How To Paint Dinos In ARK: Survival Evolved

You don’t have to rely on mutations to have tamed dinosaurs with attractive hues and unique patterns. You can choose to paint your tames instead! The resources needed to paint your dinosaurs are relatively easy to get. The process is painless, so there’s no reason not to experiment and apply some paint to your dinosaurs today. 

How to Paint Dinos in ARK


Painting dinosaurs in ARK is easy – making it look good is what’s a bit harder. Some of the paint colors are so bright and discordant that they can make your zoo look more than a little silly. However, so many colors available means that your menagerie can have any aesthetic you prefer. 

Free Painting Tames on ARK

When you paint dinosaurs on ARK, you don’t choose zones and add colors like you do with structures. Instead, you use free painting and work on the tames by hand. This means you can paint shapes or words if you choose. 

You have to access free painting in various ways, depending on your platform.

  • On PC: Click the dinosaur in the right pane to freehand paint it on PC. You can use the mouse to drag the creature or use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out. Hold down left control if you need to rotate the beast you’re painting. 
  • On Xbox: Press A to freehand paint. You can use the left bumper to rotate and the left trigger to zoom. 
  • On PlayStation: Press A to free paint on PlayStation and use the left bumper with the right stick to rotate and the left trigger with the right stick to zoom.
  1. Place any colors you want to use on your tame into your inventory.
  2. Drag the paintbrush from your inventory to your hot bar.
  3. Click the corresponding number to put the paintbrush in your hand.
  4. Approach your tame with your brush out.before-painting
  5. Click to Use the paintbrush. It will look like you’re smacking your tame with it, and the painting men will open.
  6. Drag the color you want to use onto the paintbrush under Tools Available.
  7. Move the selection tool over the tame area you want to color with that shade. It will be applied as you go. If you’re using PS4, you have to hold down L2 and move the left stick to apply paint. On Xbox, hold down RT and use the left stick to apply paint.
  8. Drag another color onto your paintbrush.
  9. Color other sections of the tame as desired, switching paint colors on your brush when you want to change to another color. You can drag the tame to turn them and see them from other angles in the right panel.during-painting
  10. Exit the painting window. The changes will save as they’re applied, so the creature should already look painted as soon as you see it again.after-painting

Remember, if you upload the creature, put it in a cryopod, or clone it, the paint job will be removed.

Painting Dinosaurs in ARK Mobile

Painting dinosaurs in the mobile version of ARK is a bit different. You use an item called Potent Dust and color it with your dyes. Then you place it into the inventory of the tame you want to dye to see the effects.

On mobile, you can use the dyed Potent Dust on baby creatures your tames have produced to keep the number you’re using low. However, you can also feed larger, adult tames the dyed Potent Dust to change their colors. 

  1. Put Potent Dust in your inventory. 
  2. Put the dye you want to use in your inventory.
  3. Drag the dye into the Potent Dust. You will see the color change.
  4. Walk up to the creature you want to dye.
  5. Drag the dyed Potent Dust into its inventory.
  6. Watch the timer go down. You will notice that the creature’s color changes after the Potent Dust is consumed. 
  7. Remove the Potent Dust from the creature’s inventory or let it stay in until more is consumed. You will see the color deepen, change, and spread as you let it eat dyed Potent Dust of the same color.
  8. Take the Potent Dust back into your inventory. If you want to add another color, drag a different dye onto the dyed Potent Dust to change its hue.
  9. Drag the newly dyed Potent Dust back into the tame’s inventory and let it consume it until it is a color you like.

Remember that there is a chance Potent Dust consumption will knock out your tame. Some players even say that it can kill some tames, albeit rarely. 

You can’t use a paintbrush tool or freehand paint on mobile like you can on other platforms. 

Preparing to Paint in ARK


To paint your tames, you will need paint brushes and dyes. It can take a lot of coloring, especially if you have large or many tames that you want to decorate.

Making a Paintbrush

To craft a paintbrush, you must unlock the engram. It only requires you to be level 9, so you can start painting your creatures early if you please.

  1. Put one piece of wood in your inventory. You can simply cut down a tree and will get more than enough wood for several paintbrushes.
  2. Add three hides to your inventory. You gather hide from creatures you kill and harvest. Even a dodo will provide enough hide for this crafting recipe.
  3. Add ten thatch to your inventory. You get this from harvesting trees. Swap to using the pick instead of the ax to prioritize thatch over wood.
  4. Open your inventory.
  5. Choose the Crafting tab.
  6. Look for the Paintbrush engram. You can search by typing in the name if desired.
  7. Right-click the engram.
  8. Choose to craft. The items will appear in your inventory when they’re ready.

