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How do you make the color reddish brown?

Reddish brown is a versatile and earthy color that can add warmth and depth to any space. Often associated with fall leaves, rich wood, and terra cotta clay, this hue bridges the gap between red and brown. Reddish brown pairs well with other natural tones like beige, cream, and tan, making it a popular choice for rustic, bohemian, or farmhouse styles. This color is also known for its comforting and familiar qualities. Whether you’re looking to incorporate this shade into your home’s walls, furniture, textiles, or artwork, there are several easy ways to make the color reddish brown.

Mixing Paint Colors

One of the simplest ways to make a reddish brown color is by mixing paint. You’ll need to start with a rich red paint, such as crimson or marsala. Then add small amounts of brown paint, like a chocolate or coffee shade, until you achieve your desired tone. Aim for a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio of red to brown. Mix the paints thoroughly before testing the swatch. Keep adding brown paint until you’re happy with the resulting shade. Test your mixed color on a piece of cardboard or spare canvas before using it in your intended project. This allows you to adjust and perfect the tone.

Here are some specific paint combinations to try:

– Mix crimson red with chocolate brown
– Combine marsala red with coffee brown
– Blend burgundy with chestnut brown

Remember that paint colors will look slightly different wet versus dry. Allow your test swatch to fully dry before making adjustments. Using high quality artist-grade paints will also give you better control when mixing.

Using Pigments and Dyes

For textiles, paper, clay, and other porous materials, using pigments and dyes is an option. Start with a pure red pigment or dye, such as vermilion or cadmium red. Then add raw umber, raw sienna, or burnt sienna pigments to produce a reddish brown shade. You can also use natural dyes extracted from roots, bark, or beeswax to achieve reddish browns.

Some natural dyes that produce reddish brown hues include:

– Walnut hulls
– Oak bark
– Madder root
– Beets

The benefit of pigments and dyes is you can mix them into a wide range of mediums. Always follow the specific instructions for proper mixing ratios and setting techniques when using dyes. Test colors on scraps before applying to your finished project.

Combining Color Medias

For a more hands-on approach, you can layer and combine paints, pastels, inks, and pencils directly on paper or canvas to form rich reddish browns. Start by applying a red oil pastel or soft pastel stick across the surface. Then use acrylic paint markers, watercolor pencils, artist pens, or inks in brown, umber, sienna, tan, beige, and cream shades to draw, scribble, and color on top. Let the red base show through in areas to achieve a textured, mottled effect. Blend and smooth with cotton swabs or tissue paper to soften. This mixed media method works best on thick paper, cardstock, or multimedia art canvas.

trying another way with acrylic pour painting techniques

Acrylic pouring is another artistic method for making organically blended reddish brown tones. This abstract fluid painting technique involves pouring layers of thinned acrylic paint onto canvas and allowing them to freely mix and mingle. To achieve a reddish brown color, first pour a reddish acrylic color like crimson, rust, or marsala across your canvas. Then layer on complementary browns like chocolate, coffee, tan, or beige by pouring or using a squeegee tool. Tilt and rotate the canvas to swirl the paints. Let them blend randomly into abstract reddish brown patterns. You can enhance depth and texture by pouring repeat layers. Acrylic pouring requires some trial and error to perfect your mix of acrylics, pouring mediums, and techniques, so experiment on practice canvases first. The finished results will have mesmerizing swirls of reddish browns.

Using Food Coloring

An unconventional way to make a customizable reddish brown color is by mixing food coloring. Liquid food coloring allows you to easily combine shades for painting, tinting icing, or dyeing fabric. Start with about 10 drops of red food coloring and add 2 to 3 drops of brown until you achieve the desired reddish brown for your project. You can also mix red food coloring with small amounts of orange, yellow, or black to produce different reddish brown hues. Always add more brown sparingly until you reach the ideal tone. Keep in mind results can vary between food coloring brands. Test colors first before applying to baking, art projects, or fabric.

Trying Digital Color Mixing

If you need to match an exact digitized reddish brown color, using online color mixing tools is a great option. Online resources like colorizers, color pickers, and hex color calculators allow you to easily mix shades by entering or selecting color values.

Start by inputting a rich red hue, then add touches of RGB brown values or brown hex codes. Adjust each color slider gradually until you create the perfect reddish brown. The color mixer will provide you with the final hex code or RGB values to match that color digitally or in print. Sites like,, and offer user-friendly color mixing tools. This makes it easy to tweak the red and brown levels to achieve warm, vibrant reddish browns.

Trying Color Theory Mixing

You can also mix reddish brown tones by using a color wheel and understanding color theory. Reddish brown is considered a tertiary color, meaning it is made by combining a primary and secondary color.

To make reddish brown, you would mix:

Primary red + Secondary brown

Where primary red is a base hue like crimson red or cherry red, and secondary brown contains undertones like burnt umber, raw sienna, or sepia.

Refer to a color wheel to envision the perfect balance between the two and tweak your ratios. Adding more primary red will create more of a brick reddish hue, while extra secondary brown makes the shade deeper and more earthy. Use this knowledge to mix colors when painting, tie-dying, or printing digitally.

Trying Home Decor Items

For home, garden, and craft projects, consider using found items that already showcase reddish brown colors. Dried flowers, leaves, seeds, branches, feathers, rocks, clay, wood pieces, or fabric scraps in earthy reddish brown tones can be incorporated into wreaths, centerpieces, sculptures, decoupage, jewelry, and more.

Some specific items to look for include:

– Maple tree leaves and pods
– Pecans and walnuts
– Weathered barn wood
– Rusty metal pieces
– Terra cotta pots
– Cinnamon sticks
– Pine cones

Arrange and layer the shade naturally present in these items into your finished piece. Or use them as inspiration when mixing your own reddish brown tones.


Reddish brown is a rich, natural color that makes a warm, earthy addition to any space or project. Mixing this versatile shade is easy with the right combination of vibrant reds and earthy browns. Try blending red and brown paints, pigments, inks, pastels, or food coloring. Or use found objects that already exhibit the perfect reddish brown tones. However you choose to mix and incorporate it, this multi-dimensional hue will never go out of style. Reddish brown evokes cozy comfort and artful depth for endless design possibilities.