Color Combinations in Tie Dye Update 07/2022

Take out your tie-dye supplies when the winter blues set in and your wardrobe starts to look drab. Contrary to popular belief, a tie-dye pattern does not have to be limited to a single bright color. Make sure you know the best tie-dye color combinations before beginning.

Two or more main colors are recommended for the best tie-dye color combinations, and complementary colors that contrast should be avoided. A single vivid hue is used in a variety of imaginative designs, such as spirals or starbursts, in the simplest tie-dye patterns. Tie-dye patterns with many colors are used in more complex patterns.

How to choose colors for tie-dye is covered in this article. Find out how to make some of the most popular single and multi-color designs in this section. This section includes advice on what color combinations to steer clear of.

Best Tie Dye Color Combos

Colors for Tie-Dye

Tie-dye designs may be created with almost any hue, but some colors work better than others when it comes to blending with other colors. All of this comes back to the simple rules of color science, which you can quickly grasp!

What is your recollection of the colors on the wheel? Green is probably the first color you learned to make by mixing blue and yellow paint in second grade art class. Using a color wheel, you can see the wavelengths of light that make each hue possible.

Check out this entertaining, free online version of a color wheel if you don’t already have one.

It helps artists and designers understand how colors merge and contrast with each other in practical terms. Primary and secondary colors are shown on the wheel, along with which colors work well together.

The three primary colors are the building blocks from which all other colors can be made. The primary colors are red, blue, and yellow, however in printing circles, you may see cyan, magenta, and yellow instead as a slightly different variation on this set of colors.

Hues can be created by varying the amount of each of these three colors. Primary colors, on the other hand, cannot be made from secondary colors!

As a result, how can you define a “secondary color?” The color green is created by merging the primary colors blue and yellow. Primary and secondary colors may be combined to produce tertiary colors.

If you don’t have a strong interest in art or design, don’t waste your time learning about color theory. In the following section, you’ll find some simple principles for figuring out which main, secondary, and tertiary colors you can use in your tie-dye.

Having a decent idea of the colors you want is great, but you need to know where to find the dyes first! Tie-dye kits can be purchased at any craft store. A 100% cotton shirt or scarf works best for these. In order to dye polyester, for example, you will need a different kind of dye than what is described above.

To create your own tie-dye design, you can use any water-soluble colour. Brands like RIT make it simple to use their fabric dyes.

Rather than buying pre-mixed colors, you’ll usually obtain the best results by making your own colours from primary color dyes. Since they already contain a variety of different shades, pre-mixed dyes will not mix well together.

Best Tie Dye Color Combos

To get the most out of your tie-dye, go for bright, distinct colors that don’t fade into each other. It’s simple to generate these vibrant color combinations if you know which colors go well together!

the following are some of the most common tie-dye color combinations:

  • Red and Blue
  • Yellow and red
  • the combination of blue and yellow

In the following sections, we’ll go over some more sophisticated concepts for color blending.

It’s also a good idea to think about what colors you want to utilize, such as neon vs. jewel-toned or cool-toned. All-natural dyes can also be used to create pastels and earth tones, which can be obtained by mixing natural colors with water.

It’s possible to buy a ready-to-use kit that includes dyes in this style.

Cool Tie Dye Colors

Cool Tie Dye Colors

Colors with blue undertones, such as blue, green, and light purple, are the only ones allowed in a cool color scheme. To put it another way, they have a calming and relaxing effect on the eye.

Colors like blue and lavender can be used alone or in combination to create a more intricate design, such as by melting ice cubes (you can find instructions for that method later in this article).

To create a tee with cool-toned diagonal stripes, follow these steps:

  1. Green and blue or lavender and teal are examples of cold dyes with blue undertones that you should look for. You only need two colors for this design.
  2. Spread out your dripping T-shirt evenly on the floor or table.
  3. Start at the left sleeve and work your way across the shirt, folding the accordion one inch wide.
  4. Every two inches, lay a rubber band along the shirt’s hem to keep the folds in place.
  5. Apply a different color of dye to each rubber band.
  6. Cool-toned stripes will appear on your tee after setting and rinsing it!

