Vinyl Dye

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Vinyl Dye

Postby MittenNinja » Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:54 am

So as some of you may know, I've thought about trying out vinyl dyes on some legos to see how they worked out. Now, you can buy vinyl dye at automotive shops or online, they are usually used for restoring or changing the color of your car's interior but they work well for recoloring your little ABS plastic bricks too.

So first off, I took a 2x2 radar dish of a few varying ranges of light/darkness.
Image
I sprayed a total of three coats onto them, waiting about 5-10 minutes in between each.
Image
These are in the same order as above (with a sand green dish next to them so you can see how close the coloring is (or really, how close it isn't)).
The color is even and the pieces fit perfectly on studs from other bricks, in fact maybe even a smidge better than before. The reason for this is that vinyl dye isn't a traditional paint. It doesn't layer over the surface of the plastic like a normal paint, it soaks into the plastic, changing it's color. There is a very small amount that remains on the surface of the plastic, but i have yet to run into an issue where a piece wouldn't snap to a stud. In fact, the slight increase in stiffness is actually quite useful for some joints.

After the successful test, I decided to try this out on a full frame. Take a look!
Image

The can of dye cost me $20, and is the size of a standard can of spray paint. While this may be slightly more expensive than what you might be paying for more common colored bricks, with some of the more exotic colors you can get out there, it may totally be worth it for you.
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Re: Vinyl Dye

Postby LowestFormOfWit » Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:16 am

Very cool. I could see this being worth it if you can source cheap pieces in odd colors and then use the spray to make them uniform, or as you said, find some odd colors.

Let us know if you run into any long-term problems with the dye. I'm interested in how it holds up to snapping/unsnapping and general wear from articulating, etc.
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Re: Vinyl Dye

Postby The Trilobite » Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:28 am

I'd also love to hear about some long-term effects. As it is, thank you for being on point with this! Beats the pants off my plan of sanding/painting some pieces from a flea market.
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Re: Vinyl Dye

Postby Dukayn » Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:48 pm

Turned out great. Really great. Will be interesting to see if there are any negative effects in the long-term but I actually don't think there would be.
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Re: Vinyl Dye

Postby LowestFormOfWit » Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:23 pm

Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure vinyl dye is the same stuff hardcore nerfers and nerd modders use to paint their nerf guns! I don't know why the name wasn't clicking with me earlier. The real shame is the real color swaps I would actually want to do are all trans pieces.....
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Re: Vinyl Dye

Postby CalaveraJoe » Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:06 am

Well, if the worry over wear and tear is at the thought of the stuff peeling off... it really shouldn't The dye literally soaks INTO the plastic of the bricks, In theory, you could dye a brick and then cut it in half, the you should see the dye penetrating into the plastic. The trick is that you need to make sure you're using vinyl DYE and not paint.

Oh, and Mittens? I still hate you -_- cause now I need to see what color dyes I can find and 'experiment' on my mass of red, black, and dark bley to see what happens.
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Re: Vinyl Dye

Postby Mantisking » Sun Jun 17, 2012 1:02 pm

MittenNinja wrote:After the successful test, I decided to try this out on a full frame. Take a look!
Image

I'm not sure I would ever use this stuff -- a little too much of a purist -- but, I love the finish it left on the brick.
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Re: Vinyl Dye

Postby LowestFormOfWit » Sun Jun 17, 2012 9:10 pm

Oh man. I just thought of the best use for this.....

BLACK PNEUMATIC T PIECES.

I win. I have to get me some black vinyl dye now....
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Re: Vinyl Dye

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:35 pm

Can you really not tell the difference between the grays in the final?
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Re: Vinyl Dye

Postby MittenNinja » Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:43 pm

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:Can you really not tell the difference between the grays in the final?

not one bit. in fact, on that fat snake there are dark bley, tan, Brown, black and a couple white pieces. I bet you can't tell me which are which.
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Re: Vinyl Dye

Postby randolph » Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:14 am

LowestFormOfWit wrote:BLACK PNEUMATIC T PIECES.

