California Flag Dye (Video)

Posted on August 29, 2012 by

Categories: Dyeing, videos

lacrosse-dye-job-tom-ledin

Seeing everybody’s amazing flag dyes has had me thinking about a California Flag dye for a long time, and I finally decided to try it. I work as an artist, and spent many years cutting stencils, so it’s something I’m pretty comfortable with. I did my first dye around 1994 and have been doing it ever sinceā€¦but it’s something I’ve never been very comfortable with. I am generally too impatient to, A) get my colors right, and B) not spill them all over myself, and my kitchen. For some reason I decided a few months ago to start getting into more complicated dyes despite my inadequecies.

So, for this one, since the CA flag is on white, and has 5 colors all within a small area (white, red, dark brown, light brown, and green), it required some pretty careful masking.

lacrosse-dye-job-tom-ledin

Even though I only posted it a day ago, I have gotten A LOT of questions about my sticker cutting process. I do it differently for different dyes, but for this one (for the bear) I placed my adhesive vinyl on the scoop before any cutting. Then I drew the bear in pencil being careful to mark all of the cutlines clearly. I then went to work using a really small detail X-acto knife to make the cuts. Once all cut, I masked everything around it bear, and removed only the grass mask.

I decided to try something new for dying the green, which is why it came out poorly. I made a thick slurry of dye by adding a lot of RIT powder to a little bit of water. Then I used a Q-Tip to apply it to the grass. That did not work at all, so I ended up doing a traditional dip.

lacrosse-dye-job-tom-ledin

After the green, I re-masked the grass by using rubber cement, which was a mistake. I should have used hot glue, or even another sticker. Once the grass was re-masked, I removed the masking over what would be dark brown, and did a dip in brown. Once I liked the color, I removed the masking over the light brown area, and did a quicker dip in the same brown. Some of the shading you see at the top of the light brown was unintentional, but looks pretty sweet.

Once the bear, and grass was done, I masked the entire scoop off, and cut the star, and did the red dip. For the bottom I traced a little map of CA on top of my sticker material so I could see the impression from the pencil to know where to cut. The “Nor Cal” lettering was drawn directly onto the sticker paper, then cut, then applied the same way as the map.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel after you watch the video.

Overall, it was a really good learning experience. I was able to test some theories that ended up failing, but I was lucky enough to still end up with a decent final product.

Posted in: Dyeing

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  • tom

    Tom, I am amazed at the dye job you did on the California State head, incredible. I just tried dying my first stick and it came out horribly. It was a simple dye job using only letters and I had a ton of bleedthrough. I’ve been strining sticks for 30 years and have gotten it down to a science but this one has got me. Any suggestions on the best type of decal to use. I’m guessing the stuff I bought from AC Moore is not quite right.
    Thanks, Tom

  • Tom Ledin

    Bleed through is always a problem. I use electrical tape, and also sticky sheets of vinyl. With both, you want to avoid touching the sticky side with your fingers because the oils from your hands will take away it’s stickiness. After you get the decals placed. Go over it with a hair dryer on hot. This will heat up the adhesive, and make it stick better. Once heated, you can press down on it, but be careful, because after they’re heated, the decals want to slide around until they’ve cooled. Good luck!

  • Tom Ledin

    Bleed through is always a problem. I use electrical tape, and also sticky sheets of vinyl. With both, you want to avoid touching the sticky side with your fingers because the oils from your hands will take away it’s stickiness. After you get the decals placed. Go over it with a hair dryer on hot. This will heat up the adhesive, and make it stick better. Once heated, you can press down on it, but be careful, because after they’re heated, the decals want to slide around until they’ve cooled. Good luck!