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One of the major frustrations for disc golfers everywhere is the lack of choice involved in the appearance of your disc.

Discs are manufactured with specific weights, measurements, and widths in order to suit a specific purpose, depending on the type of disc it is.

One method many disc golfers use to personalize and customize their discs is to dye them.

In this article, we take a closer look at the dyeing method, evaluate its pros and cons, and determine if this is an artistic avenue you should consider.

Why dye a disc golf disc?

As mentioned above, many disc golf players will dye their discs for aesthetic purposes. We don’t select the discs we purchase based on appearances; rather, we select them for their flying properties.

Just because one disc looks really cool doesn’t mean it’s going to hyzer out the way you need it to.

Because discs are usually selected on flying properties alone, you may end up with a set of discs you don’t aesthetically enjoy.

In this case, dyeing the disc may be a viable option to make it practically perfect for you.

Aesthetics aren’t the only good reason to dye a disc, however. Usually, disc golf manufacturers create discs in bright, neon colors to help reduce the chances of your disc getting lost in the terrain.

This isn’t true in every case, unfortunately. Sometimes, the perfect disc performance-wise is either a dark, dull white, or transparent color that is easy to lose.

In order to decrease the risks of losing your disc, consider dying it a bright and easy-to-see color.

What’s the difference between dying a disc and painting?

Dyes are thinner, lighter-weight, and are absorbed into the plastic. Dyes typically only work to help brighten and color a light-colored disc, but will not necessarily be able to brighten a dark disc.

Paint acts like a layer of coating on a disc and can be used to brighten up a disc, but will also affect its flight characteristics by adding weight and thickness to the disc. Painted discs are considered illegal in PDGA tournaments.

Which plastics can absorb dye?

Disc golf discs come in a variety of different plastics, even within the same brands!

Major brands manufacture with different plastics for different reasons.

Some plastics are made to be harder and less vulnerable to damage (from tough throws like roller shots), while other discs are made to be softer and more flexible.

The cheaper plastic lines like Innova’s DX and Pro plastic lines are not the best choices for discs you want to dye.

The same is true for their equivalents across other major disc golf manufacturers.

The higher-quality, more expensive plastic lines like Innova’s Champion and Star, Latitude 64’s Opto line, and the equivalents across the other manufacturers, tend to absorb dye the best and decrease bleeding and fading.

What to look for in a good disc golf dye

The most important part of the dye you select is making sure it’s primed for polymer materials.

Since disc golf discs are made from plastic, polymer dyes will be absorbed well into the plastic material of golf discs.

Dyes made for other surfaces and materials will not mix as well with the golf disc’s natural materials.

The color of the dye you select will be highly personal based off of personal preference, but we recommend selecting bright, vibrant colors.

If you want to use multiple colors but are unsure of how to pair colors together, look up some color palette examples so you can get an idea of complementary color combinations.

Doing a little extra research before dying your discs can be the difference between an awesome design and an amateur-looking one.

For an example of a color wheel/color palette, click here! This color calculator allows you to select a main color, then figure out what combinations look good with that main color.

The general rule of thumb with color wheels is that the colors on either side of your main color on the color wheel look good together, as well as the one opposite your main color.

The color calculator will provide a more in-depth and visual explanation though to help you make the right choice!

Limitations of using dyed discs

The Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) does not forbid dyed discs. In fact, it’s rather ambiguous on this account.

Section 813.01B of the PDGA’s Rulebook states:

“A disc which has been modified after production such that its original flight characteristics have been altered is illegal, excepting wear from usage during play and the moderate sanding of discs to smooth molding imperfections or scrapes. Discs excessively sanded, or painted with a material of detectable thickness, are illegal.”

So, if the dye is so thick on the disc that it changes the disc’s flight patterns, the disc is considered illegal.

Otherwise, as long as the dye is neatly absorbed into the plastic, dye has little-to-no effect on the disc’s original flight characteristics.

Although, there are some disc golfers who take issue with the concept that dye will not affect a disc.

After all, even the difference of ½ a gram of weight is still a difference, right?

Other disc golfers claim this shouldn’t matter since some discs are made of more porous plastics and absorb grams of moisture anyway.

It seems that, at least as of now, there’s no strict consensus or regulation on dyeing discs outside of “excessive” thickness.

But even “excessive” is a relative term, so how can you really know?

If you do not play in tournaments, paint your disc to your heart’s content! But be mindful that the thicker/heavier the paint, the heavier your disc will become, which will impact its flight patterns.

If you do play in tournaments, consider avoiding any altercations to your discs if possible, since it’s better to be safe than sorry.

How to dye your disc

Dyeing your disc will take some practice in order to get a good understanding of the method, so we recommend starting on a scrap disc you don’t care about or actually use.

The first step is to remove the stamp from the manufacturer with straight acetone.

If you want to keep the stamp, that’s totally up to you, but if you’re wanting a design without the stamp, acetone and a cotton ball will do the trick!

The next step is to make sure you clean your disc thoroughly with dish soap and water, then pat dry.

Afterward, you’re ready to begin one of the following methods:

There are a variety of dyeing methods out there, including:

  • The Shaving Cream Method
  • The Stencil Dye Method
  • The Hot Glue Method
  • The Spin Dye Method
  • The Splatter Design Method

The Shaving Cream Method involves pouring a mixture of shaving cream and water into a foil pie pan. Make sure it’s smoothly layered.

Then, mix shaving cream, water, and dye together.

Using an eyedropper, create your desired design on top of the shaving cream pie, then place your disc face-down on the design.

For a video example of this method, check out this short clip below.

The Stencil Dye Method involves–you guessed it–a stencil! This technique is pretty simple–all you need is a stencil and paint or dye.

For a video example of this method, see the option below.

For the Hot Glue Method, you’ll take a hot glue gun and place glue along the top of the disc where you want the disc to be patterned.

Once the glue has dried, you’ll place the disc face-down in dye.

Once everything has settled and you’re rinsing the disc, tear the glue off and there will be patterns on your disc where the glue used to be.

For an example of this method, click here.

The Spin Dye Method is one of the most complex methods which requires the most equipment.

You can manage some really cool gradient designs from the Spin Dye Method though, so it’s worth researching and checking out. To learn more about this method, click here.

The Splatter Design Method is similar to the Shaving Cream Method since shaving cream is still involved.

The application of the dye is really the only difference in order to achieve a different looking aesthetic.

For more information on this method, click here.

Best dye for disc golf

There are a number of dyes that can work well for use in disc golf, though it’s important to consult an industry professional before use to ensure compliance with standards.

The following option may work well for you.

Jacquard iDye Poly Fabric Dye 14 Grams-Kelly Green 460 by Jacquard

iDye Poly seems to be the fan favorite amongst creative disc golf players. This dye is used in almost every disc golf dyeing tutorial.

It comes in a variety of colors–but one of our favorites is this beautiful and vibrant kelly green!

Although this particular dye linked is kelly green, any of the Poly choices from iDye would work just as well as long as you’re using a bright dye on a light-colored disc.

iDye mixes especially well for any dye methods involving shaving cream, but make sure you always choose the Poly version since discs are made from plastic.

View at Amazon to learn more about this dye and its potential use for you.

Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com