I know that the primary colors blue and yellow make green, but what KIND of green are you trying to make? Sage or forest green, lime green or turquoise. So really, let's find out how to make green!
While I am working on my junk journal pages I frequently want to make a color for a background that I might not have exactly in acrylic paint! For this page I was wanting an a lime green color to contrast with the pink flowers of ladies!
I LOVE how all the colors of green are there from lime to forest, and they all are just background! And because the pink and magenta are complimentary colors, they just pop off the page!
So I thought I would give us an idea of how to make all different kinds of the green color mix!
Tints and Shades
Before we get to the greens, let’s talk real quick about tints and shades. Tints make colors lighter and shades make colors darker.
Tints make colors lighter by adding white. Shades make colors darker by adding black. Grey (a mix of black and white) will make what is called a tone, but I rarely do that because I feel it makes a way muddier color!
So for green, adding white will make a sort of sage without the depth that sage has. Adding black will get you to an almost true dark forest green.
Sometimes it is worth messing around a little bit with black or white and your color, especially if you are going to be doing shading or highlighting.
How To Mix Green In Paints, Dyes or Markers
Color theory is cool and all, but sometimes I just want a quick reference for how to mix lime green or chartreuse in paints or markers! I couldn’t find a “plain English” description on how to create green so I decided to make one for myself!
Here how I came up with these green descriptions… I looked up the #Hex colors (computer numbers), then referenced the CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black), and also the RGB versions (red, green, blue).
Since I am not “mathy” a bunch of numbers didn’t help much so I wrote out a description of the colors mixes I would actually use to make those green colors!
If you do want to know the actual hexadecimal (computer numbers) for green, I thought this was a good guide!
How To Make Green
0% Red, 153% Green, 0% Blue
C 85% M 12% Y 100% K 2%
True green is half yellow and half blue
How To Make Dark Forest Green
Hex # 0b6623
0% Red, 102% Green, 51% Blue
C 91% M 34% Y 100% K 27%
This is 1/2 yellow, 1/2 blue, some red red and some black
How To Make Olive Green
112% Red, 130% Green, 56% Blue
C 59% M 32% Y 100% K 13%
This color is half yellow, 1/4 blue, some red and a tiny bit of black
How To Make Sage Green
157% Red, 193% Green, 131% Blue
C 42% M 7% Y 63% K 00%
This color sage green is 2/3 yellow, 1/3 blue and wee bit of red
How To Make Chartreuse
Chartreuse (really bright green)
127% Red, 255% Green, 00% Blue
C 49% M 0% Y 100% K 0%
This color chartreuse is 1/3 blue and 2/3 yellow
How To Make Lime Green
199% Red, 234% Green, 70% Blue
C 27% M 0% Y 92% K 0%
This color lime green is 3/4 yellow, 1/4 blue
How To Make Teal
0% Red, 128% Green, 128% Blue
C 87% M 31% Y 49% K 8%
This color teal is half blue, a little bit more than 1/4 yellow, a little bit less than 1/4 red and a bit of black
How To Make Turquoise
63% Red, 224% Green, 208% Blue
C 58% M 0% Y 29% K 0%
This color turquoise is 2/3 blue and 1/3 yellow
How To Make Blue Green
13% Red, 152% Green, 186% Blue
C 80% M 25% Y 17% K 0%
This color blue green is more than half blue (65%), the rest a mix of red and adding yellow
How To Make Aqua
0% Red, 255% Green, 255% Blue
C 53% M 0% Y 12% K 0%
This color aqua is 4/5 blue and 1/5 yellow
Are these colors all really green?
I use a lot of different colors of green in my artwork, and I look to nature to see if they are in the “green family”.
A piece of grass underwater might look a wee bit more teal than actual green, and a leaf will have veins that are more lime green than true green, they all are colors that go together in real life!
As an artist, please don’t get hung up on using the “right” green color, instead look for colors that you naturally think go together!
Mixing Green FAQs
Here are some questions people have asked me about green!
What is the complimentary color for green?
I just love this color wheel because it shows the tints and shades too, in addition to the other colors!
As you can see, red is directly across the color wheel from green, making it a complimentary color (and pink and crimson mixing the shades and tints).
But some of the other colors that we call green, like camo or olive green are outside the range of “true green” so lime green would look better with magenta than navy blue.
Being across the color wheel from each other means that colors will look great together in your artwork! I am currently obsessed with lime green and magenta or red and turquoise!
Isn't Green Just Yellow and Blue?
True green is just yellow and blue, but some of the Analogous colors (the next door colors on the color wheel) are comprised of red, blue and yellow, just more yellow and blue!
How Can I Get The “Right” Green Color For My Artwork?
I start by mixing yellow and green and then add some white or black and a little red if needs be.
Once you have mixed colors for a while I PROMISE you will get better at it!
Do Green and Orange Go Together?
Green, orange and purple are on the opposite corners of the color wheel, so I would NOT use them as the primary colors in the same piece unless I was trying to make a little bit of tension.
- You can use any kind of paint (acrylic, watercolor, oil)
- Paintbrush to mix colors
- Containers to mix them in
- Green - half yellow and half blue
- Dark forest green - 1/2 yellow, 1/2 blue, some red red and some black
- Olive green - half yellow, 1/4 blue, some red and a tiny bit of black
- Sage - 2/3 yellow, 1/3 blue and wee bit of red
- Chartreuse - 1/3 blue and 2/3 yellow
- Lime Green - 3/4 yellow, 1/4 blue
- Teal - half blue, a little bit more than 1/4 yellow, a little bit less than 1/4 red and a bit of black
- Turquoise - 2/3 blue and 1/3 yellow
- Blue green - more than half blue (65%), the rest a mix of red and yellow
- Auqa - 4/5 blue and 1/5 yellow
It is super fun to be able to mix your own paint colors. Don't get stuck on the "rules". Mix and match yellow and blue to your hearts content to make all different colors of green that you love!
What Colors Make Green Wrapup
As I said, green is my ALL time favorite color (I used Lime Green in the logo for my business!)
Knowing what two colors make green (yellow and blue) is just touching the tip of the iceberg. There are a world of shades, tints and tones of green, not to mention the beauty that can be made by all the different mixes of green!
Use any type of green that you want and get to making!