How to Make Turquoise Acrylic Paint Like a Pro!

Various green and blue paint marbled together, on a palette and paintbrush, to make turquoise acrylic paint

All blues and greens make turquoise acrylic paint, right? The answer is sorta sometimes. I wish it was a simple yes or no answer but it depends on what blue and green paint colors you mix together.

Some things that could affect the outcome are:

  • The transparency of each paint color
  • The undertone of the paints
  • The vibrancy of the paints

I’ve done a whole bunch of paint mixing and swatching, with some of the more popular paint colors, so you can see what happens and why it matters which blues and greens you mix together.

Also, I’ve seen it stated around the web that yellow and white will make turquoise acrylic paint paler. White? Sure. Yellow? Hmmmmm. Check out my experiment where I mix three different yellows into turquoise paint and see for yourself.

Ready to dive deep into all things turquoise? Let’s go!

What Colors Do You Need To Make Turquoise?

A flat paintbrush with blue, green, white, and turquoise marbled paint on it

Turquoise is a mixture of green and blue that leans more toward green. Great. Easy peasy. Hold on a second, though. If it were that easy this would be the end of the article and we could call it a day.

In YouTube tutorials, you’ll almost always see instructors mixing Phthalo Blue and Phthalo Green to make turquoise acrylic paint, and with good reason. Mixing the Phthalos together easily makes a beautiful turquoise without much fussing around.

But what if you don’t have Phthalo Blue or Phthalo Green? What can you do? Look through your paint stash and find whatever green you have that leans toward blue (so a cool green). Also, look for a blue that leans more toward green and less toward purple.

You may be wondering why you wouldn’t go for a blue that leans toward purple. Wouldn’t that be a cooler blue? If you think of the color wheel as a circle, you would have blue, purple, and then red. So, if you choose a blue that leans more purple, it is actually leaning more toward red as well (blue and red make purple, right?) which isn’t ideal.

Now think about the green and who its neighbors are on the color wheel. You want to choose a green that leans toward blue because yellow, green’s other neighbor, is warm. Plus, blue and yellow make green so if you choose a green with a yellow bias, you’ll end up having to use more blue to make up for the extra warmth.

Don’t worry if you find this a bit mind blowing. Next, I’m going to show you a bunch of mixing recipes that I used when experimenting with different blue and green paint, that you are more than welcome to use.

If you want to learn more about color before we get started with our experiment, check out my article that explains the color wheel and how artists can take advantage of this amazing tool.

How To Make Turquoise Acrylic Paint (And Then Some)

A Piece of paper covered in all of the different blue, green, and turquoise paint swatches made in the experiment.

This experiment resulted in ninety color mixes, including the tints made with Titanium White. NINETY!!!

Now, granted, not all of the mixes ended up making turquoise and, in fact, most of them did not but this experiment was more about showing you how mixing any random blue and green together won’t always give you the outcome you’re hoping for.

Does that mean it can’t be done? Nah. It just means that you’ll have to figure out what you need to add to make turquoise acrylic paint worthy of swooning. Basically, the recipe needs more garlic!

The paint colors I used were:

  • Phthalo Blue
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Prussian Blue
  • Primary Blue
  • Phthalo Green
  • Light Green Permanent
  • Light Sap Green
  • Titanium White

All of the paint I used was Liquitex Basics except for the Prussian Blue and the Light Sap Green, which were Arteza Premium.

For each row, I chose a blue and a green to mix together. Then, starting at the middle wave, I mixed the blue and green in a one-to-one ratio and then painted the mixture with added white.

Moving outward from the center wave, I went 2 parts blue to 1 part green on the left and 2 parts green to 1 part blue on the right. On the far left and right I painted a mix of whatever 2 to 1 ratio that was right next to it with Titanium White.

For example, the very first row is a mixture of Phthalo Blue and Phthalo Green. From left to right it goes:

  • 2 parts blue + 1 part green + white
  • 2 parts blue + 1 part green
  • 1 part blue + 1 part green | 1 part blue + 1 part green + white
  • 1 part blue + 2 parts green
  • 1 part blue + 2 parts green + white

This is just a taste of the different tints you can make with these paint mixtures so if you see one that you really like, write down the recipe and then start adding more and more white to see all of the different colors you can actually make!

