Gather Necessary Supplies for Dyeing Your Lacrosse Head
Before you can change the color of your lacrosse stick head, you’ll need to gather the proper supplies. Having the right dyeing materials on hand will make the process go much smoother and help ensure you achieve the custom color you’re looking for. Here are the key items you’ll need to stock up on:
Dye designed for plastic – Using a dye made specifically for plastic, and ideally one formulated for polyurethane plastic, will allow the color to take hold and last on the lacrosse head material. Many all-purpose fabric dyes won’t work as well.
Gloves – Wearing protective gloves is important when working with dyes to keep your hands safe and stain-free. Opt for heavy-duty rubber gloves that won’t absorb any of the dye liquid.
Paper towels or rags – Having plenty of disposable paper towels or old rags on hand helps with cleanup and for wiping down the lacrosse head as you apply the dye.
Small plastic containers or buckets – You’ll need something like empty yogurt containers or small buckets to mix the dye and submerge the lacrosse head in. Avoid metal containers which could interact with the chemicals.
Stir sticks or spoons – Plastic or wooden stir sticks and spoons are ideal for mixing up the dye solution and stirring the lacrosse head around while submerged.
Tape – Masking tape or painters tape can help block off any lacrosse head areas you don’t want dyed a certain color.
Clear coat/sealant – Applying a clear top coat after dyeing will help seal in the color and protect the finish. Use a spray lacquer or polyurethane sealant meant for plastics.
Soft cleaning brush – A soft brush is handy for gently scrubbing the lacrosse head as you prep it for dyeing to remove dirt and oils from the plastic surface.
Isopropyl alcohol – Some rubbing alcohol on a rag can help ensure the head is fully cleaned and prepped before submerging it in the dye bath.
Water supply – Running water from a hose or faucet will be needed for rinsing out the dye once the coloring process is complete.
Dyeing your own lacrosse stick head takes preparation, but with the right supplies it can allow for total customization and a fun DIY project!
Disassemble the Lacrosse Head from the Stick
Before you can dye the lacrosse head, an important preparatory step is to detach it from the lacrosse stick handle. Taking the head off gives you full access to dye the entire exterior surface and ensures no part of the shaft or other lacrosse stick elements get accidentally colored.
Start by removing any lacings, leathers, or netting attached to the head. You’ll want to set these pieces aside and protect them from any contact with the dye. Next, use a lacrosse stick stringing kit to detach the various leathers and strings that connect the head to the top of the shaft.
Locate the screw that secures the plastic head to the metal shaft. Use a screwdriver to detach this screw and carefully work the head off of the shaft end. Some maneuvering and wiggling will be required to fully separate the two pieces. Go slowly and avoid forcing anything to prevent cracking or breaking the plastic.
Inspect where the head connects to the shaft and make note of how the pieces fit together. Taking pictures can help you realign everything properly later when reattaching. Also inspect for any cracks or damage in the plastic and repair if needed before dyeing.
Set the lacrosse stick shaft safely aside and have the detached head ready for cleaning, prepping, and submerging in the dye bath. Make sure your work area is protected against any drips or spills. Cover any surfaces you don’t want accidentally dyed.
Before dyeing, consider if you want to tape off or block any parts of the head from receiving color. For example, you may want to keep the throat area white. Painter’s tape works well for covering sections before dyeing.
With the head removed from the shaft you now have full access to dye the exterior surface. Make sure to detach any other plastic elements like the scoop or ball stop that you want to remain a different color from the main head area.
Taking the time to properly disassemble the lacrosse stick head from the shaft is a key first step that allows for safely dyeing the plastic exterior and achieving your desired custom color scheme.
Clean and Prepare the Lacrosse Head for Dyeing
Once the lacrosse head is detached, it’s important to clean and prep the plastic surface so the dye adheres evenly. Taking time with this step helps ensure professional dyeing results.
Start by wiping down the entire exterior of the head using a soft brush and isopropyl alcohol to remove any dirt, grease, or oil. Be sure to scrub all crevices and indentations thoroughly. Any debris or residue on the plastic can prevent the dye from taking hold.
Next, wash the lacrosse head using dish soap and warm water. Use a washcloth to gently scrub all areas of the plastic to eliminate any remaining contaminants. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry fully with a towel.