Jewel Tones

Tie dye color combinations

Tones like emerald, ruby, sapphire, and amethyst are examples of jewel-toned color schemes. The name of this color scheme is easy to decipher! To avoid brown splotches or conflicting tones in your tie-dye creation, use these vibrant colors sparingly and with caution.

Choose two primary hues like ruby and sapphire for the best effects. Alternatively, you can combine a main color with a secondary color, such as ruby and amber.

Try making a fun bullseye design with two or three bright, jewel-toned dyes:

  1. Put your wet shirt flat on the floor in front of you to begin.
  2. You should be able to press up roughly an inch of the shirt’s center in this manner.
  3. Make a cone shape with your other hand by running it down the garment from that central point.
  4. Every two inches, place a rubber band along the cone’s length.
  5. The rubber bands should be squirted with different hues of dye in between.
  6. Follow the dye manufacturer’s directions for rinsing, drying, and washing the garment.
  7. A vivid, jewel-toned bullseye pattern will appear on your shirt when you remove the rubber bands!

Neon Colors

Tie dye colors

Color palettes with neon hues are ideal for creating bright, vibrant tie-dye in the style of the 1970s.

You can create pretty much any tie-dye pattern using neon colors. As a result, dye kits like Tulip’s convenient neon dye pack make dyeing these vibrant colors a breeze. Creating these colors at home is out of the question because you can’t find them in nature!

You can create pretty much any tie-dye pattern using neon colors. As a result, dye kits like Tulip’s convenient neon dye pack make dyeing these vibrant colors a breeze. Creating these colors at home is out of the question because you can’t find them in nature!

Tie-Dye Color Patterns

Using neon colors, you may make a wide variety of tie-dye patterns. That said, using a pre-made dye kit like Tulip’s handy neon dye pack will make dyeing these vibrant colors much easier. There are no natural sources for these hues, thus this is not a circumstance in which you can make them yourself!

The simplest choice is a one-color design, but two-color designs are more eye-catching and provide you the opportunity to use more of your personal color palette.


Tie Dye Color Patterns

Almost any pattern will work, from a simple square shibori to a complex spiral to a simple starburst. The single-color method also allows you to choose any color you wish to emphasize without having to worry about mixing and matching! For this reason, if you’re just getting started with tie-dye, single-color designs are a great place to start.

Mixing multiple various concentrations of the color in separate squeeze bottles is one clever approach to level up a single-color design. An ombre-style tie dye design can be achieved if you use three different concentrations of dye in three separate bottles. If you start with the lowest concentration, work your way up to the highest one.


Many tie-dye patterns can be made using just two colors, including the widely used and straightforward scrunch pattern.

To begin, choose two colors that don’t mix together to create a brown shade. A main and a secondary color, or any two primary colors, will work well.

  1. Wash your cotton shirt before wearing it.
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for preparing your dyes. Use a less intense dye if you prefer pastel shades. The more dye in the water, the more vibrant the colors will be.
  3. Lay the shirt down on a level surface to produce the unique crushed design. Wrinkle your shirt by scratching a portion of it, then letting go. You can do this on any part of the shirt’s surface.
  4. Scrunch and bundle your shirt, then flatten it into a football-shaped oval.
  5. To keep the garment shaped like this, use rubber bands.
  6. Squeeze bottles are the best way to apply the colour. Alternating a squirt from the one color and then the other color, spacing them apart, is the most efficient way. Don’t be concerned if the colors bleed a little, because your meticulous color matching will result in a wonderful border color, like green between blue and yellow.
  7. To allow the dye to set, follow the manufacturer’s directions on the dye packet.
  8. It’s time to rinse and launder the garment, then admire your hard work!

Color Combinations for Tie-Dye Shirt

What color combination will you use for your tie-dye shirt depends on the design you want to create!

To do this, you’ll need to know a few things about color mixing. As a result of this, the colors will blend together when you soak your shirt in different colours or pour dye from a squeeze bottle over it. A new color should be formed when the two colors are mixed together!

