Fabric Dye Colour Guide

Colour Wheel

Get 100's of new dyes by mixing any of the 17 core Tintex dyes together (or adjust the amount used for a single dye). Pastels use less dye while vibrant/bright/dark colours use more dye. Existing colour can change the results if fabric isn't lightened before dyeing. White cotton fabric dyes closest to package colour, but nylon, silk, rayon, and wool may dye lighter or darker. For best results test your colour before and change amounts as needed.

Make a custom colour sample: cut a 12" x 12" swatch of fabric and measure dye with a teaspoon or tablespoon. Dissolve Tintex into 1 or 2 cups of very hot water. Each custom colour recipe may include full or partial measurements of teaspoons or tablespoons (example: 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 tsp and/or Tbsp). Adjust the amount of dye as needed to get your desired custom colour. 

Make Pastels Using Any Tintex Dye

A small amount of any dye makes a pastel (example: use 1/16, 1/8 or 1/4 tsp of dye colour mixed with 1 cup hot water). Start with the smallest amount and add more dye or hot water as needed. Create Pantone's 2016 pastel colours using core Tintex dyes.

1/8 tsp Cardinal Red + 1/8 tsp Tan Beige = Rose Quartz 

Cardinal Red Dyed Fabric Tan Beige Dyed Fabric Rose Quartz Dyed Fabric

 1/8 tsp Midnight Blue + 1/8 tsp Charcoal Grey = Serenity 

Midnight Blue Dyed Fabric Charcoal Grey Dyed Fabric Serenity Dyed Fabric

    1/8 tsp Brilliant Yellow = Cream

      Brilliant Yellow Dyed Fabric Cream Dyed Fabric

      1/8 tsp Purple + 1/8 Midnight Blue  = Lavender

      Purple Dyed Fabric Midnight Blue Dyed Fabric Lavender Dyed Fabric

      Adjust & Change Dye Colour

      • Get Warmer Colours: add a small amount of brilliant yellow, tangerine orange, scarlet or cardinal red dye. Example: add brilliant yellow to make magenta a true red.

      Brilliant Yellow Dyed Fabric Tangerine Orange Dyed Fabric Scarlet Red Dyed Fabric Cardinal Red Dyed Fabric

       

      • Get Cooler Colours: add a small amount of midnight blue, royal blue, navy blue, forest green, charcoal grey or black dye. 

      Midnight Blue Dyed Fabric Royal Blue Dyed Fabric Navy Blue Dyed Fabric Forest Green Dyed Fabric Charcoal Grey Dyed Fabric Black Dyed Fabric

      • Adjust Tone: add neutral colours like tan beige, brown or dark brown to tone down a bright colour.  

      Tan Beige Dyed Fabric Brown Dyed Fabric Dark brown Dyed Fabric

      • Darken Colours: add deep rich dyes like charcoal grey, black, dark brown or navy blue to make existing dyes deeper. The darkest dye available in the colour family will increase the intensity (example: use navy blue dye to make midnight blue deeper). 

      Charcoal Grey Dyed Fabric Black Dyed Fabric Dark brown Dyed Fabric Navy Dyed Fabric

      • Substitute Dyes: a Tintex dye from the same colour family can be used in a new dye formula. Colour results may vary depending on how light/dark the substituted colour is and how much dyed is used in the formula Example: 100% cotton terry fabric dyed cardinal red, scarlet red & tangerine orange.

        Dyed Cardinal Red Fabric Scarlet Red Dyed Fabric Tangerine Orange Dyed Fabric 

        Use double the usual amount of dye for projects using dark colours and bright colours. Get the most colour intensity when you use the hottest water possible for your fabric (example: use the stove top dyeing method, heat water with a kettle or use 140°F water).

        Mix New Dye Colours

        You can change an original Tintex package colour just by adding another dye (example: one 55g package of brilliant yellow + one 55g package of kelly green makes a bright green). 

        • Mix different dyes together to change the original colour (example: 100% cotton terry fabric dyed with a colour formula of 2 tsp scarlet red + 1 tsp royal blue + 1 tsp purple + 1 cup of hot water to make shocking pink).  
        Scarlet Red + Royal Blue + Purple = Shocking Pink

          Scarlet Red Dyed Fabric Royal Blue Dyed Fabric Purple Dyed Fabric Shocking Pink

          • Adding more of one dye than the other will change the colour (example: 100% cotton terry fabric is dyed midnight blue and a blue green sample is made with 1 Tbsp midnight blue + 1 1/4 tsp kelly green). 
          Midnight Blue + Kelly Green = Blue Green 

            Midnight Blue Dyed Fabric Kelly Green Dyed Fabric Blue Green Swatch

            • Create classic neutrals like Marsala (example: 100% cotton terry is dyed a mixture of 2 tsp brown, 2 tsp scarlet red, and 1/4 tsp charcoal grey with hot water). Adjust the colour intensity to suit tour taste by changing the suggested amount of dye or substituting another dye in same colour family like dark brown, tan beige, beige, cardinal red or black. 

            Brown + Scarlet Red + Charcoal Grey = Marsala

            Brown Dyed Fabric Scarlet Red Dyed Fabric Charcoal Grey Dyed Fabric Marsala Dyed Fabric

            The Dye Colour Wheel

            If you are dyeing your fabric a similar or darker colour you don't always have to lighten before. You can get new colours by over-dyeing (example: red fabric turns purple if you dye it blue without lightening the colour before). See how the colours relate on the colour wheel: 

            Colour Wheel

            Basic Colour Theory For Dyeing:

            Primary Colours: Red, Yellow & Blue combine to make all other colours.

            Scarlet Red Dyed Fabric Brilliant Yellow Dyed Fabric Royal Blue Dyed Fabric

            Secondary Colours mix two primary colours (Red, Yellow or Blue) together.

            Dark Plum Dyed Fabric Tangerine Orange Dyed Fabric Forest Green Dyed Fabric

            Purple *called Violet in colour theory = (Red + Blue)  
            Orange = (Red + Yellow)
            Green = (Yellow + Blue)
              Tertiary Colours: mix adjacent primary and secondary together
              Red Violet = (Red + Purple)
              Red Orange  = (Red + Orange)
              Yellow Orange  = (Yellow + Orange)
              Yellow Green = (Yellow + Green)
              Blue Green = (Blue + Green)
              Blue Violet = (Blue + Purple)
                Complementary Colours are opposite on the colour wheel (Orange & Blue, Yellow & Purple and Red & Green). 

                Tangerine Orange Dyed Fabric Royal Blue Dyed Fabric Brilliant Yellow Dyed Fabric Purple Dyed Fabric Scarlet Red Dyed Fabric Forest Green Dyed Fabric

                Split Complementary Colour: Choose two colours on either side of a complementary colour (for example: Yellow, Blue Violet & Red Violet). 

                Analogous: side by side on the colour wheel (Red, Red Orange & Orange). 

                Monochromatic: different shades of the same colour extended using tints & tones