How To Make The Colour Brown

how to make the colour brown

Brown, quite surprisingly, is one of the most common shades found in nature. Additionally, compared to other shades, the brown palette is much wider. Yet, brown is not the ‘everyday go-to color!’ Rather, it is one of the most complex shades that you can come across. Are you one of those who wish to know how to make the colour brown to bring a dash of life into your art? Your search ends here! 

In this comprehensive article, you will get an idea of – the brown colour palette, how to primarily make brown paint, and how to make different shades of this brown colour. Time to scroll down – 

Understanding The Basics Of The Brown Palette

Do you know that the shades of mocha, pecan, coffee, cinnamon, wood, and brunette all come under the umbrella of brown? However, they are all of different shades and require a diverse set of paints. This implies that – the colours that you will mix to get mocha are different from the shades that you will blend to achieve the wooden texture. 

Therefore, whenever you want to figure out how to make the colour brown in terms of its different shades, you have to remember 3 points –

  • Saturation/ Intensity Of The Shade 

This depicts – whether the colour is bright and vibrant or a little low in terms of glow. 

  • The Value Of The Color 

This implies the range of its depth (that is, how light/dark) this shade is.

  • Hue 

This implies the dominant shades that make up the brown colour. In this case, the notable hues are – red, yellow, and blue. 

It is based on these above-mentioned factors that one shade of brown differs from another. Now we will show you – how to primarily create this brown colour and its different shades. 

How To Make The Colour Brown Primarily? 

As you have already understood, brown, unlike others, is a complex colour; hence, we seek to understand how to make it with the help of a colour wheel. This is how – 

1. Primary Colours – 

Technically speaking, these are pure colours that are obtained in nature and cannot be created by blending two shades. In this case, blue, yellow, and red are the concerned colours. So, if you wish to create the standard brown shade, you must blend these 3 shades in equal proportion to create the usual brown. 

However, if you are looking to tone down the brown, then you can simply add a bit of white to this concoction. Also, if you wish to change the basic value of the original brown colour that is formed, you will have to change the proportion in which the colours are mixed. 

To explain it better – when you mix the cadmium version of yellow and red with the ultramarine format of blue, you will get a cooler variety of brown.

2. Secondary Colours 

In the first point, you have understood how to basically create a brown shade in its most basic version. Now, do you want to see how to make the colour brown with secondary hues? Here it is – 

For starters, as you know, the concept of secondary colours originates from the mixing of two primary colours. 

Yellow + Red  Orange 
Yellow + Blue  Green 
Red + Blue  Purple 


So, your secondary shades are ready. Now, to get different tinges of brown colour – 

  • You can combine Red (Primary colour) with Green (Secondary colour)
  • Also, you can change the tone of secondary hues to obtain the desired brown tinge. For example – when you mix a warm tone of Purple with another warm tone of Orange, you will get a vibrant shade of Brown that is typically used in paintings.

3. Complementary Colours 

The last way that you can figure out how to make the colour brown is by blending complementary shades. When talking of a colour wheel, the shades that are placed exactly opposite to each other create a set of complementary shades. When you combine two complementary shades, you will get a wider palette of brown, unlike the traditional format you have seen until now. Here are the specifics –

  • For the primary colour, Red, the complementary shade is Green 
  • When you are speaking about the shade Yellow as primary, the complementing colour for it is Purple. 
  • If your primary colour is Blue, then the complementary colour is Orange. 

When you combine the primary and the secondary colours, you will get different tones of Brown. You can change the tone and make it lighter or deeper, by adding white or trimming the tone of the base shades. 

The same fundamental goes even for secondary shades as well. When you combine the secondary shade of Orange with its complementary primary colour of Blue – you will get Brown. Also, when you join Purple (secondary colour) with Yellow (primary colour), you will also get the basic shade of Brown. 

How To Make Different Shades Of  Brown? 

We have given you specifics about how to make the colour brown at its basic level. However, if you are looking to recreate different shades of brown, here are some of the ways to do the same –

1. If You Want To Make Tan Colour 

Given that tan is the most chosen shade of Brown by people, we will give you an idea about how to create this tint of Brown. Though this is also a lighter version of brown, it does not have a pinkish tint to it. Hence, to create this – you will have to add yellow to brown rather than white. Start by creating the usual brown shade and then add yellow in small quantities. 

