What Color Do Yellow and White Make When Mixed?

Yellow and white colors mixing

White and yellow are two of the brightest colors, often used to make other hues lighter. Since they’re so similar, they go well together, but they look best when a darker color is used with them in a design.

What happens if you try to combine white and yellow? Will they create a color that can make designs more interesting?

What Color Do Yellow and White Make in Paint?

If white is added to a color, it creates what’s called a tint. Tints usually look like lighter, paler versions of the color that white is mixed with. Combining white and yellow is a similar situation.

Mixing yellow and white will give you a light yellow, like the color cream. It’s a unique version of yellow that’s less vibrant, making it easier on the eyes.

RGB 255, 253, 208
CMYK 0, 1, 18, 0

Understanding the RYB Color Model

Illustration of RYB Color Wheel

Many people are familiar with RYB because it’s the color model often taught in early art classes. It can be used for any physical art medium, but it’s most commonly associated with paint. To create new colors, you can swirl together two other paints.

The primary colors of RYB are red, yellow, and blue. If you combine two primary colors, you’ll either get green, orange, or purple, which are the secondary colors. If equal amounts of all three primary colors are mixed together, they’ll create brown.

You might notice that black and white don’t appear on the RYB color model’s diagram. However, they do exist in RYB. Black and white are commonly used to make other colors lighter or darker.

Making Yellow Lighter or Darker

After mixing yellow and white together, you might realize that you didn’t get the exact color you were looking for. Luckily, there are easy ways to adjust colors to fit your needs. Here are some tips for making colors lighter or darker.

Squares with different shades and tints of yellow

Mixing Tints

Light yellow is already a tint of yellow, but you can make it even lighter if needed. The more white you add to the mixture, the lighter it will be. Since yellow is such a light color, adding too much white will make the combination close to pure white.

Mixing Shades

Shades occur when black is added to a color, which makes it look darker. If you want to make dark yellow, you should add black to regular yellow instead of light yellow. Black paint can easily overpower other colors, especially light colors. So, only add a tiny bit of black at a time to make yellow darker.

Adding a lot of black to yellow might give you an olive green color, which probably isn’t what you’re looking for. So, to make yellow darker while still being warm and vibrant, try adding a touch of red or orange instead.

Light Yellow Color Meaning

Yellow can have a variety of meanings depending on the type of yellow. Light yellow is a symbol of intelligence, freshness, and joy. However, it can also have similar meanings to standard yellow.

In general, yellow represents happiness, positivity, and intellect. It can inspire, amuse, and energize. It could mean creative, perceptive, and warm, but it could also mean cowardly, deceptive, and egotistical. As with other colors, it depends on the context it’s used in.

Can You Make Yellow or White Paint with Other Colors?

Brush strokes with yellow and white paint

If you run out of a paint color, you can often create it using other colors rather than buying more. However, that might not be possible with yellow and white.

Yellow is a primary color on both subtractive color models (RYB and CMYK). So, there’s no easy way to make it. The only way to create a type of yellow would be by adding a lot of white to orange. Yet, that result won’t be nearly as vibrant as yellow normally is, so it might be easier to buy more. Using an additive color model and lights, yellow is created by mixing red and green.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to create white paint by using other colors. The more colors that are combined in paint, the darker and murkier the mixture becomes. So, there’s no way to make a color significantly lighter by mixing other colors together. If you want more white paint, you’ll need to head to the store. In lights, white is created by mixing the primaries red, green, and blue.

What Color Do Yellow and White Make in Lights?

As mentioned, you’ll get white when you combine the three primary colors of lights. So, white is a mixture of all colors in RGB. If you add yellow to white, there will be a little more yellow than the other primary and secondary colors. Thus, the result will also be a very light yellow in this color model.

An easier way to make light yellow might be by turning down the brightness on a yellow light. Even so, it’s a good idea to try mixing different colored lights so you can learn more about the unique color combinations they make.

Understanding the RGB Color Model

RGB and CMYK color models

RGB is the color model used for lights and digital displays. It’s a form of additive mixing instead of subtractive, so that’s why some of the color combinations vary greatly from paints. When colors are combined in RGB, the colors end up lighter.

The primary colors are red, green, and blue. Then, the secondary colors are cyan, magenta, and yellow. All three primary colors combined make white. Adjusting the brightness of the colors you’re mixing with could alter the result.

CMYK seems similar to RGB because the primary and secondary colors are swapped. Cyan, magenta, and yellow are the primary colors while red, green, and blue are the secondary colors. However, CMYK is a form of subtractive mixing used for ink, so its combinations are more similar to paint than lights.

How Do You Mix Colored Lights?

Mixing colored lights is much different than combining paint colors. If you have two lights that are the colors you need, you can shine one on top of the other to create a new color. However, all colors on the RGB color model can also be made by layering red, green, and blue on top of each other at different brightnesses.

For example, you can create yellow by using red and green at 100% brightness but blue at 0% brightness. If you want to shift that yellow to orange, you can lower the green to about half brightness instead. If red and blue are at full brightness with green about halfway, you’ll get a pink/purple color.

The best way to understand color mixtures in lights is by trial and error. Try testing out the different brightnesses on each color to see the wide range of hues you can discover.

How Do Our Eyes Perceive Colors?

Visible spectrum diagram with colored wavelengths and human eye

A lot goes on in our eyes when we perceive colors. Our eyes have “photosensors” called cones and rods, which help us see the world around us. Cones function best in bright lighting while rods are more sensitive, causing them to work best in dim lighting. Together, they can help us see colors no matter the time of day.

When light shines on an object, some colored wavelengths are absorbed into the item while others reflect off it. The visible spectrum contains all the colors of the rainbow. So, if we look at a ripe banana, all wavelengths will be absorbed into it except the ones that represent yellow. Those wavelengths will reflect back at us so we can perceive the banana as yellow.

Each color on the spectrum has different wavelengths. On one end of the spectrum, violet has the shortest, most frequent wavelengths. Then, red has the longest, most stretched-out wavelengths on the other end. Those wavelengths determine whether or not the colors are absorbed or reflected.

When our eyes interpret those colors, they also rely on our brains for context. That context helps us see colors that don’t exist on the visible spectrum.

Designing with Yellow and White

Yellow and white flowers in windowsill

Yellow and white are both very light colors, so they create simple designs on their own. They’re often used together to create a happy, summery feel. However, they can evoke different feelings if you add more colors to the design.

Some colors that might go well with white and yellow are brown, gray, orange, pink, or navy. However, you don’t have to use white and yellow together. If you use them separately, you may have more design options.

White is a neutral color, so it goes well with almost any other color. It can be paired with simple colors like brown or black, or vibrant colors like blue, pink, green, or purple. Yellow goes best with orange, blue, brown, green, or pink. If you’re looking to provide some contrast in your design, you can use the complement of yellow, which is purple.

Do Yellow and White Always Make Light Yellow?

Yes, yellow and white always make some type of light yellow, no matter what color model you’re using. That’s because white is the lightest color, so when it mixes with another color, it makes that color lighter too.

Color mixing is a great way to improve your design skills. Testing out a variety of color combinations can help you discover new colors that you wouldn’t have thought of before. So, don’t be afraid to mix random colors, even if they don’t seem ideal. You might be pleasantly surprised!