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What color does green and brown make when mixed?

What color does green and brown make when mixed?

When it comes to mixing paint colors, green and brown together make a lush, earthy shade. The specific resulting color depends on the shades of green and brown used. Mixing these two colors is common for nature scenes, camouflage, military models, and more. Understanding color theory helps explain why green and brown make olive, mossy, or neutral colors.

Quick Overview

In general, mixing a green and brown paint makes an olive or mossy green shade. The resulting color has lower saturation and brightness than pure green. Different greens and browns make everything from drab olive to vibrant moss greens. Darker browns shift the tone closer to army or camo greens. Lighter tans make a greener olive shade. Equal parts green and brown make a balanced, muted neutral. More brown mutes the green, while more green keeps it vibrant. The specific green and brown shades change the mixing results.

Color Theory Basics

Understanding some color theory provides insight into how green and brown mix. Green is a secondary color made by combining the primary colors blue and yellow. Brown is a tertiary color made from the primary colors red and green. When combined, the red and blue cancel out, leaving the yellow and green. This makes a desaturated, olive green. The exact hue depends on the original green and brown shades. Darker browns have more red or blue, making an earthier olive. Lighter browns are more neutral.

Different Greens and Browns

There are countless shades of green and brown. Each pairing mixes a little differently. Here are some common options:

  • Forest green + dark brown = very dark olive green
  • Lime green + light brown = bright olive green
  • Teal + cocoa brown = muted mossy green
  • Sage green + beige = soft olive with subtle green

Darker greens like forest or emerald green become deeper and more neutral with extra brown. Bright greens like lime maintain more vibrancy. Brown with hints of orange, red, or purple shift the olive tone. More neutral beige or tan browns simply mute the saturation.

Mixing Different Ratios

The ratio of green to brown impacts the mixing results. Here are some examples:

Green to Brown Ratio Resulting Color
3:1 Bright green olive
2:1 Vibrant mossy green
1:1 Balanced muted olive
1:2 Earthy green brown
1:3 Rich neutral brown

With more green pigment, the color stays brighter and more saturated. An equal 1:1 ratio makes the truest neutralized olive. Higher brown ratios mute the green into an earthy brown olive. This applies to any shades of green and brown.

Mixing Tips

Here are some tips for successfully mixing green and brown:

  • Use higher quality pigments for the truest color
  • Start with small ratios and adjust as needed
  • Mixing complementary green and orange-brown makes a lively color
  • Let the paint fully dry to see the final shade
  • Water down acrylics to easily tweak the ratios

Higher pigment paints blend better than cheap kids’ paints. Mix small amounts first, like one part green to two parts brown. Adjust from there to get the ideal hue. Complementary orange undertoned browns make especially vibrant olives when mixed with green. The color may shift slightly as the paints dry.

Uses for Mixed Greens and Browns

Olive green brown mixes have many useful applications including:

  • Camouflage and military models
  • Nature scenes with trees, earth, etc.
  • Sepia tone vintage photography
  • Neutral base for an accent color
  • Primitive or rustic home decor

Olive drab colors replicate camouflage gear for military models. The earthy tones work great for nature subjects like forests, rocks, and more. Vintage sepia photography utilizes neutral olive and brown tones. As a muted neutral, olive complements and emphasizes brighter accent colors in decor. Rustic farmhouse styles benefit from the earthy vibe as well.

Using Alternate Mixing Mediums

While the most common use is mixing paint, you can also mix greens and browns using other color mediums:

  • Dyeing fabric or yarn an olive color
  • Tinting wood stains and finishes
  • Coloring polymer clay
  • Mixing makeup shades like eyeshadow
  • Tinting epoxy resin

Fabric dyes, wood stains, cosmetics, clay, and more also blend green and brown well. Combining fabric dyes or alcohol inks results in a rich olive color. Layering stained wood mixes the tones. Mixing eye shadows, lipsticks, or powders makes a custom olive shade. Hand mixed polymer clay blends take on a realistic appearance. Green and brown tinted epoxy resin looks like river water.


Green and brown paint combine to make an olive or mossy green. The specific resulting color depends on the green and brown shades used and their ratios. Color theory shows that brown mutes and desaturates green’s brightness. Darker shades make deeper army greens. Lighter browns tone down the color in a more neutral way. A 1:1 ratio makes the most balanced result. More green keeps the vibrancy, while extra brown makes an earthy neutral. Olive green mixes work well for camouflage, nature scenes, rustic decor, and more. The versatile muted colors pair beautifully with other vibrant tones.