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What makes up sage green?

What makes up sage green?

Sage green is a soft, earthy green color that is often associated with nature, healing, and tranquility. It gets its name from the herb sage, which has soft grayish-green leaves. Sage green is created by combining gray with green pigments and sits between the color spectrum of gray and green. It’s a popular color choice for home decor, clothing, and graphic design. But what exactly makes up the hue we know as sage green? Let’s take a closer look at the color components, pigments, and mixes that create this versatile shade.

The Color Components of Sage Green

On the RGB (red, green, blue) color wheel, sage green is made by combining low-medium levels of green with low levels of blue:

Red 122
Green 204
Blue 97

The specific ratios of RGB can vary, making some sage greens more gray or more green. But in general, the red component is very low, the green is low-medium, and the blue is low. This gives it a muted, earthy appearance.

On the CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) wheel used for print design, sage green is made by combining mostly cyan and yellow pigments with a small amount of black:

Cyan 30%
Magenta 0%
Yellow 30%
Black 40%

The lack of magenta contributes to the muted tone. The small amount of black ink also helps desaturate the color.

Natural Pigments for Mixing Sage Green

Throughout history, sage green paint and dye was made from natural pigments derived from minerals and plants. Here are some of the natural pigments that can make shades of sage green:

– Malachite – A mineral that produces a green pigment. Combining it with yellow ochre creates an earthy sage green.

– Verdigris – This blue-green pigment comes from the oxidation of copper. Adding yellows gives it a sage green tone.

– Sap Green – An olive-green pigment made from unripe buckthorn berries. Popular for mixing with lead white to make sage green.

– Chromium Oxide Green – A modern pigment made from chromium oxide. It has an earthy, dull tone that can be blended with creams or yellows for sage green hues.

Many historical paints were made by grinding and mixing these natural pigments with linseed oil or other binders. Modern sage green paint still uses versions of these pigments.

Mixing Paint to Create Sage Green

For artists and DIYers, sage green paint can be easily blended at home. Here are some simple mixes for different paint mediums:

**Oil or acrylic paint:**
– 2 parts viridian or sap green
– 1 part yellow ochre or raw sienna

– 2 parts sap green
– 1 part raw umber

**Tempera or poster paint:**
– 3 parts green
– 1 part yellow ochre
– Add white to reach desired tone

**Chalk or pastel:**
– Lightly blend yellow green and gray pastels
– Layer on cream pastel to tone down

The key is to use muted, earthy greens and yellows and tone down with cream, white, black, or gray. Experiment with different ratios to find your perfect sage green for any project.

Dyeing Fabrics Sage Green

For centuries, natural dyes have been used to color fabric, yarn, and clothing. Here are some options for dyeing textiles a soothing sage green hue:

**Onion skins** – Boil yellow onion skins in water to extract a golden brown dye. Soak fabric in the dye bath then overdye with a weaker blue dye made from woad or indigo. The layers combine to produce soft sage green tones.

**Lichen** – Many types of lichen can dye wool and other animal fibers green. Simmer lichen in water for 30-60 minutes until a yellow-green hue is extracted. Modifying the pH can shift the color toward sage green.

**Nettles** – Boiling stinging nettle leaves produces a greenish-yellow dye. Overdyeing with woad or adding an iron modifier turns nettle dye towards sage green. Silk and wool work best for absorbing the soft sage color.

**Commercial dyes** – For consistent sage green results, fiber artists can use premixed dyes like RIT or Dylon in sage green shades. Mix the dye in very hot water and soak fabric for 20-30 minutes for an all-over sage green.

Whether using natural dyes or commercial mixes, a bit of experimentation can find that perfect sage green for any DIY sewing or craft project.

Sage Green in Design and Decor

From calming bedrooms to elegant living rooms, sage green can enhance all kinds of spaces. Here are some popular ways to incorporate this versatile color:

**Walls** – Painting an accent wall in a subtle sage green is an easy way to add earthy ambiance to a room. It pairs well with creams, taupes, whites, and wood tones.

**Furniture** – Upholstering chairs or sofas in sage green linen adds texture and warmth. Painting side tables, cabinets, or wooden frames in a matte sage green can give a modern, organic look.

**Textiles** – Layering in sage green textiles such as pillows, throws, rugs, and curtains brings cohesion and tranquility to a room. The color also pairs nicely with patterns featuring blues, greens, yellows, and blacks.

**Kitchenware** – Sage green makes a charming color for plates, mugs, utensils and appliances like stand mixers or kitchen aid. It has a vintage, countryside feel.

**Office supplies** – Jazz up pens, binders, clipboards, and notebooks with a soothing sage green hue. It can aid focus and feels peaceful.

Whatever room you’re designing, a touch of sage green can create an earthy, relaxed ambiance with a sense of timelessness and harmony.

Sage Green in Fashion and Beauty

From haute couture to street style, sage green’s versatility also makes it a popular color in fashion and beauty. Consider these chic ways to work it into your wardrobe or makeup routine:

**Dresses** – A sage green dress makes an elegant statement, from short casual styles to floor-length formal gowns. The color suits any season.

**Tops** – Pair sage green tops or blouses with black pants, white jeans, or a blue skirt for an easy, stylish look. The color works for casual and dressy tops.

**Sweaters and cardigans** – Comfortable sage green knits can be dressed up or down effortlessly. They also layer well under coats and jackets.

**Pants** – Make sage green pants the foundation of any outfit. Pair them with complementary patterns and textures like stripes, tweed, leather, or suede.

**Eyeshadow** – A sweep of sage green shadow makes eyes pop. Keep the rest of the makeup simple with black mascara and a light lip.

**Nail polish** – Sage green nails have an earthy elegance. The soothing shade coordinates with any style.

However you incorporate it, sage green is a sophisticated yet soothing choice that suits any personal fashion or beauty brand.


With its calming earthiness, versatility, and timeless appeal, sage green has become a staple color across industries and eras. Mixing muted greens, yellows, blacks, grays, and creams allows painters, dyers, designers, and DIYers to recreate this beautiful hue. Whether in a painting, a dress, or a home decor piece, sage green has an organic liveliness that evokes tranquility, healing, and connection with the natural world. Understanding the unique components and mixes that define this color unlocks unlimited possibilities for integrating sage green into any style or space.