The color gold conjures up images of riches, royalty, and treasure, and is something that represents both wealth and prestige. Gold is rich and reflective and can be difficult to replicate when mixing paints. Do it wrong, and you land up creating a color that looks like mustard or rust. Mixing the perfect golden color is about understanding the correct ratios of color, so it is important to know what colors make gold.

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A Short History of Gold

Gold metal is mostly what has inspired the color over the years, however, other natural forms of the color can be seen in the colors of fall, flowers, and sunlight. Gold is an amazing color that has been used for many years. In ancient times, yellow ochre was used as a popular pigment for the color gold; however, it is not quite the same as metallic gold. Thankfully, many variations of gold have developed over the years until now.

Ancient Egyptians and Romans used a type of gold color made from brown, orange, and yellow pigments in their art. The gold color was revered as an eternal color by the Egyptians and was used to represent ceremonial objects and other items in their art. To achieve a golden hue, they included a small amount of saffron to the yellow ochre. They also used solid gold in burial items, for example, the famous Tutankhamun’s gold mask. The Greek culture sees gold as representing power and immortality. Helios, who is the Greek sun god, is always clothed in gold and riding a golden chariot. Many of the Greek gods were illustrated, having golden or yellow hair.

Gold leaf became popular and was used in paintings in between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in Italy. During the middle ages, gold leaf was placed on religious objects such as altarpieces, and this continued into the Renaissance period. In the early twentieth century, Gustav Klimt, now a well-known artist, used gold leaf in his paintings during what is known as his “gold phase”. The color gold is still used today to represent fortune, success, and elegance. Not only used in painting art but gold can also be used in décor to add a sense of glamour and class.

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Gustav Klimt, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons 

Color Theory and Gold Colors

To produce a wider variety of colors and hues, it is important to have a basic understanding of color theory. When looking at the color wheel, gold can be located somewhere between yellow and orange. The more yellow it contains, the brighter it will be. To decrease the color saturation, more of the color orange should be present. Common warm colors are oranges, yellows, and, of course, reds. Since gold is situated close to these colors, all of them can be considered analogous, or a group of colors located together. When adding red to your gold color, it will make it warmer. However, if you have added too much red, a little yellow can help to even it out.


All the cooler colors are located on the opposite side and include your blues, purples, and greens. These are your complementary colors to your warm colors. Simply adding blue to your gold color will create a cooler tone. Try not to add too much, or you will create more of a muddy brown color.

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When it comes to making gold lighter or darker shades, you can add a little white or yellow in small amounts to lighten and brown to darken it. You can use black to darken gold as well, however, it might produce too much of a drastic change, which you cannot then fix easily. So, adding brown or even blue is a safer choice.

What Two Colors Make Gold?

Gold colors usually have a warmer feel to them, but like all colors, there are many different shades and hues. When creating gold with two colors, you will need to combine yellow and brown. When combining these two colors, always start with yellow, as adding brown to yellow will go much quicker, while it could take quite a bit of yellow paint to overcome brown to make gold. To create more brilliant gold colors and other shades and hues, you will need to mix different ratios of colors.

For example, including more yellow, will make the color brighter. This can also be achieved by including more white paint. Always remember to add colors carefully, in small increments, until you get the desired color. Once you have your basic brown and you do not want to affect the shade but want to give it a more realistic metallic look, try adding some orange.

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You can also use the three primary colors to create gold. First, mix yellow and blue to make green and then add some red to create brown. You can then add more yellow paint to the brown to create gold.

Shades of Gold

As with all colors, you have a range of different shades and tints to choose from, especially when dealing with computer graphic colors. These colors can be identified by their hex code, which indicates the amounts of color present and is known as RGB (red, green, and blue). The code consists of a hashtag followed by six letters and numbers. Printing colors follow the same principle; however, it is measured in percentages of the colors cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black).

