What Color Do Yellow and Green Make When Mixed?

Yellow and green colors mixed

If you’re making a colorful art piece, you can get all the secondary colors by mixing red, blue, and yellow paint with each other. Yet, when you mix one of those primary colors with a secondary color, you get a more unique variant, known as a tertiary color.

Yellow is a primary color on the RYB color wheel, while green is a secondary color. So, mixing them together will get you a unique mix of the two, which you can create different shades and tints of. This mixture isn’t used often in design, but it’s important to understand how to create it.

What Color Do Yellow and Green Make with Paint?

If you mix yellow and green paint together, you’ll get yellow-green, which is a tertiary color. It looks a lot like a lighter shade of green, but many refer to it as chartreuse. Adding extra green or yellow to this color is an easy way to get different variants of yellow-green.

What are Tertiary Colors?

Color wheel with primary, secondary, and tertiary colors

A tertiary color is a primary color mixed with a secondary color that’s beside it on the color wheel. These color names are quite literal since they’re hyphenated versions of the two colors they’re mixed with.

The six tertiary colors are yellow-orange, red-orange, red-violet, blue-violet, blue-green, and yellow-green. However, some people might refer to these colors by specific shades, such as teal, amber, or chartreuse.

When working with pigments, not all primary colors can be mixed with secondary colors to create a tertiary color. For example, mixing red and green or orange and blue will give you brown, since you’d essentially be mixing all three primary colors together.

Mixing Different Types of Yellow-Green

Like all colors, yellow-green can be adjusted to be lighter or darker, depending on what color you’re looking for. Here are some tips for mixing a variety of yellow-green hues.

Making it Lighter

Adding more yellow to the mixture can make the green look even lighter. Putting white into the mixture can have a similar effect. However, since white and yellow are so light, you need to add a lot of them to notice a significant change.

Making it Darker

Since green is much darker than yellow, adding extra green can darken the shade. Adding black can also work, but only use black sparingly. Otherwise, it could easily overpower the other colors.

Does Yellow-Green Have a Meaning?

Dense forest with yellow-green trees

Yellow-green has varying meanings, depending on who you’re asking. Some believe it causes a feeling of freshness to those who look at it. It’s often considered soothing. Many people feel pleased when they see a pop of yellow-green color used in art, clothing, and furnishings.

However, some consider yellow-green a sign of sickness, cowardice, and jealousy. So, consider these meanings when choosing to incorporate this tertiary color into your art projects.

Read more about the yellow-green color chartreuse.

Can You Mix Colors to Create Yellow and Green?

Yes, you can mix colors to create both yellow and green. Green is a secondary color, so it can easily be mixed with paints by using an equal amount of blue and yellow.

However, to create red and blue, you have to take a look at the CMYK color model, which uses subtractive mixing. It uses cyan, magenta, and yellow as the primary colors, similar to how printer ink works. With that color wheel, you can mix other colors to make red and blue, but yellow is still a primary color. So, what can you mix to make yellow paint?

In lights, red and green can combine to make yellow, but that doesn’t work for paint and other hands-on art styles. So, the only way to create some kind of yellow from scratch is to add a lot of white to orange. But even then, it won’t give you the bright, vibrant yellow that you see on the color wheel.

Why Mixing Green Can Be Tricky

Yellow and green paint mixture

While green is a simple color to mix, it doesn’t always turn out as we expect. In most cases, green looks a little lighter or darker than we anticipate, which makes it harder to create a perfect yellow-green.

Mixing green isn’t always easy because finding pure blue and yellow paint is difficult. Most of the paint colors you see today are more specific, such as ultramarine blue or cadmium yellow, rather than just yellow or blue. Sometimes, these colors have hints of other colors mixed into them already, including some red.

If there’s red in the blue you use, then your green could turn out more brown than green. That’s because mixing all three primary colors together usually results in a murky brown shade. So, to get the best green possible, you’ll have to find paint that’s pure blue and yellow without anything else hidden in it.

What Color Do Yellow and Green Make with Lights?

Mixing lights often creates a very different color than mixing paints or ink. Yet, in this case, that’s not entirely true. If you mix yellow and green lights together, you’ll get a bright chartreuse, which looks similar to the yellow-green paint color. In fact, the two names are often used interchangeably for the same color.


Color wheel, RGB, and CMYK models

RYB is the color model we’re all familiar with. It’s the color wheel we learn about when painting in early art classes. The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue, and all other colors are mixtures of those. RYB is mostly used for mixing paint and other physical art mediums together.

However, RGB is the additive color model that’s commonly used for lights. It uses red, green, and blue as the primary colors, and all color mixtures are made from there. Both color wheels are accurate, but the one you focus on depends on what medium you’re using.

In some cases, you might also see the CMYK color wheel used. CMYK is mostly used for printing and ink. In that subtractive color model, yellow, cyan, and magenta are the primary colors, which can mix to create blue, red, and green. When all three primary colors are mixed together, they make black.

While RYB and CMYK seem to be more common, they’re only used for physical art mediums rather than light. When it comes to mixing lights, RGB is the only color model you’ll use.

How Do Our Eyes Perceive Color in Lights?

Illustration of the visible light color spectrum

When we see a green or yellow object under a white light, why don’t they look white in our eyes? When a light shines on something, our eyes are seeing how the object reflects the light, which gives it a specific color. Every color we see is at a slightly different wavelength, which is why it appears different to our eyes.

The wavelengths of colors correspond to the electromagnetic spectrum, or more specifically, the visible light spectrum. Ultraviolet light, which appears purple on the end of the spectrum, has the highest wavelength frequency. Infrared, which appears red, is on the other end of the spectrum and has a lower wavelength frequency.

So, when our eyes look at a color, a lot more is happening than we realize. Different colors result in different wavelengths. In some cases, other elements like temperature can also affect these colors. For example, objects with higher temperatures release shorter wavelengths, which is why you might see a red flame turn blue as the heat increases. Temperatures even affect star colors.

Is Chartreuse the Same as Yellow-Green?

Yes, not only is chartreuse a kind of yellow-green, but by definition, they’re the same exact color. Chartreuse is 50% yellow and 50% green, which is the same combination as yellow-green. There are a few variants of chartreuse, but it’s always a yellow and green mixture.

Some other types of yellow-green are lime, pear, and olive. These colors differ from chartreuse because they have a little more yellow or green in them, making them not a completely half-and-half blend.

Designing with Yellow and Green

Yellow-green patio furniture outside building

Yellow and green can be a lot to take in, especially the brighter tints of them. So they’re not usually used heavily in designs, except for a pop of color here and there. Yellow, green, and chartreuse can all go well with neutral colors, such as gray, white, or black. For example, a green pillow on a gray couch can add a nice bit of color to an otherwise neutral room.

Green goes well with Earth tones, including brown and yellow. It often goes well with shades of blue too. Like green, yellow can go great with darker colors, but when it comes to painting and other hands-on art, it also looks good with other warm colors, such as red, pink, and orange.

However, if you’re making a logo with the colors, you should consider complementary colors. Green’s complementary color is red, while yellow’s is purple. These colors greatly contrast each other, which can make words or images pop on a logo. Yet, these colors might look overwhelming together on most designs.

Yellow, green, and yellow-green all work great together in design, and they all have deeper meanings to them. So, put some consideration into them before deciding to use them in your designs, whether it’s through paintings, furnishings, or graphic designs.