Fabric Dye Colour Guide

One of the most asked questions we get is how to mix a new colour using the core Tintex dyes available today. Yes, you can make endless hues by mixing 1-3 dyes together.  Knowing how to create a new colour recipe (perfect for your specific fabric or dye project) is a helpful skill that you will use again and again.

Example: when working with a sample measuring cup of hot water, you will find that using less dye produces lighter colours, and using more dye produces darker/brighter colours; if you add another dye, the colour will change (dye colour wheel explains colour theory) subtly or completely -- depending on dye colour family and/or amount used. For the best control, write down your recipe and test new colours on a paper towel or like/similar fabric.

  • Need a Custom Colour? -- Create hundreds of new dye colours: measure Tintex with a teaspoon or tablespoon (or both) as needed; completely dissolve 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1 or 2 teaspoon(s) or tablespoon(s) of your selected dye(s) in one cup of hot water.  Use 1-3 colours and adjust dye amounts as needed. 
  • Want a Pastel? -- A small amount of dye (example 1/8 tsp) mixed with 1 cup of water creates pastel colours.
  • Need a Vibrant or Dark Colour? -- Use double usual amount for fabric type/weight to get more colour intensity (example: scarlet red or black)
  • Want a Warmer or Cooler Shade? -- Add yellow or tan beige for warmth; add midnight blue, charcoal grey or black for coolness, see the Tintex colour wheel for more helpful colour theory information.
  • Make Marsala Pantones 2015 Colour of the year -- Use a basic mixture of 2 tsp Brown, 2 tsp scarlet red, and 1/4 tsp charcoal grey with 4 Cups of hot water. *To adjust colour, add more/less of suggested amount or sub the colour (example: dark brown, tan beige, beige, cardinal red or black may be subbed depending on your preference; using more/less of suggested basic mixture amounts will alter the intensity). 

Custom Dye Colours Examples:

     Pastel fabric dye colours

    Create light pastel colours, use 1/8 tsp (or less) of fabric dye and dissolve in 1 cup of hot water. Even bright dye colours can make beautiful light pastels, when used in small amounts diluted with enough hot water. As an example: 1/4 tsp of brilliant yellow, 1/4 tsp of tan beige and 1/8 tsp of scarlet red makes a pretty peach. *Substitute suggested dyes or amounts to get new pastel colours as needed.

      Change colour intensity by adding more or less dye

      Mix a rich wine colour or a bright pink hue using cardinal or scarlet red fabric dye.  As a darker example, use 4 teaspoons cardinal red and mix with 1 teaspoon charcoal or black (dissolved in 1 cup hot water); for a pink use a mixture of 1 tablespoon scarlet red, and a little purple or royal blue, adjust to create the colour you want.  Adding more water or dye will completely change the final colour to be as dark or light as you need. *Substitute suggested dye amounts to get new burgundy, wine and pink colours as needed.

        Mix more blue, green and purple dye colours

        Create custom cool colours (using charcoal grey, midnight blue, navy blue, royal blue, dark plum, purple, forest green and kelly green) in different combinations.  When mixing a new colour using a couple of dyes, you may want to start using less of the darkest dye; you can always add more after testing. For example (when dissolved in 1 cup hot water) 1/4 teaspoon of royal blue mixed with 1/8 teaspoon kelly green gets a lighter blue/green; while mixing 1/4 teaspoon purple will make a soft lilac. *Substitute suggested dyes/amounts to get new cool blue, purple or green colours as needed.

          Orange, red and pink dye colours

          An example of different warm orange, red and coral dye hues made using scarlet or cardinal red mixed with brilliant yellow or tangerine orange.  For example (when dissolved in 1 cup of hot water) create a new red  that radiates warmth using: 2 teaspoons tangerine orange  mixed with 1 teaspoon scarlet red.  For a cheerful coral  colour, use 1 teaspoon brilliant yellow with 1/8 teaspoon of scarlet red. *Substitute dyes/amounts to get new warm colours as needed.