Aug 23, 2021

Decyphering Dyes - How to Choose the Right Dye for Your Next Project.

We've recently expanded our range of colour dyes and sprays, but we know that with so many different options, it can sometimes be difficult to nail down the difference between each product, and which dye is right for the type of material you are using.

What is the difference between Dye-na-Flow and Acid Dye? When should I use Design Master? How do I get a metallic finish? What can I use to colour flowers? How do you dye leather?  We've been busy testing, and now we've got the answers to all these questions and more.

To help you find the right dye for your next project, we've written a detailed comparison guide for all of our dyes and sprays. We've tried each of these products on a variety of different materials and surfaces, and you'll find our recommendations below. We're including both the manufactuer's recommended uses, plus what we've discovered in our testing. 

If you've got any great tips and tricks that you'd like to share, send us an email, and we'll update this page with more information from the community!

Design Master ColorTool Spray

Can't find the right colour trim, flower or feather? Design Master ColorTool is our most popular colouring product - and for good reason. It's a versatile and fast-drying product that can be used simply to add solid colour to an object, or to create a variety of colourful textures with various techniques. Originally designed for colouring fresh flowers, ColorTool bonds well to most surfaces, including fabrics, flowers, paper, ribbon, foam and more. The fine spray on the cans allows for even coating and the opportunity to create new colours by layering and blending between cans. With a wide range of colours, it's our top choice for colouring silk flowers for millinery or craft.

Works on - Natural & fresh flowers, feathers, fabric, ribbons, ceramics, paper, straws, metals, glass, some plastics, Styrofoam & more.

Our Recommendations - Ribbons, trims & motifs, flowers, feathers, sinamay, straw, thermoplastics & more.

Tips & Tricks

  • When working with unusual and tricky surfaces or colouring over a darker surface with a lighter spray, start with the Design Master Primer Spray for a more even longer lasting finish.
  • To blend colours work with the paint while its still wet and slowly alternate spraying colours a fine layer of spray at a time. To lighten colours use the Design master White spray and add a fine layer slowly to the original colour while its still wet. The colours will blend together on the product smoothly this way. This is also a great way to great a gradient effect in your design.
  • Always work outside or in a well ventilated area with a mask and apron on. It can get messy but it will be worth the effect in the end! 

In addition to the ColorTool sprays, we sell Design Master's Primer, for better adhesion to even more surfaces.

Shop Design Master ColorTool

Design Master Metallic & Glitter

The Design Master Premium Metals & Glitter sprays are a great way to add that metallic finish and sparkle to your next project. The Glitter sprays produce a fine glitter mist that sticks to surfaces including fabrics so can be a great way to add a sparkle to your outfit. The Premium Metal sprays provide a rich, lustrous metallic finish with high coverage in an extra thin coat.

Works on - Natural & fresh flowers, feathers, fabric, ribbons, ceramics, paper, straws, metals, glass, some plastics, Styrofoam & more.

Our Recommendations - Flowers, feathers, sinamay, straw, thermoplastics, fabric (glitter) & more.

Tips & Tricks

  • You may find the metallic sprays are duller on woven fabric/trims/motifs as the paint is absorbed into the fibres rather than sitting on the surface. If this occurs we recommend starting the a primer coat first and make sure it is fully dried before applying the metallic spray.
  • To make a super shiny metal finish to your project, try adding a layer of the Glossy Finish spray once the metallic spray is completely dried.

Shop Design Master Metallics Shop Design Master Glitter

Design Master - Finishes

The Design Master Clear Finishes are a great way to change the finish of your project to either a glossy or matt finish. These are a lacquer-based spray which are fast drying and help produce vibrant colours.

Works on - Feathers, silk flowers, ribbon ceramics, paper, metals, glass, some plastics, Styrofoam, stone, wood & more. 

Our Recommendations - Ostrich Spine feathers, thermoplastics, silk flowers.

Tips & Tricks

  • For the best effect try 2-3 light coats and allow to fully dry between each.
  • Some prefinished surfaces can be difficult to determine coating type. Test Spray an inconspicuous area to ensure compatibility and desired results.
  • Not all surfaces will be able to achieve a glossy or matt finish - especially those which absorb moisture. For best results use on materials where it will sit on the surface.
  • You can also use the Clear Finish sprays as a clear primer for adhering Design Master ColorTool Sprays to slick surfaces.

Shop Design Master Finishes

Lumiere - Metallic paint

Jacquard Lumiere are metallic & pearlescent acrylic paints which can be applied to most surfaces. They won't peel, crack or chip even on flexible surfaces like fabric, leather, vinyl or rubber. They are soft to touch and washfast on fabric. They brush on smoothly to surfaces and are easy to clean up with water. These paints create a gorgeous finish to trims, leather and feather and more.

Works on - Natural & Synthetic fibres, canvas, leather, vinyl, paper, wood, suede, rubber clay & more.

Our Recommendations - Leather, lace trims, Synthetic & natural fabric flowers, feathers, most fabrics, straws, silks & sinamay.

Shop Lumiere


Dye-Na-Flow is a highly transparent liquid fabric paint which works on any porous and semi-porous surface by spreading on fabric until it is thoroughly absorbed and even sinking into the fibres like a dye instead of sitting on top like thicker paints and inks. Dye-Na-Flow leaves the the surface with the same texture and feel as it was before and even leaves the original fabric shine to materials like silks.

Works on - Fabrics, leather, paper, wood, suede, straws.

Our Recommendations - Feathers, synthetic & natural fabric flowers, lace, untreated leather, Suede, most fabrics, buntal, abaca & straws.

Tips & Tricks

  • As the Dye-Na-Flow spreads and absorbs into the fibres be careful how much you apply at once. A little goes a long way and you will find it spreads after the original application.
  • If you are looking to do fine details on your fabric this may not be the product for you. We recommend testing first before beginning the whole project and to start with the smallest amount.

Shop Dye-Na-Flow

Jacquard - Acid Dye

Jacquard Acid dyes are used to colour silks, wool, feathers an other protein fibres and nylons. These Acid dyes are used best in a dye bath with hot water. Vinegar and citric acid are commonly used in addition to the dye to optimal results. We recommend testing a sample of your fabric first and accurately measuring proportions for best results.

Works on - Silk, wool, feathers, nylon & protein fibres.

Our Recommendations - Feathers, silk flowers, wool felts.

Shop Acid Dye

Jacquard - Procion cold water

Procion MX Dyes are cold water dyes that are fixed chemically instead of with heat making the dye process even easier and hassle free. The concentrated powder is mixed with tap water to create vibrant colours on cottons, linen and other plant-based fibres.

Works on - Natural fibres like Cotton, Linen, Rayon and other plant-based fabrics including hemp, jute, ramie, sisal, paper

Our Recommendations - Garment dyeing, tie-dye, cotton/linen trims and motifs, sisal hoods, paper.

Shop Procion MX Dye


Shop Colour Dyes & Sprays

House of Adorn stocks all of these products in an extensive range of colours. Click through below to purchase all of these products and more.