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I’ve chosen PVC pipe for lots of projects because it’s easy to work with — and easy to modify. But the only finish option I ever attempted was paint, which really doesn’t hold up that well. One of the readers over at Make posted a how-to, though, on dying PVC. And it sounds like a much better solution, penetrating below the surface of the PVC and creating a lasting hue.

The article specifically works with cables — a power cord, for example — but the technique should work equally well with pipe or other PVC coatings. The trick here is blending various oil-soluble chemical dyes with “clear cleaner” to create a penetrating oil. Check the article — plus the link in the first paragraph – -to see what specific products the author selected as well as some suggested volumes.

As the author points out, this method not only produces a more durable color, it’s also more customizable and (most importantly) doesn’t change the diameter of the pipe, which means you can use it in precision applications (like, say, camera stabilizers and such).

Technique: Cable Dying [Make]
Technique: Stain PVC Any Color You Like [Make]


4 Responses to Long-Lasting Color For PVC Projects

  1. Mike47 says:

    Dying PVC… Hmmm… Looks like cause of death was blood loss.

  2. Brau says:

    From what I gather, PVC dye is not a readily available consumer product making this DIY a bit expensive and far fetched IMO. IT was interesting to know how easily it can be done though.

  3. Mosley Hardy says:

    One other option would be to go to your local sign shop and try to talk them out of some of their empty solvent ink cartridges. Solvent ink’s sole purpose in life is to chemically combine with PVC (in this case, banner material) and color it. Empty carts still have a few cc’s of ink in them. If you needed to do a lot of coloring, you could buy 220ml carts from your local sign supplies dealer. They come in Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Light Cyan, Light Magenta, and occasionally red, green, and blue.

  4. girlnextdoor says:

    The dyes for this project are available on ebay. Application is somewhat difficult on items larger than cables. Using the applicator in the can of clear cleaner creates streaks, drips, and the solvent evaporates very rapidly as you work. You can’t expect a perfectly smooth solid color like you would get with a coat of paint.

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