Folksy Ltd

Colour mixing advice please

I’m sure this is a simple question for all you lovely artists who mix colours all the time but I am struggling. I have just started dying my own silk for use in my felting and want to achieve an olive green colour. I have dyes in the basic primary and secondary colours as well as brown and black - the green dye I have is a sort of emerald green, what should I mix with it to get olive green or should I start with other primary colours?

Hope someone is able to steer me in the right direction.

What dyes are you using Roz, try golden yellow and turquoise for an olive green, mixing ultramarine, turquoise and golden yellow will give more possibilities and add lemon yellow, and see where that takes you. I’m afraid, it’s all down to experimenting, try them on paper and see which one you like best. Sorry I can’t be of much help. Don’t mix large quantities until you know what you want, experiment 1st.

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When you are doing your experiments make sure you write down how much of each colour you add into the mix along side a stripe of the colour it gave you, this will make is easier (although not certain) when you need to make up more of a particular colour. (Think of it like a colour mixing lab book)

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Thanks Sue @SueTrevor - I knew someone would come to my rescue. I don’t have a lot of different coloured dyes - just the basics but I do have yellow and turquoise so will try that - it doesn’t need to be an exact shade as I will be felting over it but just roughly the right colour so it doesn’t show through.
Will try and be disciplined Sasha @SashaGarrett - I keep telling myself to keep notes of how I made things, how many layers of wool, shrinkage of wool, time to felt etc etc but then I seem to convince myself I will remember (which I never do!) and never get around to writing anything down - or if I do I lose where I’ve written it - so invariably I have to start from scratch. You would think I would have learned by now.

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Roz, you don’t need many different dyes to make a huge variety of colours. It’s just exciting working out which ones do what! I’m constantly dyeing and love the colour mixes I can get. Sasha is right, everything should be written down, in fact the dyes should be weighed for accurate results, however I use a medicine spoon and just guesstimate, but I am not mass producing and I don’t need the same consistent results!

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The chemist in me shudders at the thought of guestimating remembering how many times I did something on a small scale and just added the end of a spatula full (entered into lab book as ‘catalytic, 10% w.w’) and then had major issues when I came to scale it up (pinky brown cack liberally covering inside of fumehood sort of issues but hopefully you won’t have any of those). The recipe books in this house have anotations of improvements and variations made written in the margins - the OH (a still practicing chemist) and I are that bad. Go on treat yourself to a new notebook with nice thick pages you can paint a stripe of the dye on next to the recipe and other useful notes.

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I am so sorry for upsetting you Sasha, I wish I had your brain. However, I do think what I do works for me and more importantly I know how I should do it and choose not too :rofl: to be honest, I wouldn’t be where I am today if I followed instructions! I don’t think I’ve ever followed a sewing pattern in my life, or only when I was a teenager. My ideas come into my head and I work out how I’m going to make something there too! Very hit and miss, and my sewing machine gets a lot of abuse too! Doing things it wasn’t made to do. It allows me to be different.
Anyway Roz, please let me know how the colour mixing goes, I hope it’s successful :green_heart:

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A very long time ago now I was taught watercolours by quite a highly regarded artist. His advice is that you don’t need as many colours as you think you do. You need a warm red, a cool red, a warm blue, a cool blue and a warm and a cool yellow. Emerald green is a cool green, so Roz is absolutely spot on. To get olive green you need to mix a warm blue with a warm yellow. The thing about greens is that you can get much better greens by mixing the primaries than you can buy in the shops. Some artists say you should never buy green or black for this reason. Mixing primaries gives you a more cohesive palette that you can make your own.

Sam x

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I should be precise in writing down my colour mixes but I rather like the extra added random effect (on top of all the other non controlables in marbling!).

Having warm reds, yellows and blues and then cool versions makes such a difference when colour mixing! Of course the colour of the fabric underneath also has a bearing on how a colour looks (hence why I use different papers! Not all whites are equal!)

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Rit dyes have some lovely mixing charts that work for their dyes…
Though I often just use that as a starting point then experiment from there…
Do weigh everything in advance and keep notes though…
It’s the only way you have any chance of repeating colours…
And if you’re dyeing in a vat or on the hob a thermometer will be handy too.

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