Fabric Dye Colour Guide
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
1/8 tsp Midnight Blue + 1/8 tsp Charcoal Grey = Serenity
1/8 tsp Purple + 1/8 Midnight Blue = Lavender
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.
- Get Cooler Colours: add a small amount of midnight blue, royal blue, navy blue, forest green, charcoal grey or black dye.
- Adjust Tone: add neutral colours like tan beige, brown or dark brown to tone down a bright colour.
- 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).
- 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.
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).
- Pantone's 2017 Colour Greenery (a yellow green) looks similar to Tintex kelly green. To get Greenery fabric dye you can use kelly green alone or forest green may be mixed with brilliant yellow for a deeper take on greenery. Mixing blue and yellow will also make green. As an example, mixing midnight blue and brilliant yellow could make a colour similar to greenery however you decide to mix your colours, adjust the ratio of yellow in your dye recipe to suit your project.
- 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).
- 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).
- 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
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:
Basic Colour Theory For Dyeing:
Primary Colours: Red, Yellow & Blue combine to make all other colours.
Secondary Colours mix two primary colours (Red, Yellow or Blue) together.
Red Orange = (Red + Orange)
Yellow Orange = (Yellow + Orange)
Yellow Green = (Yellow + Green)
Blue Green = (Blue + Green)
Blue Violet = (Blue + Purple)
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