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Disc Dye Method

If you would like to share your dye methods, send me an e-mail and I will post it here.
Posted: 9-25-06
Submitted by Will T.

I had always wanted to dye a disc. I had seen other peoples cool designs and I didn't really like most of the stamps put on the discs by manufacturers. I happened to finally read a post about dyed discs at www.odsa.com, my local disc golf forum, which described the following technique. I did not invent this method. I just decided to put together a step by step with pictures to help anyone else interested in using this technique.

Items Needed:

  • Available at hardware store:
    • Acetone
    • Gloves for working with the Acetone
    • Contact Paper
    • X-acto knife

  • Available at sign store:
    • Sign Vinyl
    • Transfer Tape

  • Available at thrift store:
    • A stainless steel pot large enough for a disc to fit in

  • Available at art supply store:
    • Rit Dye or some other comparable dye
Remove the stamp:

The first step is to remove the manufacturer's stamp from the disc. This is done using a very strong solvent called Acetone that will very quickly remove the stamp. I very much recommend doing this outside. Use gloves and follow all directions for safe use on the can of Acetone. I use a small rag and pour a very small amount onto the rag. Then very quickly start wiping away the stamp on the disc. This solvent will start to eat into proline plastic if you take too long. I didn't notice this problem with champion, kc pro, esp or z plastic. Be careful with lighter colored discs because the solvent mixing with the ink of the stamp can start to dye your disc that color. This happened on a white proline disc with a blue stamp. As I was trying to wipe the blue stamp off I could see that it began to tint the white a little. Work quickly!!

Make and Cut the stencil:

Create a stencil that you want to put on your disc. Here is a geometric design I made in fireworks and printed out. Tape the stencil to a piece of sign vinyl.

Uncut Stencil

Cut out the stencil using an xacto blade. When cutting out your stencil remember that the cut out areas will be the dyed areas on the disc.

Cut Stencil

Putting the Stencil on the disc:

This part gets a little tricky but I will try to explain it the best I can. It is one of those things that you need to do once to understand but once you do it is fairly easy. First remove the paper you taped to the vinyl to help cut the stencil. Then cut a piece of tranfer tape slightly bigger than the piece of vinyl. The vinyl has two sides, a shiny white side and a backing side with lettering (in this case it is 3M). You want to apply the transfer tape to the shiny white side. Make sure the vinyl is flat when you do this part. Lay the transfer tape on top of the vinyl and use a credit card to rub the tranfer tape onto the vinyl. You want to make sure the tranfer tape is stuck to the vinyl, especially in the fine detail areas. This is what will allow you to transfer the stencil onto the disc without the stencil moving around and getting stuck to itself.

Transfer Tape

This show the backside of the vinyl/tranfer tape. Note the lettering.

Backside Transfer Tape

Now put this onto to your disc where you want the stencil to be. The transfer tape will stick to the disc a little so I use this to help with positioning. It is easier on clear discs as you can just turn them over and place it onto the stencil. Once the stencil is where you want it place pieces of tape basically in the center of the stencil. I have shown where my tape is in red.

Tape Stencil

The idea is that you are trying to create a flap.


While holding onto the flap peel the backing off the vinyl. Be very careful at the point. If the vinyl gets stuck to something or bent and stuck to itself there is not much you can do to fix it.


Very carefully cut the backing off. I did a somewhat bad job here. You don't want those ragged edges. The scissors I used aren't great so I just kind of tore it off after a certain point. A clean cut as close to the center is what you want.

Cut Backing

Now start lowering the flap back down smoothing it onto the disc as you go. Try to smooth out any little bubble or lines at this point. Any bubbles or lines in or around your design can cause bleeding.


Turn it around and do the other side but this time you don't need to cut. You will probably have to remove the tape you used in the center. That's okay though because the stencil is already half applied and will stay in place. You are removing the rest of the backing from the vinyl. Smooth as you lower the flap down. Try to get all bubbles and lines out now.

Other Side

Other Side

Now the stencil is on the disc.

On Disc

Remove the transfer tape. It will pretty much pull right off. Grab a corner and pull.

Tranfer Tape remove


Now the rest of the disc needs to be covered so it doesn't get dyed as well. I use contact paper for this part as it is a lot cheaper than the sign vinyl. Start cutting pieces and put them on the disc overlapping the edges as much as possible. You don't want dye leaking through onto your disc. You want to completely wrap up around to the bottom side of the disc.


Ready to dye.

Final Masking


Take a pot big enough to fit your disc into and fill about 1/4 with water and add your dye. I used about 2/3 of one package of red for this. I am still not sure exactly how much to put in. If it isn't dark enough the first time though you can just add more dye to the water and do this part again. Bring the water to a boil and then remove it from heat. Let it sit for about 15 - 20 minutes. I usually feel the side or bottom of the pan to make sure it isn't too hot. You want it to cool to a lukewarm temperature. I imagine that if the water is still too hot it could warp or melt your disc. So again be careful!! If you warp or melt your disc it certainly won't be the same anymore and would definitely not be useable in a PDGA tournament. BE CAREFUL!!

Boil water with Dye

Place the disc into pot. I try to make a couple of little handles with the contact paper when I am masking the disc. Note how I have wrapped the contact paper completely around onto the bottom.

Disc in Dye

The disc will just float on top of the dye. Let it sit for 10 - 20 minutes.

Disc in Dye

Take the disc out and rinse it off with water.

Just out

Remove the contact paper and vinyl. Be careful while doing this as there can be dye water that has splashed into the folds of the contact paper. I keep some paper towels handy when removing to wipe up any excess dye water. Once you are done you will have a nice custom design dyed onto your disc. Good luck!!

Just out
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