How to Make Brown Easily – Use These Colors!

Brown is the color of earth and wood. You can see it in many places in nature. From the soil to the trunks of trees. Brown is cozy, grounded, and neutral.

How to Make Brown Quickly

The easiest way to create brown is to mix the three primary colors, red, blue, and yellow. The key to achieving brown is to carefully control the proportions of the colors.

Red + Yellow + Blue = Brown

A basic brown has a higher proportion of red and yellow, with only a bit of blue added. You can also change it’s hue by using a different amount of each color.

With Secondary Colors

But that’s not all! You can also make brown by using a secondary color as a base. Use any secondary color and its complementary to make brown.

Orange + Blue = Brown

By mixing orange and blue, a more burnt or warm brown can be created. This is how you make a russet brown.

Green + Red = Brown

By combining green and red, a more olive or earthy brown can be created. It’s also a way to get a nice chocolate brown.

Purple + Yellow = Brown

Finally, mixing purple and yellow gives you a muted greenish or grayish brown.

How to make different Brown Hues

You can create different hues of brown by adjusting the amount of red, blue, and yellow you use. Start with a blend containing more red and yellow, and less of blue. Add more of any color to change the hue.

Brown will have either red, blue, or yellow undertones, depending on the proportion of each color. For example:

Brown + Red = Red-Brown

Adding red to brown creates red-brown hues. The more red you add, the more red undertones the brown will have.

Brown + Yellow = Yellow-Brown

On the other hand, starting with brown, add yellow to create yellow-brown hues. The more yellow you add, the more yellow undertones the brown will have.

Brown + Blue = Blue-Brown

Starting with brown, add blue to create blue-brown hues. The more blue you add, the more blue undertones the brown will have.

Brown hues

Wineberry Brown 99006A 153, 0, 106 0, 100, 31, 40
Rich Maroon 990036 153, 0, 54 0, 100, 65, 40
Brick Red 990001 153, 0, 1 0, 100, 99, 40
Brown 993300 153, 51, 0 0, 67, 100, 40
Golden Brown 996700 153, 103, 0 0, 33, 100, 40
Olive 969900 150, 153, 0 2, 0, 100, 40
Avocado 629900 98, 153, 0 36, 0, 100, 40

How to Make Light Brown (Tints)

Add white to brown to make it lighter. The amount of white will determine how light the brown will be. The more white you add, the lighter it will be.

Mix brown with white to create a lighter version of brown.

With transparent materials like dyes and watercolor, you’ll want to use water instead to dilute the brown and make it lighter.

Brown Tints

Brown 993300 153, 51, 0 0, 67, 100, 40
Burnt Umber CC4400 204, 68, 0 0, 67, 100, 20
Autumn Spice FF5500 255, 85, 0 0, 67, 100, 0
Golden Ember FF7733 255, 119, 51 0, 53, 80, 0
Coral FF9966 255, 153, 102 0, 40, 60, 0
Peach FFBB99 255, 187, 153 0, 27, 40, 0
Blush Pink FFDDCC 255, 221, 204 0, 13, 20, 0

How to Make Dark Brown (Shades)

Add black to brown to make it darker. This is called a shade. Add the black gradually so it doesn’t overpower the brown. The more black you add, the darker the color will look.

Mix brown and black to create a darker version of brown.

You can also create a dark brown color by mixing black into a mixture of red, blue, and yellow to give you a shade of brown. The more black, the darker the shade.

Brown Shades

Brown 993300 153, 51, 0 0, 67, 100, 40
Mahogany 832C00 131, 44, 0 0, 66, 100, 49
Cinnamon 6D2400 109, 36, 0 0, 67, 100, 57
Auburn 571D00 87, 29, 0 0, 67, 100, 66
Chestnut 421600 66, 22, 0 0, 67, 100, 74
Black Bean 2C0F00 44, 15, 0 0, 66, 100, 83
Espresso 160700 22, 7, 0 0, 68, 100, 91

How to Make Muted Brown (Tones)

Adding gray to brown will make it more muted and less saturated. This is called a tone. Muted is not the same as boring. Tones of brown can be very pretty and interesting!

Mix brown with gray to create a muted brown.

Adding gray makes brown more muted and less saturated. The more gray you add, the more muted the color will be.

Mixing brown with teal will also mute your brown. Mixing a color with its complementary also makes a tone.