Oh hutch.

Black technic 1/2-pins.
Black neck brackets.

What have you done, Mittens? What have you done?

(Now if only vinyl dye came in "transparent clear" <_<)
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Re: Vinyl Dye

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:31 am

Wow. Fantastic. Thanks for doing this experiment!
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Re: Vinyl Dye

Postby LowestFormOfWit » Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:50 am

Out of curiosity, where did you source your vinyl dye from Mittens, and is there a particular brand to look for? Is it better to retail it or try a hand at ordering online?
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Re: Vinyl Dye

Postby Ced23Ric » Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:31 am

LowestFormOfWit wrote:BLACK PNEUMATIC T PIECES.

*long stare* BRB home improvement store.
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Re: Vinyl Dye

Postby Mantisking » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:40 am

LowestFormOfWit wrote:BLACK PNEUMATIC T PIECES.
randolph wrote:Black technic 1/2-pins.
Black neck brackets.

Yeah. Those items right there are probably the biggest selling points of this dye.
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Re: Vinyl Dye

Postby morganm » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:45 am

Thanks for taking the time to test this out, post pictures, and do a review. That green color is actually really neat. I love how that chub turned out.

Does it matter what color brick you start with?

What if I took that green color and sprayed a light grey brick and a black brick.... would the final color look different between the two bricks?
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Re: Vinyl Dye

Postby MittenNinja » Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:17 am

morganm wrote:Thanks for taking the time to test this out, post pictures, and do a review. That green color is actually really neat. I love how that chub turned out.

Does it matter what color brick you start with?

What if I took that green color and sprayed a light grey brick and a black brick.... would the final color look different between the two bricks?


MittenNinja wrote:
Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:Can you really not tell the difference between the grays in the final?

not one bit. in fact, on that fat snake there are dark bley, tan, Brown, black and a couple white pieces. I bet you can't tell me which are which.


I have only tried this with the green pictured above. It may not work as well with other colors/brands of dye. I'll be posting results from other dyes if/when i get around to ordering/using them.

LowestFormOfWit wrote:Out of curiosity, where did you source your vinyl dye from Mittens, and is there a particular brand to look for? Is it better to retail it or try a hand at ordering online?

I got this green from Heartbeat City. I haven't looked around at local retailers yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's a viable option too. Just make sure you're buying vinyl dye and not paint. There is a difference.
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Re: Vinyl Dye

Postby LowestFormOfWit » Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:40 pm

Yes, I've been doing some research into it (and others who have used it for LEGO). If it isn't called Vinyl Dye right out, (*EDIT*Wrong Wrong Wrong*EDIT*) just make sure it isn't Vinyl -paint-. I read that you do want to go to a light or dark base tone first if you're making a drastic switch, like black to pink, where you'd want a white coat first, but as Mittens demonstrated it looks like a few nice even coats should mask almost any color uniformly. What I want to know is a dye's interaction with a trans-piece. While I doubt you could dye a trans clear piece trans red by simply doing red dye on it, I have to think that the result could be different slightly?
Last edited by LowestFormOfWit on Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Vinyl Dye

Postby pasukaru76 » Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:57 pm

LowestFormOfWit wrote:While I doubt you could dye a trans clear piece trans red by simply doing red dye on it, I have to think that the result could be different slightly?


Note that trans Lego pieces are made from PC not ABS, so whether vinyl dye actually works on them is beyond my knowledge.
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Re: Vinyl Dye

Postby LowestFormOfWit » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:01 pm

This article was referenced a lot from pages I was researching Vinyl Dye on LEGOs, and is very informative:
http://www.minifigcustomizationnetwork.com/howto/1675

Beware of Vinyl Paint or Vinyl COATING. These are NOT dyes.

A local store carries some of the Mar-Hyde and Plasti-Kote Vinyl colors, but not the gloss black I want! I'll have to shop around, If you're not sourcing this online, local mom-and-pop places are more likely to carry this than larger retailers like Autozone/Wal-Mart/etc.
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