired gold. Use bright, warm shades of orange for the best results.
How to make gold paint without brown
Unlike working without yellow, it’s easy to make gold without brown, provided you have the three basic colors – red, blue, and yellow.
First, mix red and blue to create green. Equal parts of blue and red make the perfect green shade.
Then mix equal parts of the green and yellow paints. It makes a warm-toned dark gold color.
Add more yellow for a brighter gold tone. Alternatively, add a dash of red for a darker gold paint color.
Additional Tips When Mixing Gold Paints
The following are additional tips I’ve gathered when mixing golden colors using different approaches and base paints.
- There’s no “perfect” gold color. Instead, gold exists in many shades and tones in real life. This information can help you make more life-like paintings.
- Since gold is reflective, your surrounding is critical. For example, it may appear shinier than on a bright background.
- Painting on a white background makes gold paintings stand out more. Light gray backgrounds have the same effect.
- You can easily adjust your gold shades by adjusting the ratio of the base colors. For instance, adding more yellow produces a brighter gold while more brown makes a darker gold color.
- On the same note, experiment with different shades of the base paint. Any slight change in the base colors produces a different shade.
- For a smooth and even gold painting, apply thin layers and allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next.
- Adding gloss medium creates a glossier finish without tampering with the tone of the gold paint. Alternatively, touch it up with varnish.
- A touch of glitter makes golden paints shimmer. But be sure to mix it thoroughly into the paint. Otherwise, the glitter settles at the bottom of the container.
- It’s never the worst idea to start over. It can be demoralizing. But it’s better than presenting a muddy gold painting.
How do you make the color gold?
You can make gold in two main ways. The simplest method involves two colors – brown and yellow. Add yellow to brown while stirring until you attain the desired shade of gold. Alternatively, you can make gold using the three primary colors. First, mix equal parts of blue and red to make green. Then add yellow gradually to form a brown color and more yellow to make it golden.
How do you make golden acrylic paint?
The easiest way to make golden acrylic paint is by mixing one part brown with 10 parts yellow paint. Use a palette knife for accuracy. I often add brown to yellow as it’s quicker. But you can also work the other way around. Add a drop of red to the gold for a warmer tone and some blue for a cooler color.
How do you make a golden effect in paint?
Mixing yellow with white is an easy way to make golden effects when painting. It produces sharp outlines on golden objects, making them stand out. But if you want a true golden color, mix brown and yellow. Add a few brown to yellow paint drops until you get the right golden shade.
How do you make gold-orange paint?
To make a golden-orange color, mix equal parts of the two primary colors – red and yellow. The two make a beautiful orange color. Add more red or yellow to make a red-orange or yellow-orange color. Both tertiary colors are golden-orange shades.
Is gold the same as champagne?
No. Gold and champagne are not the same colors. Gold is a bright metallic hue associated with wealth and luxury, while champagne is a pale, yellowish-beige color with subtle gold undertones. They share warm undertones but have distinct appearances, with gold being more vibrant and champagne subdued.
Gold is a highly popular color, and for a good reason. It’s bold, fashionable, and one of the most socially-significant colors in many cultures.
Fortunately, it’s easy to mix golden colors. The easiest method is to mix brown and yellow.
Alternatively, mix blue and red to make green and add yellow until you attain a golden shade.