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by user AciDBatH666

Aight ppl. I finally have a full dye with images of nearly every step uploaded, got a list of what you need, and I'm gonna offer my own personal tips, tricks, and whatever else I can think of to help the ppl that are having problems/issues with dyes on their own.

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT CLAIM TO BE DYE MASTER JESUS!! There is no wrong or right way to dye a disc. There's plenty of ppl who do things differently than me and it works for them. The steps I take to dye are going to go into detail the way that I have found to work the best for me. Ive been dying discs for prolly around 8-9 months, and here are some of my tips where you can learn from my trial and error. So if you any constructive criticisms, please post them... As those other ideas may help someone who's looking for a different way to do something in particular.

First off. Items you will need.
Xacto knives-Straight blade (No. 14 I think), and a 360 degree Swivel Xacto. Just trust me, The 360 swivel one makes it so much easier.
RIT Powder. Dont bother with the liquid. It's total SH*T. Lol. Stick with the powder.
Multiple color sharpies Try to get the thinner ones. You want to draw fine lines, this is going to outline where you'll do your cutting. So you dont really want a fat tipped line. I use multiple colors to symbolize what gets cut, and what stays. So try to have at least 2 colors or so. If you plan on doing multilayers of 2+ colors, it really helps to outline the colors on your first initial drawing instead of doing it later.
old T-shirts, or old rags (To help clean up stamp removal)
metal ruler
credit card (or any card, this helps apply contact paper to disc)
pan (preferably one with handles on both sides
contact paper (Found in the kitchen area at any Walmart, shouldnt be more than $6)
Containers to hold dye (if you plan on mixing a difficult color and want to reuse dyes)
Goo Gone
or any chemical to clean up sticky stuff from the contact paper (Make sure it's not too strong, because then it will start to smear your dye if you clean the disc too soon)
a stove/burner
Optional: Compass with attachment. I use this for my circles. Some old stuff I had laying around from my Architecture days.
and 1 demon cat to annoy you while you do your dye work.

Here is all of my dyes. The only color I really keep lots of packets of is Black because it's the color that I use the most. You don't need nearly this much, but I do a lot of color matching and always want to have the colors I need instead of improvising later on. One thing I need to mention is that you cannot dye white. So if you want white areas on a disc, you have to start off with a white disc. White is my choice for dying anyways. WHen I dye blue on a white disc, it comes out blue. When you dye blue on a red disc, you're going to get Blue + Red.. Which is prolly brown. I dunno, i havent checked. But it's not blue.
Try not to dye too much of the disc black. Black is great to get the image you want, but try to refrain from dying a large percentage of the disc black. It'll be harder to find in the woods. I know, and have learned my lesson lol.

Goo Gone, and some Xacto 360 degree swivel blades. Once you start getting into dying a lot of discs, you'll notice that your blades will take more pressure to cut. Going with a fresh blade makes a world of difference. One blade is good for over 25-30 discs or so. They are pretty cheap, I bought 6 replacements with 3 in each for under 15 bucks. So they can be found online for just a couple of bucks if your Hobby Lobby doesnt have em. As for the GooGone, I use it because it's not a real abrasive chemical. If you use a cleaner thats too strong to clean your dyes right after you finish dying it, it'll start to bleed the dye and ruin it. You dont want to clean too much right after you dye it. I'll get into all that later.

Circle templates are optional. I rarely use them because I try to stray away from cutting circles. When you screw up a circle cut, it'll show up on your disc.

You need a pan, DUH. I use one with a handle on the opposite side as well. It just makes it a lot easier to pour my dye into a container after Im done with it.

These are the containers I use. They are called Lock and Lock.
They can be found at Walmart and Target, or prolly any place. Just check out the tupperware section. They are pretty damn cheap. I think I paid about 3.50 for each one. The smaller square ones will hold up to 3 cups i believe, which is more than enough volume to store enough liquid. These containers are awesome because they lock from all 4 sides, have a rubber o-ring around the lid. So they are water and air tight. I only really store dyes that are mixes of colors that I know I'll be reusing later. Like the Red you see here is a 50/50 Fuschia/Scarlet mix to get the American flag blood red color.

Alright. There's many ways to strip a stamp off a disc. My way is basically in 2 steps.
1) Take the color off the stamp
2) Take the underlying silver stamp off

Also, you need to know if your disc is going to accept dye. I mainly only throw Innova, so it's what I know. I know that DX isn't even worth your time to dye. It just wont accept it very well. Pro will accept dye, but fades ULTRA fast. Champion and Star plastic are by far the best to go with. Discraft's higher end plastic is the same I believe.

