How To Dye Absolutely Any Plastic.

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This thread is in dedication of people who like to take things on the personal level. I like doing things myself when I can and dyeing plastic is a simple and fun way to keep it that way.

Lets address the "threes".

There are three different yoyo plastics:
Acetal Plastics:

There are three different yoyo plastic modes:

There are three different ways to dye plastic:
-Acetone and cool water
-Hot water
-acetone and dye(the sprinkle effect)


RIT Dye -

Rit dye is a fabric dye that can also be used to dye plastic and acrylic plastics. It is extremely effective at this depending on how it is used.


Acetone is a chemical used in the production and manufacturing of nail polish remover, as well as several of the plastics you throw about in your hands every day. This includes Freehand Zeroes, several yoyojam yoyos and at currently all of yoyofactory's yoyos. Acetone ONLY effects polycarbonate plastic. We will discuss this in the next section.

The Plastics:

Celcon and Delrin -

Celcon is yoyojam's primo plastic. As of now, most all of their newer yoyos are made of celcon. Celcon is important to note in dyeing because of it's different properties. It cannot be effected by chemicals meaning it is not effected by acetone. How can we identify Celcon and Delrin?



Celcon and Delrin have a very high sheen, even when satined. The yoyo will appear greasy but not to the touch. If the yoyo is molded, the mold marks will be especially visible. If you have any questions as to whether a yoyo is celcon, delrin or polycarbonate. Please ask and we'd be sure to let you know.

-Celcon and Delrin cannot be clear or translucent. If you can see through it, it isn't Delrin or Celcon
-Never add acetone to a hot water dye with Celcon or Delrin, acetone has a lower boiling point than water and will... "explode" on contact. Not only that but it won't do you any good either.
-Celcon yoyos with metal rings are press-fit into them. If you dye the yoyo with the rings on, they will fall off as the metal will expand. This is no consequence as the rings simply go on the same way they came off, by pressing them back on.
-A Legacy's Rings do not have to be removed prior to dyeing the yoyo, they also will not fall out of the yoyo while dyeing it. It's just a pain in the butt to dry the yoyo because water will collect in that cavity.

Dyeing Celcon and Delrin-

-Hot water
-A yoyo string
-A narrow pot, it needs to be as deep as it can be without being wide
-Rit Dye

1. Fill the pot with hot water and set it on the stove, turn the stove top to whatever your stove's medium setting is. This is the ideal setting for dyeing celcon and delrin. The water should heat up as you do the next few steps.
2. Remove all parts from the yoyo but keep the axle in, if you'd like to mask your response area, you may simply leave the response where it is or remove it and fill the area with hot glue.
3. Tie a string to the axle and keep the yoyo threaded together. You more than likely know where this is going.
4. Fill the hot water with dye and wait for it to steam, when very small bubbles are visible on the surface, it's time to dye.
5. Bob the yoyo up and down in the water getting the entire surface wet for about ten minutes, remove the yoyo from the dye and check the color. If you'd like it darker, add more dye or a darker color to the water and continue.
6. When finished, remove the yoyo from the hot water, rinse with cool water and leave it to dry completely before re-assembling the parts.


Polycarbonate -

Polycarbonate plastic is used in about 80% of all plastic yoyos in production today. All of Duncan and YoyoFactory's yoyos are currently made of polycarbonate plastic. It is weaker than Celcon and Delrin yet it is easier to manipulate and manufacture. It also yeilds more color choices as it can be made clear or translucent. This is how we often times identify Polycarbonate plastic. Poly often times has a dimmer sheen than Delrin and Celcon, and is always molded, never turned on a lathe unless modified. Even though it often times can appear lackluster, polycarbonate plastic is currently the only plastic available that has been seen with a mirror finish stock.

Polycarbonate Plastic:

Dark Magic

Freehand Zero

-Polycarbonate yoyos with metal rings unless modded are molded on and you should never attempt to remove them. You can damage your yoyo permanently.
-Heating a Polycarbonate yoyo on the stove is dangerous to your yoyo not to mention unorthodox. The plastic has less heat tolerance than a Celcon yoyo and will melt easier.

Dyeing Polycarbonate Plastic-

-A glass cup or mason jar
-100% Pure Acetone
-RIT Dye
-A Fork

1. Remove all parts from the yoyo, if you can remove the axle, then please remove it. It will only get in the way.
2. Fill the bottom of your container with a mixture of warm water and RIT Dye; only enough to cover the yoyo, the warm water is to dissolve the dye completely before adding acetone. Stir the mixture until completely dissolved.
3. Insert your yoyo into the bottom of the glass half by half, take the fork and move them around to make sure they get covered 100% with no air bubbles.
4. Add acetone and begin dyeing. There is no concrete setting for how much acetone it takes to dye any polycarbonate yoyo, it's trial and error. Add until it takes the dye.

-The yoyo isn't taking the dye
add more acetone
-The yoyo isn't getting any darker
add more dye

Acetone allows the dye to seep in. If the yoyo refuses to get darker, the yoyo is already accepting the acetone therefore you must add more dye. If the yoyo isn't taking the dye at all then more acetone must be used.

