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What colour will black and green make?

What colour will black and green make?

What Colour Will Black and Green Make?

When mixing colours, it can sometimes be tricky to predict the resulting shade. This is especially true when blending opposite colours on the colour wheel, like black and green. So what colour will you get if you mix black and green paint? Let’s take a closer look.

The Basics of Colour Mixing

Before jumping into black and green specifically, it helps to understand some colour mixing basics. The primary colours are red, yellow and blue. Mixing two primary colours creates the secondary colours – orange, green and purple. Tertiary colours are made by mixing a primary and secondary colour.

Beyond the primaries, secondaries and tertiaries, mixing any two colours on the wheel results in a blend. The blend contains aspects of both colours. Mixing colours that are close together makes shades like blue-green or red-violet. Combining complements, like red and green, makes browns or greys.

Adding white to a colour makes it lighter or tinted. Adding black darkens the shade into a tone. So mixing a colour with white, black, or grey impacts the brightness and saturation.

Predicting Black and Green Results

Black and green sit opposite each other on the colour wheel. This means they are complementary colours. When placed side-by-side, they create strong visual contrast. But when mixed together, complementary colours neutralise each other. This muting effect leads to greyish or brown tones.

More specifically, mixing black into green paint will overpower the vibrant green. As more black is added, the green becomes increasingly dull and dark. Eventually it can reach a very dark grey-green or olive green. With a high quantity of black, the mix will become almost completely black.

The exact shade depends on the starting green. A lighter green like lime will show the black influence sooner. Darker greens like forest or emerald will resist turning grey longer. But all greens will eventually become dark muted olive or charcoal when enough black is added.

Starting Green Black Mix Result
Lime Grey-green
Green Dark grey-green
Forest green Olive green
Emerald Charcoal green

The mixing ratios also impact the outcome. Using a small amount of black in mostly green maintains a rich green. But more black than green flips the tones to be very dark.

Mixing Green and Black Pigments

Paint mixing involves the blending of pigments. Pigments work by absorbing and reflecting selective wavelengths of light.

The green pigment absorbs red and blue light, reflecting mainly green wavelengths. The black pigment absorbs most visible light wavelengths. When combined, the black absorbs the green reflection from the green pigment. This mutes the vibrancy of the green into greyed olive tones.

Different pigments and paint types have their own unique properties. Mixing a phthalo green with mars black creates a different result than viridian green and ivory black. Heavier bodied acrylics or oils allow blending the colours thoroughly. With thinner watercolours, the washes layer on top of each other.

Colour Mixing Activity

The best way to understand the results of mixing black and green is to try it yourself. Gather some paint and brushes. Acrylic craft paints or watercolours provide an affordable option.

Choose at least three different greens – one light, one medium and one dark. Select one or two blacks. Ivory and mars black are common pigments. Set up a mixing area or palette. Then follow these steps:

1. Paint a swatch of each green.

2. Add a small amount of black to each green and mix. Note the changes.

3. Incrementally add more black and mix. Observe how the colour progresses with more black added.

4. Try varying the ratios, like mostly black with a little green. Mix until you achieve a very dark charcoal or olive colour.

5. Consider testing other colour combinations like blue and orange or red and purple.

Keep a record of the mixtures and colours observed. Having these painted examples makes it easier to visualize how the pigments interact. Notice which colour dominates or overpowers with more content.

Applications for Mixed Blacks and Greens

Once you’ve explored mixing blacks and greens, you can consider uses for the resulting colours:

– Rich dark greens – These moody shades work well for backgrounds or accent walls. The depth of tone makes a striking impression.

– Greyed olives – Muted earthy greens are common in nature like sage, moss and lichen. Use olive greys for subtle plant colouring.

– Blackened greens – Very dark greens can depict deep shadows on plants and scenery. Add black to green to paint layered landscapes.

– High contrast – The strong visual tension between green and black makes bold graphic designs. Use the mix for dramatic posters or logos.

– Camouflage – Dark green and black mimics natural camo patterns. Use controlled mixing to recreate mottled forest effects.

– Shading – Add touches of black to green to transition from light to dark. Gradual mixing helps round forms.

– Skin tones – Green with black and yellow creates deep complexion tones. Adjust the mix for diverse skin painting.

– Underpainting – Lay down black first, then overlay with translucent greens. This grounds transparent watercolour washes.

Other Tips for Mixing Black and Green

Here are some additional pointers for effectively blending black and green pigments:

– Mix enough paint to have an adequate supply of the custom mix. It can be hard to reproduce the exact ratio later.

– Use a neutral mixing surface like a white palette or tile. Coloured backgrounds impact perception of the mix.

– Pay attention to temperature. Green with warm black trends olive. Cool black shifts the mix greener.

– Start with a small amount of black first. A little black goes a long way in dulling green.

– Understand value changes. The mix gets much darker before dulling into greyed greens.

– Consider paint properties. Dense paints like acrylic blend well. Watercolours layer more than mix.

– Clean your palette and brushes between colour mixing to prevent cross-contamination.

– Use a brush to thoroughly intermix the colours. Stirring rods don’t blend as smoothly.

– Allow test swatches to dry fully before assessing the results. Many paints shift hue as they dry.

– Preserve mixed paint in an airtight container if planning to reuse the exact colour later.


Mixing black and green offers lots of possibilities for new, complex hues. The interplay between the colours progresses through rich greens, olive greens and finally near-black. Testing the mixing ratios first-hand provides useful insights. With care and practice, black can be added to green to achieve beautiful muted shades and shadows. The contrast and colours will allow for eye-catching designs.