How to Make Silver Color? The Secret To Homemade Metallic Colors

Last Updated on March 21, 2024 by Masha Eretnova

When it comes to shiny color, metallic color, and even Christmas, one of the first that comes to mind is silver. 

But we don’t really use it that much to buy a whole tube or jar, and it can be quite pricey. So we come to google, “how to make silver color?” but then, if we just mix colors how will it shine?

Making your DIY silver color is possible by blending pearl white with grey. Or you can use titanium white, a bit of blue, and a bit of black mixed with the iridescent or/and pearlescent mediums. Mica powder can also be used to attain its metallic effect. 

It will be a fun and exciting color mash-up, so stay still, and together, let’s unfold the splendid idea of making silver color.

How to Make Silver Color
Some of my tests

What two colors make silver or gray?

The colors white and black are the two colors that make silver and gray. You need to blend white and black and make a gray tone.

The mixture should be mixed with iridescent or pearlescent mediums to achieve the metallic effect otherwise it will be just gray!

It has milky white color and shines.

Two other colors you can use to make silver are gray and a dash of blue to make it look cooler. 

shimmering of the grey+iridescent medium on the left and metallic silver on the right.

What is color silver?

What is color silver

Silver is an element known as “Ag.” It is a soft, shiny material that is as precious as gold and is used to make jewelry. 

Silver is a solid color characterized by a shiny metallic effect and is often linked with gray.

Before diving into how we can make the silver color, let’s look at the fundamentals of color theory so we can understand our colors more.

The color theory is typically visualized through the color wheel, where the colors are divided into a wheel.

Color theory has three main groups: primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.

color wheel
  • Primary Colors

Red, blue, and yellow is the base or primary colors. Mixing them will result in the creation of secondary colors.

  • Secondary Colors

Secondary colors are the products of combining primary colors.

  • Green came from mixing yellow and blue.
  • Purple from mixing blue and red.
  • Orange by mixing red and yellow.
  • Lastly, the tertiary colors are from the combination of primary and secondary colors.
    • Blue-green
    • Blue-violet
    • Red-violet
    • Red-orange
    • Yellow-green
    • Yellow-orange

Learning these primary colors will help us understand more the two essential modes of mixing paint, the subtractive and additive mixing models.

The subtractive color model, known as the CMYK, uses ink to subtract brightness from white. 

The additive color model, known as the RGB, uses more light to create a pure white and bright color.

Every color has its equivalent in RGB and CYMK color space.

Learn more about mixing colors and color theory: How To Mix Acrylic Paint? – Your Complete Color Mixing Guide

Where is Silver on the Colour Wheel?

Silver can be metallic or non-metallic hue, non-metallic silver is shown as a shade of black, and yet metallic silver does not exist on the traditional color wheel.

Silver is a neutral color like black, white, and gray and has no complementary color, so it is easy to combine with various colors.

Silver is achieved by making various shades of gray by combining white and black. Or combine shades of gray and finish it with a reasonable amount of white.

We’ve known silver as shiny or having that metallic effect, but we didn’t realize that metallic silver isn’t a solid color; its reflective tone is only achieved through reflective pigments mixed with gray hues.

Silver is known as #C0C0C0 (hex code) in digital arts. It comprises 75.3% red, green, and blue in the RGB color world.

As precious as gold, silver perceives elegance, glamor, prestige, and wealth.

How to make silver with acrylic paint?

Acrylic paint is one of the most common medium someone can use to make silver color.

Here’s how you can make silver color using acrylic:

Step 1: Prepare the materials you need:

Step 2: Make a cool gray by mixing 1 part black, 1 part blue, and a reasonable amount of white paint. Mix them until you are satisfied with the color you created.

Step 3: Make a warm gray by creating a brown color and mixing it with the cool gray.

how to make silver color
Cooler grey on top and warmer below it. On the right I’ve added Liquitex iridescent medium

Note: To create brown, blend equal parts of blue and yellow to make green, then add a little red until you achieve your desired shade of brown.

Once you have your brown color, gradually add it to gray until you reach your desired shade of warm gray.

Step 4: Adjust the shade of your silver color using white or black, white to lighten, and black to darken.

Step 5: Add iridescent or pearlescent mediums to achieve its metallic effect.

Read also: How to Make Black Paint and Shades of Black. 9 Easy Tips Mixing Black

Alternatively mix 2:1 pearl white to natural grey to get nice silver color.

How to make silver gray color

How to make silver gray color?

To make a silver-gray color, you can blend white and black paints. Remember that more whites will lighten the color, and more black will darken the color.

Adjusting amount of white/black you will get different shades of grey.

Then, add iridescnet medium.

Alternatively, mix natural grey with iridescnet medium. You can also add white if you want it lighter or black to darken it.

On the left grey mixed with iridescnet medium. On the right store-bought silver metallic paint.

How to make steel color paint?

How to make steel color paint
I added approx 3 parts of white and 1 part of black and a tiny bit of Cobalt Blue.

Steel color can be steel gray or steel blue. It is a cooler shade of gray. 

To make one, you must combine white and black paints and a dash of blue once you have your gray mixture.

You can adjust it by adding white, blue, or a bit of black if you prefer a darker shade.

How to make silver with watercolor paint?

Making silver using watercolor is a bit tedious, but it is possible to create one.