The following is what happens when you combine the three primary colors:

  • A combination of yellow and blue produces green.
  • Red and Blue are combined to produce Purple.
  • A combination of red and yellow produces orange.

In addition, tertiary colors can be created by combining primary and secondary hues. For instance:

  • Burgundy or magenta is a color created by combining red and purple.
  • Teal is created by combining the colors blue and green.
  • Vermillion is a combination of red and orange.
  • “Yellow + Orange Equals Amber.”

The color purple is usually created by combining red and blue, but there are many other shades of purple that may be achieved by altering the amounts of red or blue in the mixture. By changing the quantity of yellow and blue you combine, you may create everything from olive green to emerald green.

Spiral Tie-Dye Color Combinations

Tie dye color schemes

One of the most well-known tie-dye patterns is the spiral, which can be made with one color or a rainbow of hues.

Colorful rainbow spirals are easy to make.

  1. Make a fist-sized knot in the middle of the shirt. Your other hand should be used to spiral the garment around this central spot. The final shape should resemble a snail.
  2. Use four thick rubber bands to keep the garment in place. Cross them over the top of the snail shape in a criss-cross pattern of your own making. Each rubber band should create pie-slice-like shapes around the shirt’s circumference.
  3. The next step is to follow the dye package’s instructions for mixing the dyes. For each of the hues in the rainbow, you’ll need a dye.
  4. Each pie-slice form should be colored in the ROYGBIV (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green and Indigo Violet) order. If you don’t apply the dye generously enough, it won’t penetrate the twisted T-shirt.
  5. In accordance with the instructions on the dye container, let your garment to rest and set.
  6. Wash the clothing to finish setting the dye after rinsing out the excess with cold water.
  7. Get a kick out of your eye-catching rainbow tee!

Ice Dye Color Combinations

When designing ice dye designs, you can use any colors that mix together to create a new hue. You can use the same basic principles of color theory that you would for normal tie-dying. Instead of conventional water-soluble dye, you’ll need to utilize powdered fiber-reactive dye for this craft.

There are many different ways to tie-dye, but ice tie-dye is one of the more interesting methods. It has a watercolor look, which distinguishes it from traditional tie-dye. As the ice melts, some of the dye separates into sub-colors.

To give it a whirl:

  1. On top of a metal rack, place your white shirt, squeezed just a little bit.
  2. Thickly cover the clothing with ice cubes to keep it cool.
  3. Add powdered color to the ice cubes. Do not mix too many colors together if you plan to utilize more than one hue.
  4. Take time for the ice to totally melt.
  5. Use cold water and a gentle cycle in your washer to wash the shirt after it has sat for 24 hours.

Multi-Color Patterns

When done successfully, multi-color patterns are stunning, but they also present the biggest challenge. The less colors you use, the less likely it is that your design will have ugly brown blotches. But if you’re up for the challenge and want to go all out, why not try a multi-color design?

The following are some fantastic examples of combining multiple colors:

  • Make sure you don’t mix colors by using the ROYGBIV sequence.
  • Lavender, violet, and royal purple are all tones of the same main color that you can use.
  • Try combining yellow, red, purple, blue, and green to create an eye-catching five-color design.
  • For a three-color design, any three adjacent hues on the wheel, such as red, orange, and yellow, should work nicely together.

Remember that not all seven colors should be placed next to each other if you want to create a rainbow. In order to achieve a rainbow effect, you must apply the dye sequentially in the order of ROYGBIV! An earlier section of this page describes how to create a rainbow spiral.

What are the Best Tie Dye Color Combinations?

It’s common for the best tie-dye color combinations to begin with simply two basic colors that strongly contrast each other and create a secondary color at the boundaries of the design. On the other hand, if you adhere to the color science laws and don’t mix two colors that merge to generate brown together, you can still create beautiful multi-color designs.

Even though they appear more subdued, single-color designs nevertheless have a sense of playfulness about them. In addition to that, these designs are an excellent place to start for newbies who don’t know how to mix and match colors!

Tie-dye designs carry a high risk of creating a brownish haze if colors are mistakenly mixed together. These spots are referred to as “fused hues” by certain artists. It’s common for these patches to appear at the edges of your design’s major colors if you don’t match your shades of color correctly.