Mixing Turquoise Using Phthalo Blue and Ultramarine Blue

A page full of paint swatches in an attempt to make turquoise acrylic paint from different blue and green paint recipes
1st Row: Phthalo Blue + Phthalo Green
2nd Row: Phthalo Blue + Light Green Permanent
3rd Row: Phthalo Blue + Light Sap Green
4th Row: Ultramarine + Phthalo Green
5th Row: Ultramarine + Light Green Permanent
6th Row: Ultramarine + Light Sap Green

My biggest takeaway here is that Phthalo Blue and Phthalo Green are still my favorite combo to make turquoise acrylic paint. It’s vibrant and warm and just reminds me of being on a warm beach somewhere tropical.

The other biggie I learned was that, Woah, Nellie, that Light Sap Green is all kinds of powerful! The strength of the pigment made it very difficult to get a good turquoise mix. The only one that really put up a fight was Phthalo Blue.

Mixing Turquoise Using Cobalt Blue and Cerulean Blue

Swatches made with blue and green paint recipes in an attempt to make different turquoise colors.
1st Row: Cobalt Blue + Phthalo Green
2nd Row: Cobalt Blue + Light Green Permanent
3rd Row: Cobalt Blue + Light Sap Green
4th Row: Cerulean Blue + Phthalo Green
5th Row: Cerulean Blue + Light Green Permanent
6th Row: Cerulean Blue + Light Sap Green

Both Cobalt and Cerulean made some beautiful turquoise color mixes. My favorites are the Cobalt and Phthalo Green mix and the Cerulean Blue and Phthalo Green mix….. I’m thinking it’s the Phthalo Green that makes the best turquoise but let’s keep looking.

Mixing Turquoise Using Prussian Blue and Primary Blue

A piece of white paper with different blue, green, and turquoise paint swatches
1st Row: Prussian Blue + Phthalo Green
2nd Row: Prussian Blue + Light Green Permanent
3rd Row: Prussian Blue + Light Sap Green
4th Row: Primary Blue + Phthalo Green
5th Row: Primary Blue + Light Green Permanent
6th Row: Primary Blue + Light Sap Green

Oh boy, the force is with you, Prussian Blue. Again, this pigment is very strong and so it basically decimated any green I added to it except for the Light Sap Green.

However, no matter what color I tried with the Prussian Blue paint, I had no luck making a decent turquoise mix. This would mean that you would have to play around with adding lots of white to the blue and maybe even some yellow to the mixture.

Ah, and there’s Phthalo Green strutting like a proud peacock again. Mixed with Primary Blue it becomes another wonderful turquoise mixture.

All in all, it’s safe to say that no matter what blue you use, you’ll get the best looking turquoise when you mix it with Phthalo Green.

For the paint colors shown in the above three images, I think the majority would work but a lot more white and yellow would have to be added to the stubborn mixes to make turquoise paint.

Yellow Doesn’t Always Make Turquoise Paler

To say that I was a little bit confused when I saw people saying that yellow would make turquoise acrylic paint paler is an understatement.

I have mixed yellow into my turquoise many times with not even an iota of paling to be seen. So, of course, you know I had to do some experimenting to see why people would be saying that.

For this experiment I used:

  • Phthalo Green
  • Phthalo Blue
  • Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue
  • Yellow Oxide
  • Naples Yellow

All the paints used were Liquitex Basics except for the Naples Yellow, which was Arteza Premium.

Swatches of different yellow paint colors mixed with Phthalo Green and Phthalo Blue to show if/how the yellow creates a paler turquoise color
Left to Right: Phthalo Green, Phthalo Blue, Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue, Yellow Oxide, Naples Yellow

After experimenting, it’s my opinion that saying yellow will make turquoise paler is not completely accurate.

If the yellow paint you’re using is opaque then, yes, your turquoise will be paler but the same can be said about mixing an opaque green with a transparent blue or vice versa.

