My last post was a quick look into picking out your first head. Once you have picked out a head it’s time to get a little creative and add your own personal touch.
This week we’ll look at a couple of quick and easy dye jobs that will set your head apart from an off the shelf white, black or stock colored head. I’ll be showing you how to do simple one color and two color fades. If you want to try something different that is certainly up to you, but we’ll start off by keeping it pretty basic.
Once you see how it is done, the possibilities are endless.
So what will you need?
- A head (good place to start…)
- A large pot or container that can hold boiling water (which NO ONE uses for cooking!) Always seek parental approval first!
- A stove (again, parental approval required!)
- RIT dye
- Some kind of stirrer to mix the dye (same rules as the pot or container!)
- Paper towels or newspaper for cleaning/drying
- A little creativity or some solid team colors
Cleaning the head
The first thing you will need to do is clean up your head. If you are using a head you have played with before, you will want to use some rubbing alcohol or some kind of cleaner to get grease and dirt off of as much of the head as you can. A brillo pad or tough sponger can help scrape some of the funk off. A little soap, water, and elbow grease never hurts.
If the head is new, all you really need to do is pop your ball stop off and give it a quick rinse.
For best results I would recommend cleaning your head regardless, but you shouldn’t be too worried with a head straight out of the wrapper.
Preparing for the fade
When dying a fade, whether it is one, two, or ten colors, it is important to identify where on your head you want the fade to happen. I am using an Easton Stealth head for my dye today. The head has only one sidewall bar so I am going to split the fade at the bar for a clean and symmetrical look.
Knowing that I want my split to happen at the bar, I can fill my pot up with water to the depth of the bar on the sidewall. This way I won’t accidentally end up dipping my head too far and ruining the split that I am imagining.
Preparing the dye
Before you get started on the dye it’s important to know that the stuff works… I would recommend wearing clothing you are okay getting some drops on and laying out plenty of paper towel or newspaper on your counter before you start dipping and dying. Stains will get you in trouble. After your first few dyes you’ll get better and won’t have to worry as much, but for your first attempt it’s always good to be extra cautious.
To get the dye ready for the head, simply heat the water to a boil and then stir in your dye. One packet of dye is often enough, but the more dye you use, the darker the color will be on your head. I wanted a true purple so I am using one whole packet of RIT Purple.
Once you have poured in your packet of dye, you will need to stir it until the bottom of your pan no longer feels grainy.
Once the dye has mixed completely, take the pot off of the hot burner, and don’t hold your head over the pot inhaling the fumes. It can’t be good for you.
Some people dye their head with the pot still on the heat. I am always worried that the high temperature of the burner may mess with the head. The heat of the water will be more than enough to let the dye do it’s thing even if you take it off the boiler before you put the dye in.
Because you have already measured your water line to the depth that you want your fade, you can stick the whole head into the pot.
The trick for the fade is that once the head is in the water and all of the area that you want dyed has made contact with the dye, you need to begin to rock the head forward and backward. By rocking the head, the top of the head stays in the dye for the duration that you keep the head in the pot. This gives the top of the head a deeper, darker coloring while fading to lighter shades on the areas that are rocked in and out of the water.
Finishing your dye
When the head is to the coloring of your liking, take it out of the pot and rinse it off under cold water.
It’s important to pull the head out of the water in the same position that you dyed it. Stray dye can run and stain if you lift the head upside down.
String it up!
Now that your head is complete you can string it up.
Adding a second color
If you want to add another color to the bottom of your fade, simply follow these steps with a new color and the other half of your stick.
Check out the photos below to see how mine turned out!