What Color Do Red and Green Make When Mixed?

Red and green colored lights

Red and green are two of the most popular colors. They’re vibrant, uplifting, and remind many people of Christmas. Yet, you might be surprised to find out what color red and green make when mixed together. After all, the result can vary based on the medium you use, along with the types of red and green.

What Color Do Red and Green Make with Paint?

When mixing red and green paint together, you’ll usually end up with an unpleasant shade of brown. Green is a mixture of blue and yellow, so mixing it with red is like mixing all three primary colors together, which would also result in brown.

Red and green are complementary colors, meaning they’re on opposite sides of the color wheel. Complementary colors go great together in designs, but they clash whenever they’re mixed. So, unless you’re looking for a specific type of brown, you might want to avoid mixing red and green.

How to Mix Different Shades of Brown

Shades of brown paint

A basic brown color can be made by mixing pure red, blue, and yellow together, but there are things you can add to that mixture to get different shades of brown.

Mixing Lighter Brown

If you add white to your mixture, you’ll get a lighter brown that’s similar to coffee or sandy beaches. You may need to add a lot of white to notice a significant change. Yet, you can also add extra red to get the color of light wood and bricks.

Mixing Darker Brown

Adding a little extra blue can give you a cooler tone, which is ideal for dark hair or shadowy trees. Using a dark blue or adding a touch of black could make it even darker, which you could use for night scenes or chocolate. Only use black sparingly though, as it can easily overpower the other colors.

What’s the Best Way to Mix Brown Paint?

Overview chart with color wheel, primary, secondary, and tertiary colors

Color mixes might not always turn out exactly as we expect. Sometimes, they end up with too much of one color, making the mixture look not as appealing. The best way to mix a perfect brown is to have an equal amount of red, blue, and yellow.

It’s easiest to use plain blue, yellow, and red paints rather than a mixture like green, purple, and orange. However, some primary color paints aren’t as pure as they should be. For example, some blues and reds could have tints of yellow in them, making the mixture less balanced than it should be.

If you mix green and red to create the ideal brown, the same issues could occur. That green might not be a 50/50 mixture of blue and yellow. Instead, it could have slightly more blue or yellow. So, select your paint colors carefully when mixing colors. Check to make sure they don’t have any unexpected colors mixed in with them.

When in doubt, test out different mixtures. Not all reds, blues, and yellows look exactly the same, so they could have unique results. Some mixtures might even look better than what you expected. So, if you have time to spare, it can’t hurt to do some trial and error with different brown mixtures.

Brown Meaning

Brown is a color of stability, honesty, and comfort. It could also be a pleasant sign of simplicity. When people see the color used, they feel grounded, protected, and stabilized. Brown also makes some people feel more appreciative about the simple things in life.

So, if you choose to purposely mix red and green together to make brown, consider these meanings. Brown is more than just a neutral color. Using it in art often triggers specific feelings in viewers.

What Colors Go with Brown?

Brown interior design with yellow accent colors

If you’re using red and green to make brown, then it’s a good idea to consider what colors to pair it with. For example, if you paint the walls of your house brown, you’ll want to make sure the furniture and decorations match.

Luckily, brown is a neutral color, so it goes well with most other colors. To keep designs interesting, most people like to pair brown with hints of brighter colors. Turquoise, fuchsia, yellow, and mint green are just some examples of vibrant colors that look good with brown.

However, if you want to keep the look more simple and plain, white, gold, and copper can also create a nice look. Brown is one of the easiest colors to make art and designs with because it doesn’t have any colors that noticeably clash with it.

Can You Mix Colors to Create Red and Green?

Green is an easy color to mix. It’s a secondary color, meaning it’s a mixture of two primary colors. If you mix an equal amount of yellow and blue together, you’ll get green. If you use more yellow or more blue, you’ll get a yellow-green or blue-green instead, which are tertiary colors.

However, red is a little trickier. While red is a primary color, it’s possible to create it. Yet, you’ll have to use a special kind of subtractive mixing to achieve it.

To mix red, you’ll need to consider cyan, magenta, and yellow as your primary colors. Then, you can mix magenta and yellow together to create red. This is how printers create colors like red by using only magenta, yellow, and cyan ink.

What Color Do Red and Green Make with Light?

Additive and subtractive color mixing

While red and green make brown when mixing paints, other mediums like light are drastically different. In lights, the primary colors are red, blue, and green rather than red, blue, and yellow. So, in that case, red and green create yellow.

Additive vs. Subtractive Mixing

To understand how red and green can make yellow, you’ll need to know the difference between additive and subtractive mixing.

Additive Color Mixing

Additive color mixing occurs when one set of wavelengths are added to another set of wavelengths. With additive, the primary colors are red, green, and blue.

When the wavelengths of red and green lights are added together, they make yellow, while red and blue make magenta, and blue and green make cyan. Additive coloring isn’t common, but it’s used in most phones, televisions, and monitors.

Subtractive Color Mixing

However, subtractive coloring is the more common type of mixing. Subtractive mixing occurs when wavelengths are removed from other wavelengths to create different colors. In this case, the primary colors are yellow, magenta, and cyan, like you see in computer ink.

Magenta and cyan make blue, cyan and yellow make green, and magenta and yellow make red. Subtractive colors are seen by the human eye when an object absorbs white light and reflects the pigments that make up its color. So, subtractive colors are the most common type of mixing in life, but we often don’t realize it’s happening.

With paint, when the primary colors are red, blue, and yellow, the mixtures are also made using subtractive mixing. Yet, in that case, red and blue make purple, blue and yellow make green, and red and yellow make orange.

The way our eyes perceive mixing is the same for paints and lights, but the primary colors are different, which leads to different results.

Yellow Meaning

Yellow leaves pattern

Mixing red and green lights gives you a bright yellow color. When people see yellow, it’s often a sign of happiness, optimism, and positivity. It’s known to inspire, amuse, and energize individuals.

When people see the color yellow, it can make them curious or feel more inspired. It may also give them a boost of confidence or enthusiasm. Too much yellow at once could be overwhelming, but using yellow in designs can add a bright, uplifting mood to a project.

What Colors Go with Yellow?

While yellow is a more vibrant color than brown, it’s a bit more difficult to design with. Since it’s so bright, you won’t want it to overpower an art or design piece. So, you can use more neutral colors with it, such as brown and white, to ensure that it doesn’t overpower the look.

Yet, if you like using lots of color, then you can also pair it with other warm colors, such as red, pink, or orange. Analogous colors, which are colors next to yellow on the color wheel, could also work. Those colors include orange and green, along with yellow-green and yellow-orange.

In certain circumstances, you can use yellow’s complementary color, which is purple. Complementary colors are colors on the opposite side of the color wheel, which mix together to make brown paint, just like red and green. Since yellow and purple contrast each other, they’re often used together on logos to make words or images stand out.

Two Colors Don’t Always Make What You’d Expect

Red and green colors mixing together

Mixing two colors doesn’t always give you the results you’d expect. While paint might give you a dull brown color, lights will give you a vibrant yellow. So, it all depends on what type of coloring you’re using and what specific colors you select.

The more you experiment with different types of color mixing, the more you’ll learn about different colors. Yet, regardless of the type of mixing you focus on, the way these colors work is fascinating and beautiful.