ALso, ALL DYES WILL FADE. The color will eventually lighten up, and your paper thin lines that you create will slowly start to widen. So you may want to keep this in mind when deciding on a design to dye.

Ok back on track to stripping the stamp off.
Basically, (try to do this outside, acetone isn't really a fun chemical to get in your nasal cavities) Put the disc on a flat surface.
I'll explain the process and then show pix of the steps.

So 2 steps. First step is to get the color off. I'll show you two examples of this. On the standard Innova stamp, there is the top color, and a silver underlining base coat kinda. So. Keep your disc on a level surface, and SLOWLY DROP some acetone on the stamp. You want to do this slowly for 2 reasons. 1) Because if you pour too much, you'll start to strip the color off the stamp, and there will be so much acetone in one spot that it'll run down the disc to the edge, dragging the color with it. This can leave a streak that shows up, basically staining the disc.

So just a couple of small drops. You'll see the color pull off the stamp pretty fast. Let it do this for a couple of seconds, and then DAB it with your rag/towel. All you want to do is pull the acetone off the disc. All of the color that just got stripped from the stamp is now in the puddle of acetone. Dabbing it just absorbs it all.
Go ahead and do this till you've got all of the color off and just the silver underlining.

Here's how it looks.

Standard stamp.

drop of acetone. NOtice the purple starts to pool up and pull from the disc.

Dab with clean part of towel.

See the silver underlining? That'll come off after. You dont want to do any wiping at first because those colors are hell to clean off once you smear it around. Imagine it like dropping red fingernail polish on your floor. You wanna smear that sh*t around? HELL TO TEH NO!!!!!

Do this till you get just the silver. From there, Go ahead and get a clean part of your towel, and put a bit of acetone on it and go ahead and wipe it down. You want to do most of this process pretty quick, because acetone evaporates pretty quickly.
Here's the Innova logo

You can really get a good idea of how it pools up in this image.

Done deal.
If you're having smear issues, the best thing to do is put some acetone on your towel, Not a little, but a bunch... Make sure its wet with acetone. ANd then go ahead and wipe the area you want clean with your disc.

Some ppl don't like to use acetone, or complain that it peels away part of the top layer of the disc. If you do this fairly quickly, and dont overdo it, the damage is very minimal. Ive only gone nuts on one disc trying to get the stamp off, and it was on a SuperRoc. the stamp WILL NOT come off. And the acetone started to peel layers off of the disc. This was just from using a TON of acetone. So just follow the directions and you'll rarely have issues with it actually eating your discs. Cuz I haven't seen it happen with the way I do it.

Contact paper is like cheap ass vinyl. You can find it at Walmart in the Kitchenary area (Is that even a word? Looks funny). It's really cheap. It's basically made to be a low adhesive material to line your counter tops with. Some of the designs are crap. The last roll I was using to dye with looked like wallpaper from the 70s. The color of it matters only if you plan on burning your discs. FUN! Contact paper is super cheap. It's about 5-6 bucks for a roll, which is enough to do nearly 35 discs if you don't screw anything up. Even if you do need to pull multiple sheets for one discs, you'll still get around 25. Its cheap. Dont be afraid to mess it up.

When you dye the disc too hot, it'll burn the contact paper and pull some of the pigments from the contact paper onto your disc.

Currently I am using clear paper. I wouldn't advise it if it's the first time dying discs, because you might forget to check your final cuts and you may miss something since it's clear. If its color, you'll see all of the disc thats going to dye, and immediately know if you're missing something.
Also, some ppl use vinyl. If you can get your hands on it, great. The cheap stuff wont hold tho, or is reallllly sticky and cheap. It'll leave a residue that's hell to get off of your disc. ANd cleaning it too much with an abrasive pad will create light light scratches in your discs, creating a hazy look to it, ruining some of the glossyness that a brand new disc has.

So back on track. Contact paper.
Most drivers and mid ranges arent larger than about 8.5" in diameter. So pull a bit down to where you have about 1.5-2 inches extra on each side of the disc.

This is how much I cut. It's a pretty good size.

Cut off the excess left side, keeping about 2" extra around the whole disc.

Now, you need to apply the contact paper. I like to pull off about a 1/4 to 1/2 of it. And crease down a line where the sticky part meets the protective backing.

