Color Plus 1 – Polymer Clay Color Mixing Trick

Plus 1 Polymer Clay Color TechniqueVideo #413: Making it quick and easy for you to come up with your own custom color palette blends.

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • This color mixing trick is something that I call the Color Plus 1 Method. I use it all the time… and you can too.
  • Color mixing polymer clay can be intimidating for a lot of people, but this trick will make it a lot easier to come up with your own custom color palette.
  • I show some colors from the Premo color line, that don’t go together very nicely straight from the pack.. Fuchsia, Orange, Cadmium Yellow, Green and Raw Sienna.
  • If I take those same colors and Plus 1 them with some Gold or Black or any other color, I can make a really neat color palette that pulls everything to together in an aesthetically pleasing way.
  • I demonstrate mixing 1 part of the base color Fuchsia and 1/2 part Gold clay to make a beautiful iridescent Raspberry color. I then continue down the line, mixing 1 part color and 1/2 part Gold to each of the colors. Watch the video to see how simple this technique is to do.
  • Mixing my plus one color (in this case it was a 1/2 part Gold), to each of the base colors I want to use, creates a new color palette that flows together, because each of them have the underlying Gold color in common.
  • I show the same formula being done with the same base colors (Fuchsia, Orange, Cad. Yellow, Green, Raw Sienna) mixed with a Plus 1 color of 1/8 part Black. Because Black is such a strong color, I chose to much less in the mix, than I did the Gold.
  • You can use this Plus 1 color mixing trick for making palettes with any colors that you choose. You will have to experiment with amounts of the Plus 1 color you would like to add, because each color has a different strength.

Question of the Day:

Are you a little bit intimidated by color mixing? And would you like to see me do more videos of these types of color mixing tips and tricks?

I look forward to hearing from you.

By the way, if you have a polymer clay question or challenge you’d like me to address in an upcoming video vlog, do post it in the comments below. I’d love to help you find quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

Oh and don’t forget to give these videos a Thumbs Up click at YouTube if you are enjoying them. The more Likes a video gets, the higher it rises in the searches. And that means even more people will be able to join in on this polymer clay journey of a lifetime.

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Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
  1. Sue F, 15 August, 2013

    That is a neat trick for creating palettes, Cindy!

    It’d also be an easy way to add a new twist to an existing palette, or just to dress up the standard package colours so you’re not using the same old same old.

    I’ve sometimes added one or two colours in varying amounts across a palette to help tie it together, but I’ve never used it as the primary technique for deriving the palette in the first place: I’ve always had an almost-there-but-not-quite-right set of colours to start with.

    I do think quite a few people find colour mixing a bit intimidating (that’s presumably one of the reasons behind the realignment of the Premo colour range over the past few years), and I’m sure your tips and tricks in this area would be most welcome.

    Colour selection and palette selection tips and tricks would also be interesting, even to people who are completely comfortable with colour mixing. General approaches, sources of inspiration, handy references… there’s always something new to discover, and playing with colour is fun! :)

  2. elaine faulks, 15 August, 2013

    Got to agree with Sue F.
    In fact she took most of the words out of my mouth! Color can make (or break) a design if you are a little bit “off” color it can ruin hours of careful work.
    So big thanks to Cindy, I now know I can take her tips and tricks and run with them. well only as far as the oven hee hee………cheers xx……………………

  3. Tante Sherry, 15 August, 2013

    Cindy I Loved your latest video posted on You Tube
    Your doing a Real service for all of us who are still baffled by what colors go with this or that color, shade, value — this mini tute solved that problem

  4. Jocelyn C, 15 August, 2013

    Cindy this is an excellent tute. Loved the way you presented the concepts. I knew to do it with black, but am so absorbed in making “stuff,” that structured color mixing always went to the side. One of the reasons I was thrilled to find this blog, because you shared wonderful color palettes with us.

    If you use the search facility and link to all of Cindy’s “color” blogs and comments, especially the Teardrop Blend Shift Tute, it’s a great overall hands on guide to color and I have learned so much by doing so. Thanks!

    Also am going to try gold plus ups, with layers of gold metal sheets and some mokume gane soon. Bet using this approach will give some lovely fresh colorways with technique.

