How to Make Neon Colors With Acrylic Paint

By Mandy Moss

The neon trend is hot. These colors are not only beautiful, but they can also be quite versatile. You can use them to create a range of effects, from bright and cheerful to moody and evocative. Moreover, with the right mix, you can even create custom hues.

Fortunately, it is possible to make your own neon colors with acrylic paint. The best part is you can do this without any expensive supplies or a trip to the craft store!

The most usual technique is by mixing acrylic paint with bright pigments like neon pigment powder or acrylic gesso. Alternatively, you can strategically mix different acrylic paints to achieve the desired reflective properties of your colors.

All you need is some basic knowledge of color mixing, and you’ll be on your way to creating gorgeous neon shades in no time.

How Do You Make Neon Colors With Acrylic Paint?

How Do You Make Neon Colors With Acrylic Paint?

Let’s look at some of the different strategies for making them:

1. Creating Neon Colors With Neon Pigment Powder

Neon pigments are powdery substances used to create bright and vibrant colors. They come in various shades, including pink, purple, orange, and yellow. Adding it is an easy way to get that electric brightness in your colors.

What You’ll Need: 

  • Acrylic paint
  • Neon pigment powder
  • Water


  1. Mix the pigment powder with water until it becomes a thick paste.
  2. Next, add the right amount of the applicable neon pigment powder paste to a small amount of the base acrylic paint.
  3. Mix together until you have reached the desired color.
TIP: The secret to creating and achieving brighter hues is to use a lot of pigment powder.

Advantages of Using Neon Pigment Powder 

  • The main advantage of using neon pigment powder is that it’s easy to find and relatively inexpensive. You can buy it online or in most craft stores.
  • Another benefit is that you can use it to create a wide range of colors – from light pastels to deep, rich shades.
  • It is a safe, non-toxic substance, which is perfect for all kinds of craft projects – from painting walls to making custom t-shirts.

Disadvantages of Using Neon Pigment Powder 

  • The main disadvantage is that it can be messy.
  • It is not quite as easy as using paint or liquid color. You will need to experiment a bit to get the perfect shade.
  • The color can sometimes be hard to control, and it may be difficult to achieve the perfect results you want.

Despite these disadvantages, however, neon pigment powder is an affordable and versatile option for creating bright colors. Whether you are painting a wall or making custom clothing, it Is a great tool to have in your arsenal.

NOTE: Use gloves when handling the pigment powder to avoid staining your hands and nails.

Creating Neon Colors With Acrylic Gesso 

Acrylic gesso is a paintable white compound that can be used to prime surfaces before painting. Moreover, it is also useful for creating opaque colors. It may be used to make bright shades when combined with acrylic paint.

What You’ll Need: 

  • Acrylic paint
  • Canvas
  • Acrylic gesso


  1. Prepare your canvas using a primer or gesso. Make sure that the surface is smooth for the paint.
  2. Once the gesso is dry, start mixing it with your acrylic paint. For instance, take a mixing palette and mix two parts of yellow acrylic paint with one part of blue acrylic paint.
  3. Once mixed, apply it onto your canvas in any shape or form that you would like it to be in.
NOTE: You'll need at least two colors on your palette; one light and one dark. This will aid in the selection of a color for a certain portion of your painting without mixing the paints together. It also eliminates the necessity for more than one paintbrush.

Advantages of Using Acrylic Gesso 

  • It creates a barrier between the base and the paint, which provides additional protection for sensitive surfaces like wood and canvas.
  • It allows you to create opaque colors, which is great for creating highlights and shadows in your painting.
  • It can be used on a variety of surfaces, including canvas and paper. This makes it a versatile tool for artists who like using different mediums.
  • Acrylic gesso is smoother and easier to apply paint with than egg gesso.

Disadvantages of Using Acrylic Gesso 

  • The major disadvantage is that it becomes yellow with time as a result of the air and environment.
  • The cost of acrylic gesso can be relatively high, which may be a deterrent for some artists.
  • Since it is not water-soluble, it can be difficult to work with if you make a mistake. You will have to start over again from the beginning if you need to make changes or fix an error.

How to Make Neon Colors Paint ( mix)

You may use paint to generate neon hues. You can also make them by combining fluorescent paint with white paint. If you don’t have such paints, however, there are alternative methods such as:

  • Mix the primary colors of your acrylic paint
  • Mixing a color with black
  • Adding white or black to one of the secondary colors

Instructions: how to mix neon colors

  1. Choose the two colors of paint that you want to mix together. For example, you can use yellow and pink paint to make neon orange.
  2. Mix the two colors together until you have achieved the desired shade.

Advantages of Mixing Paint 

  • Paints, when combined together, give off bright and vibrant hues.
  • You can combine various colors to produce a unique shade that no one else has.
  • The mixture of different hues creates a new spectrum of tints and intensities.

Disadvantages of Mixing Paint 

  • When you mix paint, you are affecting the durability and efficacy of the paint.
  • The mixed paint color will be different from the original color, which may not be desirable.
  • Mixing paints also affects how smoothly it flows out of a can or off a brush.

How Do You Keep Neon Acrylic Colors Bright? 

There are several things you can do to keep your neon acrylic colors bright.

  • One option is to seal the paint with a clear topcoat or varnish such as Liquitex. This will protect it from the elements and prevent it from fading over time.
  • You may also need to work quickly when applying the color, as this will help maintain its brightness and intensity.
  • Moreover, using light touches instead of heavy brush strokes can also help to preserve the color.
  • Finally, you may want to avoid mixing your neon colors with regular paints, as this can dull the vibrancy of the hues.

Related Questions

The main colors used to create bright, neon colors are: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Pink, Purple. So bright, heavily diluted fluorescent paints or pigments, usually with a day-glo or blacklight effect, are combined to create the signature neon looks. White is key for lifting darkness and amplifying vibrancy.

There is no definitive answer to this question, as the exact color combination will depend on your individual preferences and the paint formulations that you are using.

Some good options for creating neon pink include yellow, red, and white paints. Alternatively, you can combine red with fluorescent or neon blue to achieve a similar result.

  • Start with a fluorescent or neon acrylic paint in a yellow hue. Mix in white acrylic paint to dilute and brighten the color. Add white until you achieve the desired vibrant neon yellow.
  • Mix a lemon yellow acrylic paint with a fluorescent acrylic paint in a complementary color like green or orange. The fluorescent paint will boost the yellow’s intensity. Keep adjusting ratios until you get a bright neon yellow.
  • Blend a lemon yellow acrylic paint with a high-gloss medium or acrylic pouring medium. The gloss medium will make the yellow pop as a neon shade.
  • If you don’t have fluorescent paints, mix a lemon yellow acrylic with white until pale. Then add a tiny bit of green acrylic paint to give a fluorescent quality. Keep tweaking until you get the perfect neon yellow.
  • Apply your neon yellow paint over a white or black primer base for maximum vibrancy.
  • Outline painted neon yellow shapes with black acrylic paint to make the color appear even brighter.

The best surface to paint neon colors on will depend on the type of paint that you are using. For example, if you are using traditional acrylic paints, then canvas or watercolor paper may be best.

Alternatively, for neon spray paints, a surface such as aluminum sheets or wood can be ideal. Whatever surface you choose, make sure to apply a base layer first to help the neon paint stand out.

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