Colour Mix

September 11, 2019

Chalk paint mixing with the help of Annie Sloan’s colour wheel!

The foundation of any colour mix begins with the understandingof primary colours. This basic concept tends to takea back seat during the colour mixing process which then complicates our colour choices. Iwas able to pickup several easy to comprehend tipsand understand shades or colour palettes that work together from my workshop with Annie Sloan in Oxford.

Annie’s love for colour theory blossomed at her art school, which then led her to develop the versatile range of Annie Sloan Chalk Paints.

Most of us learnt about the colour triangle/wheel when we were children – the basic theory being thatany colour you envision may be created by combining the primary coloursi.e. red, blue, and yellow in different proportions. However, making a custom colour is not as easy as that! Many a times you could land up with sludgy brown instead of a gorgeous earthy yellow or a deep rich purple.

With this in mind when Annie created her range of Chalk Paints, she wanted to provide her users with aneasy to understand tool that could help launch them into the exciting world of colours. Most of us wouldn’t even imagine some of the beautiful shades that could be created using this tool. She developed her very own personalized version of the colour wheel to make things fun and user-friendly.

In Annie’s tool the original wheel has been reduced to this triangle. The three corner points are shades that one cannot create by mixing, the primary colours – which in Annie’s world are called Emperor’s Silk, English Yellow and Napoleonic Blue. From these three, the colours expand to make oranges, greens and purples, such as Arles, Florence and Emile. As there is very little black pigment in her chalk paint,upon mixing one can be sure that one will not end up with that sludgy, dull brown shade.



Talking of black, if you wish to darken a colour the best way is to not add black (i.e. Graphite) but to find its complementary colour. To do this simply find the colour on the opposite side of the wheel and add adash to thecolour you intend to darken. For example, if you want to darken Emperor’s Silk, you could add a little Olive or Florence to arrive at a beautiful, rich red. This technique, when paired with the same initial base colourbrings depth and vibrancy to any piece of furniture. For example, you could paint a chest of drawers Emperor’s Silk and then use the darkened, mixed red for any detailing or even just on the corners of the drawers, to really make the piece interesting.

Our mixing sticks which are now in stock are perfect for making your own custom coloursand also to give your rested paint tins a good mix before you begin painting.