Tie Dye Color Ideas: Easy Color Combinations and Techniques

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Tie Dye Color Ideas

Tie Dye shirts are such a fun and great project for kids of all ages. Determining what color scheme to use in your tie-dye projects will help you have bright colors, with an amazing visual appeal. This is why we are going to take a look together at some different tie-dye color ideas for all of your tie dyeing projects. 

making spiral tie dye in bright colors

You have probably noticed, but the tie-dye shirts to catch your attention usually, have bold colors that blend together so nicely, and just look absolutely amazing. It’s not too difficult to determine which colors you should add together to make your tie-dye project look amazing. 

Tie-Dye Color Combinations

When you tie-dye a T-shirt, typically it’s a good practice to leave some white areas in between the colors you are adding. In these white areas, the colors from each side will typically blend together and create a new color. 

This is why I am excited to share more tie-dye ideas with you to add more life and color to your tie-dye project. When you get these color combinations to look amazing, it takes your tie-dye project to a whole new level. 

Let’s start by exploring a bit of color theory, that will help you determine some tie-dye color ideas for your next project. Let’s begin exploring the color theory, by looking at primary colors, secondary colors, tertiary colors, and complementary colors.

Primary Colors

There are three main primary colors. Primary colors are the main colors from that all other shades of color are derived. In other words, you have to have these three colors in order to create all of the other colors in existence. 

The primary colors are as follows: 

  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Blue

Red, yellow, and blue cannot be created by mixing other colors together. However, you can mix these colors together to come up with new colors. 

primary colors

Secondary Colors

Secondary colors are created by mixing two primary colors together. There are three main secondary colors that can be made using a variety of the primary colors listed above. The three main secondary colors are as follows: 

  • Orange
  • Green
  • Purple

For example, orange is created by mixing yellow and red. Green is created by mixing yellow and blue. And finally purple is made by mixing red and blue. 

secondary colors

Tertiary Colors

Tertiary colors are the combination of primary and secondary colors to create different shades or colors. There are many different shades of tertiary colors that can be created, but the main ones are: 

  • Teal
  • Chartreuse
  • Violet
  • Magenta
  • Vermillion
  • Amber

Teal is a shade of blue-green, made by mixing blue (primary) and green (secondary). Chartreuse is a color combination of green (primary) and yellow (secondary). Violet is a shade of purple, that is created by mixing blue (primary) and purple (secondary). Magenta is a purple-ish shade of pink, which is created by mixing purple (secondary) and red (primary). Vermillion is a name for a dark orange-ish-red color, which is created by combining red (primary) and orange (secondary). And finally, Amber is a shade of yellow-ish-orange that is created by combining yellow (primary) and orange (secondary). 

tertiary colors

Complementary Colors

The final type of color is complementary colors. Complementary colors are colors that when they are combined, make a combination of black, white, or gray. Usually, these colors are located across the color wheel from each other. 

Complementary colors can also be colors that are bold or have a visual appeal. Some examples of primary colors are: 

  • blue and orange
  • red and green
  • yellow and purple
complimentary colors

Color Wheel

color wheel

Different Color Combinations for Tie Dye

No matter if you are using a tie-dye kit or are using individual packages of powdered dye for your tie-dye project, you will want to select colors that go well with each other, as well as colors that mix well next to each other, when planning your tie-dyed project. 

Here are a few ideas of different color combinations you might enjoy:

Red, Purple, Blue, Yellow, and Green

Light Yellow, Purple, Green, and Pink

Light Blue, and Blue

Bright Yellow and Yellow

Pink and Coral

Mint and Light Green

Blue and Dark Blue

Red and Light Red

Blue, Pink, Purple and Gray

Pale Pink, Yellow, and Gray

Pale Blue and Light Blue

When planning your tie-dye pattern, you want to keep in mind what colors you’re putting next to each other, because as the colors set into the fabric, they will combine with one another, resulting in creating new colors to add to your project. 

You will want to be mindful that these new colors that are blended, are nice colors, and not ugly colors that are going to detract from your overall project. 

Here are some fun tie-dye color ideas that you might enjoy to get your creative ideas going! 

Rainbow Tie Dye

Warm Colors

Cool Colors

Bold Colors

Complimentary Color Combinations

Tie-Dye Color Placement

As you are choosing your colors for tie dye, keep in mind the placement of your colors. For example, if you put blue and yellow together, you are going to end up with some green in between.

