How to Make Orange Paint Darker

Making your paint darker is a simple process that only takes about five minutes. This tutorial will show you how to make orange paint darker with just four household items: water, dish soap, vinegar, and food coloring. 

To start the process, mix three parts of water with one part of dish soap in a bowl or container large enough for mixing. Next, add two tablespoons of vinegar and ten drops of food coloring to the mixture and stir it until all ingredients are mixed. The final step is adding this mixture to your original can of orange paint until it has reached the desired shade of darkness! Read on to get in-depth about this technique.

How to Make Orange Paint Darker

Why Should You Make Orange Paint Darker?

If you compare a violet and orange paint swatch to each other, the orange paint is always darker. This happens because human eyes perceive orange light as dark/black due to color constancy. Your brain automatically adjusts the brightness of an object after seeing a reference of it.

Some artists paint oranges as dark or black because they think of it as the darkest color on their palette. However, this can ruin the colors. Mix in a little black paint to get a darker orange color.

What You Will Need:

  • 1 part Vat Orange paint
  • Four parts water
  • 5–7 drops of black acrylic paint
  • One tablespoon of gum arabic
  • One teaspoon of methylcellulose
  • An eyedropper
  • A plastic container

Step by Step Guide: How to Make Orange Paint Darker

Not everyone’s favorite color is orange, whether because of the numerous shades available or because they don’t think it looks aesthetically pleasing. Some people even prefer their orange color to be darker than just adding black paint, which is why this step-by-step guide will show you a couple of different ways how to make orange paint darker before you begin.

Step 1: Prepare Your Work Area

The first step towards making orange paint darker is ensuring your work area is clean and that you have what you need before beginning. For example, if you’re planning on painting your project outside, then just ensure that the dirt or grass in the area isn’t too wet, so you don’t get any splatters when using paintbrushes.

Step 2: Mix Your Paint

Next, you will need to mix your paint. There are a couple of different ways you can do this, and it’s mostly up to you which way you do it. You may want to start with two colors already dark and mix them, like black and brown or purple and red, to create the lighter hue you’re looking for.

You can also create paint by mixing darker colors or using store-bought paints that are dark enough to get the desired effect.

Step 3: Add Black Paint

After you’ve mixed your paint, add in some black paint. However much you add will determine how dark the color will end up being. If you want it to be darker, add black paint until you’re satisfied with the shade. Make sure to mix the colors well so that you don’t get any strange shades of brown or green later on.

Step 4: Apply the Dye

Be sure to use a thin paintbrush so that the layers come

Once you’re completely done mixing your paint, apply it to whatever surface you’re working on. Depending on what you think will work best, you can use a brush or a cotton ball for this step. Again, ensure the mix is spread evenly to make any streaks unnoticeable once dry.

Step 5: Let it Dry

Once you’ve finished applying your orange paint, let it dry, and then paint over that area with a top coat if necessary. The final look will be lighter than the original color, so we recommend painting on a few coats instead of just one so that the color is darker overall. This allows you to paint in a realistic, non-toxic appearance and will be just as durable.

Step 6: Paint Your Project

Once your paint is dry, you can begin painting. Be sure to use a thin paintbrush so that the layers come out even and clean-looking in the end. Apply these coats evenly to get a nice, even hue. You may have to do a few coats for it to look darker than the original orange shade, but it will be worth the effort.

Step 7: Clean Up the Extra Mess

The last step necessary is cleaning up any extra mess you’ve made during this process. This includes cleaning your brushes and sponges to don’t dry out with paint stuck in them. Use soap and water to ensure they are completely clean before putting them away. This will also prevent the dried mess from clogging up your sink or tub drain.

Some Tips for You

1. Make sure to clean your paintbrushes as soon as you’re done using them. Otherwise, they’ll start to dry out and lose their form. If this happens, you can always revive the brush by soaking it in water overnight before continuing with your project.

2. If you’re painting a large area and don’t want to spend too much time cleaning your brushes, it’s possible to put two different paint colors on one paintbrush.

Don't want to spend too much time cleaning your brushes

3. When you’re done painting and want to make sure none of your paint drips onto other surfaces, try dipping a brush in water and running it over the interior of the can; this will cause any loose drops to stick to the brush.

4. If you’re using acrylics or tempera paints, it’s best to let them dry for a couple of days before applying a second coat.

5. If you’re using oils or enamels, then wait at least 24 hours before applying a second coat since these take much longer to dry.

6. When working outside, it’s best to use acrylics instead of oil paints because the latter tend to run and drip when exposed to the elements.


Making orange paint darker is not as complicated as you might think. When it comes to painting, intensity and vibrancy are what make a color pop the most. So even if you choose an orange that appears light in hue, adding black or brown will help darken your shade of choice for more depth and contrast. You can also mix yellow with red to create a vibrant yet muted tone, a perfect alternative to using on walls where visibility may be limited by sunlight exposure.

And lastly, because oranges have so much warmth associated with them already, it’s important not to overdo the deep shades when trying this technique! We hope that you found this article on how to make orange paint darker helpful. If not, please leave us a comment below, and we will do our best to answer your questions or concerns! Thank you for reading!

Jennifer Branett
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

DIY Quickly