  5. Maria, 15 August, 2013

    Oh-oh Cindy- you’re giving away too many secrets – now we won’t need you for the color palettes – we’ll be experts ourselves : )

  6. Maria, 15 August, 2013

    I am particularly fascinated by the yellow+black turning green.
    Yes Cindy – I would love more tutorials of this kind -thank you!

  7. Stella R, 17 August, 2013

    Black is a misnomer in alot of created colors. There is a misunderstanding that you can create a real black for most any process. My experience is with fabric dyes and paint. It is generally accepted that most any color except white and black are mixes of other colors to get the desired shade. It is also well known that white is the absence of any color tint. But most do not know that black is a color mix also. When using polymer clay, we all understand how to get that grey mud, right? Just gather up all those scraps and mix them together. Do you know you could make it a shade of black by adding indigo or alot of dark blue and a bit of other dark colors? This is what the manufacturers are doing, using color formulas to get black. A true black is expensive to produce, so what we get is a dark, dark blue mix that really, really looks like black but when mixed with other colors, the perception changes… because you have just upset the formula. That is why the yellow and black made a green.

  8. Cindy Lietz, 17 August, 2013

    You did a great job explaining the color Black, Stella.

    Just so everyone understands, when it comes to paints, polymer clays or anything that gets it’s color from pigments from the Earth, the colors are not actually ‘pure’ but are actually a combination of colors. This is especially true for the color black.

    What I love about the main colors in the Premo line, is that they are based on the same pigments that are used in the art paint world. So, once you get used to mixing artist colors together, and how the pigments behave, you can predict what they are going to do even before you mix them, whether you’re working with oil paints, acrylic paints or Premo polymer clay.

    The problem with some of the brands of polymer clay that aren’t based on the artist color palette, is that their ‘designer’ colors can be quite complex. Meaning the color that looks ‘blue’ to an untrained eye, may contain all kinds of unexpected colors like yellow, red, black, white, etc… so when you go to mix it with what looks to be a ‘red’ (which may also contain a whole bunch of different colors), you can end up with a muddy grey or brown, instead of the purple you were expecting.

    It is because of these complexities, that people have so much trouble mixing colors. I hope that I can help people by simplifying the concepts and make it easier to understand.

  9. Hermine R, 15 August, 2013

    A big yes for more on mixing colours. That was very interesting.

  10. cara letho, 15 August, 2013

    you can never have too much colour theory

  11. Cynthia Ryan, 15 August, 2013

    I do find color mixing intimidating, so I usually use it from the Premo packet. I love this color mixing tip & would love to see more.

  12. Shirley Rufener, 16 August, 2013

    I love color, it’s one of polymer clay’s main attractions for me! I was watching another video just today by a knowledgeable designer and was so impressed with her correct color theory terms, that I felt like I need to further my color theory education. This just confirms my goal. So YES….please do more free videos on color theory and mixing, we love them!!

  13. Susan H, 16 August, 2013


    I’ve tried color mixing and sometimes it works and sometimes not. I loved your video and would love to see more. I enjoy all your videos, even the goofy ones.


  14. Ellen Kuzniar, 16 August, 2013

    I would love to see more color mixing techniques. You are a great teacher!
    Downers Grove, IL

  15. Kay B, 16 August, 2013

    Very helpful Cindy as always, silver is also great ,yes would love more color mixing ideas.

  16. Gayle T, 16 August, 2013

    Another great tute! I’ve been working with polymer clay for almost 14 years and my main problem is color. I tend to find a pallet that I like and stick to it. Now I have been motivated to experiment more. Thanks again!

  17. Cheyrl B, 16 August, 2013

    very excellent tip! I have always used the undertone rule to mix colors in doing interior design and when I used to design clothing, so many patterns and textures can be used if the undertone of the colors are the same, I especially like the warm colors.If you can put an outfit together or decorate a room you can mix colors because you are already doing it, just choose the undertone you want pinks,oranges.yellows or metalics for warm or blue or black for cool are some of the examples.When choosing fabrics if 2 pieces just don’t look right together it is most likely that one is warm while the other is cool. Glad to see the new colors and the old colors back.

