Polymer Clay Color Mixing – Color Saturation

Polymer Color SaturationVideo #437: Do you know which one of these Premo Sculpey blues is stronger … Ultramine or Cobalt?

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • As you’re learning more about polymer clay color mixing, one of the things you are going to want to keep in mind, is the strength of the color.
  • Not all colors in polymer clay are equal. Some are stronger, some are weaker.
  • This is really similar when you are working with color mixing things like oil paints, artists acrylics and water color paints.
  • I don’t know if earth based pigments are actually used in polymer clay, but I can tell you that the Premo Sculpey colors at least have comparable properties to the artist colored paints which do use earth pigmentation.
  • Today I am going to talk about the color strengths of two different blues in the Premo color line, Ultramarine Blue and Cobalt Blue.
  • Ultramarine Blue is on the cool side of the color wheel, which means it leans toward the purple side of the wheel.
  • Cobalt Blue is on the warm side, which means it leans toward the green side of the color wheel.
  • When you look at the two colors side by side, you may think that the Ultramarine Blue is a stronger color, simply because it looks darker than the Cobalt Blue. But in fact the opposite it true.  Cobalt is the stronger one.
  • In today’s video, I will show you how to do some simple mixing tests that will allow you to see better what I am talking about.
  • As you will see by the mixed samples, Ultramarine is in fact half as strong as the Cobalt because it takes about twice as much Ultramarine to end up at a shade of blue that is roughly half way between the Cobalt and the Ultramarine. If this sounds confusing, the video will clear things up for you.
  • So the lesson here is that if you are using these two blues for creating your own color mixes, always be a little less stingy with the Ultramarine and a little more careful with the Cobalt, than what you might expect.
  • These differences in color saturations happen because of the many different colors (pigments) that are used in polymer clay. The more you experiment with 50/50 mixes, the more you will understand how each color behaves, and therefore, you will gain a much better understanding of their mixing properties
  • As a final note, please note that although every brand of polymer clay behaves differently, the principles of experimenting with 50/50 color mixes will be helpful no matter which clay you choose to use.

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Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
  1. Marion Rayner, 17 October, 2013

    Thanks Cindy, I had no idea that two such colours could have such different intensity, as you said, I would have expected the Ultramarine Blue to be ‘stronger’ as it is darker. Yes, I found this very useful, I’d like to see how other colours vary in this way. It would also be interesting to see how the two different blues used in your experiment, would change another primary colour, e.g. red, yellow etc. Presumably each colour would affect the red and yellow in quite different ways.

  2. Jocelyn C, 17 October, 2013

    Cindy, this video was wonderfully informative, please keep going on this topic line!

  3. Tante Sherry, 17 October, 2013

    That was very interesting:)

  4. Ramona Q, 17 October, 2013

    I had NO idea there were differences in the pigmentation of clay! LOVE your colour videos. They are VERY interesting!

  5. Patty J, 17 October, 2013

    I would have thought that the darker blue would have stronger saturation. Really interesting!

  6. Carmen M, 17 October, 2013

    It doesn’t surprise me, but no, I was not aware. I would very much like to learn more about this. Great video!

  7. Dixie Ann, 17 October, 2013

    Great video Cindy. I just mixed 347 of your color recipes and learned a lot about color saturation. I also learned that just because one color looks similar to another it does not produce the results you are expecting. I would love to see more videos on color mixing and saturation.

  8. Lesley S, 17 October, 2013

    Very interesting indeed, Cindy – who knew! I for one would love more colour-mixing tutes! :-)

  9. Karen K, 17 October, 2013

    I’ve always found color mixing to be intimidating but I love your explanations. More videos on color mixing would be great!

  10. Sharon R, 17 October, 2013

    Thanks Cindy.

    I would also like to learn more about colour mixing. I would love to be able to mix the colours the same as a colour swatch like design seeds. Is this a complicated process?

    Many thanks


  11. Cindy Lietz, 22 October, 2013

    Hi Sharon, I will definitely be doing lots more videos on color mixing. To answer your question, is it complicated to mix colors the same as a swatch, the answer is yes for most people. That is why I do it for people by mixing up color recipe palettes.

