6 Of The Best Cadmium Orange Substitute Paint Colors!

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With the various oranges making as come back and there being a number of potential ban on cadmium based paints in North America and Europe due to issues with the water supplies, we have noticed more and more people reaching and requesting an article on cadmium orange substitutes. Cadmium orange really is an excellent color but thankfully, there are a number of suitable substitutes that you are able to use in its place.

Due to so many people reaching out about substitutes for cadmium orange as well as the success of our article going over cadmium yellow substitutes, we have decided to publish this dedicated article Our hope is that we will be able to help our readers find the ideal substitute for their needs to ensure that if the cadmium colors do end up banned in your region, you will be able to quickly and seemlesley mover over to a suitable alternative.

Before we go any further with the article, we just want to quickly go over a common issue that we see time and time again with Windsor Newton. They have both cadmium orange hues and regular cadmium orange paints in their collection. We often see people complaining that they got the color totally wrong when the artist is actually using a hue variant of the paint rather than the true color so keep an eye out for that as getting used to using a hue can effect the suitable substitutes for you.

Cadmium Orange And Gamblin Mono Orange

Cadmium Orange Top Left, Gamblin Mono Orange Bottom Right.

In our opinion, the best alternative paint color for as close to a one for one swap with cadmium orange has to be Gamblin Mono Orange. As you can see in the color sample above, they are both very similar to each other right out of the tube allowing some people to switch between them during a painting if needed.

That said though, it does tend to be better to stick to the same colors throughout a painting if possible but the two are close enough to each other that switching from one to the other shouldn’t cause any issues. The mono orange range also offers just as much versatility with your collection as cadmium orange too as you can mix it with just as many colors for excellent use too.

When it comes to price point and availability, both cadmium orange and mono orange are roughly the same price per tube but their availablility is very different. The majority of arts and crafts stores will carry cadmium orange as standard but they will usually have to order mono orange in for you but you can usually find it online with ease.

Cadmium Orange And Pyrrole Orange

Cadmium Orange Top Left, Pyrrole Orange Bottom Right.

Next up in our list of suitable cadmium orange substitutes has to be pyrrole orange and although it is a little darker than cadmium orange as you can see in the color sample above, adding a little yellow can match the colors up very nicely. This offers a great alternative to cadmium orange that takes minimal work to match the two up with each other.

A tube of pyrrole orange is around the same price point as a tube of cadmium orange too so there shouldn’t be any issues there. Although pyrrole orange is a more popular orange paint color than some of the other substitutes on our list, it is still no where near as popular as cadmium orange but some arts and crafts stores will still carry it as standard without having to order it in for you.

Once mixed with a little yellow paint to lighten the pyrrole orange a little, it does tend to offer just as much versatility as cadmium orange too. This makes it a great option for the majority of palettes out there allowing you to get a ton of use out of your pyrrole orange with ease.

Cadmium Orange And Mayan Orange

Cadmium Orange Top Left, Mayan Orange Bottom Right.

Although Mayan Orange paint can serve as a good alternative for your cadmium orange, it has the same issues as some of the other substitutes on our list. It is a little darker than cadmium orange right out of the tube and needs you to add a little yellow to get it closer to an orange than a red.

That said though, the mixing process is very straight forward and easy so the majority of our readers should easily be able to match their Mayan orange with their cadmium orange without issue. Once mixed, you get just as much versatility out of the paint mixture as it is essentially just a homemade cadmium orange allowing you to add other paint colors to it for various effects.

The issue with Mayan orange is that it can be hard to find and although it is a relatively popular orange in Europe, most arts and crafts stores in North America will have to order it in for you. Although it is an easy color to find online but prices will depend on where you buy it from with it usually being a little more expensive than regular cadmium orange.

Cadmium Orange And Alizarin Orange

Cadmium Orange Top Left, Alizarin Orange Bottom Right.

Next up we have Alizarin Orange and we were actually in two minds about adding this as a suitable substitute for lighter oranges such as cadmium orange due to it essentially being a blood red orange. Due to the popularity of alizarin orange and a large number of people probably already having it in their paint collection, we decided to add it as it can help to keep costs down.

Just keep in mind that alizarin orange is much closer to red than the other alternatives to cadmium orange featured in our list so it will require a decent amount of yellow to get it close to cadmium orange. The majority of people will be able to spare the paint required from a one of their yellow tubes for mixing though and the vast majority of our readers will probably already have a suitable yellow in their collection.

If you are on a budget or need to make your own cadmium orange alternative at home right now due to time constraints, this is probably the best option for most people due to the colors already being popular options. Although the mixing process is a pain and takes time, there is no need to go to the arts and crafts store or wait for a tube of paint to be delivered from an online order and you can just mix your paints and be good to go within a few minutes.

Cadmium Orange And Permanent Orange

Cadmium Orange Top Left, Permanent Orange Bottom Right.

Our next alternative is permanent orange and is has the same issue as alizarin orange in the sense that it is closer to the red side of things than the yellow or a balanced orange as seen in the color sample above. We were also considering not including permanent orange in our article but this is probably the second most popular option of our featured paints behind alizarin orange that some of our readers may already have in their collection.

Due to being able to mix it with a yellow that most people reading this will probably already have to bring the color towards the yellow side of orange and end up with a nice color close to cadmium orange, we decided to feature it. If you do already have a permanent orange in your collection then you can be mixing your paint within minutes and be good to go with a suitable alternative to cadmium orange quicker than having to go to the store.

One potential issue with permanent orange is that different brands can have a “permanent orange” color that is vastly different from each other. Depending on the brand of permanent orange you have, this may work to your favour as it could be closer to a regular orange but sometimes it will be closer to red as shown in the color sample above and require more yellow during the mixing process.

Cadmium Orange And Perinone Orange

Cadmium Orange Top Left, Perinone Orange Bottom Right.

Our regular readers will know that we are big fans of Perinone Orange and although it is a little darker than cadmium orange, is is easy to bring it to a more balanced orange with a touch of yellow quickly. The main issue with perinone orange is that it is a pain to find right now and it can be hard to find online too due to the base pigments used in perinone orange being over priced currently.

This is just a temporary issue and the supply chain for the pigments will return to normal once the spike in price returns to normal so if you are reading this article in the future (of the time of publishing) then you should easily be able to source your own perinone orange with ease. The prices for a tube of perinone orange is usually very similar to the price of a tube of cadmium orange too so usually there should be no problem with budgets.

Perinone orange also tends to offer some solid versatility right out of the tube too but once you have added a little yellow to it to bring it close to cadmium orange, the possibilities really open up. This allows you to use it in a number of different situations with ease by mixing it with different colors to get exactly what you need out of the paint.


That brings our article going over our recommended cadmium orange substitutes to a close. We know that some of the featured alternatives do need to be mixed with a yellow paint, some more than others to get close to cadmium orange but in our opinion, these are your best options.