In the next post, Lindly will show how to mix different colors of polymer clay using the new Sculpey Premo™ Teal. We tested the pre-release color and found that it mixes beautifully. Teal right out of the package is just a bit to the yellow side of the Cyan of printing but, since there is no such thing as perfect primaries, we realized it could be used successfully in a primary mixing system.

There are many versions of primary mixing systems all of which are based on limiting the number of paints, inks, dyes or clays you need to buy. Since you can learn a lot about the mixing properties of the various clays using just a few package colors, I want to share with you how to use the new a Mixing Map to explore the range of colors you can get using a limited palette.

To explore the new Teal color, Lindly and I each chose to use Sculpey Premo™ Teal and Sculpey Premo™ Fuchsia as the base corners but we used different yellows for the top of the Map. I used Sculpey Premo™ Zinc Yellow and Lindly used Sculpey Premo™ Cadmium Yellow Hue.

The new Sculpey Premo™ Teal is a great choice for the blue corner of the map. The greens are much clearer and since it is close in tinting strength to Fuchsia the 1/2  and 1/2  mix is very close to the Violet color I want to see in the middle of the base.

Why a Mixing Map?

Traditional color theory focuses on mixing the vivid hues of a standardized color wheel. Unfortunately, this focus on hues ignores the other dimensions of color – value (lightness) and chroma (saturation).

Learning to see and appreciate all these variations of color is the first step in learning how to mix colors. When you expand beyond the color wheel to a 3D model of color you soon realize that the vast majority of colors in the world are not very vivid.  Mixing maps are designed to include all three dimensions of color in a 2D chart.

3D model Kolormondo, Sample Mixing Map

Mixing Map Zones

The Mixing Map is divided into the Vivid Zones around the outside of the triangle and the Dark Zones on the inside of the triangle. The names of the Zones describe the appearance of the colors in each part of the triangle before they are mixed with white. There are no perfect versions of any of the zones. The names are pluralized to represent the full range of choices available in each zone.

The 12 Vivid Zones include all the colors that are mixed using just TWO of the corner colors.

  • The 5 Vivid Zones along the base run from Blues, through Indigos, Violets, and Purples to Magentas.
  • The 5 Vivid Zones on the left side run from Blues, through Blue Greens, Greens and Yellow Greens up to Yellow.
  • The 5 Vivid Zones on the right side run from Magentas, through Reds, Orange Reds, and Oranges up to Yellow.

The 10 Dark  Zones on the inside of the triangle include all the colors that are mixed using all THREE of the corner colors.

The 3 Dark Zones that run from Indigo up to Yellow include Stones, Forests, and Olives.  The Stone colors are all variations of grays from blue grays to green grays. The Forest colors are all variations of cool dark greens. The Olive colors are warmer, dark yellow greens.

Vivid and Dark colors - mixed with no White
Lightness Levels - mixed with White in different amounts

How to Use the Mixing Map

Mixing Maps give you the path to take to your destination color. The step-by-step approach below is a good way to document your mixes if you need to duplicate the same color over and over. IF you just want to “get in the right neighborhood” then you can use the proportions on the map to estimate the amounts of each of the four colors but, beware! you may never be able to make the exact same color again!

Step 1. Choose your destination. Find the color section on the map that is closest to the color you want to mix.

Step 1 – Destination

Step 2 – Mix the Base Color.
The base colors run from Teal to Fuchsia along the bottom of the triangle. To get to the destination you need to start by mixing the Purple which is 1/4 Teal : 3/4 Fuchsia.

Step 3 – Mix to Yellow

The next step is to take the base color up to Yellow. Because Purple has both Teal and Fuchsia, mixing it with Yellow adds the third primary which moves your color into the Dark Zone. This path takes your Purple all the way up to the Dark Zone I call “Golds”.

In this case, the resulting color is Dark Gold. It is the darkest version of Gold you can get since the map doesn’t use black. To formula to mix the Dark Gold is 1/8 Purple : 7/8 Zinc Yellow.

Step 3. Mix to Yellow

Step 4 – Mix with White

Ideally there is no white in any of the primaries used on the Mixing Map because it is easy to add white but impossible to take it out! Once you are in the right zone, this is the time to add the white.  The formula for the Bright Gold is 7/8 Dark Gold: 1/8 White.

Step 4. Mix with White

We would love to see how you use this New Sculpey Premo™ Teal in your projects or mixing experiments. When you post on social media please use the hashtag #HowDoYOUSculpey.