How To Make Tan Paint

How To Make Tan Paint

Artists must work with different hues of brown to get the correct skin color when making a masterpiece.

Nevertheless, not all paint kits have a tan skin tone color. That’s why some people may have to go with the usual mix of white and brown.

You won’t be one of them. We live off art; you use tan color in most art projects.

We’ll show you how to make tan paint in four simple steps. Let’s cut to the chase.

How To Make Tan with Paint

Achieve the perfect tan shade by mixing white paint with brown. Introduce a subtle stroke of red paint for a deeper, earthy tone. To lighten the hue, incorporate a gentle hint of yellow tint. Experiment with these combinations to create your desired tanning color in your artwork or interior design projects.

What Color is Tan?

Before we begin creating tan paint by mixing brown and white paint, let’s give you a rough idea about tan color.

Tan is a light shade of brown. Tan is similar to light brown or beige with a hint of orange or yellow.

It’s a warm and earthy color. If you understand how to make beige color, you can see it in things like sand, certain types of animal fur, or the bark of some trees.

Tan is a popular color choice for furniture, clothing, and interior design because it’s neutral and goes well with many other colors.

Mixing brown and white paint could give you a tan color, but it won’t be as rich as desert tan.

Tan can be created by mixing yellow and brown, creating a warm, earthy neutral color.

how to make tan paint

What Two Colors Make Tan? 

You should always know what color makes tan to make your masterpieces the talk of the town.

Whether trying to add skin color to your artwork or blending the foundation in your makeup, knowing how to make color tan could save the day. 

We’ll go over the color spectrum quickly to help understand how color shades function.

A Quick Guide on How Colors Work 

You learned how to blend primary colors in elementary school – red, blue, and yellow.

When you blend primary colors, you can make secondary colors. Purple, orange, and green are the hues used as secondary colors.

When you mix primary and secondary colors, you get tertiary colors, such as red-orange, yellow-orange, blue-violet, and blue-green.

Mixing primary and secondary colors can also produce neutral hues such as black and gray.

Understanding fundamental color theory will help you how to blend colors and identify the origin of each hue.

Now that we know the basic color theory, what two colors make color tan?

You can make tan color by combining brown and white paint. 

Depending on the number of colors added, the tan can take on lighter or deeper shades.

Adding white paint might lighten the overall effect. You’ll need to experiment with color quantities to achieve the ideal shade.

Why Make A Color Tan?

Tan color is visually appealing, and you can create an inviting atmosphere in various settings.

You could use it for interior design to create a natural atmosphere.

It can be a base color that complements other hues and allows easy coordination with different decorative elements.

Also, tan is the go-to color for artists who may want to create paintings and illustrations.

Tan paint is ideal for depicting subjects such as landscapes, skin tones, or objects naturally tan.

What Acrylic Colors Make Tan?

Make tan color by adding more yellow to brown. You could add a little white, but avoid the light, nearly pink tint, as it may not go well if you want to create a desert theme.

Although there is no right or wrong technique for making tan paint, blending the pigments in the appropriate order is crucial.

This will help to ensure that your color isn’t excessively yellow (regardless of the combination you use).

Here are some general guidelines for using the correct pigment order when creating a tanned skin tone using acrylic paints.

  • Stir the mixtures often to prevent the paint from separating.
  • Before painting your masterpiece, test the paints on paper to ensure the shade is what you want it to be.
  • It is crucial to use white paint as the first pigment added since it helps lighten up any mixture because adding black can make colors appear deeper (rather than lighter).
  • If you are using brown or red, add yellow next.  Mixing the colors in the wrong order will result in a final product that is too dark or muddy.
  • Mix the colors well to avoid  losing color vibrancy 
  • Each company uses a different combination of special pigments that could significantly change the final color of the tan skin color. When combining various paint types, it is challenging to achieve an exact match because of this.
  • If you’re mixing colors from different brands, always use the lightest pigment before adding darker tones. This will keep the colors from becoming muddy and ensure they are vibrant enough. So they will evenly match. 

How to Make Tan Paint Step-by-step Guide

Creating your tan color can be an exciting endeavor. Whether you’re an artist looking to mix custom shades or someone interested in DIY projects, learning to make tan paint opens up a world of possibilities.

By blending a few basic colors, you can achieve warm colors and earth tones that add a natural elegance to your artwork or home decor.


  • Measuring tools (scale, spoons)
  • Mixing container
  • Stirring stick
  • Safety equipment (gloves, goggles)

Step 1: Get enough amount of white color in your palette

Apply a sizable amount of white color to your palette.  Remember that e said you should always start with a lighter color to avoid losing the vibrancy your painting might need.

Step 2: Add a bit of brown to the mix

Using different brushes when mixing paint is advisable to prevent the mixture from getting muddy.

