Preview – Patterned Polymer Dyeing
Give Your Component a New Look That Lasts
With so many firearm parts and accessories available in plastic and polymer nowadays, it’s a great time to be a do-it-yourselfer. Not everyone may have the skills or tools to hand-checker a 1911 metal frame, but most anyone willing to try can shave, stipple, or, in this case, dye polymer.
Dyeing polymer furniture and other firearms-related gear is a fun and inexpensive way to give your equipment a durable and unique, custom look. It’s not all for show, either. Dye can be applied as a semipermanent, identification marking on your gear, such as a magazine. There are many methods and variations on how to dye polymers; we will take a look at just one of the ways. Dyeing polymer is not an exact science. It takes trial and error to get just the right color or tone that you are looking for. Practice makes perfect, so be prepared to re-dye parts several times to achieve your goal. Don’t be shy to experiment; in most cases, the dyed polymer can be returned to about 90 percent of its original color by treating it in bleach. (See sidebar, “Want to Start Over?”)
A key for successful dyeing is to start with light-colored polymers. Many begin with items colored tan, Flat Dark Earth, or Foliage Green. (In case you were wondering, black polymers cannot be turned a lighter color.) In our examples, we start with items colored tan or Flat Dark Earth. Because manufacturers use slightly different pigments and compounds when producing their parts, the dye will affect surfaces differently. The following project shows how it’s done with a TangoDown Battlegrip for an AR-15. The same process was applied to the rest of the rifle’s polymer furniture to create a unique camouflage look.
For the rest of this article, subscribe digitally here: RECOIL Issue 2