How To Make Indian Yellow Paint And Pigment At Home!

Although Indian yellow is no where near as popular as some of the other yellow paints used in various arts and crafts, it does seem to be making a comeback due to a spike in the number of people asking about how to get the most out of their Indian yellow paints. We have noticed a range of different questions about the color but one on the more commonly asked questions is based on how to make Indian yellow paint at home.

Due to this, we have decided to publish this article going over a number of different ways that you are able to make your own Indian yellow. We will be covering various colors that you are able to mix to achieve the color, other colors that you can use in its place, as well as how to mix Indian yellow pigment with various paint mediums to make your own Indian yellow paint from scratch.

Now, one of the main defining factors of Indian yellow is that it has a slight transparency to it that offers some unique versatility that other yellows just aren’t able to offer. This is one of the main reasons that Indian yellow is used but it can be very difficult to duplicate this transparency when making your own paint from scratch. If you are looking to use Indian yellow in your artwork due to its transparent nature, just purchasing some Indian yellow paint is probably going to be the better option.

What Is Indian Yellow?

Unlike some of the other colors that we have helped our readers make at home, Indian yellow is a more complex pigment that is high in magnesium euxanthate, calcium euxanthate, euxanthone, and sulphonated euxanthone. This helps to give it that transparent look while also ensuring that it is able to hold its color well without fading when exposed to UV lights.

Indian yellow offers a large amount of versatility when mixed with other colors while also being a great option as a stand-alone right out of the tube too. This coupled with its transparent look and slightly orange hue have often been the main reasons that an artist will carry it in their paint palette.

What Colors Do You Mix To Make Indian Yellow?

Thankfully, there are a number of color combinations that you are able to mix to make your own Indian yellow with the main one being cadmium red, burnt umber, and yellow ochre. Although this will get you very close to the correct color of Indian yellow, it is difficult to replicate the transparent look of Indian yellow when mixing your existing paints so you have to keep that in mind.

Getting the exact ratios correct for the above paint mix combination can take a little practise but starting with a base of yellow ochre and then adding touches of cadmium red and burnt umber tends to be a good starting point. Be sure to only add the cadmium red and burnt umber in very small amounts and then mix the paints together before adding any more as it can be easy to over do it.

Another common combination that you are able to mix yourself is to use yellow ochre as your base color and then add lemon yellow as required. Again, you should be adding the lemon yellow in very small amounts and then thoroughly mixing the two paints together before adding any more lemon yellow to the mix.

The final paint combination that you can try mixing yourself to make Indian yellow is to use lemon yellow as a base and then add a touch of crimson red but this one can be hit and miss. It usually takes more time and effort during the mixing process too so if possible, we would recommend you go with either of the two-color mixing options above instead of this one unless you only have lemon yellow and crimson red in your palette right now.

What Colors Are Close To Indian Yellow!

Thankfully, most of the earthy colors are close to Indian yellow allowing you to often use yellow ochre, burnt umber, and raw sienna as a substitute for Indian yellow without having to actually do any paint mixing. If you do have a collection of the earthy colors in your paint collection then we would recommend that you play around with both the burnt and raw variants of them to see if they can meet your needs.

Making Your Own Indian Yellow Pigment!

Making your own Indian yellow pigment can be problematic to say the least, especially if you try to go with the original, natural method of creating the required dye for the pigment. As the name suggests, Indian yellow is from India and was originally created by feeding cows a diet of nothing but mango leaves and then concentrating their bright yellow urine to use as a dye.

Due to various health issues in cows from this low-quality diet, the process has evolved with modern paint companies using a synthetic process to create the pigment based around mixing magnesium euxanthate, calcium euxanthate, euxanthone, and sulphonated euxanthone. Although some of our readers may be able to source these raw reagents, you still need specialist equipment to make the pigment.

Due to this, we usually just recommend that our readers go with a pre-made Indian yellow pigment product and then mix it with your required paint medium as explained below. This tends to be much cheaper and easier in the long run while also offering a quick and easy way to keep the transparent nature of Indian yellow but the paint medium that you use will come into play for this too.

How To Make Indian Yellow Oil Paint!

When it comes to making your own Indian yellow paint, starting with an oil based paint is easily the best option due to the simplicity of the process being based around adding some Indian yellow pigment to an oil-based medium such as linseed oil. Although there are a number of mediums specifically designed for use as an oil paint medium, they tend to be expensive so using some linseed oil that some of our readers may already have in their home anyway helps to keep your costs as low as possible.

Another benefit of using linseed oil as your medium of choice for your homemade Indian yellow oil paint is that it helps to keep the transparent nature of the color too. When mixing your linseed oil and pigment we would always recommend that you start with a small amount of pigment and then gradually increase it as required to get the perfect Indian yellow color.

The majority of people drastically overestimate exactly how much pigment you actually need in your linseed oil to get a decent color, especially with something like Indian yellow. If you do accidentally add too much pigment then it can be a pain to lighten your paint and as you add other paints it does affect the transparency of the paint. If you are brand new to making your own paint then just going with some pre-made Indian yellow oil paint may be the better option.

How To Make Indian Yellow Acrylic Paint!

Making your own Indian yellow acrylic paint is also relatively simple as you just add Indian yellow pigment to some clear gesso acrylic in stages until you reach the color you want. Although you can use white gesso if you really want, it will take more pigment for the paint to become Indian yellow and it will also lose the transparent effect that the Indian yellow pigment can offer in the correct paint medium.

The most common mistake that we see people making time and time again when it comes to making their own acrylic paint is that they don’t mix their pigment with their gesso correctly. The majority of people simply rotate their mixing tool in a circle and although this can usually mix their pigment into the top half of your gesso, the bottom half has no pigment in it. Over the coming days, gravity takes its tool and the pigment works its way through the remaining gesso and ends up drastically lightening the over all color of your paint.

Thankfully, this it is quick and easy to avoid this as you just have to push your mixing tool right to the bottom of your gesso and constantly pull the gesso up from the bottom of your mixing container. This ensures that all of your gesso gets mixed with the pigment ensuring that you have the correct amount of total pigment in your gesso to maintain the color you want.

Although this may sound a little difficult, it is actually very simple and straightforward to do as it only adds a very small amount of time to the total mixing process. If you do want an easier path then just purchasing some Indian yellow acrylic paint tends to be quicker and easier.

How To Make Indian Yellow Watercolor Paint!

You can try to make your own Indian yellow watercolor paint by adding small amounts of Indian yellow pigment to a paint medium such as gum Arabic but this is not as easy as some people think. In our opinion, making your own watercolor paint is the more difficult of the three paint types in our article and we usually just recommend our readers purchase some Indian yellow watercolor paint if they are unable to mix it from other colors in their palette.

Gum Arabic can be a real pain to maintain at the ideal consistency for use as a watercolor paint medium but it does tend to be the easiest, most budget friendly option. Although there are other suitable mediums on the market, they quickly pump the total cost of making your own watercolor paint up to a level where it is much cheaper to just purchase a pre-made option.


That brings our article on how to make Indian yellow paint at home to an end. Thankfully, there are plenty of easy options when it comes to Indian yellow so the majority of our readers should be able to mix their own Indian yellow from their current paint colors or use a suitable alternative for their arts and crafts. Although you can make your own paints from scratch using an Indian yellow pigment and a suitable paint medium, this does tend to be more effort than it is actually worth for most people.

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