Gold Color NameGold ShadeHex CodeRGB%CMYK%
Gold #ffd700100, 84.3, 00, 16, 100, 0
Goldenrod #daa52085.5, 64.7, 12.50, 24, 85, 15
Metallic Gold #d4af3783.1, 68.6, 21.60, 17, 74, 17
Golden Brown #99651560, 39.6, 8.20, 34, 86, 40
Golden Yellow #ffdf00100, 87.5, 00, 13, 100, 0
Golden Poppy #fcc20098.8, 76.1, 00, 23, 100, 1
Rose Gold  #b76e7971.8, 43.1, 47.50, 40, 34, 28
Harvest Gold #da910085.5, 56.9, 00, 33, 100, 15
Sunglow #ffcc33100, 80, 200, 20, 80, 0
Pale Gold #e6be8a90.2, 74.5, 54.10, 17, 40, 10

How to Make Gold Paint

Creating the perfect golden color can be challenging as some paintings may require several golden hues to get the right look. To become good at anything, you will need to practice. The same applies to painting, experimenting, and creating different golden tones can only help you to reach your goal. The process is not difficult, and you can have fun mixing several paint colors to get what color you need. You can also include a little more shine by including glitter or adding pigment. Let us have a look at how to make the color gold with oil paints, watercolors, and acrylics.

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How to Mix Gold With Oils

To get an authentic or realist gold look when painting, you might want to study an actual gold surface. You might be amazed by what you observe. You can stick to the general idea of creating gold, which is yellow and brown. However, you might be surprised at the more muted colors instead of the bright yellows and oranges. The technique required in creating a more realistic gold look lies in contrast, the brighter colors against the muted colors.

How to make the color gold with oils requires you to apply a neutral underglaze or background on your canvas. A white surface underneath oil paints might affect the final overall color of the painting. Adding highlights can be improved by adding more than just white paint. Look for cooler colors, for example, neutral colors like gray or blue-gray. Try applying the brightest highlights last, so you can see how they stand out as you do not want to overdo the highlights. Even the smallest bright color or highlight adds a significant focal point. When it comes to darkening gold, to avoid creating a muddy look, rather choose blues or purples instead of simply adding black. Here are some examples of color mixes for gold. Also, check out our color mixer online tool.

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Warm tones: burnt sienna, add small amounts of cadmium red and white. You can also add ultramarine for a darker tone, to this, also consider adding a little cadmium yellowCool tones: burnt umber, add a small amount of ultramarine and white. For darker tones add small amounts of phthalo blue

How to achieve a smooth metallic effect? You can use a glazing technique, which is applying a thin and translucent paint layer over the canvas and then allowing this to dry. You can use an oil medium like linseed oil to thin your paint for a glaze. So, here is a summary of how to make golden color with oil paints.

Creating more realistic gold paintings, try to avoid the general idea that gold contains loads of yellow and lots of highlightsYou need the appearance of reflections, otherwise, the gold will simply appear dullIf you study an actual gold surface, you should notice muted tones and highlights. For example, grays and bluesDo not apply too many highlights and do not over apply bright colorsApply your muted colors and other more neutral colors before adding highlights and your brighter colors

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How to Mix Gold With Watercolors

How to make golden color with watercolors can be done using various shades of reds, oranges, pale yellow, and pale brown. To create dimension, shape, and shaded areas, you will need to include gray or blue tones. When it comes to watercolors, leaving the page bare in areas can help to create highlights. Another option is to use the following method which requires gold powder pigment, water, gum Arabic, and brush. Some of the powders come in different metallic shades. Gum Arabic acts as your binder, otherwise, the mixture cannot mix and adhere to the paper properly.

Place some of the gold powder into a mixing bowlAdd a small amount of Arabic gum to the powder, adding too much can make the mixture dullPlace your brush into some water and drip a little onto the mixtureMix everything until it becomes smoothUse a fine brush to apply the paint mixtureThe gold mixture forms a paste, unlike watercolors so you might need to rinse your brush often so the paste will not accumulateYou can also create a wash effect with the paste by simply making sure your brush is wet before dipping into the mixture and applyingUse a separate brush for your watercolors and the gold paint

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How to Mix Gold With Acrylic Paint

How to make gold paint with acrylics can be a simple process. However, by experimenting and discovering new shades and tints, you can take your artwork to another level. We will be sticking to the basics for now and will be showing you what color is gold using acrylics. You can begin by mixing equal amounts of both yellow and brown paint. This should create a color that is close to a goldenrod shade. You can use a tube of brown paint, or if you want more control over the colors, you can use all primary colors.

Blend blue and yellow to create a green and then add yellow for a brown color. Make sure to add the yellow in small amounts so you can test out the color and reach your desired color. However, if you add too much yellow, you can include small amounts of blue and red, which should help to balance it out with some purple tones.

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To create a brighter gold, you can add a 2:1 ratio of yellow to orange paint, then include some white if you feel it is necessary. To create a deeper gold, combine red and brown to create a maroon color, then add yellow to make the color brighter. To this, you can include a small amount of red or orange to create a warmer color, or you can include a shade of blue to create a cooler color.