Additional dye methods

The sprinkling method:

1. Remove all parts from your yoyo and set it in the sink with both halves facing upward.
2. Fill a small glass about halfway with 3/4 acetone and 1/4 water.
2. Grab a cotton swab and dip it into the mixture
3. Go over the yoyo with the cotton swab and let it soak for a bit, keep the yoyo saturated.
4. Cut a small hole in the RIT dye pouch and sprinkle it softly onto the yoyo, the dye should run a little and settle on the yoyo.
5. Leave it be for about 15 minutes
6. Wash the yoyo in cool water.

This is an old method and it's rarely practiced these days as acetone is known to cause cracks in polycarbonate yoyos. The yoyo is never given the time to soak therefore the acetone level must be higher to effect it. The high intensity that the acetone has to be at has the chance to crack the plastic more than other techniques. I generally consider this method unsafe for yoyos. Try at your own risk.


-A mask is anything you apply to the yoyo before dyeing it that results in a design or pattern across the surface.

Notable masks:

-Rubber Cement - ONLY use on Celcon and Delrin, acetone breaks down rubber cement and can adhere it to your polycarbonate yoyo permanently. NEVER use rubber cement to mask a polycarbonate yoyo.
-Hot Glue - Safe for all yoyo types and the most common form of mask, most commonly used to create splatter dye jobs similar to CLYW's metal splattering
-Stickers - Any form of sticker can be used as a mask on a yoyo
-Liquid Masking - This is only used on polycarbonate yoyos, a common liquid mask is dish soap as it holds it's consistency in water as long as it isn't disturbed. It will not work on Celcon as the heated water will dissolve it almost instantly.
-Peanut Butter and Vaseline - Thicker masks that I'd consider between Hot Glue and Liquid masking, marblization is a large effect of these types of masks and can create very textured yoyo designs.

Places to purchase::

Rit Dye
-Retail stores such as Walmart, and most major grocery stores
-Joe Ann fabrics or any other store dedicated to fabric supplies

-100% Acetone is best bought at a hardware store. You can buy more of it for cheaper and it will last you much longer than a small bottle of nail polish remover bought at a retail store.

PS: If anyone has information on how to properly dye acrylic plastic please say so in this thread. I know 3yo3 yoyos have been dyed before.

Color Wheel:

Several different color mixes are available depending on how you mix RIT dye.
RIT's color mixing guide

I hope you've learned something from all of this and before you begin to dye your yoyos, remember that safety is always a good thing to keep in mind when dyeing. If you only take one thing from all of this, take these.

-NEVER use acetone with Celcon and Delrin
-NEVER use rubber cement with Polycarbonate plastic
-NEVER heat Polycarbonate plastic
-NEVER leave your Celcon or Delrin yoyo on the bottom of the pot while being heated

Knowing is half the battle. I'd rather you have a good playing yoyo than a pretty one, although if we're careful enough; we can always have both.

The Giant Yo-yo List::

-All yo-yos are currently Poly.

-All Polycarbonate
For you Duncan fans, update to the end of the list their new stuff.
I haven't cared to look. There are some new plastics being released, I think one is Celcon or Delrin.


Polycarbonate yoyos::
-Everything not in the Celcon list, including HG yoyos.

New Breed
Lyn Fury
Dragon Jam


All polycarbonate as of 4/25/10


All polycarbonate as of 4/25/10


All Delrin


The GS and GS2 are made of Celcon.


All polycarbonate as of 4/25/10


The Lucha Libre is made of Delrin

Born Crucial::

Everything released by this company so far is made of Delrin.


Any Yoyofactory stacks made pre-2008 are Celcon
All afterwards are polycarbonate.

Jimmy hats are polycarbonate.

Ewww! I feel something sticky! Amazing guide IV. I'll use this O0

Awesome post !
Hate to get picky but both Celcon and Delrin are brand names for the same thing - which is Acetal plastic.
Celcon is made by Celanese Corporation
Delrin is made by Dupont.
I think Celcon is used more in yoyos cast in a mold like the the YoYoJams.  
Delrin usually comes in slabs, rods and other pre made shapes and is then machined into its final shape.
Otherwise, chemically it's pretty much the same stuff. Acetal.

Quote from: madcow on April 23, 2010, 07:13:14 PM

Great !
Hate to be picky but both Celcon and Delrin are brand names for the same thing - which is Acetal plastic.
Celcon is made by Celanese Corporation
Delrin is made by Dupont.
I think Celcon is used more in yoyos cast in a mold like the the YoYoJams. 
Delrin usually comes in slabs, rods and other pre made shapes and is then machined into its final shape.
Otherwise, chemically it's pretty much the same stuff. Acetal.

More or less, I had planned on keeping it this way because the yoyo companies themselves call the plastic by their brand names. Born Crucial sells it's yoyos under the name "Delrin" and yoyojam sells theirs under the name "Celcon". I'd rather it be more familiar to the original purchaser if they have no prior knowledge of the plastics themselves.

That makes sense.
Eventually tho', beyond the scientific and brand names, it's nice to be able to pick it up, look at it, and know what it is.
For plastics there's pretty much only two choices :
The Acrylics/Polycarbs and the Acetals.
It can be interesting, useful, and rewarding to be able to recognize what your holding/ lookin' at, the same way a woodworker knows the different wood species by lookin' at the grain and texture.


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