What Colors Make Silver? (Mix Your Own)

You can make silver by mixing black, white, and reflective pigments. The final result is a different nuance of gray with a certain degree of shine described as ‘metallic’ based on the reflective pigments.

Silver is achieved by mixing black and white together. The warmer nuance of silver is based on adding more white than when simply mixing black and white for a solid grey color.

Silver is often used to paint metal, it doesn’t just look metallic. The gloss or shine in true silver is given by the metallic pigments added to the paint.

If you’re after a unique silver color for your home, patio, or garage, you need to know you can achieve it on your own.

Silver is not gray nor graphite. It’s often described as a color similar to gray, but more metallic. In reality, silver is not a true color as it’s not part of the colors of the rainbow but a shade. Shades come in different forms but silver is truly different as it’s mostly warm (extra white).

Silver is both metallic and reflective compared to gray

What colors make silver?

Silver is a bright metal color close to white, resembling gray. The color is made using white, black, and metal pigment to create a mirror-like color. Silver is characterized by a reflective nature where shadows reflect in its color.

White, black, and metallic pigment make silver

You can make silver by adding 50% white, 40% black, and 10% metal pigment. Silver-like colors can be achieved by painting gray and adding metal pigment on top.

White and black are mixed in different proportions to make silver. Too much black is going to darken silver and metal pigments are going to become less visible. You can always add more white to brighten the silver color. The more white you add to the color mix the more reflective the final color becomes. The more black you add the darker and grayer (less reflective) silver becomes.

Silver without metallic pigment is gray

Silver is not the same as gray. Since silver is reflective gray seems matte by comparison. The differences in colors can also be interpreted in terms of modernity where silver is the modern interpretation of classic gray.

Silver needs to make non-metal objects look metallic

What is the final role of silver as paint or as a simple color? Silver needs to add metallic brightness to painted surfaces. As some types of aluminum shine when in direct sunlight so do the silver-painted objects.

Where to use silver?

Silver is a metallic element (Ag) derived from the word ‘argent’ which means silver. The color is as old as the world itself through the metallic element found in nature. To recreate this in color is to recreate a metallic influence. Silver is ideal for the following uses.

Painting surfaces inside and outside of the house

  • Painting cars
  • Painting tools
  • Drawing and general painting

What colors go with silver?

Silver is similar to gray in the color association. You can consider the following colors that go with silver.

  • Blue
  • Pink
  • Red
  • Green

What makes silver different from gray?

Gray is the mid-color between white and black. It’s made with 50% white and 50% black. White is dominant in silver as the color is brighter. Metal pigment also makes silver reflective, which isn’t the case with gray.

Gray is a matter color while silver has distinct light-reflection capacity. Gray is the sole result of white and black combinations while silver can also be made with blue or metal pigment mixed with white and black colors.

What’s the difference between chrome and silver?

Chrome looks more like metal than silver. It also comes with higher reflectivity which makes it ideal for coating objects. Silver is also used as a primary color, not just a coating color.

Silver can also be interpreted as a dull chrome. In terms of shade, gray is the darkest, followed by silver, and final chrome, which is the brightest. Chrome is typically too bright to be used outside coating purposes.

How to make silver paint?

Silver is made by mixing a larger amount of white with a smaller amount of black plus extra metal pigment. The percentages of each of these colors can be different. The more black you add to the mix the more your silver is going to look like gray. The more white you add to the mix the more chrome-like the silver color is going to look. Adding too much metal pigment makes silver highly metallic and closer to chrome.

How to make silver paint without metal pigment?

The metal pigment is easy to add to just about any color. Metal pigment can be replaced by dark blue if not available.

When you’re in a rush to make silver and you don’t have all the right colors at hand you can try your luck by adding dark blue in small amounts and mixing the color properly. This is going to add some reflection to your color making it resemble silver more.

Silver is ideal for metals, frames, and home use

Silver is an ideal color to paint homes, decoration, and metal. Unique silver colors include Benjamin Moore’s Silver Satin. This color is off-white with purple undertones making it brighter and more radiant for interiors than classic silver.

Another unique silver paint you can consider is Sherwin Williams’ Silver Strand. The Silver Strand color is known for its changing nuance depending on how natural light shines on it. Silver Strand appears greenish or blueish when light hits it perpendicularly respectively from an angle.

Kelly Moore’s silver is called Brilliant Silver. This is the most popular type of silver from Kelly Moore and it’s closer to gray compared to Silver Sating (Benjamin Moore) and Silver Strand (Sherwin Williams). Read more about Benjamin Moore vs Kelly Moore to understand paint specifics.

Classic silver is available through Behr paints (Home Depot stocked). It’s lighter than Kelly Moore’s Brilliant silver. Read more about specific paint brands in your Kelly Moore vs Sherwin Williams comparison.

Typical uses for silver

  • Decoration
  • Old metal
  • Wood
  • Wall paint
  • Floor paint


White, black, and metal pigment make silver color. You combine a large white quantity with a smaller black quantity together with a small metal pigment percentage to make silver. The final result should be metallic in nature, almost reflective.