Finally, if you want to add sparkle, you can include some gold pigment. First, add in a small amount of white to your gold as a lighter gold will create a more pronounced shine. Once you have reached your desired color, add in the pigment and mix. You only require a small pinch to achieve the metallic look. Test out your color on a separate surface to check if the color is what you are looking for. Take note that the metallic paint mixture will only provide the full effect once dry.

You can use craft glitter and add this to the paint, however, glitter tends to have quite large pieces and some of these will be covered by the paint. The glitter also adds more texture as it does not dissolve or mix completely into the paint. However, you can purchase finer glitter products for a better sparkle effect.

What Colors Make Rose Gold?

Want to know how to create rose gold paint? Rose gold is quite a popular color and is often associated with elegance and style. The color is a golden hue with strong pink or purple undertones and below we will be discussing a few ways to create a few versions of the color.

The first combination includes gold, red, white, and silver. First, combine equal amounts of your silver and gold paint. Then, take some white and place it on your mixing surface or palette and add red until you reach a dark pink. Finally, combine the dark pink and gold, and silver mixture.

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To create a light pink color, add your white to some red paint to reach your desired pink color, and then mix this with the silver and gold mixture. To give your paint a more metallic look, you can add some metallic pigment to the mixture. You can leave the white out altogether, to create a warmer and darker shade of rose gold. Always remember to add the red slowly until you get to the color you need.

When it comes to what colors make rose gold, and you want to start from scratch, you can mix the gold and silver colors yourself instead of using them from a tube. You can create your own gold color from blending your primary colors. Silver can be achieved by blending white, a little black, and some blue. However, this is determined by what you prefer to do.

The Color Gold in Décor

Metallic colors and especially gold have become quite popular in the home. The color adds a touch of sophistication and warmth to any space. However, you might be wondering what colors work well with gold? Here are a few ideas that will hopefully inspire you to create a new look in your home that will become the talking point amongst visitors.

Black and white or gray, an obvious choiceBlue and gold work especially well togetherGold and pink, where gold adds more elegance to a look and a light pink brings in a more feminine and softer touchGreens, golds, and brownsAdding touches of gold and purple

You do not have to go overboard with gold; adding subtle colors, even if it is simply a golden lampshade or candle holders can help to create a warmer and attractive look. Too much gold in a room can spoil the overall look, so always go for more subtle effects. You may want to use neutral colors in a room that has gold painted walls, for example, furniture that is either gray or white and neutral color curtains.

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Consider painting a single selected wall surface gold as a focal point and leave the other walls white. You can also leave the trim white for added contrast. Otherwise, leave the walls and only apply a gold trim. You can also use a design stencil, then apply gold paint using the stencil on a white wall.

A Few Tips When Using Gold Paint

Maybe you find it easy to make a basic gold paint, but you want to know how to make the color gold look more realistic. Here are some things to take into account when learning how to make gold paint, a few tips to lead you in the right direction.

Gold is not perfect; it can be tarnished. So, considering this could help to make your art more genuine or lifelikeGold is reflective, you need to consider the surrounding environment when creating your gold colorThe above point, therefore, will create different gold colors, creating more types of gold like greens or blues, depending on the environmentIf it is reflecting light, it should have strong highlightsWhen working with models, try using a base red color before painting with gold to provide a rich gold appearanceThe quality of your paint will affect the outcome of your colorsRemember to have fun and experiment with different colors

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Meant By a Lighter Gold Color?

When adding white or yellow, you create a lighter tint. When adding darker colors, you will be creating a different and darker shade of gold.

How Do You Create a Darker Gold Color?

When creating a darker shade of gold, you can use black in small amounts. However, a brown color might be more effective, providing more subtle effects. The color blue can also be added, creating a cooler color. If you add too much, simply add a little yellow to balance the color again.

What Color Is Gold Paint Made From?

You can simply use paint from a tube, but it might not be the exact color you are looking for. So, to create different shades of gold, it is a good idea to begin mixing all the primary colors. First, blend yellow and blue to mix green and then add red to create brown. Then, add more yellow until you achieve the desired color. You can then adjust the golden tone to your desired color.

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What Two Colors Make Gold?

When it comes to using two colors to make gold, you will need to combine brown and then add small amounts of yellow until you reach a gold color. You can then play around by adding more yellow, red, or blue to brighten, or darken the color, and to create warmer or cooler colors.