Utilizing Rit Dye for Lettering - Router Forums
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-26-2013, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb Utilizing Rit Dye for Lettering

People have been asking about the coloring and technique I use for my lettering. I've attempted the Marsh Ink (endorsed by Old Dave on YouTube) it hasn't worked for me. It doesn't get in the letters well, (maybe mine are too fancy... who knows) and it takes way too long to dry, it's sticky, gumming up my sander, and I don't use a handheld belt sander. Old Dave and Eric made it look SOOO easy! lol

Anyway, I found Rit Dye. I don't have a lot of money, (Oh let's face it... I'm down right poor!) Anyway, I was looking for a way to color my lettering, and voila, there it was. It's cheap, and when done right, no worries on the sanding. (I learned this after many times of having to recut detailed work and lettering because of soaking through, or bleeding, causing me to have to sand that much more.)

1. First, after you've done your cutting, sand off any markings that may be left of your pattern. I start usually with 100; sometimes 120 if the marks are light enough. Blow off any sawdust with air compressor, or clean out lettering your normal way.

2. Check the cuts for depth. My small lines, I sometimes go over again a little deeper or use my dremel to make them deeper.

3. I usually at this point use 180, then 220, and then 3?? (I forget the exact number) if needed, to get a real nice, smooth finish. Doesn't need to be "Polished", but nice and smooth. You can do this by hand, if you want, to help avoid any excess removal of detailed cuts. (If you've only cut large letters, and have no shallow cuts, use the power sander and sand away lol) Blow out any sawdust in the lettering. This sanding will almost act as a "treatment" to the wood, or as a 'wax' for lack of better terminology. The smoother it is, it's like the dye can't get into the wood; it just sits on top. I hope that makes sense.

Before you even start this next portion, be sure (at least for signs; or those that you plan on staining) to use Minwax Wood Conditioner on your sign... all I can say about this product is WOW - the difference it made in how the stain took to the sign was nothing short of astonishing. But that's a topic for another time lol Follow the directions, then proceed from here.

4. Be sure all sawdust is removed, either by brush or air. I use artist brushes for filling in my letters, to make sure I get good coverage, but I've put the Rit Dye in one of those little air brushes (Thinned, a bit, of course) and airbrushed it on as well, although I find I like using my artist brushes. Less clean up (sanding). I also usually use a squared brush (the kind for 'dry brushing' effect) because I have the best control. Paint the letters as though you're painting a picture by number, really. I've slopped it on, but then had lots to take off later, so I've learned to paint it on, without worry, just not as sloppy. ***I'll interject here, that there's no need to thin the Rit Dye. Use it full strength, shaking it well. If you want to add a touch of water, you can, but I rarely do, unless I get a bottle that is particularly gloopy***, which I've noticed Rit has either been getting lazy with their mix, or what I'm getting at the store is old, or something. Also, I usually just pour it into the cap, or one of those tiny plastic dollar store food containers with a lid when doing a large project. (You know, the ones you see that are so little, you wonder "what the hell would fit in that tiny thing! It won't even hold a potato chip!")

5. The more you put on, the longer to dry.... so don't overuse. I usually let it dry for about 15 minutes, maybe? Sometimes quicker, because I've only gotten a little bit outside the lettering. When you can touch it and it's either barely damp or has that "almost there" feeling, you should be able to sand off the excess from around your lettering. (*Wait... before you go any further, be sure there's no 'pooling' of the dye in your letters. If there is, use a paper towel or something to get out the excess or you're gonna have a huge mess when you blow out your sawdust at the end of this step. Believe me... I know*) This is where I'll use the 100 or 120 so I can make quick work of it, but I've used up to 220 I think, when I was too lazy to look for a rougher grit. If you've gotten the wood to a real smooth surface, the dye will come right off with no effort at all. Almost as though you took an erasure to a dry erase board. Blow off sawdust and...

Tada coloring done. Go on to your staining, poly, etc.

Hope this has been informational for anyone interested in my technique. I think I covered all the bases (and I turned off the television while I typed this so I didn't start typing the dialogue from the program and get off on some other tangent lol) If you have any questions, I'll be glad to answer them.

Barb
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Last edited by OutoftheWoodwork; 06-27-2013 at 06:51 AM.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-26-2013, 10:28 PM
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Excellent explanation. Thanks. I'm going to give RIT a try on my next project.

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-27-2013, 06:17 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Oliver I think you'll be happy with it. Hollar if you have any questions or run into a problem.

Barb


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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-27-2013, 06:18 AM
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Barb...
what are the mix ratios of dye to the liquid if your choice???
paste, watery or some place in between???

This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-27-2013, 06:49 AM Thread Starter
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Stick, I don't mix it at all. I use it full strength unless the bottle I get is real gloopy, or lumpy. Then I shake it first, as that may be the issue. But then, if you want to make the dye go a bit further (but it will go quite a ways as it is-it comes in a bottle) you can add a touch of water just to get rid of a little bit of the thickness. There's no real scientific ratio to it. Add tiny bits at a time till you get the desired consistency. If you're not sure, you want it thick enough to stay on the brush, and the color of it to be true. Start with a small amount in the cup, or whatever you've poured it in. Add a touch of water. If it's thin enough to drink, it's too thin lol add more dye to it. If I had to put a ratio, I guess I would say 1/4 tsp(or less) water to two caps of dye maybe. But if you decide to add water, I do recommend you use distilled or purified water rather than tap, as some people may live in an area that has high iron or other minerals/sediment in their water, and I don't know what effect, if any tap water would have on the dye if you mix it and let it set. I didn't take that chance. I mixed water once with a bottle that was real gloopy and left it. I bought a bottle (20 oz) of Nestle Pure Life water or Aquafina and used it to mix and it stored well.

Also, know that if you add water, (I noticed this when I used the airbrush method) it can give the appearance of losing the true black color. It was still black, just not as rich. So if you use the airbrush method, add as little as possible, or use one that will take the thicker paints. It may have been the diameter of the airbrush I was using, as it was super small so I had to really thin the dye to use it.

I hope this helps

Barb

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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-27-2013, 07:09 AM
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the only Rit dye I ever knew was powder... I take you are using liquid...
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This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

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"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-27-2013, 07:16 AM Thread Starter
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Yup in the bottle. I'm sorry. But you can use the powder if you want. I have a couple boxes I bought in colors that weren't available in liquid but haven't used them yet. If you use the box, I would mix it lean with purified water, adding more as needed to get the thickness you get with the bottle form.

I'm sorry, Stick. I forgot that the powder form is out there...

Barb


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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-27-2013, 07:19 AM
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Barb
I wonder if Stick was talking about the powder Rit dye? I don’t recall seeing in a bottle just the powder form (about the size of a box of Jello).

Thanks for the detailed explanation. I think down Rit good!! Hee Hee

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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-27-2013, 08:22 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, Steve, he (like many others I've found out) didn't know there was a liquid Rit as well. I found it by mistake at Meijer. I have the powder form, and like I told him, I'm sorry. I totally forgot that Rit is also in the powder form.

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-27-2013, 08:30 AM
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Oops should have read the entire thread before posting. You both already had it figured out.

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