Creating my own color palettes

I’ve been wanting to come up with my own color palettes made by mixing pure dyes. For those of you not familiar with pure dyes, they are single-hue dyes that are not made by mixing other colors. There are 14 or so pures to choose from. For this session I used Golden Yellow (aka Tangerine), Cerulean Blue (aka Intense Blue), and Fuchsia,  Black is not pure, but it’s helps to make shades and it makes great grays. I am using a black I’ve never used, Dharma’s New Black.


Of course,  you can buy lots of colors already mixed. Dharma Trading carries 130 colors! However, by using the pure dyes, I can make my own colors. For example, if I want a rust, I can mix it up and not have to wait for a shipment. Also, I have purchased mixed colors in the past that I ended up not liking or only using a little of them. Mixing colors from pures is more work, but it’s so much fun discovering colors I didn’t think I’d like or would ever want to use.

I do want to mention that I do love using the pre-mixed colors when ice dyeing because I love how the colors split. Here is a good example of how Dharma’s Brushed Steel looks like with immersion dyeing and then how it splits in ice or snow dyeing. If you use pure dyes when snow or ice dyeing they will not split since they are a single hue. However they will be different tints. For example in this post, the ice dyed over batik shows the variations in the red dye. But back to this post!

As I mentioned on my blog post here, I have taken a wonderful online dyeing class from Candy. In Dyeing 103 she talks about tints, shades, tones and more. Her goal for us after learning about dyeing is to come up with our own color palettes. That was my goal for this last dyeing session.

First I started with my New Black. To make tints in dyeing, you add more water to the dye. Here are my four pieces of gray made from the black. These will be referred to later on as Gray 1 – 4, with Gray 4 being the darkest.

Gray tintsThe next four pieces are rust made from combining Tangerine, Cerulean Blue, and Fuchsia in different combinations.

Rust tints

I also wanted some blue shades so I added black to Cerulean Blue. You can tell by the picture that the top two (Blue 1 and 2) have very little black added.

Blue tones

And some shades of Fuchsia. They almost all looked the same except the bottom two (Fuchsia 3 and 4) have more black in them making them more of a wine color.

fuchsia tones

Now it’s time to play with all of my newly-dyed fabric and come up with some color palettes I like. I placed the fabrics together in a variety of combinations. It was like working with puzzle pieces! The following are my favorites so far.

The first pallet – Rust 1 and 4 and Gray 2 and 4.

rust and gray

Here is Fuchsia 4 and Gray 2 and 4. I would have liked another fuchsia, but 3 was too dark and close to this color, and the other two were too bright. I’ll have to try another session getting some lighter wine colors.

Fuchsia and gray

Here is Blue 3 and 4 and Gray 2 and 4.

Blue and Gray

I’ve always loved fuchsia and blue. Adding gray makes me happy. So this one is Gray 2 and 4 and Blue 4 and Fuchsia 1.

Fuchsia, blue and gray

And the last pallet: Rust 4, Blue 4 and Gray 3. An interesting combination I would not have put together had I not dyed all of this fabric. I think it might work!

Rust, Blue and Gray

This was fun creating new colors and then putting them together. Of course there were other combinations, but these were my favorites. Now back to the dyeing studio to dye with these new pallets. Neat.

Do you have a favorite of these? What about the least favorite? I’d love to hear from you. Thanks.