The Frozen Storm
By Max McCool

WARNING: Ovens, lighters, matches, knives, and other tools called for in this tips section can be dangerous when not properly used. If you intend on trying any of these tips at home, you must tell your parents exactly what your plans are before proceding. Improper use of some of the tools suggested can result in cutting, burning or staining yourself or your family's property. So ask FIRST, and be careful!
This month, we’re going to do a step by step dye job on an STX Bionic. It comes out with a kind of Tye-Dye effect, and can be done with several different colors, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Dye-O-Meter rating: Advanced level - But Everyone Can Try It!

Stuff needed:

  • White Head
  • 2 Colors RIT dye, Evening Blue and Navy Blue for this one
  • Large Pot (for boiling water)
  • Spatula

  • PAM Cooking Spray
  • Aluminum Tray that a Bionic can fit in
  • Space in Freezer where aluminum tray can fit
  • INTRO:

    The Frozen Storm. This is my second dye job using this PAM-and-Freeze technique, and so far so good. On the first stick, I used yellow first and then red, which made a kind of fire effect. This dye job is the follow up, and came out looking pretty good.

    Step 1: Prepare your materials.

    To begin, put a large pot of water on to boil. There needs to be enough water to fill your dying tray and cover the stick. It will boil a lot faster if you get it as hot as you can out of the faucet. Also, clean out a space in your freezer where the aluminum tray can fit. If it doesn't, try and find something small enough to hold your stick and water and still fit in. You will be freezing your head in a block of ice later.
    If it's not new, clean your head as best you can. Lava soap works well, but water and a washcloth will do just fine. The whiter, the better. Throughout the process, you can use the spatula to stir up the dye as well as use the handle to pick up the head out of the boiling water so as not to burn your hands or smear the colors.

    Step 2: First Color

    When the water finally comes to a boil, pour it into your dye tray. Pour in the Evening Blue dye, whether it be liquid or powder, and stir it up. (I made mine with one packet of the powder, and it came out fine. If you prefer the liquid form, that's cool too.)

    Take your head and the PAM and lightly dust the head with a layer of cooking spray. Hold the PAM about a two feet from your stick. Hold your stick with your thumb in the stick hole, so that you can get PAM everywhere. Try not to coat it on too thick, or no dye will get to the plastic. This works because oil and water don't mix, so the PAM will keep the dye from touching the head. Also keep in mind that the PAM that does not hit the stick hits the ground. It makes floors very slippery, so you might wanna do it over a sink.

    Without touching the PAM on your stick, submerge your stick in the dye bath and let it sit. Make sure the water level covers the stick in all places. Leave it in until it is the color you want it. When you remove the head, again do your best not to smear the PAM. Hang the head somewhere to dry, but dont rinse it off.

    Step 3: The Whole "Frozen" Part
    This part is what kicks it up a notch. Empty your aluminum tray of the dye somewhere your parents won't mind, and rinse it out. Make sure it can fit in your freezer. Fill it with cold water, and place it in the freezer. Take your head and put it in the water, and close your freezer. Wait a while for the water to freeze, then take the whole apparatus out. Pop the block of ice out of the aluminum tray into your sink. Do it gently so you don't break the ice. Your head should be face up at this point in the ice.

    Step 4: Prep for the Navy Blue

    We're going to be pouring boiling Navy Blue water over our block of ice. This will melt the ice slowly, allowing the dye to hit some parts of the stick but not others. It also means you have to put dye in your pot, so ask your mom first. (or just pour the water into a bucket, and go from there)

    Start a pot of water boiling. Take the block of ice in the sink, and what you'll want to do is use hot water from the tap to slowly melt down the ice around the parts of the stick you want darker. For example, if a particular part of your head came out looking awesome from the light blue, you may want to leave the ice on that section so that it will still be there when you're done. The ice will make loud cracking sounds, but dont worry, it'll be O.K. Dont melt too much, or it will all turn out your final color. The thing about this dye job is that the final outcome is never set in stone, so you may never have two sticks that look alike, but they'll all look pretty cool.

    When you've melted the ice you want, take your ice and put it somewhere you can pour dye and not worry about it. I used a wire cooling rack under the ice so that the dye wouldn't collect into a pool under the stick.

    Step 5: The Dark Blue

    This is the more difficult part of the dye job because you have to hold a huge pot of boiling water and pour it out slowly. When your pot of water comes to a boil, pour in the navy blue dye and stir it up. The hotter the water is, the better it will absorb into the plastic. Take the pot of water to your stick in the ice and slowly pour it over the head. The water will hit it and fall right off, but if the longer you pour the water on a specific part of the stick, the darker it will become. At the same time, the boiling water will be melting the ice in random patterns, resulting in the random tye-dye effect we're aiming for. If you finish pouring out your water and want to keep adding color, just put the remaining ice/stick back in the freezer and cook you up some more dark blue dye.

    Step 6: Finishing Up

    If you're satisfied with your pour and the resulting color, melt the rest of the ice off with warm water. Keep in mind there will be dye still on the stick, so try no to touch and smear the color and be careful you don't put blue stains in your sink. With all the ice off the stick, put your head back in the freezer in order to cure the stick. This will help keep the colors from fading over time. Leave it in about 30 minutes while you clean up everything. When you take the stick out, let it warm back up and then wipe off any remaining dye or PAM cooking oil under running water.

    You're Finished! Enjoy the stick, and start planning your next color combination. I think just about any dark/light color combo will work, so go nuts with it. Also, try combining this technique with others such as hot glue and RIT color remover. Get creative with your methods, and be original. There are thousands of possibilities, so have fun with it!

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  • String-O-Meter

    Each pocket design found in the Stick Tech Workshop will be assigned a String-O-Meter rating. This is just a relative measure of how difficult it is to string the sticks.

    EASY - This refers mainly to mesh pockets and those for the novice and first time stringer.
    MEDIUM - This refers to sticks such as the six and eight diamond stringing. The designs aren't too tough, but require some concentration and time.
    DIFFICULT - This refers to sticks like THE "Dog Track". These sticks are usually variations from the basic traditional pocket.
    ADVANCED - This refers to sticks that take more time and careful attention to string properly. Overall stringing capability and ability to tie more complicated knots are usually needed to string a pocket reading 4 on the String-O-Meter.