Brown Tones

Brown 993300 153, 51, 0 0, 67, 100, 40
Autumn Spice 8E370B 142, 55, 11 0, 61, 92, 44
Burnt Sienna 833A16 131, 58, 22 0, 56, 83, 49
Terra Cotta 783E21 120, 62, 33 0, 48, 73, 53
Amberwood 6D422C 109, 66, 44 0, 39, 60, 57
Mahogany Mist 624537 98, 69, 55 0, 30, 44, 62
Chestnut Bark 574942 87, 73, 66 0, 16, 24, 66

Is Brown Cool or Warm?

The temperature of a color is determined by how close it is to either red or blue. Blue is considered a cool color, and red a warm color.

Brown is generally considered a warm color, as it is closer to red on the color wheel.

However, the temperature of brown can change depending on the specific shade and its undertones.

How to Make Cool Brown

Brown naturally has warm undertones, but you can make it cooler by adding more blue. In short, you can make your brown cooler by adding blue to it.

How to Make Warm Brown

To make a warmer brown, add a small amount of red or yellow to the base brown. Simply add either red or yellow to your brown, using any supply of your choice.

How to Make the Opposite of Brown

When looking at the color wheel, the opposite of brown is a light cyan or a sky blue. While brown is a composite color, cyan is primarily a blue, with green undertones.

Cyan is the opposite of brown, it is made by mixing blue with just a touch of green.

You can change how it looks by adding other colors to it. Starting with a bright cyan or sky blue, you can add blue to make it even bluer. Or you can add yellow to make it greener.

Add white to make a light cyan, add black to make it darker, and add gray to reduce its saturation. Adding red will give you a different hue of cyan, which is less saturated and more brownish.

How to Make Vibrant Brown

Brown is, by definition, somewhat muted to begin with since it contains all three primary colors. But you can still make the most of it by using pure, bright primary colors, which are nearer brown to start with.

Mix together a warm red, a cool blue, and a warm yellow to get a vibrant brown. Other reds, blues, and yellows will still make a brown, but it will be somewhat muted.

A warm red and a warm yellow will mix perfectly together to make a nice orange. With this bright orange as your base, add a bit of cool blue to give it a tinge of brown.

What Two Colors Make Brown

There’s many ways to make the color brown. One of them is to mix together a secondary color and it’s complementary color.

Orange + Blue: When you mix orange (a combination of red and yellow) with blue, you can achieve various shades of brown. It will make a nice warm brown.

Green + Red: Mixing green (a combination of yellow and blue) with red can also produce different shades of brown. It make a more olive or earthy brown.

Purple + Yellow: When you combine purple (a mix of red and blue) with yellow, you get a muted greenish or grayish brown.

What Three Colors Make Brown

The harmonious blend of red, yellow, and blue results in the creation of brown. When you mix these three colors, they create a distinct, deep and complex hue we call brown.

Red, yellow, and blue make brown when mixed together.

The red and yellow should be slightly more dominant than the blue. The exact hue will depend on how much of each color you use.

How to Mix Brown with Dyes

Today it’s easier than ever to create brown with your favorite crafting supplies. Whether you’re working with dyes, paints, food coloring, or pigment powder, the process is easy and fun!

Tie-dye (fabric dyes)

The three primary colors we use for tie-dye are turquoise, fuchsia, and yellow. Together, they can create any number of new colors.

To make brown for tie-dye, start by mixing together red and yellow to make a reddish orange, then add a bit of blue to it.

Place the dye powders in a squeeze bottle, then fill with water before shaking.

You’ll be left with a lovely brown color. You can test the color on a piece of paper towel and adjust it by adding more of any color, or add water to get a lighter brown.

Since red is a stronger color, you’ll want to a higher proportion of yellow. It’s easy to overpower yellow and end up with a too-red color.

Don’t forget to check out my article with many color recipes for tie-dye.

Food Coloring

You can mix food coloring dyes to make brown. You can then use it to color beverages, cakes, icing, batter, and more!

The three primary colors in terms of food dye are called Red 40 (Allura Red), Yellow 5 (Tartrazine), and Blue 1 (Brilliant Blue).

To make brown food coloring, mix together 5 parts red, 3 parts blue, and 2 parts yellow.

