Yellow Ochre is one of the most popular earthy colors in pretty much every type of art and craft there is with all major paint and ink brands offering their product in its shade due to it always seeing strong sales. With the huge popularity of the color though, we have noticed more and more people reaching out to ask about how to make their own yellow ochre pigments and paints at home.
As making your own paints and inks can be part of the fun when it comes to arts and crafts, we decided to publish this article going over how you are able to produce your own yellow ochre at home. Although there will be slight tweaks depending on exactly what you need for acrylic, watercolor, and oil based paints, we will cover it all in this article to help ensure that our readers are able to get a solid end result if they have the time and equipment available as well as a few color combinations to make yellow ochre from your existing paints.
Before we go any further with the article though, we want to inform our readers that the vast majority of people reading this article will probably be considerably better off by just purchasing a commercial Yellow Ochre paint unless you know that you have the equipment required to make your own. Purchasing a commercial product is usually considerably cheaper while also being extremely quick and easy too and tends to yield a better end result until you have made your own paints a few times to perfect your process.
What Colors Make Yellow Ochre?
One of the quickest, cheapest, and easiest ways to make your own yellow ochre is to try and mix some of the current paints in your collection to a hue that you are happy with. Although this does sound simple on paper, it is harder than most thing as yellow ochre has its own unique saturation gradient and glazing properties, especially for acrylics.
That said though, you can try to mix the following to get something close to yellow ochre:-
Although exact ratios are a pain to advise on due to different paint brands using their own unique color pigment charts for their own formulas but you usually want to start with around 90% cad yellow medium and around 10% cad red medium and scale the red medium up until you are happy with the shade. Although the thalo blue can usually be avoided from the mix, a very small touch, around 1% can add a nice finish to your homemade yellow ochre.
Although it will be far from perfect, if you don’t have the specific colors for the above color mix, you can try a regular yellow with a touch of middle brown. The ratios tend to be even harder to workout though and although you can sometimes get it close to yellow ochre, it usually does leave lots to be desired.
How To Make Yellow Ochre Pigment!
We usually just recommend that our readers go with a commercial, pre-made yellow ochre pigment as it is much quicker, cheaper, and easier than making your own. The mineral level reagents required to make your own yellow ochre can be a pain to source and workout to be extremely expensive too depending on how you source them for the creation of your yellow ochre paint pigment.
Although it does tend to be easier to use regular limonite if you do want to make your own pigments, some people do get the base level minerals that come together to make limonite. If you do opt for that path then the trace level minerals are usually avoidable and you can stick to goethite, akageneite, lepidocrocite, and jarosite but this does push the costs up considerably to a level where it is uneconomical for most people.
Depending on the grade of your limonite, you may want to wash it extensively prior to grinding it up but if you do purchase mineral grade limonite then you can usually just go direct to the crushing phase. There are a number of ways that you are able to crush your limonite to make your own yellow ochre but the main thing that you want to focus on is to ensure that the particles are as fine as possible.
It will probably be easier for most people to put their limonite through three stages of grinding for the best possible results. The first one is based around breaking the main mass of limonite into medium sizes chunks that can then be worked down into smaller, sugar sizes particles one at a time with the final phase being grinding the limonite until it is as fine as flour.
Although you are able to use additional chemicals to help with the process, this extends the time and money required for the process. Once your limonite is at the fine particle stage, it is usually read to be added to your paint or ink medium that we will cover in more detail below as each type of paint requires a slightly different process.
How To Make Yellow Ochre Acrylic Paint!
To make your own yellow ochre acrylic paint at home, you take your yellow ochre pigment that we explained how to make above and add it to clear gesso acrylic medium. We usually recommend that you add your pigment to your gesso in stages as most people underestimate how little pigment is actually required for a decent-looking homemade acrylic paint.
If you would prefer your yellow ochre to be darker after the initial pigment has been added you simple add more in stages until the color is to your preference. We would highly recommend that you mix the gesso well with the pigment in it to ensure that you get a nice even distribution when applying it to your paper or canvas but the process tends to be easier than most people think.
That said though, when it comes to costs and time investment, you will almost always be better off by just going with some commercial Yellow Ochre acrylic paint. In addition to it being chapter and easier, the performance will almost always be better than any homemade yellow ochre paint until you have gone through the process a number of times to perfect the method.
How To Make Yellow Ochre Oil Paint!
You can make your own oil paint by adding your yellow ochre pigment to something as simple as regular lintseed oil and then mixing the formula to get the pigment and oil to spread evenly. We would recommend that you add your pigment to the oil in stages so you have more control over the hue but making your own oil paint is usually the easiest option by far.
Although there are specifically designed clear oil paint mediums that you are able to use, many people just use lintseed oil due to it being so much cheaper. That said though, even with the savings of using lintseed oil, the overall cost and effort will still be considerably higher than just going with a commercial Yellow Ochre oil paint.
How To Make Yellow Ochre Watercolor!
Making your own watercolor paint can be harder than most people think as it is surprisingly difficult to get the yellow ochre pigment to sit in the gum Arabic correctly and evenly so that it does not cause issues with your artwork. There are a number of popular techniques on how you are able to add pigments to gum arabic to make your own watercolor paint with plenty of tutorials online if you are set on giving it a try though.
That said, it is considerably easier to just pick up some Yellow Ochre watercolor from your local art store and be done with it. It is cheaper, easier, and produces a much better end result that really shows in your art.
How To Make Yellow Ochre Ink!
Making your own ink is the hardest process in our list as supending the yellow ochre pigment in the gum Arabic while keeping the gum arabic at a consistency where it will not cause issues if you use it with pens is an absolute nightmare for most people. Some people have started to use alternatives to gum arabic for their homemade ink but the better alternative options tend to be expensive.
In all honesty, when it comes to making your own ink, we would usually just recommend that our readers avoid it altogether and go with a commercial Yellow Ochre ink. Not only is it a pain just to get the ink to the correct consistency so it will flow but suspending the pigment in it is also a nightmare. If you plan to use the ink with a fountain pen then you also have to try to reduce the chances of it causing blockages in the ink path too with it quickly becoming far too much effort.
That brings our article going over how you can make yellow ochre pigment, paints, and ink at home to an end. Although some people will be able to make a decent acrylic or oil paint with homemade yellow ochre pigment, watercolors and inks tend to be harder and most people will be better off avoiding the homemade route and just going with a commercial formula.