Optionally, you can further prepare the surface using a fine grit sandpaper or emery cloth. Lightly scuffing the smooth plastic creates micro abrasions for the dye to adhere to. Just be careful not to overly scuff or scratch the exterior.
Once cleaned, examine the lacrosse head under bright light to ensure no grease or dirt remains. Check for any cracks, chips, or imperfections in the plastic that could affect dye absorption.
Using painter’s tape, mask off any areas you want to protect from the dye. Cover logos, lettering, or specific sections like the throat that you want to remain undyed. Press the tape down firmly along edges to prevent bleeding.
You may also want to test the dye first on an inconspicuous area like the inside scoop to ensure it adheres well and you achieve the desired color. Refer to the dye manufacturer’s instructions.
Take your time with the prep work to ensure a blemish-free, uniform surface. Properly preparing the plastic lacrosse head will allow the dye to bond evenly across the entire exterior and avoid an uneven, splotchy appearance.
With the head fully detached, cleaned, and prepped, you’re ready to begin the fun process of choosing a color and dyeing your lacrosse stick head for a bold, customized look.
Choose a Dye Color for Your Lacrosse Head
After properly preparing the lacrosse head, it’s time to pick the fun color you want to dye the plastic exterior. There are many dye options for achieving a vibrant custom look.
Consider colors that complement the rest of your gear and uniform. Matching the head color to your school, team, or favorite color scheme can look sharp. Bright neon tones work well for standing out on the field.
Using a two-tone dye technique can create cool designs. Dye the main head one color and the scoop or other accents a different shade. Combine colors like black, red, and white for a visually striking motif.
Look through dye brand catalogues for inspiration on color options. Polyurethane plastic dyes come in standard colors like red, blue, green, purple, orange, yellow along with neon, glow-in-the-dark, and other specialty varieties.
Think about dyeing the head a color that contrasts with the ball so it stands out more during play. Darker tones like black, navy, or forest green make the ball pop. Lighter pastel shades can also make for easy visibility.
Consider how the color will look from a distance on the field. Darker colors show up better under lights at night games compared to lighter tones.
Test a small section first when trying a new dye color to ensure the tone comes out as expected. Colors can look different dried versus wet.
Using painters tape and newspaper, you can mask off sections and create custom designs with stripes, color fades, and more advanced motifs. Let your creativity run wild!
While most dyes will last long-term, understand that very bright and light colors have a higher tendency to fade over time with sun exposure. A clear top coat helps maintain vibrancy.
Choosing the right dye color allows you to add personality and flair to your lacrosse stick. Consider colors that speak to your style and will look great during intense gameplay.
Mix the Dye According to the Instructions
Once you’ve chosen the perfect dye color, it’s time to mix up the dye bath solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Properly mixing the dye is a critical step for success.
Make sure to use the correct ratio of dye powder or concentrate to water as specified on the package. Using too little dye can result in a faint, uneven color. Too much dye wasted excess product and doesn’t improve the coloring performance.
For powdered dyes, mix the powder thoroughly into warm water until fully dissolved without any leftover granules. Liquid dyes can typically be added directly to room temperature water.
Stir the solution vigorously for several minutes using a wooden or plastic spoon to ensure the dye fully combines with the water. Scrape the bottom and sides of the container while mixing.
Consider wearing gloves and eye protection when mixing. Dyes can accidentally splash and stain skin, clothing, or surfaces.
Mix the dye in a plastic bucket or container. Metal containers could adversely react with the chemicals. Ensure the container is large enough to fully submerge the lacrosse head.
If using multiple dye colors for a design, mix each color separately in its own container. This keeps the colors pure and avoids blending.
Adhere carefully to the dye settling time if specified on the instructions. Waiting the recommended amount allows the color to fully activate in the solution.
Avoid overdiluting the dye with too much water as this can make the color too weak and transparent. Go by the instructed ratios.
Test a swatch with the mixed dye before applying to the lacrosse head to ensure you like the color result.
Taking the time to properly prepare the dye bath ensures the solution has the right concentration and potency to achieve a vivid, uniform color on your lacrosse stick plastic.
Submerge the Lacrosse Head in the Dye Bath
Once your dye solution is fully mixed, you’re ready to submerge the lacrosse head in the bath to start the coloring process. Take care when first lowering the head into the liquid.