Begin by placing 5 drops of red food coloring in a small bowl. Add in 3 drops of blue coloring and 2 drops of yellow, then mix together with a spoon. Adjust the color by adding more drops of any color.

How to Mix Brown with Paints

Acrylic paint

Acrylic is a versatile paint which is water-based. You can use it on a variety of materials, such as canvas, plastic, glass, or metal.

They come as a viscous liquid in either bottles, tubes, or jars. To mix brown, you’ll need primary colors. For this, cadmium red, ultramarine blue, and cadmium yellow are ideal.

Mix cadmium red and cadmium yellow to make a nice orange, then add a bit of ultramarine blue to get brown.

Start by squeezing some red paint on your palette or in a small container. Add in some yellow paint and blend until you get a nice orange. Add in a small amount of blue and blend it to get brown.

Adjust the color by adding more of any paint to achieve the desired brown hue.

Oil paint

Oil paints can be mixed straight out of the tube, but you may find them too thick for proper mixing. If needed, thin them down first with turpentine or other solvent.

To get brown oil paint, mix together cadmium red, cadmium yellow, and ultramarine blue. Use more of the red and yellow and just a bit of blue.

Start by squeezing some cadmium red paint on your palette or in a container. Add cadmium yellow next to it and blend to get a basic orange. Add it some blue gradually and blend until you get the brown you need.

Fabric paint

To create brown fabric paint, you’ll need to combine all three primary colors – red, blue, and yellow.

To make brown fabric paint, start by mixing red and yellow fabric paint. Then, add a small amount of blue to your mixture to create brown.

In a small container, blend together red and yellow paint until you get a nice orange hue. Then add in some blue paint to get brown. Adjust the color by adding more of any color as needed.

Apply the brown fabric paint to 100% cotton fabric, such as t-shirts, denim, or canvas shoes. After painting, use a hot iron to set the color on the fabric.


Watercolor, also called aquarelle, is a type of paint which come in solid blocks or in tubes as a fluid paint.

Watercolors work on the same principle as acrylic paint. They contain the same basic pigments, only with a different binder.

To create brown watercolor paint, combine a bit more of red with equal amounts of blue and yellow.

Watercolors can be thinned with water, offering the characteristic fluid effect on the canvas. Adjust the proportions of each color and the amount of water to achieve the desired shade of brown.


Gouache paint is similar to watercolor paint but contains an additional ingredient, lime powder, which makes it opaque rather than translucent.

To create brown with gouache, combine the three primary colors, using a bit more of red with equal amounts of blue and yellow.

Start by squeezing some red gouache paint onto your palette. Add some blue and yellow paint next to it and blend the three together. You can also mix gouache directly on your canvas while painting.

How to mix Brown with Mica Pigment Powder

Mica is a shiny pigment made from finely ground quartz minerals. It’s used in various crafts such as soap making, candle making, cosmetics, epoxy resin, and glass.

To create brown, mix red, blue, and yellow mica powders together.

You can mix the powders in their dry form or mix them with their respective mediums first. This recipe also works for other pigment powders.

How to Mix Brown with LED Lights

Mixing lights is done using the RGB color model. In this model, red, green, and blue are combined to create white.

To make brown light, you’ll need to combine red, green, and blue LED lights in specific proportions.

Place a red, a green, and a blue light in the desired location, and adjust the brightness of each to achieve a brownish light.

You can also make brown light by starting with a white light and adding a brown filter in front of it. The filter allows only brown light to pass through while blocking other colors.

What is the Difference Between Beige and Brown?

Beige and brown are two colors that look similar, but there is a big difference between them. Here’s how to tell the two colors apart:

Beige is a light brown color, while brown is a darker, more saturated color.

Beige is also softer than brown, which makes it ideal for softer fabrics. Beige has a warm, neutral feel to it, while brown is deeper and more rich.

What is the Difference Between Chestnut and Mahogany?

Chestnut and mahogany are two colors that share many attributes. But you can see a difference between them if you look closely. Here’s how to tell the two colors apart:

Chestnut is a blend of brown with a hint of red, giving it a warm, earthy tone. It is lighter and less intense.

Mahogany, on the other hand, is a rich, dark reddish-brown. It is deeper, more saturated, and has a luxurious feel to it. It’s a darker and more intense hue compared to chestnut.

More Color Theory

How to Make Orange

How to Make Green

How to Make Purple