  12. Patt Whitmore, 17 October, 2013

    Your video really explains a lot…it gave me a “V-8 moment” where I wanted to smack my forehead and say “Of course!” Thank you so much…you know sometimes you just cannot see the forest for the trees!

  13. Melodie F, 17 October, 2013

    Yes please…love colour mixing tutorials.

  14. Cherie H, 18 October, 2013

    Would love more of these color mixing tutorials. Very interesting!

  15. Teresa D, 18 October, 2013

    more color mixing videos ,plz. also I loved your blouse

  16. lucie b, 19 October, 2013

    would love more of these color mixing tutorials. Very interesting!

  17. Betty B, 19 October, 2013

    I’ve become very interested in color saturation in the past year or so because of a program that teaches about clothing color according to “energy type.” It’s quite fascinating and this really helped me understand why a lighter value color would still not be considered a tint. I’ve been trying to create jewelry that works for the various energy types, too, so this is very helpful. Keep those color-mixing tutes coming, Cindy. I love playing with color!

  18. Constantina Papakyprianou, 20 October, 2013

    That was sooooo interesting Cindy! Thank you!

  19. Kelli Nelson, 01 February, 2014

    Hi Cindy~ I realize this video is almost 4 months old now~ but NEW to me!!! I absolutely LOVE LOVE ALL your color recipes. And this video is AMAZING and VERY informative, it would be great if you could do more mini tutes on the colors that have these unexpected results!! I am catching up on all the “clay news” so I am not sure if cobalt or ultra marine were some of the discontinued premo colors or not. I bought a crazy amount of both of these colors and a few others on the chopping block at that time……. I couldnt imagine trying to mix my favorite color recipes without them!!!
    Fast forward 2 years or more and I am STILL trying to use up all that clay!! This video really helped me with a few of the color issues I have been struggling with~ not only with blue, red is another one that acts similar!
    I would vote YES to one COLOR MINI TUTE A MONTH or maybe a paid~ mini color series???!!! I would pay for this info!!!
    Thank You so Much for all the AWESOME Tips, Tutes, and being an AMAZING TEACHER!!!!!


  20. Cindy Lietz, 02 February, 2014

    Wow Kelli, thanks so much for the kind words! What a nice thing to read hear this morning. SO glad to be of help with your color mixing. I will add your suggestion for more color mixing tutorials, to the list. It is a subject that is a challenge for many people!

  21. Joy Davis, 02 April, 2014

    Very interesting, I have a pretty strong background in art and color, and knew that about Colbalt, but still feel that I have a lot to learn, please make more of these very informative video’s, they are of great help and a great reference point! I think it’s very important for an artist to have access to this kind of information for future projects and I can’t think of a better starting point for any project than color!
    I can’t get enough of your informational video’s, short of long!
    Be well,
    Joy :)

  22. Peg Carter, 28 November, 2014

    I’m with Kelli. I’d love to learn more about color. I am so glad I found you on YouTube. This is the perfect time for me to return to polymer clay. I just received a settlement from an accident and I allotted myself so much money for a hobby and polymer clay is it.. I think I have enough tools, for the moment anyway, and I can always get clay on sale somewhere. Now I just need space to play. I’m almost finished with my room (maybe tomorrow) and then I’m going to rewatch all of the videos I purchased from on you. I have a couple of friends who want to learn so I am turning one of them on to you. (The other friend doesn’t do computers.) I appreciate that you are keeping the cost so reasonable. I know I’ll be able to afford at least a couple of back issues a month. Maybe someday I’ll be 1/8 as good as you are. That would be awesome!

  23. Dixie Ann, 29 November, 2014

    Perfect time to stock up on clay. JoAnns is having a sale right through the weekend. $1.24 per 2 oz block.

  24. Dixie Ann, 29 November, 2014

    Oh by the way Michaels is also having a sale on PC. You have to pay $2.33 per 2 oz block and you only get that price if you buy 5 at a time. Not much of a sale really. Joanns is so much better.

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