It’s no secret I’ve fallen in love with (some my say became obsessed with) disc golf. It was sparked around the time of my bachelor party and all of my groomsmen have also taken up the sport. I knew I wanted to make a special gift for my “team groom” and our shared affinity for disc golf provided the perfect project. I had read a little online about dying discs so I came up with a design and set out to create custom putters for the guys.
As my friends would say, “Nuttin’ but chains!”
This project seemed really simple when I was planning but there were a lot of hurdles to overcome. The design was easy. I came up with a simple vector drawing of a bow-tie (which were a staple of our wedding wardrobes) and then put the text “TEAM GROOM” and “#JONESWED” underneath. We had referred to ourselves as Team Groom and #joneswed was the official hashtag of our wedding.
The design was the easy part, getting it from the computer to the discs was where things started getting interesting. I thought cut vinyl could be applied to the discs fairly easily so I set out to it cut. First I tried using a friend’s Cricut cutter. Apparently the software “hack” that let you cut custom designs had been updated and lost support for Cricut machines after a lawsuit. I tried to no avail to find an older version that would work but I was left without my vinyl. At this point time was running out of time so I found some local sign shops and finally got my vinyl.
My original plan was going to just stick the vinyl on the discs but after doing some research into dying, it seemed I could use the vinyl to create a unique design with the dye. This technique allowed the discs to dye the area around the vinyl, then when it was later removed the original disc color would show through. I liked the idea of a smooth surface on the disc so it didn’t disrupt the flight pattern. I found some Rit dye in a color I liked and went home to start dying.
The disc prep included using acetone to remove the labels. My first attempts seemed tougher than the videos I had seen on youtube. I kept at it and then stuck vinyl on my first disc. I dunked it in the dye and it didn’t seem to be taking. I added more dye, left it in longer, but it still wasn’t really working. Turns out, I had bought the wrong type of plastic discs… I went back out and bought a new set of discs, this time in the Innova Star plastic, which upon further research, appeared to be the best type of plastic for dying.
Applying the vinyl to the blank disc
Star plastic was much easier to remove the labels with acetone and lucky for me, took much better to the dye. The dye seemed to turn out more of a dark purple than the bright blue advertised on the box but they still made the custom look a success.
Here is the disc face down in the dye. It’s important to keep the dye warm but not too hot or you can melt the plastic of the disc.
Here is a disc after it’s been dyed with the vinyl still applied
After the dying process and a quick rinse, you can remove the vinyl from the disc
the final products
I topped off the gift bags with a custom Team Groom water bottle using the same design. Those were an easier task, which just consisted of the application of vinyl to the bottles. Overall I’m very happy with how they turned out and can’t wait to try another dye job. I think I’ve learned a lot about the process (and which discs to choose, definitely the Innova Star plastic!) and the next time should go much smoother. Have you done any custom dying? Share a link or some pro tips in the comments.