Now use a credit card, or anything like it to press the contact paper flat, removing all air bubbles.

Don't worry about doing the outside 1/2" or so of the disc. You'll do this last. Just worry about getting the center of the disc clean and free of bubbles. THe outside wing is curved, so you dont want to do it first anyways.

Go ahead and pull the rest of your protective backing from the contact paper, But don't let any of the sticky part contact your disc. I prefer to pull it off, and then apply the rest of the paper with the disc in the air, upside down.. Letting gravity pull the excess sticky part down instead of letting it flap onto my disc.
Do it however you want tho.

Just be sure to work from one side to the other. If you get an air bubble thats really bad, just pull the sticky part back a bit and start again.

Once you're done with most of that, Go ahead and press out the edges of the disc. It will bubble up in a couple of areas because the paper is flat and the disc is curved. Just make sure that it covers most of it. This wont be an issue unless your image is going to be cut near this the edges.

Next go ahead and fold over all your edges to the back of the disc.

You want it to cover all the edges of the wings like this

The reason you want it to cover the entire wing is because when you dip it your pan upside down, it's going to float. If any dye overflows or whatever when you're putting your disc in it, it'll stain the wing. While it's not the end of the world, it's not a super clean dye job anymore because it's got a bit of an imperfection to it.


For this demonstration, I'm going to do a simple image that a friend of mine wanted me to dye on several discs he gave me. No idea wtf the image is from, I think it's from some sci-fi movie or something.
How you get your image is up to you. I like to use Irfanview to dumb down actual pictures with the Oil Canvas option... turning regular pictures to dumbed down blobs of black and white.

I printed this image twice, once in black, and the negative. To see which would be easier to see and cut out.
This is the image we'll be dying. It's a simple starting point for anyone trying to do their own dye for the first time.

Aight. So here's what we gonna do. We're gonna create a stencil from our printed image, draw it on our disc, and cut it out on the disc.
The 360 degree swivel Xacto blade makes this a HELL of a lot easier than just goin at it with a straight blade. You can do curves and change angles without picking up your blade. Which makes a world of difference. When you're cutting letters out, one of the worst things you have to do is pick up your blade and place it down somewhere else. Because if you don't align up with your previous cut PERFECT, that little imperfection will come out in your dye. Trust me, if you've got a cut in that contact paper, it's going to show up in your final result. Im talking PAPER thin lines.

You'll also want a DEMON CAT thats high on acetone watching you cut out. She'll make sure you're watching your cuts and don't mess up. Or she'll jab your f'n eyes out

This is the reason I don't like doing much text on discs that has to be straight font letters. Because they are a pain in the ass to do and make come out perfect.

So lets start cutting our image out. Oh yeah. It's a good idea to draw a cross from the center of your disc to orient yourself which is up, down, left and right. Also, Mark these lines on your image you'll be cutting out. So that you can cut one piece at a time, draw it, then cut another, and realign it perfectly with the disc... Keeping everything uniform and clean.

Ok, so I've basically cut out the "ITY" of the image, and lined it up with my lines. Next step is to draw in where the letters were.

Now if you mess some of the inking process up, don't worry. It's just ink. You can go over it with another color or something.
Now I like to use multiple colors. I dont always fill in the voids, but when its small letters like this I do so that I know whats going to get cut and pulled from the disc.
I use BLUE for parts of the dye job that are inside of the black. Like the one in the Letter "R". That center semicircle needs to stay on the disc.
You need to be weary to mark areas like this out, so you dont go pulling it off the disc later and then realizing you just made a mistake.


Alright. Our image is there, now it's time to cut. This is pretty straight forward. I like to take cutting on with the attitude of a tattoo artist. If you're right handed, you might wanna start from the lower right hand side. Sharpie markers smear. So you wanna try to not smear too much of it around. It's not too big of an issue, but when you've got a really complicated disc, you just wanna draw it all in one session, and cut it all in one session. Not having to second guess if a smear mark was the way you drew it or not.

If your Xacto knife is brand new, it'll cut super easy. So you really dont need to put much pressure on the disc. Now, this WILL cut into the disc a little bit, but it's honestly not that bad. You can barely detect it once you're done. It wont really affect the flight of the disc or anything.

I prefer to do most of my cutting first, and then pull it off the disc after. You need to make sure you cut every piece tho. Because if you start to pull on a letter and it's only half cut, it'll start to peel away at the contact paper possibly creating a point where it rips away from your original design. IT WILL BLEED THRU at this point, and your perfect line will not be perfect anymore because the dye will bleed thru any and all crevices you make.