This is a fun way to make more colors from the ones you have, but it is good to remember that your color placement may add additional colors to your project.

Tie-Dye Designs

In addition to determining what kind of color combination you will want to use; you will also want to select what different patterns you want to use with your tie-dye. There are many different ways you can make beautiful patterns for your project. 

These different tie-dye patterns may determine how many colors, and what color combinations you select, for your colorful fun project. Let’s look at some of the different methods you can use to fold your tie-dye project.

Striped Designs

If you’re looking for a fun, and very easy pattern to make with your tie-dye, then you might consider trying a striped pattern. You can do horizontal stripes, vertical stripes, or even make chevron or V-shaped stripes. The type of stripes you make is determined by how you fold your T-shirt before tie-dying it, and how it is dyed with the colors. 

Horizontal Stripes

To make horizontal stripes, you will want to create a fan fold from side to side of the shirt. I have often found that it’s easier to first fold the shirt in half and then fan-fold it, however, this is not required. 

After your shirt has been fan folded from one side to the other, secure it with elastic bands. You can then apply the tie-dye in sections a crossed the folded T-shirt.

stripped tie dye tshirt

Vertical Stripes

Vertical stripes are just as easy. To make these, you want to start by making a fan fold from the bottom of the shirt and working your way up to the neckline of the shirt. Once the whole shirt is folded into a fan fold, secure it with rubber bands to hold it securely in place. 

Chevron Stripes 

Chevron stripes are another fun version of stripes that you can make on your shirt. It is easiest to simply make V-shaped stripes like a chevron design on your shirt. 

To make this design, first fold the shirt in half from top to bottom, so that you have two equally shaped pieces. Then at an angle, work an angled fan fold into the shirt, starting at one end and working the other way depending on how you want the V. 

arch tie dye pattern

Starting at the top will give you a V shape and starting at the bottom will give you an inverted V shape. 

When the shirt is folded, secure it in place with rubber bands. Then apply the dye in sections to create the stripes as desired. 

Swirled Patterns

There are several different swirl patterns that you can make with various color combinations. The most common pattern is known as the spiral pattern or the swirl pattern. This spiral design is often created with a variety of colors applied to the secured round shape. The other main type of swirl pattern is a starburst design. Let’s look at how to fold each of these. 

Spiral Pattern

To fold the spiral pattern, first layer the T-shirt flat, and select where you want the center of the spread to end. Pinch that point, then gently continue to swirl the shirt around so that it folds evenly as you twist. When the whole shirt is folded, use rubber bands to secure the entire shirt into a circular shape. 

bright spiral tie dye shirt

Ideally, when you apply the dye to your spiral pattern shirt, you will want to apply each color into pie-shaped sections of the round folded shirt. This will give you a nice spiral pattern when you are finished. 

Sunburst Design

A sunburst design can be made with one sunburst or several sunbursts across your tie-dye project. Usually, when you have one central point, it’s actually called a bull’s-eye pattern, whereas if there are multiple points, it is often referred to as a starburst tie-dye pattern. 

To make this pattern, you’ll want to select where you want the centers of your starburst to be. Then pinch it in your fingers and pull it up. Secure it with a rubber band, then continue pulling and securing it with rubber bands for as many layers of your starburst as you desire. For a nice starburst, you usually want to secure two or three layers in rubber bands. 

When you apply dye to the sunburst, you’ll want to start with the outer point, then add other colors as you work towards the main part of the shirt. You can then dye the remaining portion of the shirt a single color if desired. 

rubber band tie dye project

Circled Patterns

Polka Dots

Making tie-dyed polka dots is another simple, or easy tie-dye pattern you can select if desired. To make tie-dyed polka dots, you were the first want to determine what colors you want the polka dots to be. 

Then pinch off where you want the polka dots to be located, insecure in each section with a rubber band. You can make each as big or as little as you desire. 

Once you have them secure apply the dye just to the rubber banded portions. Then dye the rest of the shirt another color if desired. 