  18. Jackie N, 16 August, 2013

    I have always loved color. I understand it intuitively but have gone around in too many circles in trying to reach the perfect palette. Loved, loved this video. Thanks for your straightforward approach to beautiful color combinations. Please do more!

  19. Bev K., 16 August, 2013

    That was a very helpful video, Cindy. I sometimes have the opportunity to teach people who know nothing of PC, and they get a little carried away with their “extra” colors — black, especially. Thank you for your instructions.

  20. Carol W, 16 August, 2013

    Yes! Yes! More color mixing. I seem to stumble on some very nice color combinations, but I have plenty that miss the mark. And I’m completely intimidated by the idea of mixing colors to get what you want. I’m going to try this +1 technique today. It is very intriguing.

  21. DawnB, 16 August, 2013

    Thanks again Cindy! Great information. More color theory/mixing tips would be wonderful.

  22. Andrea Paradiso, 16 August, 2013

    Color mixing is very exciting for me, Cindy, and so I am a hoarder of palettes and recipes…including YOURS, of course! Like this tutorial very much and would love more.

  23. Sandra J, 16 August, 2013

    That was really interesting. Being able to pull together colours that don;t “usually” go together using this trick is going to be very useful. Thanks Cindy.

  24. lucie b, 16 August, 2013

    yes it is very interesting to see how you do it

  25. Barb L, 16 August, 2013

    I would love to see more color mixing tips–it’s the main reason I signed up for your site, I’m hopeless when it comes to color. This is such an awesome idea, I’m going to go try it out.

  26. Barb L, 16 August, 2013

    I would love to see more color mixing tips–it’s the main reason I signed up for your site, I’m hopeless when it comes to color. This is such an awesome idea, I’m going to go try it out.

  27. Matey M, 16 August, 2013

    Loved it, and, yes, I would love to see more videos on color … Thank you,

  28. Cynthia Ryan, 16 August, 2013

    Question- I was wondering if this +1 technique would work on adding translucent to all your selected colors. Would that make them go together or would it not work because it’s not really a color? Also does this technique work with every color or is there some colors that it just does not work with?

  29. Jocelyn C, 16 August, 2013

    Not sure if only transparent would switch it up as a plus, but think a percentage of transparent and a percentage of your plus up color would surely be cool.

  30. BinkyM, 17 August, 2013

    Cynthia, I mix some translucent into ALL my clay as it makes it shinier. (Translucent is a really shiny clay.) (Lemme qualify: Premo translucent is really shiny. I can’t confirm about translucents from other companies.) It doesn’t affect the color, though.

  31. Cindy Lietz, 17 August, 2013

    I agree with Jocelyn and Binky, Cynthia… Because translucent is not a ‘color’ it won’t really work as a +1 color that will tie together a color palette. But adding Trans to all your colors in your palette will bring a common translucency to the palette colors and give them a common appearance in the way the light bounces off of them. Plus, like Binky suggested it will bring an added shine to the clay. If you wanted to add a different +1 color, as well as the translucent, to all your colors, that would work very well!

  32. Betty B, 16 August, 2013

    This was wonderful! I can’t believe you put this info out for free! I would love to see more tutes on color mixing, color theory, selection, etc. I understand a lot, but have soooo much more to learn! Thanks for all you do for us, Cindy!

  33. Terry D, 17 August, 2013

    This is a great idea! I’ve always been intimidated with mixing colors. I can’t wait to try this. Would it be okay if I demo’d it for my Polymer Clay Guild?
    Thanks again!

  34. K C, 17 August, 2013

    Great tip. Have heard of this, but illustration now makes sense. There are other tricks artists use to “help” colors be more companionable. Would like to know more about this. I usually tone gold with a bit of black, and add a bit of blue to straight black. Guess that’s why skinner blends look so much better than PC straight out of the wrapper! Yes, more on this would be fab.

  35. Anna Garner, 18 August, 2013

    Yes, Cindy, this kind of tip helps keep the palette we have on hand workable without running out and shopping for the ‘right’ color.

  36. Ifama, 19 August, 2013

    I am very intimidated by blending color so I don’t blend them. I might be color blind, LOL. I basically buy the colors that I want from what is available. Cindy thank you so much for this tip. I will definitely use it to experiment with colors more.