Nevertheless, rinse the brush head thoroughly before dipping it into another color using one brush.

Mix some brown color with a small amount of water first. See if you like it as it is or would like it to be darker or lighter.  If you need more depth, add the color brown to the mix in a small amount.

This will help you get the shade you want from the get-go.  Add white paint to the mixture to make a light tan paint.

Step 3: Mix a bit of red

Add a splash of red to the mix to bring the tan color to life. Some people add red to give it a pinkish shade.

When you look closely at persons with tanned skin, you will notice their skin has a red hue.

That’s what you will achieve by including the red hue. But don’t go overboard with the red since you can wind up with a pinkish tan instead of a natural one.

Instead, use less than just a brush’s worth of color. Remember to clean and dry the brush after every use.

Don’t forget about black paint when creating darker colors; it helps darken up everything without compromising brilliance. 

Overusing brown will make things muddy. Add yellow ochre to make your tan color warm tones.

Add orange to make the color tan warmer. 

Step 4: Mix thoroughly

After you’ve added all of the necessary colors, mix everything. Mix the color thoroughly using the brush.

If you fail to mix correctly,  you could end up with unwanted pockets of brown in your mixture.

Step 5 Store the remaining color after use.

If you’ve created the tan color using traditional paints like acrylics, oils, or watercolors,  store it in airtight containers such as paint tubes or jars.

Ensure the container is clean and tightly sealed to prevent air exposure, which could lead to paint degradation.

Label the container and include any relevant information, such as mixing ratios for the tan shade.

Also, remember to keep the color in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. 

Step 6- Clean your tools and the working surface.

Cleaning up after color mixing helps you achieve consistency in your artwork.

If you don’t clean your tools properly, residual color on your brushes or mixing surfaces can transfer to new mixtures, altering the intended hue, value, or saturation.

Consistency in color application is crucial for creating harmonious and cohesive artwork.

By removing excess paint from brushes, you prevent the pigments from drying and hardening on the bristles, which could reduce the lifespan of your brushes.

This means your brushes will stay in good shape, and you won’t have to buy them whenever you have a project.

Here’s how to clean your brushes 

Rinse the brushes under warm soapy water to remove excess paint. For oil-based paints, use a gentle solvent appropriate for cleaning oil paints.

Rinse the brushes again under running water to remove the soap or cleaner until the water runs clear and all paint residue is gone.

Reshape the brushes’ bristles with your fingers and gently squeeze out excess water. Lay the brushes flat or hang them with the bristles pointing downward to dry completely before storing.

Cleaning palettes:

Use a palette knife or a plastic scraper to scrape off excess paint from the palette. Return any unused paint to its respective containers.

Use warm water and mild dish soap to soak your pallet for a few minutes.

Gently scrub the palette using a sponge, soft brush, or cleaning tool.  Pay attention to the crevices, as that’s where paint can accumulate.

Rinse the palette under running water to remove the soap or cleaner.

What Colors Make Tan Without Brown?

You can create tan colors by mixing gray and yellow colors.

Yellow contains pigments closer to the warmer side of the color spectrum, while gray contains a mixture of black and white pigments, making it more balanced and less vibrant.

When you mix these two colors, the yellow adds a touch of warmth and brightness to the gray, creating a more subdued, earthy color known as a tan.

On the other hand, The gray helps to tone down the intensity of the yellow, making it less bright and closer to a natural, neutral shade.

This combination of yellow and gray results in a warm, light brownish-yellow color that we call a tan.

How To Make Tan Without Brown?

You can make a tan color without mixing brown paint. Instead, go for yellow, red, and white.

Select a yellow paint or pigment as your base color. Gradually introduce a small amount of red paint to the yellow. This will slightly shift the hue towards an orange tone.

Add white paint to the yellow-red mixture to lighten the color and create a more pastel or muted tone. Mixed pastel colors often create a soft, subtle color palette.

The white will dilute the intensity and saturation of the color, resulting in a lighter tan shade.

Adjust the yellow, red, and white ratios until you achieve the desired tan color.

The exact proportions depend on personal preference and specific paints or pigments.

You can make a lighter or deeper tan by experimenting with how much red and white paint you add to the yellow paint.

How To Make Tan Without Brown?

Best Tan Color Combinations

The “best” color combinations depend on your artistic vision, personal taste, and the specific context of your artwork or design.

Experiment with different combinations,  considering the mood you want to convey to help you develop the most appealing tan color schemes for your creative projects.

Here are a few visually pleasing tan color combinations:

Tan and Blue: Pairing tan with shades of blue creates a calming and balanced combination.