Make sure you are wearing gloves during the dyeing process to keep your hands protected. Use tongs or spoons to maneuver the head if needed.
Slowly lower the lacrosse head into the dye bath in a vertical position to allow the liquid to fully cover the surface. Any dry spots exposed to air may not absorb dye properly.
Push the head fully below the surface until the liquid covers the entire exterior. Use a plastic spoon to hold it under if needed.
When first submerged, small bubbles may form on the surface as the dye interacts with the plastic. This is normal.
If dyeing multiple heads different colors, use separate containers for each to avoid color cross-contamination.
For creating designs, dip or spray just the sections you want a certain color before submerging fully. The dyed areas will resist absorbing other colors.
Once fully submerged, allow the head to sit undisturbed for 10-15 minutes before agitating. Letting it soak allows dye to fully penetrate the plastic.
Check that all sides are making full contact with the dye by occasionally rotating the position. Flip over halfway through.
Keep an eye on elapsed time while submerged. Most dyes require at least 30-60 minutes for the color to fully take hold.
Make sure only the head is submerged, not the shaft or other elements. Use tape around the top to protect if needed.
Patience during the submersion process allows the dye to bond strongly to create a vibrant, evenly colored lacrosse head.
Agitate and Rotate the Head in the Dye
Once the lacrosse head has soaked in the dye bath for 10-15 minutes, you’ll want to begin gently agitating and rotating it to ensure even coverage. Slowly moving the head around helps distribute color.
Use a pair of tongs or plastic spoons to carefully lift, rotate, and flip the head while submerged. Change the facing angle to expose all sides to the dye equally.
Every 5 minutes or so, remove the head and inspect for coverage. Look for any light or dark spots indicating uneven dye absorption. Submerge again to touch up if needed.
Tilt and angle the head while under the dye to remove air bubbles and allow solution into tight crevices. Work bubbles free from the plastic surface.
Consider using a soft brush to gently scrub over any stubborn spots resisting dye uptake. Avoid harsh scrubbing that could scratch the plastic.
For intricate designs, use Q-tips or small paint brushes to touch up maze-like areas after the main dip dyeing.
Flip the lacrosse head over halfway through the soak time to color the reverse side. Dye the convex and concave surfaces equally.
Rotate and agitate the head more vigorously towards the end to use up any remaining dye potency for a rich, saturated final color.
Remove and submerge multiple times over an hour to achieve thorough, even dye penetration from all angles. There’s no need to rush the process.
Finishing with some extra agitation and maneuvering ensures the color develops consistently across every inch of the lacrosse head exterior.
Remove and Rinse the Dyed Lacrosse Head
Once you’re satisfied with the dye coverage after agitating the lacrosse head in the bath, it’s time to remove it and begin the rinse process. Rinsing thoroughly is key to setting the color.
Carefully lift out the dyed lacrosse head from the dye bath using tongs or spoons. Allow excess dye to drip back into the container to conserve the liquid for future use.
Slowly lower the head into a bucket or basin of cool, clean water to start rinsing. Change out the water as it becomes tinted to prevent re-depositing dye.
Rinse until the water runs almost clear. Some tinting is normal even after thorough rinsing. Scrub lightly with a brush to dislodge excess dye.
Use a garden hose or faucet to direct-spray water across all surfaces to flush away leftover dye. Rinsing removes any dye not fully bonded.
Avoid using hot water when rinsing, as heat can set the dye permanently. Cool to lukewarm water works best for rinsing.
Inspect closely under light during the rinse to spot any corner or crevices with dye residue to target the water stream there.
Flip and rotate the head while rinsing to remove dye evenly. Rinse the throat area and scoop thoroughly.
Pat dry with towels once the rinse water runs mostly clear. Stand or prop the head to allow trapped water to fully drain out.
Proper rinsing is crucial for securing the dye and preventing transfer or smearing. Repeat as needed until water is squeezed from the head without coloring.
With dye removal complete through careful rinsing, you can now admire the vibrant color you’ve achieved on your personalized lacrosse head.
Re-Assemble the Lacrosse Stick after Dyeing
With the lacrosse head freshly dyed and thoroughly rinsed, it’s time to reattach it onto the shaft and restring the stick. Take care realigning the pieces properly.
