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).