Light blues, such as sky blue or baby blue, offer a fresh and airy feel, while deeper blues, like navy, can provide contrast and depth. (Here’s a simple guide on how to make baby blue paint).

Tan and Coral: You can Combine tan with coral (a warm shade of orange with pink undertones) to create a vibrant piece.

This combination is excellent and often used in tropical-inspired themes. It can add a playful and cheerful touch to your design.

Tan and Green  – Green, especially shades like sage or olive, harmonizes well with tan and creates a natural, earthy color scheme.

This combination evokes a sense of tranquility and is effective for landscapes or nature-themed artwork.

Tan and Gray: Pair tan with shades of gray to create a sophisticated color palette.

Light grays provide a subtle contrast, while darker grays add depth and richness to the composition.

Tan and Cream: You could Combine tan with cream or off-white tones to create an elegant and timeless color combination.

This pairing exudes warmth and sophistication, making it suitable for various interior design applications.

How to Make Darker Tan Paint?

To make a darker tan paint,  start with a tan base color and gradually darken it by adding small amounts of darker pigments. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you:

Materials you’ll need:

  • Tan paint (base color)
  • Darker color ( brown or black)
  • Paint mixing palette 
  • Paintbrush or palette knife for mixing
  • Paint thinner (optional for adjusting consistency)

Step 1: Start with the base tan paint

Begin by pouring suitable tan paint onto your mixing palette. This will serve as the base color for your darker tan shade.

Estimate the quantity based on the area you want to cover or the needed paint.

Step 2: Gradually add darker tone pigments

Mix a small amount of the darker pigment, such as brown or black, into the tan paint.

Start with a small quantity to avoid making the color too dark immediately. Use a paintbrush or palette knife to thoroughly mix the pigments into the base paint.

Step 3: Test and assess the color

Once you’ve mixed the pigments into the base tan paint, evaluate the resulting color to see if you are satisfied with the shade.

Apply a small mixture onto a test surface, such as scrap paper or spare canvas. Allow it to dry completely to see the true color.

If it’s not dark brown enough, add brown family or black pigments at a time.  Mix well until you achieve the desired darkness.

Step 4: Adjust the consistency (optional)

If the paint mixture has become too thick, you can adjust the consistency by adding a small amount of paint thinner.

Mix it thoroughly to achieve a smooth and workable consistency.

Step 5: Document the recipe (optional)

If you want to reproduce the shade of darker tan paint in the future, it’s a good idea to document the proportions of the base tan paint and darker pigments used. This way, you can recreate the color more easily.

Remember, when mixing paints, it’s important to mix small amounts of pigment at a time and mix thoroughly.

Gradually build up the color to achieve the desired darkness, as it’s easier to darken the paint than to lighten it.

A Simple Guide to Make Light Tan Paint at Home.

Light tan paint is a popular choice for many homeowners, but buying it from a store can be expensive.

Luckily, mixing colors to create your light tan paint is a great DIY project that is not only cost-effective but also gives you the freedom to control the shade and hue of your paint.

The first color you’ll need is white. You use it to lighten the other colors and create the overall lightness of the tan color.

Next, you’ll need a yellow and a brown complementary color. Yellow adds warmth to the tan color, while brown deepens the tone and gives it a more earthy feel.

Finding the right balance between these colors is the key to getting the right light tan shade.

To mix your light tan paint, add small amounts of yellow and brown paint to your white base.

Mix the colors thoroughly. Test the shade by painting a small swatch.

If the color is too light, add yellow and brown until you achieve the desired tone in small amounts and get the desired dark shade.

RGB Code and  CMYK Percentage for Tan Color

The hex code for a tan is #D2B48C. The RGB (Red, Green, Blue) code and CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black).

Percentages for a specific tan color may vary depending on the shade and the color system used.

However, the approximate rgb color space  associated with tan colors is:

  • R: 210
  • G: 180
  • B: 140

CMYK percentage for tan color:

The CMYK color space is primarily used in color printing and represents the percentage of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks needed to reproduce a specific color.

The CMYK percentages for a tan color are: 

  • C ( Cyan): 10%
  • M ( magenta): 20%
  • Y( yellow) : 40%
  • K ( black) : 0%

Different Shades of Tan Color 

Tan, like other colors, is available in different shades. Add white, black, or brown colors to achieve different tan shades.

Brandy tan (#DABC94) is a warm and earthy tan shade. You can use it in interior design to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

Brandy tan is also appropriate in fashion to add a touch of sophistication and elegance to outfits.

It is also suitable for graphic design projects, particularly when aiming for a natural or rustic aesthetic.

Different Shades of Tan Color 

Desert tan (#C49E78)

You can use  Desert Tan or Tuscan Tan to evoke sandy landscape hues and create a desert-themed ambiance.