  37. Marion Rayner, 22 August, 2013

    Just got back from Geneva to find this fascinating video waiting! What a clever idea to mix a little of one colour to several others so that they all have something in common! Thanks Cindy. Yes please, more videos on colour mixing, this is something I can never get right. I made a necklace of polymer beads with a palette of colours and as I walked to the front door my daughter said, “Mum, you’re not going out wearing that necklace, are you?!” ‘Nuff said.

  38. Hope M, 24 August, 2013

    Wow! Great tip. Thank you!!! I do find coming up with a color palette from scratch to be very intimidating. Would love to see more tutes on the subject.

  39. Eunice M, 18 September, 2013

    Loved it!

    Such an easy way to to do this too thanks for sharing your tips


  40. Janet S, 06 October, 2013

    I just love this video – my favorite so far because having the right color is the most important and fun element to work with clay. It will save so much time and clay for me. I usually bring the blouse that I want to make a necklace for and try to mix the colors by guess. Never thought that adding the same common color would do the trick. So fabulous! Thank you so much!

  41. Ayanna K, 19 October, 2013

    Wow! That was very helpful! Thanks for sharing!

  42. Barb B, 09 February, 2014

    knit crochet bead sew cross-stitch polymer-clay tie-dye;
    all use colour, always been mystifed about it;
    NOT anymore;
    your explaination technique is TERRIFIC
    THANKYOU! from the youtube newby

  43. Madj Reyes, 09 March, 2014

    Great video on color mixing! Please make more! I’m new at polymer clay and I’ve learned so much from you. You’ve answered many of my questions I had. TFS

  44. Brenda B, 17 March, 2014

    re: Color Matching,
    Hi Cindy,
    I just watched your mini +1 tut & YES!!! I am intimidated by CMing…LOL



  45. Joy Davis, 28 March, 2014

    Wow Cindy, what a great video, I for one would love to see more videos on color mixing, It’s one of the best way of making one’s work really unique!
    Thanks again for another winner!

  46. Judy R, 16 June, 2014

    Hi Cindy,

    I just watched your demonstration on color mixing. I like it and wanted to comment… love your blog site!!! Will explore every inch later tonight. But the reason I write is to answer your question and yes! I would very much like to see more on color mixing.

    Have a wonderful evening!
    I am from Sacramento California.
    Judy Rasmussen

  47. Joyce Bower, 09 March, 2015

    I loved ur video on color plus one. Would like any more like that u can do.

    Also I enjoy ur little videos more than anyone else on utube!!!!!

  48. Kay Lynn Peterson, 14 September, 2019

    Cindy, when using bakeable molds with liquid polymer clay, should I preheat ALL the bakeable ones? or only the ones that indicate to preheat? I bought a mold made by Sculpey silicone this last year and it says to preheat for 15 minutes before putting liquid clay into molds. Is that the case with ALL bakeable molds?

  49. Kay Lynn Peterson, 14 September, 2019

    *I meant ‘a Sculpey Silicone Mold’, not a mold made by Sculpey silicone. Sorry for the error.

  50. Cindy Lietz, 23 September, 2019

    I have found prebaking the molds a little trickier. Clay does seem to have less bubbles, but it also starts setting up, pretty much right away so any spillage is harder to clean up around the edges. Just play around with whatever molds you are using, to figure out what method works best for you. The rules are so hard and fast.

  51. Liezel Mace, 31 March, 2021

    Hi Cindy. Thank you so much for all your tutorials it has helped me a lot. I am wondering if you have any tips or suggestions on learning to mix your own colors. I have been buying recipes on-line but would like to learn how to mix my own colors but I do not know where to start. Any help will be much appreciated.
    Kind regards
    Liezel Mace

  52. Cindy Lietz, 31 March, 2021

    Hi Liezel, color is a common challenge for many people, and I do plan on making more color theory videos in the future. One quick (teaching) tip I can give you, is that when you are mixing up the recipes that you purchase (btw, I sell my color recipes too, if you did not know), really look at the colors as you mix them. Only mix in one color at a time and watch how the colors change as you add a new color. Analyze what you’re seeing and you will begin to understand the colors “inside” the colors, if you know what I mean. The more you do this, the more you will learn.

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