What Colors Make Terra-Cotta Paint?

Terra cotta isn’t one color, but also a family of colors that resemble fired clay. The word itself means “fired ground,” and the colours that make it are typically brown and orange. Since clay is earthy, you get a more faithful rendition of terra cotta using earth-tone pigments, but you can also use routine universal cutting pigments. Both are available at the paint store.

Earth-Tone Pigments

Paint producers use five basic earth-tone pigments when blending wood stain, and these pigments will provide a more legitimate terra-cotta color than universal pigments. The five tones are burnt sienna, raw sienna, burnt umber, raw umber and yellow ocher. The pigments you purchase in the store are imitations of organic pigments that were employed for centuries. Natural umber and sienna both derive their colors from a mix of iron oxide and manganese oxide, while yellow ocher contains hydrated iron oxide, sometimes called limonite. Ocher is the oldest pigment in presence; it had been utilized by the ancients as body paint.

Earth-Tone Terra Cotta

The color most people associate with terra cotta is that the rusty-brown mixture of burnt sienna, so it is natural to incorporate that pigment in any mixture. Beginning with a white foundation, you can produce a light terra cotta by blending in enough raw sienna to turn the paint hardened, and inserting burnt sienna to soften the color. If your goal is a deeper terra cotta that resembles soil a foot or so beneath the surface, begin with burnt sienna and deepen the tone with burnt umber. Use raw umber instead in the event that you want a terra-cotta color that closely resembles unfired clay.

Using Universal Pigments

It’s possible to mix terra-cotta colours with universal pigments, which are those used to make the color chips in many paint departments. Orange is the base color of terra cotta, and also you soften it with a combo of brown or dark. If you would rather have the color of sun-drenched adobe, which is brighter and rebound more toward pink, lighten the orange with yellow to produce the color of ancient sunset; subsequently use brown to bring the color of the earth and ground the mixture. Use red and yellow to make orange if your pigment collection doesn’t include orange.

Combining Terra Cotta

Anyone who has traveled in the Southwest knows that terra cotta and turquoise make an arresting combination that evokes the ground and skies of the high desert. This combination works because the 2 colors complement each other. Terra cotta inspires solace in combination with other shades of red, orange and yellow; deep red glaze often brings out the very best in a terra-cotta pot adorning a room with terra-cotta walls. When working together with terra cotta, use purples and greens as soon as your goal is to make incoherence, maybe a part of a boho motif that includes loud furnishings and stunningly cluttered clutter.

See related