Neutral Base for Over-Dyeing

Dyeing is simplest when the base fabric is already a light neutral colour like off-white or cream. Freshening up a faded colour is an easy over-dyeing project. All you need to do is use the same colour that your fabric already is and after dyeing the fabric will look just like new. Sometimes you may not want to lighten the colour of the fabric before dyeing. Over-dyeing is a quick way to refresh colour, but you can also make different colours because of the existing colour of the fabric. Your existing fabric colour impacts what the new dye colour will look like.  

Colour Wheel

When dyeing a colourful base fabric Black or Charcoal Grey (without lightening with Colour Remover before) the original colour may show through. Using colour theory may help create a more neutral base so the new dye colour you want can shine.

To start you need to identify what the complementary colour is for the fabric you are working withe. This is easy to do if you look at the colour wheel.  

The complementary colour will be directly opposite on the colour wheel. If you add some of the complementary colour in with the dark dye this can help you cancel out the original colour that would show through when you over-dye. 

  • Red base needs Forest Green (or mix Royal/Navy Blue & Brilliant Yellow) 

  • Orange base needs Royal/Midnight Blue

  • Yellow base needs Purple or Dark Plum (or mix Scarlet/Cardinal Red & Royal/Midnight Blue)

  • Green base needs Scarlet Red/Cardinal Red

  • Blue base needs Tangerine Orange (or mix Brilliant Yellow & Scarlet/Cardinal Red)

  • Purple base needs Brilliant Yellow

How have your over dyeing projects come out?


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