What Colors Make Lavender?

Lavender is light purple. You can make lavender by mixing Quinacridone Magenta with Phthalo Blue to create purple. Then it’s just a simple matter of adding Titanium White to lighten it.

The original purple color is on the left side of the photo. To make a lavender color, mix Titanium White with the purple. The result is the lavender color on the right. From top top bottom the purples are: Dioxazine Purple, Ultramarine Blue and Quinacridone Magenta, Cerulean Blue and Quinacridon Magenta, and Cobalt Blue and Quinacridone Magenta.

The photograph above contains 4 purples that I have lightened with Titanium White. You could also try adding white to other shades of purple. The recipes for mixing a substitute Dioxazine Purple in the next section are excellent starting points for mixing lavender.

When you mix your own purple, you have more control over the lavender that you create when you add white. If you prefer a lavender that’s more blue, then add more Phthalo Blue to the mixture. Conversely, adding more Quinacridone Magenta will make it lean more towards pink.

“Lavender” is a generic color name so there are many shades of purple that have that name. However, many of the professional artists paints are named after the pigment that they’re made from. For instance, Titanium White contains titanium dioxide.

How to Make Magenta?

You can’t mix Magenta because it’s a primary color. The purest magenta that you can buy is Quinacridone Magenta. It’s very versatile, so it’s worth adding it to your palette. Alizarin Crimson is similar to magenta, but it’s biased towards yellow.

One principle of color mixing is that you can’t mix a primary color from a secondary color. It’s also impossible to mix a color that’s more vibrant than the colors you’re starting from. Mixing paint is different that working with color on a computer where you can increase the saturation by adjusting a slider.

It’s important to note that some magenta pigments aren’t lightfast which means they’re prone to fading as they age. The Quinacridone Magenta that’s available from Liquitex and Golden have a lightfastness rating of I, which is excellent. Check the lightfast ratings of the paints before you buy them.

Substitutes for Dioxazine Purple

The stripe of purple along the top is Dioxazine Purple. The 5 swatches below it are the 5 purples that are a close match for Dioxazine Purple.  Below are the 5 recipes for these colors.

  1. Phthalo Blue and Quinacrdone Magenta : I would start with the Phthalo Blue and add small amounts of magenta until it matches Dioxazine Purple.
  2. Ultramarine Blue and Quinacridone Magenta: Begin with a pile of Ultramarine Blue and add Quinacridone Magenta.
  3. Cerulean Blue and Quinacridone Magenta: I use Cerulean Blue Hue for this example. In watercolor, Cerulean Blue is a granulating color so that’s another reason why you may want to use it. It’s slightly less transparent than Phthalo Blue. Add Quinacridone Magenta in small amounts until it turns purple.
  4. Prism Violet and Phthalo Blue : Prism Violet is a mixture of Dioxazine Purple and Quinacridone Magenta. They add the magenta to make it more of a violet color. If you want to mix Dioxazine Purple from Prism Violet, you have to add Phthalo Blue to make it more blue.
  5. Cobalt Blue and Quinacridone Magenta : If you prefer to use Cobalt Blue instead of the other blues that are available, you can use it to mix a purple that’s similar to Dioxazine Purple. Simply add the magenta to it until it matches.

Is It Worth Buying Prism Violet and Medium Magenta?

Prism Violet is what I call a “convenience color.” Convenience colors are mixtures of two pigments that are offered as a way to save you time from having to mix the color yourself.

According to the label on the tube, Liquitex Prism Violet contains Quinacridone Magenta and Dioxazine Purple. You can easily mix this color yourself by adding a small amount of Quinacridone Magenta to Dioxazine Purple.

The same is true of Medium Magenta, which is a mixture of Quinacridone Magenta and Titanium White. There’s no reason to buy a separate tube of it when you probably already have white and magenta on your palette.

The occasions where these convenient mixtures are worth it is when you know you’ll be needing a large volume of a specific color. Buying it in a tube will save you the hassle of having to mix the same color repeatedly. For example, if you’re working on a large painting that has a pink background, it may be easier to buy the Medium Magenta instead of having to mix a large quantity of it yourself. This is especially true if you’re using the color exactly as it is from the tube.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to remove some colors from your palette, these are the colors you can remove from your palette. You should be able to mix them from the primary colors.

Final thoughts

Purple seems like it should be an easy color to create. Everyone is taught in school that “red and blue makes purple.” However, the basic color theory that they teach in schools is often an oversimplification that’s not based upon actual experience.

“Red” and “Blue” are subjective terms. You’ll get different results depending upon which shades of red and blue you choose. Red doesn’t produce brilliant purples. The secret is to use Magenta instead.

Color theory is important, but what’s most useful is the knowledge that you gain from actually mixing colors with paint. With enough experience you will be able to mix any color that you need, including purple.

Similar Posts


  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to create this color tutorial, I got a lot out of it. Being relatively new to color theory, I do have a question on specifics, though. Any thoughts on specific blues or blacks to use:

    “While Quinacridone Magenta has a bright pink appearance, you may find it surprising that you can mix dark maroon color by simply adding BLACK to it. This is a very simple 2 color recipe that yields a sophisticated color.”


    “If you’re looking for a blueish purple, then this probably isn’t the recipe for you. One way to make it more purple is to add BLUE to it.”

    Kind regards,


    1. Chris Breier says:

      Hi Vicki, I’m glad you found my post useful! In the example, I mixed Carbon Black with Magenta but I think other black pigments would have a similar effect. I believe Carbon Black is pretty much the same pigment Ivory Black. I wrote a post about the difference between Ivory Black and Mars Black. As for which mixing magenta with black to make a burgundy…if you wanted to make it more of a blueish purple you can try either Phthalo Blue, and I think Ultramarine would work well too. I have a free color mixing chart that may help you with your color mixing. I hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *