Unlocking the Mystery of the Dye
Dying a stick is easy and fun. Not only can it bring new life to an old stick, it can draw lots of attention on the field and give your game a new attitude. Many players at every level play with dyed sticks. At the college level you will see a couple players on every team with dyed sticks. Players like Lorne Smith at Princeton and Justin Berry at Towson are recognized by their crazy dye jobs. Lorne is known for having sticks dyed with intricate tiger stripes and orange and white confetti. This months article will provide you with everything that you will need to create your own custom creation stick.|
Tools of the trade:
- We used RIT dye in the powder or liquid form successfully every time. Other brands of powder and liquid dye will work if used correctly, but we found that RIT consistently delivered high quality color.
- You need a container in which to dye the head. Use a container that is large enough and durable enough to withstand the heat of boiling water. An old kitchen pot that the family is no longer using or silver paint containers that are deep enough to fit a stick into are good. We recently discovered that using an aluminum turkey cooking tray from your local grocery store works the best. The turkey tray should also only cost you a couple of dollars, and it makes for an easy disposable clean-up.
- If you are planning on creating some kind of design and are dyeing your head something other than one solid color you will need some of the following.
- duct tape or electrical tape
- razor blades or scissors to cut the tape
- waterproof letter and number stickers
- glue gun
- PAM cooking spray
All of these things can be found at your local hardware store and in some cases in your local supermarket or drugstore.
WARNING: Stoves, lighters, knives, and other tools called for in this Dyeing guide 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!
The principle is that by placing a waterproof seal on the plastic of the stick, you cover the parts of the plastic that you want to remain the color that it already is. For example, if you were to place pieces of tape cut in the shape of triangles on the stick and dye it red, when you have finished dying and removed the tape you would have a red stick with white triangles. From this point you can dye color on top of color.
There are a couple of rules and guidelines that you must always keep in mind when dying a stick in order for it to be successful.
- Make sure that the water that you dye the stick in is hot! At E-Lax our sticks are dyed in water that was just brought to a boil, then we let it cool from a boil so the water was not bubbling then we placed the stick into the dye, water mixture.
Due to the hot water, make sure that if you are dying a stick more than one color, that the tape used to make the designs is firmly attached to the plastic. At E-Lax we like to hold the stick over the stove to heat up the tape a bit, just as was done when we baked the stick and then the stick is placed into the dye. By heating up the tape just a little bit you ensure that all of the adhesive on the tape has melted to the stick. You can also use a lighter to do this instead of the stove. A large lighter like the kind used to light grills works very well.
- When dying a stick more than one color you can only dye darker colors on top of lighter colors. Meaning that if you were to dye your stick black first, you could not change the color to yellow after it is black. You must always dye with the lighter colors first, then dye the darker colors on top. Keep in mind that some colors will mix together on the stick at first. For example when dying blue on top of yellow the stick will first turn a shade of green before it turns blue. Don't worry though, if you leave the stick in the dye long enough it will change to blue.
- BEGINNERS SHOULD WEAR RUBBER GLOVES WHEN DYING IN ORDER TO NOT DYE YOUR HANDS!
The step by step:
- Plan out the stick design first. Before you buy the appropriate color dye, decide what the color scheme and the pattern is going to look like. Also figure out if your design is possible. This is important so you do not make a mistake and dye the stick the wrong color first. Draw a basic outline and picture first in order to be sure to remember each step and to get an idea of how the colors will look when finished.
- Prepare the stick for the first dye. At this point you want to use the tape and letters or numbers to cover the plastic. Remember that what you are about to tape is going to remain white when the stick is complete. Also, remember to heat up the tape a bit to make it adhere properly to the plastic. Unless you want to dye the pocket as well, we recommend removing the string first!
- The Dye: At this point you need to measure out how much water is required to completely submerge the stick. Then place the water in a container over the stove and bring it to a boil. When the water starts to boil, turn of the stove and let it cool a little bit. When it stops bubbling add the dye to the water, you may want to use an old kitchen tool to stir it a bit if it is in the powder form. While the dye is still very hot, place the stick in the dye. It should only be a matter of minutes until the stick has come to its full color, the hotter the dye, the faster it takes to the stick. Also keep in mind one of the rules of dying: If you are dying the stick more than one color, make sure that this is the lightest of the colors.
- Removal: At e-lax we recommend removing the stick when you are satisfied with the color and placing it immediately under the tap of the sink under ice cold water. This will wash off all the remaining dye that could drip off the stick and potentially ruin the carpet in your house or your clothes! It also cures the stick, meaning that the dye will not bleed off of it and onto your hands. If you have taped the stick in order to create designs, by leaving the stick under the cold water it also makes it a lot easier to take off the tape!
- At this point you can dry the cold water from the stick with an old dish rag of some sort. If you are only dying your stick one color than you are ready to remove the tape if you had used any to keep some of the stick white, or if you just dyed it one solid color, then you are ready to string it up and go play.
