Recently, 412 Lax tried his hand at dyeing again after a multi-year hiatus (and after much prodding from yours truly), and as he admitted himself, it is much harder than it looks to do a really good job. Heck, it’s hard to even do a decent job.
I recently jumped on board the StrikerDanger/STX team that will be playing in the Miami Bump & Grind tourney January 22-24th, and I just couldn’t contain my excitement so I dyed a stick… because that’s what normal people do, right?
Back in college at Wesleyan, I dyed my sticks red and white. Duh. I used new white heads, a glue gun, red RIT dye and a bucket. Throw on some glue, use hot water from the faucet, a full pack of dye and then let the head sit for 20 minutes and I was done. Very simple and I usually went with the basic glue gun “drizzle” effect or the polka dot effect. 60% of the time, both approaches work all the time.
I got pretty much ALL of my questionable dyeing skills (clarification: I’m just saying MY skills are questionable) from e-lacrosse.com originally and really have to hand it to John Tucker in that regard. Without e-lacrosse’s stick tech section, most kids out there wouldn’t know the first thing about dyeing their wands. So, mucho props to John… we hope we see another set of instructional posts soon that showcase some of the best young dye-enthusiasts in the game today!
Side note: You can also go to the lacrosseforums.com and see some of the magic those kids can work. If you do go to the LF, make sure your game is tight because even the slightest bleed through or discoloration will earn you the scorn of a 13 year old who could dye concentric circles around you in his sleep.
Now back to my most recent adventure…
I decided that the Gait Triton I had laying around would be perfect for the Miami dye for a couple of reasons:
1) the head design reminds me of Art Deco style architecture and that is very prevalent in Miami, especially on South Beach.
2) I was able to buy the head a couple months back for next-to-nothing.
3) It was the only head I had to dye.
I would have used an STX head since they are sponsoring the team I will be playing for but my girlfriend has placed a moratorium on the purchase of any new lacrosse heads until I break a few more. Is 9 heads too many? Really? it IS? I had no idea.
The first step was to use artist tape (or electrical tape) to cut out a number of triangles. I placed these on the head all over and then dyed it a creamsicle orange. I kept the water cool so that the dye didn’t saturate the plastic as much. Hotter water = more saturation and a faster saturation rate. I also used powder dye, which, in my opinion, ends up lighter than RIT’s liquid concentrate dye that comes in a plastic bottle. I took out the head, dried it off and then began placing thin strips of artist tape in spiral designs. I also added some words with vinyl letter stickers.
Next up, I boiled a big ol’ pot of water (made sure the water was HOT!) and poured in half a bottle of RIT Yellow dye (the liquid kind). The head brightened up considerably and the white triangles that weren’t covered were now an electric yellow.
Next up I added more artist tape and repeated the process with red…
Finally, I wanted to finish off the dye with a duller base color so that the highlight colors could really shine. I used RIT powdered brown dye as my last color, but I really wish I could have found more Brown liquid dye because it is hard to dye anything other than dark purple or black over a good red. Anyway, the Brown softened and darkened the Red to the point where I could tell the difference between the two and it came out looking like this:
After that I dried the stick off for the last time and started peeling off the tape and letters. The results are pretty stunning, I think. Sure, there are some areas where I was a little half-assed (where the dye snuck through, where I stretched the tape), but overall it came out well. I can’t wait to string it up, but that raises a whole slew of new questions…
There will be more dye jobs as the winter progresses and we’d love to showcase a bunch from our readers… all you have to do is send LAS an email with some pictures… and honestly, how hard is that?
About the Author: After helping to start the program at Weston HS in Massachusetts, Connor Wilson went on to play at Wesleyan University. Post-graduation, Wilson stayed on and coached at Wesleyan for 2 years. He also played in Australia and the American Lacrosse League for teams in CT and MA. Currently Wilson plays for the Southampton Lacrosse Club in NYC and enjoys dyeing lacrosse sticks, eating breakfast sandwiches and having a really pretentious bio on LAS.