Tufts Dye Tutorial

Posted on December 14, 2010 by

Categories: Companies, Dyeing, Equipment/Gear, Featured, Heads, Stringing, STX

In honor of the 2010 Division III National Champion Tufts Jumbos, I dyed this head as a gift to their coach. The alumnus that approached me had an idea for a head that would stand as a memorial to this year’s team. We began with a lot of information, and it took a bit of time to figure out exactly what would and wouldn’t fit on the head. The finished product includes all of the coaches, captains, All-Americans, and the year’s motto as well as the Jumbo’s logo. For this job, I had a print shop cut out the designs for me, and it was up to me to size them and place them properly. It turned out to be one of the most informative dye jobs I’ve ever done.


To begin, I printed off several different sizes and shapes of the font, and lined them up along the head to see what would fit without going over the edges. I used a back light to make sure nothing hung over. When I got the exact sizes I wanted, I started to work on the logo. I had to separate the logo according to each of the colors in it. This way, I could dye them one at a time. White, grey, and light blue were all put down before the final coat of brown, making it a complex logo to align using stickers.

I put down the tusks, then dyed the throat grey. After this, I put down the parts of the elephant that would remain grey before using RIT color remover. This lightened the head for the next coat of blue. I wanted to make sure the light blue wasn’t affected by the grey. After the blue was on, I put on the overall outline of the Jumbo, leaving everything inside protected for the final color brown.


For the rest of the head, I cut each name into strips, and used the application tape to help lay down each one. After I lined them up in the light, I carefully tapped each one down, and then mashed them with a smooth pen to make sure they held. I tried to leave on the application tape to protect them while I finished them all. For the scoop, I put down the “National Champions” part while the head was still white. I did the same for the “One More” motto on the front of the head.

When all stickers had been laid down and triple checked, I went to work on the brown. I found that using the vinyl stickers can be tricky if they aren’t electrical tape. TO make sure the adhesive held, I boiled the water, then took it off of heat and poured it into my dye bucket. This makes sure that the stickers don’t get overheated. It might take a bit longer to get the color I want, but it’ll be worth it.

When I finally have the final brown just right, I take it out and rinse it in warm water. I used to use cold water, but I think it’s better for the plastic if you keep it away from drastic temperature changes as much as possible throughout the process.

Peeling all the letters takes a bit, but just use your fingernails and scrape in long lines. You can go back later with Goo Gone to clean it up.


That’s it! Congratulations to the Jumbos for a season well done. Stay tuned this holiday season, I have a ton of stuff I’ve been working on, and it will all be posted soon. Until next time, have a good one.

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  • Franky

    How do you print out stickers?

    • Bradly Strong

      Sticker paper you noob