Pigment vs. Dye

Pigments are colored powders that can be suspended in a medium like oil, egg, or acrylic to make paint. The primary difference between pigments and dyes is that pigments don’t dissolve – tiny particles of color stay suspended in the medium. Dyes are mostly used for coloring textiles, and they dissolve in water. Dyes usually need to be fixed with a mordant so the color doesn’t wash out of the fabric. Pigments generally cannot be made into dyes, but some dyes can be made into paints by fixing them onto a white mineral powder like clay. Paints made from dyes are called lakes.