Once you're ready to start pulling the image off, go ahead and put your flat blade xacto on a corner, and start to pry it up.

Done deal. Now we've gotta get our dye ready.


Rock on. We're ready to put the color to our design.
Go ahead and put your pot on your stove. You want to heat it up to MEDIUM or LOW temp. I set my stove at about 4-5 (out of 10).
Usually I put about 1 Teaspoon for every cup of water I use. My containers hold about 2-3 cups. You dont need to dump the entire packet of RIT. That's just overkill.
Best bet is to just pour a few cups of water into a container, and start pouring RIT powder into it.. Shake it up a bit, and make sure it looks pretty solid with your color. With blacks, it will look purple if you dont use enough. So just make sure that it's a good solid color thruout the liquid.

Go ahead and heat up your dye, Let it reach it's temp. You should to start to see it steam a bit. The hotter you go, the more of a chance you have of burning your disc. I go hotter sometimes, but it's because I'm using clear contact paper, and I know that Im going to let it cool off for a bit before I put a disc in it.

While your dye is heating up, go ahead and make sure all of your lines you cut are PRESSED THE F DOWN on your disc. If all your edges are not pressed down like a mofo, you will get bleed marks. You're dye will be clean looking except for that one part that wasnt stuck to the disc. Use you thumb, and THOROUGHLY PRESS everywhere you cut. It's very important that you dont skip this step if you want your dye to come out with any quality.

Once your dye is heated up. Go ahead and turn it off (I sometimes like to turn it down to Min or 1 when I know that I'll be dipping it multiple times.
Give it a couple of minutes to cool off, then place your disc in the pan upside down, letting it float. You want to make sure that you have enough dye in it to not let your disc actually rest on the bottom of the pan.

(Also note, when putting your disc in, use both hands placed on the inside of the rim. Try to put it in flat, But also try to put it in with a LITTTTTTTTLE bit of an angle. This will help prevent some air bubbles from forming. When they form they pretty much stay in place, giving your dye inconsistencies.)

Remember when we made sure we had 2" of paper expanding from outside of our disc? This is why. It's going to float. If any part of that wing gets wet, it's going to get stained.

Alright. It's been about 5 minutes, we're going to go ahead and pull our disc out. Be sure to pull it out flat, and with 2 hands. Let it drip for a second, and then go ahead and lean it to one side letting all of it drip down a side. Move it to your sink, and run COLD water over it.
Reason you want cold water is because the heat of the dye will basically open up the pores in your disc, letting it absorb the pigments better. Cleaning it in cold water will help return it to its normal state and cool it back down. Just do a light rinse, and see if it's as dark as you want.
With black dyes, you may need to do it several times. At first it'll come out purple. But once you go thru the dye process several more times, you're going to notice it get darker each time.

Now it is hard to scale how dark it is sometimes because the dye will also cover the contact paper. It's always a good idea to check to see if it's as dark as you want first rather than peeling off your contact paper only to find that its not what you want. You'll have a hell of a time applying that contact paper in the exact same spot...Plus the adhesive will be weakened and you'll be prone to more bleeding of the dye the 2nd time around.

This was about 30 seconds of it being in the dye.
See how it's a purple color? You can either dye it again, or you can turn up the heat. This is a trial and error kind of thing.
Here's an example of a burning.
The before, and after.

So, put it back in the dye, let it go for 5+ minutes. I let it go for about 10 minutes since it wasn't very hot and I knew it wouldnt burn or anything.

See how it's still purple? Im going to let it sit in for another session of about 10 minutes. Also, notice that bubbled part that didn't seem to dye very well or consistent? It's got part of it on the lower right part of the "N".
That's where bubbles formed and stuck during the sitting process. THis is another reason it's a good idea to check your dye every few minutes. If bubbles get trapped under there, you can kind of reset it by dipping it again. Pulling it out several times helps to keep your colors solid and consistent.

Last stage of dipping.
I decided that the color that I have now is dark enough. Go ahead and start to peel away your contact paper. It's best to do this under running cold water so that if there's any dye trapped anywhere it'll clean it all out.

And here's a final image

Go ahead and clean it off with a non-abrasive sponge or whatever you got AND REGULAR DISHWASHING SOAP.
If you use a harsh chemical at this point, you run the risk of pulling some of the dye from your design. The dye is now ON the disc, but not completely absorbed into it. It'll need a good 12+ hours for the disc to really suck up the pigment and let it become a permanent part of the disc.

