How to Make White Paint | Is It Even Possible?

As an artist, you might not always have all the colors available. Sometimes, you might need a specific paint whose tube might have been sitting empty for weeks. For example, it could be white.

That might make you think, how to make white paint?

You can not mix colors and expect the mixture to become white. Instead, you will need white pigment to make white paint. And to get that into paint form, mix it with alkyd or acrylic resin.

But don’t we get white light when we mix red, blue, and green light together? So, should the case be the same for paint?

Well, there are some things that you need to understand to make white paint. And you will find all the details below.

Why Is It Impossible to Make White Paint By Mixing Colors?

You must know how white paint behaves to understand why you can’t just mix colors and expect white. The thing is, white is white because it reflects most of the light rays. It does not absorb any of the rays, which makes it colorless.

Yes, it is possible to get white light when combining red, blue, and green lights. However, the same technique does not apply to white paint. No combination of colors will make you end up with white.

That is, no matter how many paints you mix, the mixture will absorb at least one particular light ray. And as you know, it will not be colorless when the color absorbs a wavelength of light.

What Do You Get When You Mix All the Colors of the Rainbow?

In theory, when you mix every color of the rainbow, you should end up with white. Now, in case you are unaware, every color of the rainbow includes violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, red, and orange.

But the same is not true for paints. You will not create white when you combine all the above colors. Instead of white, you will end up with something that will actually be gray.

In other words, it is impossible to create white by mixing different paints together. What is true for lights is not valid for painting colors.

Read More: How to Make Gold Paint

How Do Manufactures Make White Paint?

So, if it is impossible to make white by mixing colors, how does white paint come to be? As mentioned at the beginning of this discussion, you will need white pigment to make white paint.

The formula of white paint will require a medium other than just the white pigment. And generally, this medium is acrylic or alkyd resin. Mixing these two makes you end up with white color.

Wondering what the white pigment actually is? Paint manufacturers rely on pigments such as zinc oxide, lead carbonate, calcium hydroxide, mineral powders, or calcium carbonate.

Now, even if you manage to acquire the pigment and the medium, you should remember that the process is very delicate. It requires chemistry knowledge and attention to detail.

In fact, the process of making white is actually dangerous. You will need to adhere to proper precautions and avoid exposing yourself to toxic pigments.

How to Make Different Shades of White?

Even though it is impossible to make white by mixing colors, you can get different shades of the paint through some mixing. And it is pretty crucial to know about these combinations. As pure white is not generally used on its own in most cases.

Instead, artists utilize shades of white to give their artwork accents and hints of white. Want to know how you can get different shades of white by mixing different colors? Take a look at the combinations –

Pale Almond

To get to pale almond, you will need to mix raw sienna with white. Note the “Pale” keyword in this color combination. It states that the almond color will most lean towards white.

Off White

One of the popular painting colors for many artists is off-white. And you can make it one of two ways. The first one involves you mixing black with white. A little amount of the first will make you get off nature on the white color.

The second way to get off-white is to mix some brown with white. Again, be wary of the amount. The more you add the secondary color, the more the mixture will lean toward it.


You really don’t need to worry too much if you don’t have beige in your coloring station. All you will need is white and some brown. Mix them at the appropriate amount, and whallah, you have beige.


To get ivory, you need to work with three different colors. The first one is the most obvious color. Yes, it is white. And the other two are yellow and blue.

However, mixing two colors with white requires patience and much experimentation. In this case, you don’t need more than a pinprick amount of blue. And if you plan to work in small batches, it is better to mix the color on the canvas.

Remember, simply add “Dabs” of the secondary colors on the white base. Do not add too much of anything.


Another shade of white that you might need to use quite often is eggshell white. This, again, requires two secondary colors. You have to work with yellow and light brown on a white base.

Light Honey

You will find the use of light honey on most of your vibrant and light-themed art pieces. And to make it, you should add dark brown and yellow on the white base.

Final Words

So, there is no easy process for making white paint. You can not just mix some color and expect the mixture to be white. Instead, if you want to learn how to make white paint, you must first learn about white pigments and their chemistry.

Then, you should get a medium and work with the pigments. And it is better to purchase the paint instead of going through all of these.

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