Make sure the dyed head is fully dry before attempting to reassemble onto the shaft. Any residual moisture could affect bonding with the adhesive.
Examine the throat area and shaft notch where the pieces interconnect. Remove any old adhesive or rough edges with sandpaper for a smooth fit.
Apply a thin layer of a heavy duty epoxy or polyurethane adhesive to the joining area. Use an adhesive formulated for plastic and lacrosse gear.
Align the head and shaft notch as noted when disassembling. Slowly rotate and rock the head to seat it flush onto the shaft adhesive.
Insert the connecting screw through the aligned holes and tighten down with a screwdriver by hand only. Do not overtighten.
Allow the adhesive to fully cure over 24 hours before stringing or using the lacrosse stick to avoid straining the fresh bond.
Inspect where the plastic meets the shaft to ensure proper seated alignment and no gaps. Adjust and re-glue if needed.
Once the adhesive has hardened, use nylon lacrosse strings and leathers to restring the head according to your desired pocket set up.
Test the pocket and throwing motion without any balls first to ensure proper flex and movement is retained after dyeing.
Take pride in your freshly customized, vibrant lacrosse head as you break in the pocket. The new color makes your stick stand out!
Allow Time for the Dye to Fully Set
After thoroughly rinsing and reassembling your dyed lacrosse head, it’s crucial to allow adequate time for the color to completely set and cure before use. Having patience here prevents dye transfer issues.
Refer to the specific dye instructions for the recommended drying and curing time. Most dyes need 24-48 hours to fully stabilize in the plastic.
Keep the stick in a room temperature, dry environment as the dye sets. Avoid humidity, direct sunlight, or high heat when initially drying.
Refrain from handling the head excessively or using the stick during the first 1-2 days after dyeing. The color has not yet bonded at the molecular level.
The head may feel dry to the touch before the dye has actually fully cured. Don’t be fooled by a dry exterior surface.
Exposure to UV sunlight can fade the color over time. When not in use, keep your dyed stick indoors to maintain vibrant hues.
Test a small section after a few days by rubbing vigorously with a wet paper towel. If dye transfers easily, allow more curing time.
Applying a sealant clear top coat once fully cured will add extra protection and prevent color fading over the long term.
Avoid contact with light colored gear, clothing, or surfaces before the dye has set, as transference can occur. Take precautions.
Exercising a little patience goes a long way. Allowing several days for full curing prevents disappointment and ensures your bold new colors remain fixed in the lacrosse head.
Apply a Clear Coat for Protection
Once the freshly dyed lacrosse head has fully cured, adding a clear sealant finish is highly recommended for protecting the color and providing long-lasting durability.
Use a clear coat spray designed for plastic that resists UV rays, such as an acrylic or polyurethane-based sealant. Avoid enamel or varnish types.
Lightly scuff the dyed exterior with fine grit sandpaper first to help the sealant adhere. Just avoid excessively scratching the surface.
Clean the head thoroughly and make sure the plastic is dust-free before spraying on the clear coat finish.
Apply light, even coats using sweeping strokes and allow 10 minutes between applications to dry. Two to three coats are ideal for sufficient protection.
Rotate and turn the head while spraying to coat all sides and angles with the protective clear finish.
Avoid having excess sealant pool or drip on the surface. Light coats work better than one thick coat.
Spray down into tighter cracks or crevices and use a brush to distribute the sealant into hard to reach areas.
Read the product instructions carefully and abide by the recommended drying time before regular use or exposure to elements.
Reapply a fresh clear coat every year or two as needed when you notice the finish wearing down or color fading.
Properly applying a durable clear top coat helps lock in and safeguard the custom dye color you worked hard to achieve for seasons to come.
Enjoy Your Custom Dyed Lacrosse Head
With the dye fully cured and sealed, you can now enjoy the eye-catching look and enhanced playability of your freshly colored lacrosse head.
Take pride in the compliments you’ll inevitably receive on the vibrant, customized color scheme you created through careful dye techniques.
Notice how much easier it is to track your dyed head in your field of vision during intense game action. Unique colors improve visibility.
Appreciate the slick, smooth surface of the newly applied clear coat finish when handling and throwing with your re-colored stick.