The only thing that all three yellows did was to make the 1:1 part mixture more green, which makes total sense (blue + yellow = green)

If you want to make turquoise acrylic paint paler, stick to white. Just make sure that you add the white last, especially if you’re using an opaque yellow, so you don’t overdo it.

Paint Colors That Look Amazing With Turquoise

Let’s say you’ve made your turquoise paint but now you want to find a color that’s going to look phenomenal with it and really make your turquoise pop.

Again, this goes back to the color wheel and finding which paint colors lie directly across from turquoise.

Turquoise is a mixture of blue and green so we want to see what colors are directly across from blue and directly across from green.

Not only that but think about how dark your turquoise is. To keep the eye moving around the canvas you’ll want to use a complementary color that has the same value (same darkness/lightness). If you use a complementary color that is much lighter than your turquoise paint, your eye will get stuck on that lighter part.

Here is a list of some of the colors that are complementary to turquoise paint:

  • Red
  • Pink
  • Peach
  • Orange
  • Coral

If you’d like to have some fun with coral and turquoise paint, take a look at my article that teaches you how to mix the perfect coral color and there’s a really easy summer painting you can do, as well!

If you’d rather have a more soothing palette, try these colors:

  • Pale green
  • Pale blue
  • Pale purple
  • Beige
  • Cream
Blue, green, and white paint swirled together with a flat paintbrush to show different levels of turquoise you can make.

The Difference Between Turquoise And Aqua

Drumroll, please! The big difference between turquoise and aqua? Ready for this? Turquoise is a bit more green than aqua….. yep, that’s it…..

Okay, so maybe some people care about that and that’s totally cool but, really, it feels a little like splitting hairs, am I right?

For people like you and me (the fun bunch who just want to slap some paint around), it really doesn’t matter. Whether you call it turquoise, turquoise blue, turquoise green, or aqua, it’s kinda like looking at twins who aren’t identical but close enough!

Let’s just all agree that we’ll call it po-tay-to and they can all it po-ta-to, m’kay?

Turquoise vs Teal Paint Colors

So, what about turquoise and teal? Basically, teal is darker than turquoise and, sometimes, it may be a bit more green.

So, when you make turquoise acrylic paint, and before you lighten it with white, you’ve got yerself a good ol’ teal!

FYI: Teal is a great color to use if you’re wanting to paint a forest on a gloomy day.

YouTube Tutorial Recommendation Using Turquoise Paint

A painting of a beautiful tropical ocean wave using different variations of turquoise acrylic paint.
My try at Katie Jobling Art‘s ocean wave YouTube tutorial

The best YouTube tutorial that uses turquoise is Katie Jobling’s “Ocean Wave” video. It’s a well taught step-by-step that’s easy to follow and, by the time you finish, you’ll have a beautiful tropical piece of art and you’ll know how to make turquoise acrylic paint like a pro!

Subscribe to the Katie Jobling Art channel!

Final Thoughts On Mixing The Color Turquoise

It’s not hard to make turquoise acrylic paint but there are a few key things to keep in mind.

Be aware of the undertone of your green and blue paint, try to make sure that the opacity level is the same, and match up the vibrancy of both paints.

Paint has different pigment strengths and that can make it a bit trickier to get just the right color (I’m looking at you, Light Green Permanent!) but not impossible.

You can use whatever green and blue paint you have on hand and just start mixing and swatching. Don’t forget to make notes for your turquoise paint recipes so they’re easy to find in the future.

What’s your favorite mix to make turquoise acrylic paint? Let’s share our recipes in the comments below!

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8 thoughts on “How to Make Turquoise Acrylic Paint Like a Pro!”

  1. Wow. So many mixes. Great job of sharing your process. I will have to try this with watercolor sometime to see if I get similar results except I wonder if using the white of the paper versus white paint have the same outcome.

    1. That would be a fun experiment! I’m thinking that playing around with the transparency of the watercolors would mimic my results. At least, to a certain extent.

  2. This is so in depth—I love it! Looking at your color mixing chart, it seems that the right green is the key, especially the Phthalo Green. My favorite turquoises in your photos are always the row with the Phthalo Green.

    1. Same. Really, you can easily mix your own green paint but I always suggest that people have Phthalo Green. It’s an amazing color!

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