Tie-dye Color Ideas And Best Color Combos

Shirt folded into a spiral and dyed using a multitude of colors

The trick to any successful tie-dye project is to achieve a fine balance between colors.

Using color themes (cool, warm, neutral) will help you create designs that are soft on the eye. Complementary colors create contrast for a striking look.

Colors that work best together

Some colors seem to work so well together that they merge seamlessly, leaving you in awe. Using too many colors can look confusing or can result in unpleasant, dull tones.

Plan out your project depending on the colors you want to use. Begin by choosing a single color and build around it.

Not only can you mix your dyes in a bottle, but you can also mix them on the shirt as you dye. This allows for infinite color combinations as the dyes spread and mix into each other.

Color combo ideas

We all need inspiration from time to time. When it comes to colors, the choice can be overwhelming.

In this guide we’ll see what colors go well together and what colors don’t. We’ll also cover the basics of tie-dye color theory.

 Check out our collection of tie-dye patterns if you want to get a view of all the color combo ideas you could make.


Red, yellow and orange make you think of something warm and fuzzy. They evoke feelings of exhilaration, heat, and sunlight. They look hot and fast and will illuminate just about any design.

Play with these colors, combine them any way you like and create something that makes you want to get up and run. Warms colors are motivating and will lift your mood just by looking at them.


Green and blue will bring you calm and peace. These cool colors have a relaxing effect and are more passive than their counterparts. Use them to create a sense of harmony that can bring any design together.

They are just like the gentle motion of the waves, able to cool off any temper and bringing balance.


White, gray and black can lean on either side of the spectrum depending on their context. Combine them with another color scheme to intensify or dull their effects.

Neutral colors can also be used on their own, perfect for sharp and highly geometric designs.


Warm and cool, all in one package. Psychedelic colors are attained by combining highly contrasting colors in quick succession. Think of a rainbow with solid bands of vivid colors screaming at you.

Make your tie-dye steal the show with trippy effects that dominate the field of view. Neon psychedelic explosions of colors will melt your brain and send you to another dimension on a wild cosmic ride.

How to prevent bad color combinations

Just about any color combination can work if you know how to place them properly on the shirt. The most common mistake for beginners is to rush the dye placement. Train your ability to place colors next to each other without mixing them.

Take your time and place your dye gently and slowly, especially when placing complementary colors next to each other. Bring your bottle close to the fabric and squeeze lightly.

You want to achieve a slow and consistent dye flow. Don’t flood the fabric, leave enough time for the dye to penetrate the fibers. Be careful not to combine complementary colors directly.

Three primary colors together :
Red + Blue + Yellow = Brown

A primary color with its complementary color :
Yellow + Purple = Brown
Blue + Orange = Brown
Red + Green = Brown

Any combination of secondary colors :
Purple + Orange = Brown
Purple + Green = Brown
Orange + Green = Brown

Importance of color placement

No matter what colors you choose, there’s a danger of mistakenly mixing colors that don’t go well together.

You need to be careful how much dye you put on the shirt so it doesn’t spread uncontrollably and mix with other colors.

Even single colors can be used to great effect. Other techniques make use of many colors to achieve jaw-dropping effects. It’s all about the intent and the color placement.

In summary

There are two philosophies in tie-dye when it comes to colors. One says that there are good and bad color combinations.

The other says that there are no bad combination, only bad dye placement. You can make any colors work together, it’s just a matter of how you arrange them.