Remember that while creating the original Brown, red should never be added. Though it is one of the primary shades used in creating the traditional Brown, if not managed well, it might give a pinkish tint to the colour created. In that case, this tan will look more like Beige. Hence, use other alternatives.

2.How To Make Dark Brown Colour?

Are you wondering how to make the colour brown, that is of a comparatively darker shade than the usual Brown? Here’s how to recreate the same. Alternatively known as the chocolate brown shade, you will have to combine complementary shades like – green and red in equal proportions. If required, you may add a tint of black to this previously mentioned combo. 

Normally, the shade will be darker. However, if you want to make it a little more dark, then you may add either blue or red to this combo!

3. Are You Looking To Create Beige? 

For those looking up how to make the colour brown that comes within the range of Beige – here’s the trick. You have to simply add white to the traditional brown shade. Therefore, you start by creating the original brown hue (in whichever way you like) and then dab some white onto this to get the ideal beige shade. 

If you have looked at Beige keenly, you may have noticed a tint of pink in this shade. To get it, it is better that you dab some red into the combination (whichever format you are using to create the original brown tint). 

In case the Beige went a little darker, then just add a dab of white or even yellow to lighten it down.

4.How To Make The Espresso Shade? 

Are you looking to recreate the Espresso colour for your artistic purpose? Then you must remember that, unlike other times, you have to use darker tones here. So, how to make the colour brown that extends to the Espresso domain? Start by – combining more blue and red, and then on top of that, put a dash of Yellow. To achieve the ideal Espresso look, add purple to this combo. Whether you wish to add black to it or not will depend on how dark you want the palette to be.

5.Getting The Chestnut Shade Correct 

This is one of the most popular brown shades at present. Unlike the traditional Brown, this is a little lighter in shade and more vibrant. To do this – you must start by adding yellow and follow it up by adding Red – but both in small proportions. Adding a little bit of Orange to this combo also enhances the vibrancy of the colour. 

If you already have the traditional brown colour and are looking to create a chestnut shade out of it, you can always add a little yellow and red to this original brown colour.

6.Light Brown Is A Great Shade 

For light brown, utilize yellow and purple for the base and to add a lighter shade add a touch of titanium white and blend it until it transforms into light brown, you can add however much you like since everything revolves around private inclination.

7.How To Create Cool Brown? 

Get the blue and orange tone with a couple of cool varieties like green and purple and blend it and the eventual outcome will be a cool earthy coloured variety like lavender.

8.  The Ideal Way To Make Warm Brown 

To make the earthy coloured tone warm, you can make an earthy coloured tone with any of the mixes and after that add a cadmium red tone with a dash of yellow variety will make a warm earthy coloured tone.

These are some of the ways by which you can get the brown shade and its variations. 

Final Words 

If you have been reading this article, you have already figured out how to make the colour brown by combining certain primary, secondary, and complementary colours. That’s not all! If you did not like the preliminary shade of Brown that was created, you could always change its tone by adding a dash of white or changing the base of the colours that you are using to create the concerned brown shade. If you liked this article and want to know more about colours, palettes, and details regarding the same, keep checking out this website. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1:  What are the primary colors needed to make brown?

Ans: To create brown, you’ll typically need primary colors such as red, blue, and yellow. Mixing these in various combinations can yield different shades of brown.

Q2: Can I make brown by mixing only two colors?

Ans: Yes, you can make brown by combining two complementary colors. For example, mixing red and green or blue and orange can result in different shades of brown.

Q3: How do I make a lighter shade of brown?

Ans: To lighten the shade of brown, add more of the lighter primary color in your mixture. For instance, if you’re using red and green, increase the amount of red for a lighter brown.

Q4: What happens if I mix all the primary colors together?

Ans: If you mix all three primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) together, you might get a muddy color instead of a true brown. It’s often better to start with two primary colors and adjust as needed.

Q5: Are there alternative methods to create brown?

Ans: Yes, you can experiment with different color mediums. In art, adding a touch of the complementary color to the base color can also produce brown. For example, adding a bit of green to red can create a rich brown.



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