It goes well with complementary colors and is ideal for creating military or tactical applications.

Most artists use it in military uniforms, equipment, and camouflage patterns meant for desert environments, as it perfectly matches the setting.

This color is well-suited for outdoor clothing, backpacks, and equipment, as it blends well with natural surroundings.

Tan brown (#AB7E4C)

Tan brown is a rich and warm brown used in interior designs. It is great for furniture, flooring, or accents to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere in traditional-themed spaces.

Tan Brown can be a fitting choice to evoke a sense of naturalness or sustainability in your branding.

Also, tan brown is excellent for clothing, shoes, and accessories to add a touch of earthy elegance.

Windsor tan (#A75502)

Windsor Tan (#A75502) is a deep, rich tan shade with reddish undertones. Use it when you want to create a formal setting.

You can also see it in interior design, such as in formal spaces like libraries, studies, or elegant living rooms, as it creates a sense of warmth and sophistication.

You can also use it as an accent color to add depth to a predominantly neutral color scheme.

Color Terminologies You Need to Know

Understanding color is a fundamental skill for any artist. Colors can evoke emotions, set moods, and bring life to artistic creations.

Here are some terminologies you need to be familiar with.

Color bias– refers to the tendency of a particular color to influence our perception of other colors when they are placed nearby or in combination.

This bias can cause colors to appear different or take on certain qualities based on their interaction with surrounding colors.

For example, if a red object is placed next to a gray object, the gray object may appear to have a slightly reddish tint due to the influence of the neighboring red color.

This is because our perception of color is not solely based on the individual color but also on the context and comparison with other colors nearby.

Hue – refers to the purest form of a color, such as red, ultramarine blue, or yellow. The quality distinguishes one color from another on the color wheel.

Chroma– color’s purity  (a high chroma means no added black, white, or gray).

Saturation refers to color intensity (high saturation means the color is very strong, like raw sienna).

Value-  refers to how dark or light a color is (light means the color has a high value).

Warm colors are a group of colors that evoke warmth, energy, and vibrancy.

They have neutral tones and are often associated with fire, sunlight, and heat. Warm colors are positioned on the color wheel from red to yellow.

They are Red, Orange, Yellow, coral, salmon, caramel, chocolate, tan, magenta, plum, chartreuse,  and lime.

Cool Colors-  colors that convey calmness, tranquility, and serenity. They are associated with water, sky, and nature.

Cool colors are positioned on the color wheel from blue to green, including shades of purple and gray. 

Examples of cool colors are blue, green, purple, and cool shades of gray. 

What Colors Make Skin Color?

Mix brown, red, yellow, and white to create a skin color. Once you understand how to make skin tone color, you can manipulate tints and shades to create more depth and variety in your painting.

Use brown as a base color and add a touch of red and yellow to achieve a warmer tone.

Use white to lighten the mixture and create highlights or variations in skin tone.

How to Make Tan With Primary Colors

Mix equal parts of red and yellow to create tan using primary colors to obtain an orange shade.

Gradually add small amounts of blue to the orange mixture until you achieve the desired full tan color.

Adjust the ratios as needed to achieve different tan variations.

How to Make the Color Tan With Acrylic Paint

To make the color tan with acrylic paint, start with a base of white paint.

Gradually mix in small amounts of yellow color, followed by a touch of red and a hint of brown.

Continuously mix the colors until you achieve the desired tan shade tan. 

Read also: How to Make Neon Colors With Acrylic Paint.

What Colors Mixed Make Tan

The bright colors that can be mixed to make tan colors are white, brown, and red.

Add brown color to white paint. For a darker tan color, add a little red paint stroke; for lighter shades,  add a light yellow tint.

What Primary Colors Make Tan

Tan is a neutral tone made by tanning leather but cannot be made directly from primary colors.

However, you can mix secondary colors to create a tan. Mix orange (a secondary color made from red and yellow) with a touch of blue to achieve a tan shade.

Adjust the proportions to achieve the desired tan hue.

Is Tan a Shade of Brown

Yes, tan is a shade of brown. It is a lighter and more neutral shade of brown, usually described as a pale tone, light brown color, or oak bark. 

What Does Tan Look Like

Tan is a pale or light shade of brown. It resembles the color of sand or a natural suntan.

Tan varies in intensity, ranging from a pale, almost beige-like hue to a darker shade of brown with hints of yellow and red.


Making tan paint does not have to be a long, drawn-out affair. Just grab a reasonable amount of white paint and add a small amount of yellow paint.

Mix in a touch of red or orange paint to add warmth. Mix in a small amount of brown paint to make a darker shade.

Add a small amount of white paint to make a lighter shade of tan. Gradually increase the white amount until you achieve the desired lighter tan shade.


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