- If you are dying the stick another color, then you need to leave the tape on the stick that you placed on there before to keep the white parts of the stick. Now add more tape to keep parts of the stick the color that you just dyed. Then repeat steps 1-4 again only this time use a darker color dye. Feel free to get as crazy as you can imagine to create a crazy designed stick all your own.
WIN TICKETS FOR YOUR WHOLE TEAM!
Below are some ideas for custom dye jobs and descriptions of how to do them.
This is a dye job that has become very popular in recent years because it is fairly simple to make and it looks fantastic when finished. Cut any variety of small shapes from the tape and place them on the stick (triangles, circles, squares, etc). Then dye the stick in a lighter color such as light blue, yellow, red, orange or even Neon green! Then after you have dyed it once, cover the stick with more shapes and dye it a darker color such as Royal Blue, Forest Green, Black. When you remove the shapes you will have a stick with white and whatever color you chose confetti. If you do not heat up the tape you can allow some color to seep into the white spots, this can sometimes turn out to look good in the end. You can also tear the tape instead of cutting it to get faded edges. If you use duct tape to do this it has a really cool effect. People have been known to make confetti using all types of shapes, this is a really easy dye job to get creative with!
- Team Dye Job:
This is a classic design where you use letters to spell out your name, team, number, or whatever you desire on the stick and dye the scoop one color, leaving a white strip at the corners of the scoop. Then dye the rest of the stick another color. This is done by taping off the sides of the scoop and then only sticking the scoop of the stick into the dye. Then when you have dyed the top. Turn the stick right-side up and dye the bottom half a different color.
- Fades: In order to fade from one color to the next you can simply hold one part of the stick out of the dye as you dye the rest of it. That way, one part will remain its current color while the rest of it will be fade to another color.
- The Glue gun technique:
We dyed some sticks using a glue gun at E-Lax and came out with some crazy looking sticks. Instead of using tape on the plastic, hot glue from a glue gun was used to drip and draw lines all over the stick. Then it was placed into the dye after the glue cools and hardens (when using this technique do not put the stick over the stove before dying!). Then continue to use the glue in between different and progressively darker dyes to get some crazy results!
While the stick is still white, drip the hot glue over the stick in the colors that you want to stay white. Then dye the stick in your first, and lighter color. Then remove the stick from the dye and place it under the cold tap water to cure and cool it. At this stage do not remove the glue strips yet if you want to add additional colors. Now simply add more glue on top of the first layer in new shapes and designs. Then with two layers of glue on the stick dye it in the second color. The dye will change the color of the glue on the stick, but don't worry because the colors under the glue are still the same.
If you want to add more colors to the stick you can continue in the same manner if not then after you have cured and cooled the stick after the second color, you are ready to remove the glue. Because you have laid the sick under the cold water for a while the glue will come off easily and sometimes in just a few large pieces. Simply peel off the glue with your hands and throw it away. (You may need to use a razor blade to get under the first edge, so be very careful if you do!)
Pam cooking oil technique: This is a technique that we at E-lax just recently stumbled upon. Spay a light coat of oil on a couple sides of the stick. Then dye it one color. The oil will not mix with the dye and the result is a very psychedelic splattered look. After you have placed the stick with the oil in the dye, place it under cold water and dry it off with an old dish rag. Drying it off will remove the oil from the stick. If you choose to do more than one color, then spray on more oil after you have rubbed off the first layer with the rag. For the second dye be sure to use more oil in order to keep white and the first color dye in the stick. Then dye the stick again and place it under the cold water. Don't forget to dry off the stick with a rag in order to get the oil off and see your new stick!
String dying: While you are dying your new stick. Feel free to dye some of your strings as well. When the dye is hot and you are about to place your stick in the dye throw in a piece of mesh or some sidewall string and nylons. You can also fade the mesh from one color to another. Just be sure not to leave a white dot in the middle that looks like a ball- That is banned in the NCAA rules.
You can also dye a stick with the string in the stick. But if you dye the stick more than one color the strings will turn out as the darkest color you dye. When dying string you will find that when trying to dye parts of strings it is difficult to dye a string and make it change from say red to white at one spot. The string becomes saturated with the dye and fades from one color to the next. This can create some really cool effects however. Before you string your next traditional stick, try dying your nylons a new color.
If you take the nylons right from the string kit, and leave them in the spool with the rubber band around them, you can place half of the spool in the dye and leave the other half out. Then when you go and unravel the string to put it in the stick you will have nylons that fade from one color to white and then back to the color. If you try to dye your stick with mesh in it the mesh will dye faster and the color will spread across the mesh faster than it does on the plastic stick.
Combinations: There are no rules to stick design, you can combine all of the techniques mentioned above to get a fabulous looking stick. Feel free to put your team and number on the stick along with some confetti and fade the head from one color to another! Or use long pieces of tape and make a racing strip down the side of the stick. The possibilities are endless, so get creative and have fun. Just take a look at our Mutant E-Lacrosse stick!