The following are some general rules to assist you choose colors for a dual or multiple color design:

  • Designing in a single color eliminates the risk of making a terrible color combination.
  • It’s always a good idea to pair two primary colors.
  • The combination of a primary color with a secondary color works effectively.
  • Colors that are near to each other on the color wheel frequently complement each other effectively and vice versa.
  • To minimize unsightly bleeding while creating a rainbow of colors, follow the ROYGBIV order of the rainbow.

What Colors Not to Put Together When Tie-Dying

When it comes to tie-dying, there are colors you should never mix together, just as there are colors you should. Those dark splotches are the result of a mismatch of hues.

Avoid using the following words or phrases:

  • Various shades of the same three fundamental colors. Brown is always the result of combining three main colors.
  • A combination of secondary colors. Brown is always the result of the combination of secondary colors.
  • Two hues that go well together. Yellow and purple, for example, are a primary and a secondary color on the color wheel, respectively. Complementary hues inevitably mix into brown, despite the fact that they look fantastic together!

Of course, none of this should be taken as gospel. You can learn to separate harmful dyes in your design so that they don’t mix together to become brown. You should avoid combining these colors in the same project at all costs.

Can You Tie-Dye a Black Shirt?

It’s not possible to tie-dye a black shirt in a conventional manner, but you can use a reverse tie-dye method to create a colorful and beautiful pattern on a black shirt.

Water-soluble dyes will not work well on a black shirt since the dye will not be visible. Imagine trying to color on black construction paper using crayons. You won’t be wowed by the vibrant hues.

In comparison to a standard dyeing procedure, reverse tie-dye necessitates more processes. You begin by arranging your black shirt in the desired folds or twists. The black dye can then be removed from the desired design by using a color remover or bleach.

To eliminate the bleach, you have to rinse and wash multiple times. Dye is applied to the garment after it has been refolded or twisted in a different way. This will create a vibrant design that contrasts with the shirt’s black background!

Bleach tie-dye can also be used on a black shirt to create a white pattern that contrasts with the dark cloth. The risk here is that you could end up with a yellow or brownish design instead because it is difficult to completely bleah black dye out of fabric.

Best Tie-Dye Color Brands

Tulip and RIT are two of the most popular tie-dye color brands, but you may use any water-soluble dye to create vibrant designs. For those who like to experiment with their own color combinations, these well-known dye manufacturers offer easy-to-use dyeing kits as well as individual colors.

Tulip One Step 18-Color Tie-Dye Kit

There are 18 colors to choose from in this Tulip starter pack, as well as clear, step-by-step directions to get you started. To begin dyeing, you merely need to combine the colours with water. It also comes with enough dye for six applications. Tulip’s dyes are long-lasting and washable, making them ideal for garments that are frequently washed. With this kit, you’ll be able to construct up to nine basic designs, or you can simply utilize the colours to create whatever design you can dream up!

Rit Indigo Shibori Tie Dye Kit

The kit includes everything you need to make a beautiful blue and white shibori tie-dye project. In addition to authentic Japanese shibori designs and indigo dye, RIT also offers gloves and safety equipment to assist you with your dying endeavor. RIT’s ColorStay Fixative, a trademarked product, is also included in the kit. Cotton, silk, rayon, wool, and nylon are the ideal substrates for the indigo RIT dye. If you wish to experiment with shibori dyeing in a different hue, you may just purchase a different shade of RIT dye!


In order to avoid a brownish hue, the ideal tie-dye color combinations combine complementary hues. A secondary color is formed when two primary colors are combined, and a tertiary color is formed when a primary and a secondary color are combined. Using three primary colors or two secondary colors will result in unattractive brown stains, so avoid these combinations.

A color scheme, such as neon colors or jewel tones, will help you choose the perfect color combinations. Of course, you have the option of a twisted spiral pattern or an icemelt pattern that looks like it was painted with watercolors when it comes to tie-dying!

Has tie-dye ever been a hobby of yours? Are there any specifics about the colors you used? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

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