When Dyeing PMAGs, Liquid Or Powdered Dye?

IMG_3417

A few weeks ago Nicholas C posted an article written for GunMag Warehouse about dyeing PMAGS and it got me thinking about whether or not the type of dye mattered when dyeing polymer. Just about every online guide specifies the use of the liquid Rit brand dye, but at about five bucks per color the cost can add up quick if you are dyeing several different colors.

While I was buying the blue dye to identify my range mags from every one else’s I decided to pick up some powdered golden yellow Rit and a bottle of the off brand liquid dye in an obnoxious fuchsia color. Since both of the bottles of liquid were good for about double the amount of fabric as the powder I picked up two of those to make measurements easy.   Dyes

I dug 3 Sand PMAGs out of my stash and started a pot on the stove with 96 ounces of water. First up was the two packets of powdered yellow dye, after dumping them into the water I stirred it until I felt that everything was properly mixed. I unceremoniously dumped the mag body, floor plate and dust cover into the pot without any wire supports. IMG_3375

Next was the off brand liquid fuchsia, after staining my fingers Simpson yellow with the last mag I decided it might be best to glove up before my hand started to look like an Easter egg. IMG_3383

Lastly the Aquamarine Rit liquid. This stuff was dark as hell and made fishing the parts out a bit of a chore. IMG_3387

After getting all the dye rinsed off the mags, letting them dry and reassembling them I was left with three newly colorful mags. The powdered dye seemed to have the best penetration of the polymer with no splotchy areas, the off brand came in second as far as even color and the Rit liquid brought up the rear. I noticed several small areas where the sand color was visible under very thin dye.   IMG_3407

Tulip brand liquid fuchsia IMG_3409 IMG_3430

Rit powdered golden yellowIMG_3413 IMG_3428

Rit liquid aquamarineIMG_3415IMG_3434

I have come to the conclusion that when I go through the dyeing process again with the next batch of sand PMAGs I will be buying the powdered dye from here on out. There is no reason to spend the extra few dollars on the liquid and the powdered is less likely to seriously stain your skin, counter top or clothing if you get a splash when pouring it into the pot. I also do not believe the wires to keep it off the bottom of the pot are necessary as long as you flip the parts halfway through.

If you want to check out the GEN 3 sand PMAGs you can check out Magpul’s site here, the non windowed mags have a MSRP of $14.95. The Rit liquid dye has a MSRP of $4.49, click here to see the colors. Rit powered dye has a MSRP of $2.99, click here to see the colors.



Patrick R

Patrick is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and works in the shooting sports industry. He is an avid recreational shooter and a verified gun nerd. With a lifelong passion for shooting, he has a love for all types of firearms, especially handguns and the AR-15 platform. Patrick may be contacted at tfbpatrick@gmail.com.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • Twilight sparkle

    So what’s with the position of the selector?

    • Bob

      Giggle mode?

      • Twilight sparkle

        I was thinking that at first too but there’s no sear pin hole. There could be a rdias or one of those new double tap triggers

    • Patrick R. – Staff Writer

      The right side of the selector is screwed in upside down to keep the lever from living under my finger when shooting.

  • ChadB88

    Missing some “e”s, Patrick. It’s “dyeing” and “dyed”.

    • Patrick R. – Staff Writer

      That spell check will save you, then murder you in the face. Oops. I will have to fix it tonight.

  • Rick O’Shay

    I think it probably would have been a better test to check powdered versus liquid using the same color. Who’s to say that it’s not just the fact that the powdered yellow looks like a great dye job because the color is already closer to “sand” than the blue?

    • Patrick R. – Staff Writer

      The store I visited didn’t have matching colors. I may revisit again, but I am really confidant in my conclusion. The hot water does a wonderful job of dissolving the powdered dye.

  • Hudson

    RIT dye is a nasty corrosive, make sure you rinse well multiple times

  • Is this secretly a Pokemon Go team related post?

    • SP mclaughlin

      Magpul GO

  • Bill

    Can you dip them in multiple colors like Easter Eggs?

    • BattleshipGrey

      From what I’ve read you could. But you’d have to use electrical tape to cover the bits you don’t want colored with the color you’re currently on. And you’d have to really work the tape into the molded lines to stop bleeding where you don’t want it.

      • disqus_6U2X3FyU7z

        You can get some decent detail, my next attempt will be with a hot glue gun.

        • BattleshipGrey

          I don’t think the glue would stay in place with all that heat would it?

          • disqus_6U2X3FyU7z

            I dunno, it should hold for a minute or three.