Concentric Circles

You can also make tie-dyed centric circles using one color or mini colors. Another name for this pattern is the bull’s-eye. Select where you want the center of your circle to be, then secure it with a rubber band. Continue pulling the same section up and securing it with a rubber band as you work your way up the shirt. Apply the dye, as desired in sections to each of the rubber band portions. 

bulls eye tie dye

Favorite Tie-Dye Patterns

There are so many different color options to choose from and many different tie dye patterns. Once you know which colors you want to use, and what pattern you wish to create using the tie-dye colors, you can begin making your tie-dyed project. 

Materials for Tie-Dye Projects

Here are some of the main materials that you will want to have on hand before you begin creating the tie-dye project.

  • cotton shirt
  • rubber bands
  • plastic gloves
  • tie dye kit, or colored dye and squeeze bottles
  • soda ash (optional, depending on what kind of dye you are using)
  • plastic bag
  • paper towels (optional)
  • washable marker
  • plastic tablecloth

Simple Steps for Tie Dye Projects

When you have all of your materials gathered together, you can begin making your tie-dyed project. Here are a few helpful tips that you can follow, for the best results with your tie-dyed project. 

Step by Step Tutorial

1. Pre-wash and dry the shirt to remove any factory residue, do not use fabric softener for this pre-wash, only laundry detergent is recommended. This will help the dye apply much better. 

2. Determine your color choice, and which color combinations you want to use. Make sure to apply colors next to each other that will blend well. 

3. Spread your t-shirt onto a flat surface, then fold the shirt into your desired pattern, and secure the shirt in place with rubber bands. 

4. Mix the dye thoroughly with warm water, until the dye is dissolved.

5. Apply the liquid dye as desired to your folded white shirt. Turn the shirt over and apply the same dye colors if the dye did not absorb all of the way through. 

6. Carefully place the shirt into a plastic bag, remove any access air, then seal the bag. Place it in a warm, dry location for 12 to 24 hours. 

7. Remove the shirt from the plastic bag and rinse it in cold water until the water runs clear. When the water runs clear, remove the rubber bands, and continue rinsing once more in cold running water, until the water runs clear again. 

8. Place the tie-dyed shirt in the washing machine, and wash with laundry detergent, using as hot of water as possible. After washing the shirts, dry them completely in the dryer. Your tie dye is now ready to enjoy! 

9. The next time or two that your tie dye is washed, consider washing it separately. After that, it is okay to add it to your regular load of laundry. 

folded tie dye shirts

Tie-Dye Tips

Color Combinations To Avoid

Remember the colors that you put next to each other will mix together and make new colors. If you aren’t careful, you may end up with brown. Otherwise, you should be good.

Using All Primary Colors

You can choose to use all primary colors to make your tie-dye shirt if you wish. Just keep in mind what colors you put next to each other, as they will blend and you will get new colors added into your project.

Mixing Two Secondary Colors

The secondary colors are where you will really need to be careful. When these are mixed, you will often end up with brown. If possible, avoid placing secondary colors next to each other.

Easy Tie Dye Pattern

You can enjoy using different colors of fabric dye, for unique designs in your tie-dye creations. There are so many different tie dye techniques you can enjoy, and patterns that you can create, whether you use a single color or different color combinations for your tie-dye project. Each of these different techniques creates or just finished products. 

I hope that you have enjoyed these tie-dye color ideas, and hopefully, it will help you to understand how the different color combinations are created, and how you can add even more beautiful colors to your tie-dye project. 

Now it’s time to get started making your beautiful tie-dye project! 

Looking for more projects to make with these tie-dye color ideas? I’ve got you covered! Check out these fun tie-dye projects to make next!

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Tie Dye Color Ideas


  • cotton t-shirts
  • colored dye
  • rubber bands
  • plastic bags
  • plastic table cloth


  • Red, Purple, Blue, Yellow, and Green
  • Light Yellow, Purple, Green, and Pink
  • Light Blue, and Blue
  • Bright Yellow and Yellow
  • Pink and Coral
  • Mint and Light Green
  • Blue and Dark Blue
  • Red and Light Red
  • Blue, Pink, Purple and Gray
  • Pale Pink, Yellow, and Gray
  • Pale Blue and Light Blue
  • Rainbow Tie Dye
  • Warm Colors
  • Cool Colors
  • Bold Colors
  • Purple and yellow
  • Red and green
  • Blue and Orange

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tie dye color ideas easy color combinations
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About the author

My name is Faith, and I am so glad you are here! I love all things crafts, and have created this site as a way to share my passion with YOU!


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