Double-click to apply to another item.
— in-game description
To color an item with dye, double-click the vial, then click on the item you wish to dye. This brings up the dye preview window, which shows you how the item would look after being colored. You can then drag additional dyes (up to four total) into the slots in the preview window, which allows more variations in color; you must mix at least two different colors (e.g. two purples with a blue, but not two purples alone). When you are satisfied with your dye combination, click Apply to finalize it or Cancel to close the window, without losing any of the dyes.
Only four types of items can be dyed:
- Armor can be dyed, except for:
- Weapons (including offhands) can be dyed. However:
- Containers can be dyed with a single color; you cannot preview results or mix colors. There is also no visible difference outside of the inventory panel.
- Costumes can be dyed, except for most festival hats.
Acquisition and trade
Vials of dye drop randomly from most foes. It can also be bought or sold at market prices by visiting a dye trader, located in towns or well-stocked guild halls. All dyes have a merchant value of 1 and a trader minimum of 10 (except as noted below), but in-game values fluctuate considerably; be sure to get price checks before trading with other players.
In pre-Searing Ascalon, black dyes (BD for short) are often used in lieu of Glob of Ectoplasm, Armbraces of Truth or Zaishen Keys (all of which cannot be found there) as an alternate currency for trades. Therefore a common scam is to buy black dyes (or other high-demand items) from new players, who are unaware of the market values.
Two types of dye can only be acquired from NPCs; they do not ever drop from foes:
- Gray dye is only available from merchants or from collectors of certain quest reward trophies.
- Vials of Sadie's Dye [Pink] can only be purchased from Sadie Salvitas during the Anniversary Celebration and October (cost: 100). They are identical to the foe-dropped Vials of Dye [Pink] with the following exceptions:
- Their description reads "A special blend created to support breast cancer awareness. This item is not sellable or tradable."
- They can be sold to merchants for 50 (at any time), but cannot be traded to other players or dye traders.
Dye is also a reward for completing certain quests:
- To Dye For (Istan) rewards a random color;
- The Knights Who Say Nian (Canthan New Year) rewards a vial of red dye.
- The dye preview window is a useful tool to make sure you will get the color you want.
- Each substance dyes differently: purple on Warrior Platemail armor can look very different from purple on Ranger Tyrian armor. (Keep this in mind when trying to dye mixed armor sets.)
- Some items respond unexpectedly to dyes. For example, applying blue dye makes Chaos Axes look red.
- Some colors can be "faked" by mixing other dyes (e.g. green = blue + yellow).
- You cannot preview changes in these situations:
- Dyeing armor while a costume is equipped and set to visible.
- Dyeing an offhand while a two-handed weapon is equipped.
- Dyeing armor from a different profession.
- Items always have a color.
- You can restore the default appearance of many items by applying gray dye. For weapons, yellow dye will frequently be closer to the original look.
- Dyeing over an already-dyed item will normally overwrite the base color. However, see the bug note below.
- Silver dye is similar to gray, but it will cause normally non-reflective materials, such as cloth, to become metallic-looking. This effect still works when mixed with other dyes.
- Be careful when trading as gray is easily mistaken for the more expensive silver dye.
- Black and white dyes drop less frequently and are more popular; they are by far the most expensive.
- Black Dyes are also used as currency in Pre-Searing Ascalon, likely due to lack of other rare items.
- Dyes acquired prior to the current system (see below) have a merchant value of 25 and do not stack with the current dyes.
- Many collector weapons cannot be dyed, even though the weapon normally does accept a dye when obtained as a random drop.
- The dye system was completely revamped on Friday, October 27, 2006:
- Dye Remover (which reset an item back to its default base color) was replaced with gray dye.
- White and brown dyes were added.
- The Dye Preview window was added.
- Color mixing now takes place in the preview window, whereas before the dyes were combined directly to create Mixed Dye, which could be applied to an item.
- The inventory icon appearance of dyes changed.
- Armor that had been crafted without dye was changed to appear as if dyed gray.
- Before this, items instead started with default colors. (You can still see these default colors whenever dye takes a moment to render, such as on a low-end machine. This reveals how dye is rendered: a color-cast is put over the underlying textures, which were never in fact changed.)
- In another update, all vials were renamed from "<Color> Dye" to "Vial of Dye [<Color>]". Some languages (e.g. German) already used this naming system.
- The October 15, 2010 update added Rosa Salvitas to Lion's Arch; she remained throughout the month of October selling "Vial of Dye [Pink]" to players in support of Pink Day in LA. The September 30, 2011 update renamed this dye to "Vial of Rosa's Dye [Pink]" and introduced Vials of Dye [Pink] (which is like any other dye). The April 18, 2013 update renamed the NPC to Sadie Salvitas and the relevant dyes were renamed to "Vial of Sadie's Dye [Pink]".
- Dye Mixing at Guild Wars Guru Archive (Old, still contains dye remover and screenshots have all expired)
- The Naughty Necromancer: The female necromancer's guide to high end armor and dye (old, still contains dye remover)