Some colors have to be elaborated to have them when painting or making any work of art. Except for the primary colors, which do not need any combination to exist, the rest are the result of mixtures of tones. Gray is one of them: it is a color that offers many shades and varieties depending on the tone you want to achieve.
The range of grays is wide: silver, pearl, bluish, light, dark. Based on the mix you make, you will get different types of gray. But what colors do you have to combine to achieve it? If you want to know how to make gray step by step with different paints, the tones that you must mix to obtain it and delve into the different methods to make various types of gray, here we recommend that you continue reading this practical article.
How to make gray color with tempera step by step
Tempera are a material that allows you to modify the colors or mixtures made even after drying. You just have to re-wet the paint a bit to correct or make new combinations. If you have this material and you don’t know how to mix colors to get gray, follow this step by step to make gray with tempera:
- Gray is a neutral color, so you will need the same amount of the two colors to mix to get it. To start, take the black and white
- Add two drops of black and white (1 drop of each and if you need more volume of paint put 2 drops of each, that is, the proportion should always be the same) on a palette if you have tempera tubes. If they are from a boat, use a brush for each tone to avoid contaminating the bottles with the other color.
- With the brush, mix the colors until you get a new and homogeneous one.
- This process will lead you to create a neutral gray, but if you add a greater amount of black or white you will get different types of gray, darker or lighter respectively.
Remember that even if this paint dries on the surface on which you have used it, later you can touch it up by dipping the tip of the brush in water and passing it through the dry paint. Once something moistened you can add the color you want to lighten it, darken it or change it to a bluish tone or a reddish one, for example.
How to make gray color with watercolor step by step
Water is the main element to use in watercolors and, in fact, the amount of water you use will determine the color tone: more proportion of water will mean a light and diluted tone and a smaller proportion will give a more intense and solid tone. Follow these steps to learn how to make a soft gray or stone color with watercolors:
- Soft stone gray is a slightly lighter gray than neutral, but not the lightest gray we can get. To start, create a basic gray: mix the same amount of black and white (1 drop of each).
- Dampen the brush in water first, and then wet the black watercolor.
- After putting the black color on the palette, clean the brush with water and do the same with the white.
- Mix the two colors to form gray. If necessary, add more black or white, always depending on the type of gray you want: in this case, to make the stone gray soft, choose to add a little whiter to soften the color.
- Use as little water as possible so the paint doesn’t get too thin.
- With the gray created in the palette, you can now use it to paint on paper.
How to make gray color with toners step by step
The gray color can also be made using universal toners or paint stains, a concept more popularly known. Toners or stains are used to tint practically all types of paints, but they go especially well with plastic, acrylic, latex, vinyl, and synthetic or water-based enamels. Being a less used way of painting than others, such as acrylic paint, tempera or watercolors, here we recommend that you choose the white base paint you want to use, take a black or very dark tint toner and follow this step to step to make the gray color with toners:
- For every liter of white paint, regardless of the tone or color you are doing, you should not add more than 60 cubic centimeters (cc) of stain. Keep this rule in mind whenever you work with toners, since if you exceed this amount, the paint will lose adherence on all surfaces and will provide stains of dye because it will not have completely dissolved.
- Depending on the amount of white paint you use in the mix, you will have to regulate the black dye to add. If for every 4 liters of white paint 60 cc of black dye are needed to make the gray color, 1 liter will require 15 cc.
- Mix the paint and toner with a board or paint mixer until you get gray.
How to make the color silver gray
The large amount of gray that can be obtained is the result of different mixtures. Making a silver gray color is not an easy task: certain brands of paint sell it because it cannot be created with primary colors.
However, you can try a silver gray color that gives a metallic effect. To achieve this, combine white and black, that is, as if you were going to make a neutral gray, and add a purer white color in the same proportion that increases the brightness of the resulting tone. Another option is to put 1 drop of black and directly 2 of the purest white of the paint set you have. This technique is easy to do in plastic paints, acrylic paints, etc., but it is not practical in case of using, for example, watercolors.
How to make pearl gray color
Among the different varieties of the color gray is also known as pearl gray. In addition to the base mix of black and white, you will need yellow and whiter to get this shade. If you want to know how to make pearl gray, follow these steps:
- Mix the white and black to get a neutral gray.
- Add the yellow color in small amounts.
- Mix the colors every time you add yellow to observe the evolution and avoid an excess of this color.
- Once you get the yellowish gray color, lighten the tone with a little white paint and you will get pearl gray.
How to make bluish gray and taupe color
Despite being a neutral color, gray can also lead to cold or warm tones. For example, blue-gray is cold: to make it, you simply add the color blue to the black and white mix. Depending on the quantities used, you will get a light bluish gray (more white color) or dark (more black or bluer). If you do not have blue color or you have very little left, here we explain how to make blue color.
However, to make a warm or reddish gray as the mole gray (a tone that is between gray and brown), add a small amount of magenta or red (depending on the material have) to the mixture of white and black. Here you can learn how to make red.
How to lighten gray paint
Warm, cold, pearl, silver, dark … Having verified that gray has several different shades, it is also important to know how to lighten it. To the usual mix of black and white to make the color gray, you will have to add a significantly higher amount of white to lighten the color. The whiter you add, the closer you get to pure white. By contrast, if you add blacker you will get a dark gray.
Another option to lighten it but get it to take on a little shade is to add a little yellow, but not even a drop. However, this color will lighten less than the white itself.