Consider dyeing heads for matching uniforms across your entire lacrosse team or outfitting each player with their own unique color.
Relish opportunities to explain the dyeing process when fellow players ask how you got such a rad custom color on your gear.
Take extra care to not nick or chip the freshly dyed and coated exterior through impacts, though a good stick should withstand normal play.
Display your creative work proudly after games and practices rather than tossing it into a big equipment pileup.
Brainstorm creative new color schemes and dye techniques for future sticks as your abilities improve over time.
The personalized colors and patterns you dreamed up look even better out on the field in action. Enjoy the fruits of your dye labor each time you stick fakes and snipe goals!
Tips for Achieving an Even Coat of Dye
Getting a consistently colored lacrosse head requires care and technique. Here are some helpful tips for achieving the most professional, uniform dye results:
Thoroughly clean and prep the plastic head before submerging to allow dye to absorb evenly across the entire surface.
Stir and agitate the liquid dye frequently while soaking the head to prevent concentrated areas from forming.
Rotate and flip the head often to expose all sides and faces to the dye bath equally.
Use a soft brush while submerged to work dye into tight crevices and detailed areas.
Check for light spots every 10-15 minutes and re-submerge to touch up. Target spray stubborn sections.
Allow adequate soak time of 30-60 minutes for dye to fully saturate the plastic material throughout.
Rinse thoroughly with cool water while scrubbing gently until runoff is clear. Extended rinsing prevents splotches.
Let dye cure fully over 48 hours before use. Insufficient curing can lead to transfer issues.
Apply a protective clear coat finish to seal color consistently across all surfaces.
Avoid direct sun exposure and store inside when not playing to prevent uneven fading.
Re-dye the head if color fades unevenly over time to restore uniformity.
Taking the proper steps ensures your custom colored lacrosse stick looks bold and professional from every angle.
Creating Unique Dye Patterns on Your Lacrosse Head
Beyond dying your lacrosse head a solid color, you can get creative with cool patterns using dye techniques like splatter, ombre fading, and multi-color designs.
Use painter’s tape and newspaper to mask off sections before dyeing. Remove tape after dyeing for a two-tone look.
Spray or use a brush to hand paint certain areas a different color before the main dye bath.
Splatter secondary colors by flicking a stiff brush loaded with darker dye at specific zones.
Lightly twist or crumple plastic wrap over the head when dyeing to create a wave pattern effect.
For ombre fading, gradually dilute the dye bath as you submerge from one end to the other.
Use squirt bottles for dyeing precision accents or splatter effects.
Combine various colors in a random pattern by submerging in one bath, rinsing, then another color bath.
Make stripes or color blocks by tightly wrapping rubber bands before submerging in dye.
Scrunch or wrinkle the head when wet with dye and it will set with streaked effects.
Consider dying the woven lacing and leathers different colors from the head for extra flair.
Get creative with colors pairings like neon pink with black or navy with fluorescent green.
Experiment on spare plastic first if trying a complex technique like tie-dyeing for the first time.
Bold patterns and multiple colors make your customized lacrosse head truly one-of-a-kind.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Dyeing a Lacrosse Head
Dyeing your lacrosse stick head requires careful technique to get the finish you want. Here are some common mistakes to be aware of:
Not fully disassembling the head from the shaft which can lead to the shaft absorbing dye or other elements getting colored.
Failing to properly clean and prep the plastic surface first, resulting in blotchy uneven dye absorption.
Not stirring the mixed dye enough or unevenly dissolving dye powder which creates weak or inconsistent color.
Leaving sections of the head exposed to air while soaking which can miss spots of color.
Not agitating the head enough while submerged causing uneven penetration of dye into the plastic.
Allowing water temperature to be too hot during rinsing, which can set the dye permanently.
Insufficient rinsing that leads to excess dye residue remaining and transferring color later.
Reassembling the stick before the dye fully cures, which can cause rubbing and loss of color.
Not applying a protective clear coat after dyeing leaving the color vulnerable to fading.
Exposing the freshly dyed head to sunlight or moisture before fully cured resulting in color bleed or blotching.
Taking precautions at each stage of the process will help you achieve stunning vibrant custom colors on your re-dyed lacrosse head.