Also, try to use a sponge, and not a real abrasive part of a scotch pad at first. This will create very light scratches in your disc and make it hazy and dull looking, pulling away from the glossy clean look that comes from the factory.
Go ahead and clean it with mild soap right away, and then worry about getting the rest of the sticky residue off tomorrow after it has time to settle. After you've waited it out, go ahead and use Goo Gone or whatever chemical you got. Try not to use too much, and to not scrub too much to keep the clean look.

Lil bit later, this is what you're left with

Hope this helps some ppl get an idea of all that's involved. It's a VERY tedious and time consuming process for complicated dyes, but trust me, you put some time into it, and you'll turn some heads.
The easy way to do it is to have access to a vinyl plotter, and to do your images on a computer. The plotter will cut out the images perfect. All you have to do is put the vinyl on your disc. But plotters are pricey for quality ones. Upwards of $500+.
Good luck :)

Views: 152

Replies to This Discussion

anyone else seeing the same picture of the cutting board, knives and markers for all of the images?

Ok, so I still need to edit this a bit.

My 56k modem has trouble loading all those pics at once.

See any other problems?
Thanks for the nice tutorial. My only concern is doing exacto work with the contact paper on the disc, but it's also a bee-otch to do a complex image on contact paper, peel it and then stick it to a disc. So I am looking into the transfer tape method, because I don't trust myself enough to do blade work on the disc. Also, using a small paint brush to apply the dye works pretty well. I just started dyeing, so thanks again for the great tips!!!
all better now, nice job :-)
if you don't want to mess with knives and contact paper, may i suggest plain old white glue (like elmers). Obviously you can't do a very precise design but if you're up for something a bit more abstract you can get some cool effects.
Here are some notes on using glue:
1) make sure the glue is really dry... I mean really really dry.
2) don't warm your dye, anything much above room temp and glue will peel off
3) don't leave the disc in the dye for more than 10 min (here too the glue will peel off)
4) I've mixed some acetone in the dye to help it take to the disc faster
5) I once read where someone suggested trying the same sort of things with a hot glue gun but I haven't tried it myself.



Star Eagle X

Just food for thought.
First off, you're welcomed.

Second, just a friendly reminder that this isn't the be all end all of dyeing techniques.

This is just the first tutotiral that I've found with complete step-by-step instructions that also had pics to go with it.
Is also fairly close to the method that I started off with.

It's a great starting point for anyone looking to start taggin their discs.

To people in general....
You can sit and listen to everyone's slightly different methods and not choose.
...or, pick one and try it.
You will make mistakes.
You will get better doing so.
Just make the attempt and to hell with those thoughts that the work displayed by others is beyond you.
Trust me, it won't be for long.
very nice russ!

i have found you can also use a Microwave method for heat, I use a tupperware large enough for a disc to fit in. I heat on high for 8-9 minutes, pending liquid amount. Have not had any problems, other than too hot, causing bleeding, but that was my fault, heated for around 12 minutes.
Nice tutorial! Thanks for taking the time to lay it out with all of the pictures. I have got to get some of those 360 blades.
Your welcome :)
I like the tuorial but I do have to disagree on some of the steps. First off I only use the liquid rit dye and have found great success with it. I haven't tried the powder so I can't really compare the 2. I know that the powder has more color choices. 2nd would be the contact paper from walmart. I tried this originally and messed up some discs because of the bleed through. Vynyl is the way to go. It's not much more expensive. I buy mine off of ebay for about 10 bucks and it last awhile. The only problem with it is the residue it leaves behind. Once again I tried goof off and smeared the dye. The solution to this was to use the vynyl to take off the vynyl. It works like a charm. I did like the suggestion about the 360 degree cutter so I'll have to try. I would not cut the design on the disc though. PDGA rules state that if there is any mod to the disc that it can be deemed out of spec. Cutting on the disc could cause this. Great tutorial though and I wish I would have had this much info when I started.
I have used both liquid and powdered rit, they work equally well. I have also used the same contact paper shown above and had the dye soak through the contact paper, but i cut my dye with acetone to make take to the disc faster, i has never happened to me when i only use water.
"The only problem with it is the residue it leaves behind. Once again I tried goof off and smeared the dye. The solution to this was to use the vynyl to take off the vynyl. It works like a charm."

Can you elaborate for us slow types =) Are you flipping the vinyl over and using it to take off the residue or what? Thanks!


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