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Blue and Yellow Make What Color When Mixed?

Let’s answer a foundational question we continue our color mixing chart adventures. Today we shall investigate: “Blue and yellow make what color when the two are mixed?”

As background, I’m an artist and teacher who enjoys creating hands-on illustrations and explanations of paint combinations. Let’s begin with my drawing of the two pigments, swirled together…

Mixing yellow and blue...
Mixing yellow and blue.

Blue and Yellow Make…

Both blue and yellow are primary colors in paint, so when they’re mixed together, they form one of the three secondary colors. What is that resulting color they make when combined? The answer is: green! Yes, THIS is the classic answer to the question: “What two colors make green?”

What are the other secondary color formed by the pairs of the primary colors, red, yellow, and blue? Well, red and blue make the secondary color purple, and red and yellow make the secondary color orange.

If you want to get crazier, combine one primary and one secondary color to form a tertiary color. For example, yellow and green make chartreuse, and green and blue make teal. Trios of colors next to each other like these on the color wheel are called analogous colors.

Blue and yellow make what color?
Blue and yellow make what color?

Different Shades of Green

Now, while it seems simple that blue and yellow make green when the colors are combined, the answer in reality is more complex. Why? Because there are SO MANY different shades of green that can be formed, depending on what type of blue or yellow you use in the mix, and if you add black or white — everything from chartreuse to viridian color!

My illustration, below, shows how to make green in different shades, based on the “ingredient” color choices. For example, if you use a light azure blue with a sunny yellow, you get the clear and vibrant light green shown in the middle row. If you use more of a purple-blue or yellow-orange, however, you get a muddier olive green — similar to our answer to the question, “What does orange and blue make?”

How to make different shades of green.
Making different shades of green.

How to Make Olive Green

What is the reason that some of the greens formed are more muddy, brownish greens? In other words, what is the answer to how to make olive green?

Well, the back-story is that you get brown or black whenever you mix all three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. Therefore, if your ingredient yellow and blue shades have any tinges of red in them (as with a blue-purple or yellow-orange), your green will have more brown in it, and thus be more olive colored.

Blue and Yellow Make What Color?

Now you know the answer: the primary colors blue and yellow make green, however they form different shades of green, depending on what type of “ingredient” colors you use. Picking a yellow or blue paint with more red will yield a browner, more olive green result. Happy color mixing!

Want more? Check out “Yellow and Purple Make…” and learn about a green aura meaning!