What Colors Make Orange & How to Make Shades of Orange Color

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Demonstrating what colors make orange through a painting of an orange fruit still life

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Have you ever admired the diversity of orange colors found in nature and wanted to try capturing them on canvas, but weren’t sure where to start? You’re in luck! Mixing shades of orange is easier than you might think. Read this post for a complete guide on what colors make orange and tips for adding subtle nuances of color that create lifelike tones.

I’ll also walk you through techniques for layering different hues together to create custom shades. By the end, you’ll be ready to paint vibrant art inspired by real-life oranges!

Take a look at the color chart below to see how to mix yellow and red together in action.

How to make orange color with different yellows

how to make orange colour mixing chart
Yellow mixed with red to make different shades of orange

In the diagram above of what colors to make orange, you can see that I used three different yellows and mixed each of them with cadmium red.

Cadmium yellow and cadmium red are two colors that make orange a good robust color when mixed together. While yellow ochre mixed with cadmium red creates a much more muted orange. The third orange mixture with cadmium lemon and cadmium red creates a brighter orange that is much more saturated than the muted orange with the yellow ochre.

So as you can see by just changing the type of yellow you use, will change the shades of orange you can create when mixing red and yellow.

How to mix shades of orange with different reds

Now let’s look at how to make the color orange by mixing a couple of different types of red, with cadmium yellow. You can see again (this time by changing the type of red you use) the different shades of orange you can make by mixing yellow and red together.

In the color chart directly below, you can see the two reds we have here are Alizarin Crimson and Burnt Sienna.

color chart showing yellow and red are what two colors make orange when mixed together
How to make the color orange with yellow and red mixing chart

You are able to make a nice robust orange when mixing cadmium yellow with Alizarin crimson. This shade of orange will not be quite as warm and bright as an orange color mixed with cadmium red. As alizarin crimson is a much cooler shade of red, than cadmium red. So it is natural that the shade of orange you create with alizarin crimson will be cooler in temperature

Next in the color chart above, you can see a very muted orange color mixture from cadmium yellow and burnt sienna. Burnt sienna is an earth tone color, so whenever you mix it with a yellow it will create a muted shade of orange!

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What colors make orange muted?

Knowing how to make the color orange muted and what colors make orange muted when mixed, is paramount! Almost every time you mix an orange color, you will need to mute it a little bit.

Mixing Orange and Blue Together

To mute a color, you need to mix it with its complementary color. Since blue is the complementary color of orange, you will then mix blue with orange. Blue and orange make a lovely neutral muted orange color when mixed together.

how to make orange muted color chart diagram with orange plus blue mixed
Mixing orange and blue to make shades of orange muted

TIP FOR MIXING MUTED ORANGE: Orange and blue also make brown when mixed together. So in order to get a muted shade of orange instead of brown, you will just want to watch the amount of blue you mix with your orange color.

You can mix a variety of different muted shades of orange color, as you can see in the diagram above. You will notice that when cadmium orange is mixed with ultramarine blue you get a cooler muted orange. When you mix cobalt blue with cadmium orange you get a warmer muted orange color.

The cadmium orange that is mixed with the RGH blue creates an even deeper almost greenish muted orange. So, you can see that the muted orange color your blue and orange makes, is deeply impacted by the type of blue you use to mix it.

Problems when mixing muted orange…

A common problem encountered when mixing muted orange is that the color can sometimes turn green. In this video I share how to combat that and make sure it doesn’t happen and how to solve other color mixing problems.


Learn how to make sure that your muted orange does not turn green! Also how to fix any other color mixing problems you might run into.

Mixing orange and green make…

What color does green and orange make? More muted shades of orange! Though blue is the best color to mix your orange with for the most neutral shade of muted orange. Orange and green however, make their own unique muted shades of orange color, which can add depth to your muted color palette.

For example, in the color chart below I used a couple of different orange color mixtures to mix with cadmium green to create muted orange.

what does orange and green make color mixing chart diagram
How to mix orange and green to make muted orange colors

Now, cadmium orange is a much more saturated orange than mixing your own orange from red and yellow.

The diagram below shows cadmium orange mixed with various green colors:

  • Cadmium orange mixed with pthalo green creates a darker cooler orange.
  • In contrast, when you mix cadmium orange with veronese green, you get a lighter mixture than the one above it.
  • The third color mixture combines cadmium orange with cadmium green, to create a much more robust and warm muted green.
color chart diagram showing what color orange and green make
Vibrant orange and green mixed to make different shades of orange

For more on how to mix different types of green colors, you can refer to my green color mixing guide here.

Examples of different shades of orange in art

Oranges by Diarmuid Kelley
Diarmuid Kelley, Seville Oranges

Above is a painting of oranges by British Artist Diarmuid Kelley. Notice the variety of orange colors on the surface of the fruit. The artist mixed together; dark shades of orange, light orange, yellowish shades of orange color, reddish oranges, the list goes on…

If it weren’t for being able to mix up such a variety of oranges, you as the viewer would not be able to experience the sense of light and dark that falls on the oranges. Not to mention, you would not be able to feel the subtle changing colors around the surface of the orange.

Orange Painting by Euan Uglow
Euan Uglow, Orange on a Match

Above is another painting of an orange but this time by Euan Uglow. You can see very clearly that there are patches of a variety of different orange colors all around the orange. It is all these different orange colors working together that gives the orange subject volume and makes it feel round.

Painting portraits with muted shades of orange

Self Portrait by Edgar Degas
Edgar Degas, Self Portrait

When painting a portrait or figure, you will hardly ever use a straight orange color mixed from yellow and red alone. Rather, you will use the skills learned from earlier in this article, to mix different shades of orange. That will allow you to create much more interesting skin tones for your portrait painting.

Orange colors found in a portrait painting, tend to have a much more muted quality than those (for example) in a painting of an orange still life. This is where the process of being able to create muted shades of orange colors becomes even more helpful.

Wrapping up what colors make orange

As you can see, at the base of what two colors make orange, yellow and red make orange when mixed together. However, you can also see, that mixing different types of red and yellow together will yield different shades of orange color.

In recap of what colors to make orange muted, there are numerous options to experiment with. Blue and orange make a more neutral muted orange color, while orange and green make for unique temperature contrasts in the muted shades of orange color they create.

Additional resources for mixing colors

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The Color Mixing Master Guide ebook, contains over 60 color mixing charts that detail how to mix all of the different colors you need for your painting.

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    Hello! I'm Elisabeth Larson Koehler

    Art Studio Life exists for you to be able to stay inspired, learn, and improve your skills.

    Elisabeth Larson Koehler creator of art studio life
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    6 thoughts on “What Colors Make Orange & How to Make Shades of Orange Color”

    1. Hi Elizabeth baby I am Misa and a beginner I wanted to know if you can use the training course for colorimetry and color making. Thank yo

    2. All this information on mixing colors is wonderful. I do not understand the warm colors vs muted vs neutral. I am a beginner so I haven’t done mixing

      1. So glad to know that you are finding this color mixing information helpful. I have a few articles that deal with those different color topics and will help to get a deeper understanding of them. If you type warm colors, muted colors or neutral colors in the search bar you will see some helpful information come up!

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