What Color Do Red And Orange Make? Real Mixing Swatches I Made

Last Updated on March 20, 2024 by Masha Eretnova

Red and orange are both warm colors that are close to each other on the color spectrum. As an artist, I’m often mixing colors and I will show you my real swatches of red and orange paint.

Since both red and orange are warm colors, when you mix red and orange you usually get a vermillion color or red-orange shade like burnt orange.

Adding more red or orange you can create new colors:
Burnt Orange: An earthy, warm orange with hints of red.
Pumpkin: A bright and lively orange with a touch of red.
Red-Orange: A color that sits between red and orange on the spectrum, combining their characteristics.

The exact result of mixing these colors can depend on the specific shades of red and orange you’re using, as well as the medium you’re mixing them in (e.g., paint, light, digital colors).

What Does Red And Orange Make
My tests mixing red and orange

In my tests, I used:

  • 2 oranges: Cadmium Orange and Azo Orange (azo orange being a touch lighter than Cadmium orange)
  • 4 Red paint tubes:
    • Cadmium red
    • Scarlet red
    • Primary Magenta
    • Naphthol red
  • Acrylic gouache Holbein: Carmine and Scarlet red with Deep Yellow.

Pure red-orange color is red and orange mixed in equal amounts 1:1.

Red + Orange = Vermilion Color

When you mix red and orange paints, you get a vivid reddish-orange color called vermilion or vermillion.

what red and orange make
My color swatches of mixing orange and red

Vermilion is an intermediate color – we mix one primary color (red) with one secondary color (orange is a secondary color as it is a mix of yellow and red).

Read more: How To Mix Acrylic Paint? – Your Complete Color Mixing Guide

In fact, vermillion often replaces red in paint sets and this pigment has been known since ancient times!

Traditionally vermilion pigment was made by grinding red-colored mineral – cinnabarite. This mineral though contains some mercury and could be potentially harmful for us.

Modern manufacturers use synthetic cinnabar to make PR-106 (Red Pigment 106) – vermillion. Which also happened to be brighter. Yet, even synthetic cinnabar can be dangerous so all the paint has to conform to non-toxic tests.

Chinese red is also a vermilion color but it was made of the resin of the Chinese laquer tree which was as poisonous as the ivy!

Cadmium replaced Vermilion widely in the 20th century as it was safer to use to produce red. And we know now that Cadmiums are much more accessible yet also can pose some health risks.

Read also: Is Acrylic Paint Toxic or Safe? 23 Brands Toxicity Included

Testing Different Red Shades With Orange

Mixed red and orange in 99% of cases make vermilion. If we adjust the ratio of the two colors, the paint type, and the shades of red we can make various mixes.

Both orange and red belong to the warm color family.

color wheel

Red is the primary color on the color wheel, while orange is a mixed color – a secondary color – that we make by mixing yellow with red. Orange is thus situated between yellow and red on the color wheel.

Since we mix orange by using red already, mixing more red to orange will create red and orange hues and variations.

Red ShadeOrange ShadeMixed Color
ScarletAzo OrangeVermilion
ScarletCadmium Orange Burnt Orange
Cadmium RedAzo OrangeVerilion
Cadmium RedCadmium Orange Red Brick
Naphthol RedAzo OrangeRed-orange (Fire Orange)
Naphthol RedCadmium Orange Burnt Orange
Primary MagentaAzo OrangeDark red close to Alizarin Crimson
Primary MagentaCadmium Orange Dark hot pink
ScarletDeep YellowDar orange
CarmineDeep YellowVermilion
Mixing Results when Different Shades of Red and Orange
  • Scarlet red mixed with orange makes a nice vibrant vermilion color.

Mixed with Azo orange the color is a little bit more on the orange side.

  • Cadmium red mixed with orange makes a dense red-orange brick color.
What Does cadmium Red And Orange Make
  • Naphthol red and orange also make a color called red-orange or burnt orange.
What Does Red And Orange Make

I don’t see much difference between what Cadmium or Scarlet (both warm reds) make when mixed with two different oranges – both make almost identical Vermilion. The same goes for other warm shades of red.

So I decided to test what a cooler shade of red would make.

  • Primary Magenta and Azo orange make darker shades of intense red, almost like Pyrrole or Alizarin Crimson. Magenta and Cadmium Orange made an almost dark hot pink color.
What Does magenta Red And Orange Make?

When you mix cadmium orange with magenta you can almost see pink and even purple being mixed. Very beautiful color but definitely not vermilion.

I’ve also tried to use acrylic gouache, just to experiment as I know different mediums and brands may have some discrepancies in colors.

  • Holbein acryla gouache deep yellow and scarlet made dark orange with little red, but deep yellow with Carmine make deep opaque Vermilion.
What Does Red And Orange Make

Making Lighter or Darker Colors

  • The more red you add, the darker the red-orange mix will be. If you use stronger, very opaque, red and less orange, the color will appear darker.
  • If you add more orange than red, the new color will be lighter and more on the orange side, like a red-orange pumpkin color.

You can also mix in some white to lighten up the color, it will make it more pastel.

  • To dull the color and make it a red-orange shading color, you can add dark grey or even black, but a little bit.

Do red and orange go together well?

Colors situated close to each other on a color wheel like red and orange make a nice color combination for acrylic painting and pouring as they form what’s called an analogous color combination scheme.

They also go well together because both are warm colors creating harmony and bringing objects forward in a painting.

Vermilion Color Meaning

  • In Religion: in Hinduism wearing vermilion powder for women marks that they are married – a vermilion Sindoor. The vermilion rose is considered a symbol of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In Shinto all the gates in sacred places are vermilion – it keeps evil away.
During my trip to Japan I visited a lot of Shinto temples
  • In Chinese mythology, it is said that vermilion represents the south, as well as summer, fire, a certain note on the musical scale, a certain day of the calendar
  • In psychology, Vermilion’s intense and vibrant nature often symbolizes strong emotions, enthusiasm, and energy, creativity.
  • Red also stimulates the appetite, and its physiological effects include increasing heart rate and blood pressure.

To me, vermillion red reminds me of my home village’s red-brick houses, back in the country where you go to during fall or winter and where you can sit by a fireplace and sip some test with orange, honey, and cinnamon your grandma made.

red and orange make

Mixing orange and red doesn’t create a completely new color;

Instead, it can enhance the warmth and vibrancy of the original orange and red shades.

Vermilion – the color red and orange make when mixed, is a popular, bright, opaque color that will work great for painting sunset and when you need warm intense yet subtle red.

If you have any questions, ask in comments!