Read also: Watercolor vs Acrylic: 21 Differences Between Acrylic and Watercolor

Here’s how you can make silver color using watercolor:

Step !: Prepare the materials needed.

Step 2: Make the binder by gradually adding Arabic gum powder to lukewarm water. Mix them well until there are no lumps.

Step 3: Pour some mica powder on your palette (it could be the ready gray mica powder, or you can mix white and black mica powder).

Step 4: Using a dropper, add reasonable drops of binder to your mica powder and mix well until you get a thicker consistency.

Step 5:  Once you are satisfied, test it with water and make the necessary adjustments.

Alternative methods to make black with watercolor

Step 1: Complete and ready the materials needed.

  • watercolor palette
  • paint brush
  • clean water
  • watercolor (red, blue, yellow, black, and white)

Step 2: Dip your watercolor paintbrush in clean water and run it into your blue watercolor.

Step 3: Brush it on your mixing palette or watercolor paper.

Step 4: Repeat steps two and three using other colors until you achieve the desired shade.

Step 5: Temperature-wise, even in watercolor, more blue results in a cooler shade, and more brown results in warmer hues.

Step 6: Water is the key to lightening or darkening your paint when using watercolor. 

The more water, the lighter it will be. The more concentrated, the darker your color will be.

How to make silver color with crayon?

Making silver color crayons is also possible by layering technique but it will be hard. You can use either black or white as your base and layer it with the next color until you achieve your desired shade.

Using pearl crayons or metallic crayons will also be possible as long as the primary colors, such as black, white, and or blue, are present.

How to make silver color in oil paint?

Making a silver color using oil paint is also possible; it is like mixing acrylic paints. To make silver color in oil paint you need to mix grey with iridescent metallic white.

Unlike acrylics, oil doesn’t have special pearl mediums to mix with paint. Oil artists use layering and shading technique, and highlights to paint silver objects and this creates illusiong of silver color.

Here’s how you can make silver color using oil paints:

Step 1: Decide what type of oil paint you will use. It could be opaque, semi-transparent, or transparent.

Step 2: Arrange your materials accordingly.

  • Palette
  • Palette Knife
  • Oil paints (red, yellow, blue, white, iridiscnet white and black)

Step 3: Create a cool gray shade to make a silver color by blending equal parts of black and blue, then gradually mixing metallic white until you achieve your desired shade.

Step 4: If you want to make a silver color from a warmer shade of gray, you can do so by:

  • Create brown by combining equal parts of blue and yellow to make green.
  • Gradually add red to it until you have a lovely shade of brown.
  • Lastly, add brown to your gray to make it look warmer.

Step 5: You may adjust your shade to make it darker by adding black to it, while to make it lighter, you have to add white to it.

How to make silver color in colored pencil?

If you were using colored pencils, it would be best to use a readily available metallic effect of any brand. Other than that, it is quite hard to layer regular colored pencil to create metallic effects as regular pigments do not have shimmering effect in them.

How to make silver without white?

White plays an essential role in making silver, but it is still possible to make one without white, by mixing peral white instead of titanium white, or blending light grey with brown color or mixing light blue with a tiny bit of black.

If you don’t have any whites it will be difficult to achieve needed shade or tint.

Here’s how you can make silver without white:

  • Some sources say complementary colors make gray. I’ve tested it and this is what is not true:
  1. A light red blend with light green make green-brown not grey, and def not silver.
  2. Blue blend with orange don’t make silver as well
  3. Yellow blend with purple will make brown not silver.
  • Another true color combination without white that you can use to make dark grey is a light blue blended with black. To make silver you need pearl or iridescent mediums.
How to make silver without white

How to make silver without black?

Like white, black is an essential color to make silver, and it is still possible to create silver even without black by mixing light blue, brown, white and iridescent or pearl medium.

Again, complementary colors won’t work unless you mix it with grey or a bit of black. They give too pronounced tones of green or brown.

Best silver paints

If you need silver paint but don’t have time to make one, I recommend you try these brands.

Acrylic Paints

Amsterdam Standard Series Acrylic Tube 120ml Silver 800 (17098002)
  • A very high level of lightfastness thanks to the use of pure and non-fading pigments. Even after several decades works of art retain their original color.
  • An exceptionally durable paint film (the binding agent consists of 100% acrylic resin), for an everlasting result.
  • Alkali resistant, consequently suitable for wall paintings. Ease of use.
  • The paint can be thinned easily with water.
  • Alkali resistant, consequently suitable for wall paintings. Ease of use Short drying time: thin films of paint dry within half an hour.

Oil Paints


Is silver gray or white?

Silver has a shiny or metallic effect; white and gray are flat colors to simplify; silver is not gray, although they are both a mixture of black and white. 

Silver is not white but a mixture of white and other colors.

Is silver shiny or dull?

Silver is an element known as soft and shiny. In color, although associated with gray, it has a metallic effect that makes it shiny and not dull.

Is silver a tone of gray?

Silver is a tone resembling gray. It is often called metallic gray.


Learning how to make silver color is indeed a splendid idea! It will be a big help, especially this holiday season.

To conclude our article, there are three ways how we can make silver:

  • by combining black and white (and blue)
  • by using the complementary colors
  • by mixing the primary colors

And, of course, the vital role of pearlescent and iridescent mediums in making silver shiny or metallic.

I hope you’ve learned something to apply to your next artwork. 

See you in another color mash-up!

Last update on 2024-06-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API