25% OFF First Invoice

Code at Checkout: APEX25

Minecraft: Dyes

Posted: Feb 27, 2023 in Minecraft

mc head By Kevin Lott


Minecraft is a game with infinite possibilities. With the ability to build your own world, shape the environment as you see fit, fight monsters, and more, it’s hard to believe that you’ll ever have the same experience as another player. Despite this, however, there seems to be familiarity in all of our worlds. Everyone builds with wood and cobblestone, as they’re the most common blocks. Everyone makes iron armor before diamond armor. And more importantly, all of our wool-based items are white, since sheep mainly have white wool. Today, we’re going to go over Minecraft’s unique customization system when it comes to cloth and leather: Dyes!



Dyes are a set of sixteen items used to change the color of wool, terracotta, certain mobs, the patterns on banners, shulker boxes, glass, concrete powder, candles, beds, firework stars, and text on signs/hanging signs. In Bedrock Edition they can also be used to dye water in a cauldron. This can then be used to dye leather armor.


Dyes can be produced by crafting them from plants (mainly flowers), by crafting dyes of different colors together, by smelting plants, or by trading with a wandering trader. But how does this work? Well, it’s as simple as placing certain items in the crafting table alone and then receiving the output, which will be a colored dye. For example, an Ink Sack creates black dye, Bone Meal creates white dye, Roses create red dye, and so on…


Dyes can be used in a multitude of ways to change the color of almost anything and everything as long as it’s made with cloth. This is typically done by placing the dye in a crafting table with the item/block you’re trying to dye.

Wool and Mobs – Dyes can be used on sheep to change the color of the wool. Shearing a colored sheep drops the corresponding color of the wool, and the sheep retains the color when the wool regenerates. Infinite-colored wool farm! Breeding colored sheep produces a lamb colored as one of the parent sheep, or a color resulting from the combination of both parents’ colors. The color combining follows the same rules that dyes use. For example, if a red and blue sheep have a baby, the baby will be purple. The unlimited reproduction of colored sheep makes dyeing and shearing sheep infinitely more efficient than just dyeing wool directly. Dye can also be used to change the color of the collar on a wolf or cat.

Terracotta – Terracotta can be dyed by placing 8 blocks around a dye on a crafting table.

Stained Glass – Stained glass can be created by placing 8 blocks of glass around a dye on a crafting table. Just like regular glass, stained glass can be crafted into stained glass panes. The recipe is the same as with regular glass.

Armor – Leather armor can be dyed by crafting dyes with a piece of leather armor or leather horse armor. You can also douse the leather armor or leather horse armor in a cauldron to which dyes have been added. There are over five million different combinations of colors leather armor can be, as it is possible to put more than one dye on the crafting bench alongside the leather armor. The armor can also be dyed multiple times with previous colors affecting the final outcome. Colored armor can be reverted to its original color using a cauldron with water.

The game actually uses a specific formula to determine the color of the dyed armor. Each color has specific values tied to them which are used in the formula to determine the outcome. Due to the way the formula works, the resulting color can never be darker than the average of the input colors and is often lighter and more saturated. Of course, the resulting color can never be lighter or more saturated than the lightest or most saturated color input color. If leather is renamed on an anvil, it retains the name when dyed or undyed. By far, leather armor has the most extensive utilization of dyes in the entire game.


Fireworks – A firework star can have a single color or a combination of up to eight colors when crafted with dyes. Adding one or more dyes to a crafted firework star adds a “fade to color” effect to it, overwriting any existing fade colors.

Banner Patterns – Dyes are used in most banner patterns to determine the pattern and color displayed on the Banner. By proxy, this also means dyes are used to customize shields.

Dyeing Shulker Boxes – Shulker boxes can be dyed any color. They can also be re-dyed if desired. This is a great way to distinguish which shulker boxes have what inside of them, essentially color-coding them.

Dyeing Beds – Players can dye beds by placing a bed and any color dye in a crafting grid. This will change the color of the sheets, but not the pillow, which will always remain white. Still, I reminisce about the days when there was only the red bed.

Candles – Players can dye candles by placing an undyed candle and any color dye in a crafting grid. This is probably my favorite use of dye, with the different color candles looking so vibrant and beautiful.

Signs – Dye can be used on a sign or a hanging sign to change the text color. This is pretty useful for servers that like to highlight their rules, guidelines, and other important information in spawns.


  • Players can obtain each one of every color with 1 cocoa bean, 2 yellow dye, 2 ink sac, 3 green dye, 4 lapis lazuli, 4 red dye, and 6 bone meal. Get crafting!
  • The dyed sheep breeding behavior mirrors Lamarck’s theory, in which the organisms evolve inheriting the external changes and adaptations of the previous generation, transmitting them to their offspring.
  • In Bedrock Edition, tertiary colors, along with their regular crafting recipes, can be crafted with primary colors. For example, Magenta can be crafted with one rose red and two bone meals.
  • The colors of the dyes match the chat colors except for brown, light aqua, and gold.



Well, that’s all there is to dyes! Color dyes in Minecraft are pretty extensive, with the ability to affect almost everything that seems like it should change color. In particular, I’m very fond of the colored candles. I think they add a flair to them that just wouldn’t be the case otherwise. It’s also interesting that most of the dyes come from what you would expect, like flowers and inc sacks. In any case, I hope you’ve learned something new today. Have a great one!

Start Your Minecraft Server

Get started with your own minecraft server in 5 min and start trying out these great features.