Once you have a paintbrush, you can use it to access the painting menu when you’re near a tame. 

Making Dye

The recipe for each dye is different and requires different ingredients. Unlike the Paintbrush, dye can’t be crafted in your inventory. You’ll need a Cooking Pot or an Industrial Cooker. 

For this example, we’ll make Forest colored dye. Its hex code is #006b00.

  1. Gather seven amarberries. You can find them in many locations by harvesting bushes and grasses.
  2. Gather seven azulberries. You will likely harvest these at the amarberries.
  3. Gather four narcoberries. These are gathered with the others. They’re one of the main ingredients in narcotic and will make you or your tames gain torpor if you ingest them.
  4. Create one gunpowder. Add one Sparkpowder and one Charcoal to the Mortar and Pestle to create gunpowder. The engram can be unlocked at level 15. 
  5. Fill a Canteen, Waterskin, or Water Jar. The Waterskin can be crafted from four hides and 12 fibers in your inventory. Take it to a water source with the Waterskin on your hotbar and use it to fill it.
  6. Put all the berries and the gunpowder into the Cooking Pot. Drag the water container in as well. 
  7. Add wood to the Cooking Pot. It needs fuel to run. You can also fuel it with thatch.
  8. Light the Cooking Pot. Let it run until it’s done turning your ingredients into Forest colored dye.
  9. Drag the dye into your inventory to use it or move it to storage.

Each set of ingredients should make five of the desired dyes. 

You don’t have to unlock engrams for each of the 25 colors available. Once you add the right ingredients to the Cooking Pot or Industrial Cooker, it will simply produce what dye it can until it runs out of components or fuel.

This means that you only want to add enough of each ingredient to make your desired dye unless you don’t care which color you get. Many dyes share elements in common. 

ARK Dye Recipes

Each type of dye in ARK has a slightly different recipe. They use a selection of the five berry types, water, and either charcoal, gunpowder, or sparkpowder.

  • Forest: 7 amarberries, 7 azulberries, 4 narcoberries, and 1 gunpowder
  • Green: 9 amarberries, 9 azulberries, and 2 charcoal
  • Blue: 15 azulberries and 2 charcoal
  • Cyan: 6 amarberries, 12 azulberries, and 1 sparkpowder
  • Navy: 12 azulberries, six narcoberries, and 1 sparkpowder
  • Sky: 12 azulberries, 6 stimberries, and 1 gunpowder
  • Magenta: 9 azulberries, 9 tintoberries, and 1 sparkpowder
  • Purple: 9 azulberries, 9 tintoberries, and 2 charcoal
  • Royalty: 7 azulberries, 7 tintoberries, 4 narcoberries, and 1 gunpowder
  • Pink: 12 tintoberries, 6 stimberries, and 1 gunpowder
  • Red: 15 tintoberries and 2 charcoal
  • Brick: 12 tintoberries, 6 narcoberries, and 1 sparkpowder
  • Orange: 9 amarberries, 9 tintoberries, and 2 charcoal
  • Tangerine: 7 amarberries, 7 tintoberries, 4 narcoberries, and 1 gunpowder
  • Cantaloupe: 7 amarberries, 7 tintoberries, 5 stimberries, and 1 sparkpowder
  • Olive: 12 amarberries, 6 narcoberries, and 1 sparkpowder
  • Yellow: 15 amarberries and 2 charcoal
  • Mud: 4 amarberries, 1 azulberry, 7 tintoberries, 6 narcoberries, and 1 gunpowder
  • Brown: 6 amarberries, 3 azulberries, 9 tintoberries, and 2 charcoal
  • Tan: 4 amarberries, 1 azulberry, 7 tintoberries, 6 stimberries, and 1 gunpowder
  • White: 15 stimberries and 2 charcoal
  • Parchment: 12 amarberries, 6 stimberries, and 1 gunpowder
  • Silver: 6 narcoberries, 12 stimberries, and 1 gunpowder
  • Slate: 12 narcoberries, 6 stimberries, and 1 sparkpowder
  • Black: 15 narcoberries and 2 charcoal

Add these ingredients with a full water container to your desired crafting device. Turn it on and wait until the dye finishes. 

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