What color would I mix with gold to make gray?

Name: Paula M.


Procion mx fiber reactive cold water dye

Procion MX Dye

ideal for batik

When mixed with soda ash, Procion dyes are permanent, colorfast, and very washable. You can easily create a palette of brilliant colors ranging from light pastels to deep, vibrant hues.


S&S Worldwide

Procion cold water dye

Procion Cold Water Dye,
set of eight large half-pound jars

When mixed with soda ash, Procion MX dye is permanent, colorfast and very washable. Great for tie-dye and dyeing fabric. 8 ounce 8-color assortment of golden yellow, brilliant orange, fire engine red, fuchsia, turquoise, medium blue, bright green and jet black.


Country or region: USA

Message: What color would I mix with gold to make gray? It's a pair of cotton curtains.

Getting a truly neutral color sometimes takes more than one step. First, overdye your curtains with a color as close to to the opposite color on the color wheel as you can manage, that is, the complementary color. If the color you obtain from your first attempt is not quite as neutral a gray as you want, then, after washing and drying your fabric, look at what color cast you have, and choose its complement in order to correct your color to neutral.

The complementary color for yellow is purple, while the complementary color for orange is blue. When you say "gold", I can't be sure whether you mean a golden yellow, which is to say an orangish yellow, or a slightly brownish yellow. The most likely complement will be a slightly purplish blue.

The quickest way to find the true complement of any color is to look for its afterimage. With a sheet of plain white paper ready to hand, in a good light, fix your eyes on one spot in the middle of the gold curtains. Keep staring at the gold for a full sixty seconds, then suddenly switch your eyes to look at the center of the white paper. Instead of appearing a neutral white, for a few seconds you will see that the paper appears to be blue. The hue that you see on the white paper is the complement of the gold color on which you have temporarily exhausted your color vision. That's the color of the dye that you should use.

Since your curtains are made of cotton, I strongly recommend that you use a fiber reactive dye, such as Procion MX dye. Other brands of fiber reactive dyes you might be able to find include Dylon Permanent and Tulip Permanent dye. It's best to avoid all purpose dyes, such as Rit, because their colors are less predictable, and they fade quickly in the laundry. If you're willing to accept those limitations, you can use all-purpose dyes. For the widest possible choice of pre-mixed dye colors, I recommend that you look at Dharma Trading Company, or PRO Chemical & Dye, or any retailer who sells Jacquard Procion MX dyes. For a list of places from which to order dye, see my page, "Sources for Dyeing Supplies Around the World".

A top-loading washing machine provides the easiest way to dye a large item to a solid color. You'll need to find a recipe for the specific type of dye you choose to use, so that you can be sure to get all of the ingredients you'll need before you start. See my page, "How can I dye clothing or fabric in the washing machine?", for information about washing machine dyeing, and for links to various recipes.

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Posted: Sunday - October 23, 2011 at 11:40 AM          

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