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What colors make forest green?

What colors make forest green?

Forest green is a rich, deep green color that evokes the lush vibrancy of nature. It’s an ideal shade for bringing the essence of the forest indoors. But what colors can you mix together to create the perfect forest green tone? In this article, we’ll explore the color combinations that make up this iconic green.

Primary Colors

The three primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. These are the core pigment colors that can be mixed together to form all other hues on the color wheel. To make forest green, you’ll need blue and yellow as your starting point.

Blue and yellow are opposite one another on the color wheel. When blended, they create a vibrant secondary shade – green. The more blue used, the cooler and deeper the green. Adding more yellow results in a brighter, light green.


Mixing just yellow and blue produces a pure, primary green. However, this green leans towards the bright yellow-green side of the spectrum. To darken it to a forest green, additional colors need to be added.

Blue and Yellow Pigments

The specific blue and yellow pigments used impact the forest green shade created. Deep, intense blues like ultramarine or cobalt make the richest, most luxurious greens. Earthy yellow ochre also darkens and intensifies the green.

On the other hand, mixing a light blue like cerulean with a bright lemon yellow will create a pale, cool green. The most vivid forest greens use strong blue and earthy yellow pigments as a base.

Adding Red

To turn a primary yellow-green into a lush forest green, adding a touch of red is key. Red is the third primary color and sits between yellow and blue on the color wheel. Just a small amount of red pigment darkens the green into a pine-like forest green.

Deep reds like alizarin crimson or cadmium red work best. Bright orangey reds may shift the color too far towards yellow. The red pigment should have a rich, deep purple undertone.

Earth Tones

Incorporating earth tones is another way to create a deeper, more natural forest green. Earth tones are rich, muted shades like ochre, sienna, umber, and sepia.

Adding a small amount of burnt umber or raw sienna to a blue-yellow primary green creates an organic, earthy forest green. The earth tones provide natural depth and shadow.

Olive Green

For an alternative approach, start by mixing yellow and black to make an olive green base. Then add a touch of blue to deepen it. The black pigment darkens the shade, allowing the use of brighter blues and yellows than with mixing colors directly.

This olive green method creates a deeper, almost pine-like forest green. The black also increases the muted, earthy look.

Shading with Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel. The complementary color to green is red. Adding small amounts of reds will subtly neutralize and deepen forest green shades.

Try shading with maroon, burgundy, or rust red. Using the green’s complement for shadows mimics the natural shading of forest colors in nature.

Tint with White

Once you’ve mixed the perfect forest green hue, lighten it with white to create a range of tints. Adding white lightens the shade for highlighting, without compromising the original forest green color.

Increase the white to make soft pastel greens. Reduce white for more intense shades. Black can also be used to create forest green shades.

Key Color Combinations

Here are some key color combinations for mixing rich, vibrant forest greens:

Ultramarine blue Cadmium yellow Burnt umber
Phthalo blue Yellow ochre Burnt sienna
Cobalt blue Hansa yellow Alizarin crimson

These trios provide deep blues, earthy yellows, and warm reds to produce signature forest greens. Adjust the proportions to create lighter, darker, cooler, or warmer variations.

Forest Green Uses

Forest green is a versatile shade that works great in any room. Here are some popular uses for this rich green:

  • Living room walls – Creates a relaxing, earthy vibe
  • Bedroom accent wall – Adds a soothing natural accent
  • Bathroom paint or tiles – Gives a serene forest spa aesthetic
  • Office decor – Fosters concentration and productivity
  • Outdoor furniture – Complements gardens, patios, and the natural landscape

From paint to accent pieces, forest green is an easy way to bring the outdoors in. The color is associated with growth, harmony, and renewal – ideal for creating a peaceful sanctuary.


Forest green is composed of rich, deep blues, earthy yellows, and warm reds. By combining primary shades with earth tones and black, you can mix the perfect natural green. Adjust tints and shades to customize your own signature forest green.

Integrating this vibrant nature-inspired color through paint, decor or accents is an easy way to infuse any space with organic energy. Forest green evokes the great outdoors no matter where it’s used.

The key to achieving an authentic forest green is using strong, intense pigments. Deep blues, olive yellows, and ruby reds lay the foundation. Adding earthy umbers, siennas, and black enrich the complexity. Forest green reflects the color palette of the natural world.

Next time you want to bring the essence of the forest inside, experiment with mixing custom forest greens. Unlock this powerful color and let your space bloom with the tranquility and vitality of nature.