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How To Dye a Disc

If you would like to share your dye methods, send me an e-mail and I will post it here.
Posted: 08-01-01
By Blake Takkunen - The Webmaster blake@discgolfreview.com
*Disclaimer*: I have only done this once. I do not know how long the dye will hold without fading. The method described seems to hold dye well and have a very quick set time. It works best on white discs of the elite plastic variety. Only try this if you are aware of the risk that you might make your discs look dumb. Please don't get mad at me if it doesn't work out the way you wanted it to.

  • Rit Dye - Powdered Form - This should be around $2 at any Wal-mart, Walgreens, etc.
  • Pigment-Based Ink Pad Ink (for rubber stamps) - I purchased this at Michael's Arts & Crafts for about $3 a bottle.
  • Dye-Based Ink Pad Ink (this is optional)
  • Rit Dye - Liquid Concentrate (this is optional)

    Other Recommended Materials:
  • Drinking Straws - For blowing the dye around on your disc.
  • Mixing Containers - I recommend something cheap that you can throw away.
  • Rubber Gloves - Dye is harmful, safety is good.
  • Lots of Newspaper or a Plastic Tarp - The dye will stain a lot of surfaces.
  • Eye Droppers - For splatter designs, etc.
  • Contact Paper (Light adhesive type) - To cut out designs for the disc that you want to dye separately.
  • Small Foam Paint Brushes - If you want to evenly coat larger areas or paint specific designs.
  • Crappy Sink - You'll need to wash off the excess dye and it will splatter...
  • Several Rags/Towels you don't mind ruining.
  • Fan - This will speed up the dry time but is not mandatory.
  • Pottery Wheel - Very optional, will help you get cool designs.

    Mixing the Dye:
    Add some of the powdered rit to a mixing container. Pour in some Pigment Ink of the same color and stir. The powdered Rit will not dissolve and you should get a thick, gritty paste. This mixture will give a very dark color. To lighten it up a bit you can dilute it with Dye-based Ink or Liquid Rit, or a small amount of water. Too much water will make it bead on top of your disc and not set very well.

    Applying the Dye Mixture:
    You are now ready to dye your disc. Apply any contact paper designs you want to the top of the disc. If you want deep solid colors, brush a little bit of the dye mixture onto the regions you want. Try to evenly spread the Rit grains. The dye will run if you put too much of it on. For streaks you can drip it on and blow it around with a straw. I do recommend doing all the dye process you want before letting it set. For example, if you cover one section with yellow and drip blue drips onto it before you let it set, it will be yellow with blue drips, but if you cover one section with yellow, let it set, and then add blue drips later, the drips will end up green.

    Finishing Process
    Let the disc set with the dye on it on some newspaper or tarp etc. Blow a fan across it if you want it to "dry" faster. I'm not sure if a fan is necessary but we used one. If you want deep, dark, bold colors, let the dye set for 20-45 minutes. For lighter, faded-looking colors, let it set for 5-10 minutes. When the time is up, take the disc to the sink and wash it off. Hot water will cause the dye to set better but will also leave streaks. Cold water will not streak but the dye will set less. I recommend finding a happy medium. Wipe the disc off with a rag when you are done to get all the excess dye off the surface and voila, you have a dyed disc.

    You will probably need to experiment with colors, mixtures, etc. to get exactly what you want. From our experience, DX plastic wouldn't set at all, KC set decently, but SE and Elite Pro plastic seemed to be the best. Please let me know if this process worked for you if you give it a try. If you come up with any revision or specific combination you found to work well, I will post those here if you like. If anyone wants to send in pictures of discs they have dyed I will post those as well.
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