3 ways to darken a red paint

3 ways to darken a red paint
3 ways to darken a red paint

The most common way to darken red paint is to mix it with another color. You can mix 2 different shades of red to only slightly change the shade of the color. You can also mix red with green or blue, to completely change its tone, without tarnishing it. Neutral colors, like brown and black, can be mixed with the red paint, for a more intense change. You can also adjust the effect obtained by changing paint or applying more coats.


Method 1 of 3: Use red, green, or blue paint

Step 1. Mix a darker shade of red with your base red

Mixing two shades of the same color is the best way to slightly change the profile of a red paint. Modify a red paint by mixing it with a darker shade of red from the same brand and type of paint. Add burgundy or carmine red to a light red paint and mix thoroughly with a mixing stick or brush, until you get a homogeneous shade.

  • This will be the easiest way to slightly modify a rouge.
  • Use two paints of the same type. If your base paint is an acrylic paint, mix it with another acrylic paint. If your base paint is an oil semi-gloss paint, mix it with another oil semi-gloss paint. By combining different types of paint, you might not get a consistent texture or color.
  • If you are working in a poorly lit environment, you might have trouble seeing the change in shade when mixing two red paints.
Make Red Paint Darker Step 2

Step 2. Add a little bit of green paint, for a deeper red

Complementary colors can be mixed to achieve different shades of brown. If you want to darken a red paint without adding black, mix in a hint of green. The paint will take on a brownish hue. Start by mixing 1 scoop of green for 10 scoops of red and add more green if necessary.

  • Dark colors will radically and quickly change a light painting. Play it safe by adding a small amount of green, before incorporating more if necessary.
  • You will be able to identify the complementary color of a hue by referring to the color wheel and looking for the hue located just in front of your red.
  • If you add black, it will naturally absorb more light. Incorporating green is a good way to keep the red bright, without shrinking the room and making the paint look too flat.

Step 3. Use a similar shade of blue to darken and soften a red

A purple undertone will make your red darker and deeper. Mix a dark red with a soft blue and a light red with a deep blue, to darken your red paint. Start by adding 1 scoop of the similar color to 10 scoops of your rouge, before incorporating more blue if necessary.

  • Analogous colors are those that are next to each other on the color wheel, such as light green and bright yellow or dark orange and light red.
  • If you add too much blue, you will get a purple paint.


mixing similar colors often results in a unique and vibrant hue. If you are looking for an original effect on a wall or want to bring out a focal point, try this option.

Method 2 of 3: mix red with neutral colors

Step 1. Add black to change the shade

Mixing black with another shade will darken that shade. This is the easiest way to darken a paint. Start slowly, incorporating 1 scoop of black for every 30 scoops of red, to make sure you don't add too much black. Black is the strongest shade and it is the one that will most drastically modify another color. To do this, work in small doses while you mix black with red.

Many painters do not like to mix primary colors with black, as the latter darkens the color, resulting in a dull result


it will be very difficult to undo a color change after adding black. Indeed, this pigment is extremely powerful. In addition, black changes a shade so quickly, that it will be difficult for you to estimate how much you will need to incorporate.

Step 2. Mix red with gray for a dark, matte red

Start by incorporating 1 dose of gray to 15 doses of red. By mixing a paint with gray and not with black, you will also incorporate white into your color and the effect obtained will be more neutral. White and black will cancel out each other when it comes to sparkle, giving you a softer, more matte red. Mix a red and a matte gray if you want to get a neutral hue wall or artwork.

  • If you're worried that the room might look smaller after painting a wall red and gray, use a lighter shade of gray. This will soften the red, without darkening it.
  • You can get gray by mixing white and black.

Step 3. Mix red with brown for a soft, natural shade

Start by mixing 1 dose of chestnut with 20 doses of red. Choosing a shade of brown to mix with red is not easy, as brown can contain a wide variety of different colors. Generally, the lighter the brown, the more orange the resulting red will be. Use small amounts of a dark brown if you are working with a primary red.

To get a burgundy red, add black or yellow to your brown-red mixture

Method 3 of 3: Apply a second coat or mix the products

Step 1. Apply a second coat of the same rouge

After the first coat of paint has dried, you can achieve a richer shade by applying a second coat of the same paint. This method will be especially effective if you are working with a shade darker than a primary red. Simply cover your canvas, wall or other medium a second time, with the same paint you used the first time.

If you use a fairly light shade of red, you will make it more vivid by applying a second coat. The result might then seem clearer

Step 2. Apply a coat of burgundy or carmine over a light shade

If your red is too bright, you can deepen the color by applying a darker shade on top. Pick a red a few shades darker from your current red and apply it over your first coat, for a stronger color. This method will work best with water-based or translucent paints.

  • Watercolors usually have few nuances. If you are using watercolor, use less water to get a darker color.
  • You can use a color chart to identify the color of a wall. Place the different shades of red against the wall, until you find the shade that blends in perfectly with that of the wall.
  • Color charts usually show colors with the lightest shade at the top of a card and the darkest at the bottom. Go down 2 or 3 boxes on the same sheet to choose the shade of a color that will blend correctly in your first layer.

Step 3. Apply a matte red over a shiny red

Glossy paints reflect light and a bright red will tend to appear lighter than it actually is. Cover a layer of shiny red with a layer of matt red, to limit the amount of light reflected from the wall.

  • Oil-based paints tend to reflect more light than latex-based paints.
  • If you're painting interior walls, you could just take your shiny paint can to the store where you bought it and request a matte latex version in the same shade.
  • Glossy oil-based paints may need to be recoated in several coats.
Make Red Paint Darker Step 10

Step 4. If you are working on canvas, use acrylic paint

Usually, oil-based paints give richer, more vivid tones. Acrylic paints give a more matte effect and will darken as they dry. If you want to achieve a certain shade of red, but your result is not dark enough, change your oil paint to an acrylic paint.


if you switch from oil painting to acrylic painting, you will have to change the creative process. Oil paint takes days to fully dry, while acrylic dries in just a few minutes.

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