What Color Does Brown and Yellow Make?

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What color does a mixture of brown and yellow make? When yellow and brown are mixed, they’ll create a lighter, brighter shade of brown. Depending on the amount of each color one uses in the mixture, different shades of light brown will be produced. Some of those shades include colors that are commonly referred to as olive, beige or tan, for example. 

What Colors Make Brown?

There are three primary colors from which all other colors are derived. These colors are red, blue and yellow. When mixed in certain combinations, the primary colors can be used to create secondary colors — purple, green and orange. For example, mixing yellow and blue will produce green; mixing yellow and red will yield orange; and combing red and blue will create purple. 

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So, what colors make brown? When mixed, the three primary colors create brown. Depending upon the ratio of colors used, you’ll get different shades of brown. However, that’s not the only way to make brown. 

How To Make Brown Paint

Complementary colors — that is, those that are directly across from each other on the color wheel — can come in handy when considering how to make brown paint. 

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Put simply, complementary pairs help each other stand out when placed side-by-side — but, if mixed, they reduce each other’s intensity and can create various brown shades. Mixing these complementary pairs will make brown:

  • Blue and orange
  • Yellow and purple
  • Red and green

Think of it this way: in the end you’re really mixing all the primary colors, as mentioned above. That is, mixing a secondary color with a primary color that said secondary does not contain means you’re combining all three. For example, mixing orange — a combination of yellow and red — with blue will create brown. 

What Colors Make Yellow?

As mentioned above, yellow — along with red and blue — is one of the three primary colors. This has been the case in color theory since at least the 17th century, though mixing pigments was something done by artists in Ancient Greece, too. 

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Traditionally, color theory deals with pigments — real, physical substances — as opposed to light. With this in mind, yellow, like the other primary colors, cannot be created by mixing other colors together. Instead, the primary colors are what we mix to attain other colors, including the secondary colors and brown. 

How To Make Yellow Paint

So, since yellow is a primary color, it cannot be created in the same way an artist would mix purple, green, orange, or even brown. If you’re mixing physical substances, like paint, yellow cannot be mixed. It’s what’s known as a subtractive process, and any effort to do so would result in the creation of browns, black, grays and other secondary colors. 

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However, things are a little different when it comes to light as opposed to the stringent color theory of real, physical substances. That is, if you’re mixing light — on a computer, in a photograph — that’s an additive process. As a result, one could mix red and green together to achieve yellow light. 

Yellow and Brown Palette

A variety of yellow-brown shades can be created if you mix yellow and brown paint. In fact, shades of brown can be made by combining it not just with yellow, but red or black pigments, too. Interestingly, the names of various brown shades aren’t all that descriptive. For example, beige is a shade that refers to a wide variety of colors — some formed from a yellow and brown color combination, and others from a red and brown mixture. 
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While the names for shades of brown aren’t standardized, there are a few common color names that pop up. For example, more reddish browns are often referred to as chestnut, rosy brown, or burnt umber, depending upon how much red is introduced to the mixture. While colors like khaki, tan, taupe and walnut are often considered orange-browns, they do contain yellow since orange is a mixture of red and yellow. 

Most often, beige is classified as a yellow-brown, but the yellow and brown palette is rather wide and malleable. In terms of color palettes, brown and yellow often complement one another, but it doesn’t depend on the intensity or shade of each. 

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