            The tape was okay, not great but doable.
            I tried cutting pieces of it to form a bit of a pattern but it had trouble just sticking to the pmag without being wrapped all the way around.

            Another option would be to paint the negative areas with plastidip, dye it, and then try and rub the dip off or maybe a chemical cleaner.

          • matt

            if you need inspiration with rit dye techniques, check out, “lacrosse head dyeing” on YouTube. A lot of lacrosse players dye their lacrosse heads with rit dye and get pretty creative.

          • AirborneSoldier

            WHy not just paint? Spray cans are cheap, and easy to redo when it wears.

    • disqus_6U2X3FyU7z

      Yep, liquid Rit and black electrical tape.

  • Pistolero

    Ultramarine, Imperial Fist, Blood Raven

  • AndyT

    Use vinyl for making stencils. Look up “disc golf dyes” for some of the work people are doing on their plastic. You can get incredible detail.

  • Ryan

    I recently wrote an article, as well as a letter to the manufacturer, for one of my FB groups detailing why I am very much against the use of bright toy like colors on real firearms. While I get that everyone is looking to be a special snowflake, there should be a line we do not cross, out of common sense if for no other reason. Making firearms that are in the same bright plastic colors as toy guns is one such line.
    My letter was to Savage Arms in relation to their line of Rascal .22 rifles being produced now in it’s original Black, plus a new OD Green and Brown all of which still say “firearm” to anyone looking at them. Even the Neon Pink, which most us have come to associate with firearms due to the semi-recent trend to attempt to increase sales to women and girls, is not entirely out of the realm of acceptance bearing in mind this is just my opinion.
    It is however the release of firearms in Red, Blue, Yellow, and Orange that I have a serious issue. On one hand the Red and Blue colors in particular are used specifically to designate a “safe or dummy” firearms for use in training. The bright yellow and Orange well that is simple stupidity in my opinion. Any of these bright colors could be mistaken for a toy weapon and cost someone their life as a result.
    I think such colorations on any firearm should be carefully considered because unless you are perfect you will at some point make a mistake. That mistake might be leaving a round chambered in a toy colored gun that is then picked up by a child and discharged resulting in possible tragedy. Another consideration is that the Airsoft community has been forced to add bright orange or other bright colored tips to their line of products (though I freely admit most buyers seem to defeat this very quickly) to allow law enforcement officials an opportunity to positively identify what they are facing.
    It has come to my attention by means of a local family friend and member of the CSI unit of our city police force, that several firearms have been confiscated during arrests wherein the entire weapon had been painted a bright toy like color or the tip of the barrel had been painted bright orange in an attempt to lull anyone facing that weapon to pause and consider if it might be a toy or not. For our law enforcement community that pause could be fatal. The same could hold equally true if an intruder carried such a weapon, a person might hesitate and thus end up being shot because of this practice.
    Considering the political environment we face as supporters of our 2nd Amendment rights, and all of the insidious ways they are undermined by those who would see us all disarmed, we must use better judgement when deciding what is fashionable and what is foolhardy. We only arm our opponents every time we make a mistake. In my opinion making any real firearm appear as anything less than lethal is just such a fools errand. I do not mean insult or injury to anyone who desires to express themselves by customizing their firearm. My only hope is that good judgement will prevail and we will see this particular practice of toy colored firearms put to bed quickly and quietly before it is turned against us.
    Very nice article though just not my cup if tea. But then this is just my $0.02. Take it or leave it.

    • AD_Rtr_OS

      I second Ryan’s concern about coloring.
      However, I also think that dyeing the floorplates (and dustcovers) could be helpful in designating what loads are contained if one uses a variety of loads as a regular practice. Certainly easier – and more permanent – than different colored strips of tape.

    • Alien Life Form

      Amen

  • OBlamo Binlyen

    Before I sacrifice one of my soon to be illegal in Kommieforniastan mags, has anyone tried to dye a Black p-mag? Obviously the substrata will make it darker but I’m just wondering. I want to different my 300BLK from my 5.56. besides the Yellow duct tape I use on the bottom.

  • bruce Cambell

    Hmm… I might need to do this so that I can easily identify my 300 blackout mags. Perhaps not dye the whole mag, but just the floor plates. I’m thinking black mags with red or blue floor plates. Red being for 300bl.

    • kalashnikev

      Not all .300 BLK likes being fed from PMAGs.

  • spike1984

    painting the black magazines to neon recalls the style of Transformers toys that are resold with new paint schemes and stickers.