Alabama/Van Halen Dye Job

A friend of mine plays at the University of Alabama and had an idea for a Van Halen dye job with some throwback elephant logos.  The Van Halen design is a great dye job for people looking to get into the electrical tape method of dyeing.  With some simple straight cuts, you can have an impressive dye job rather quickly without a lot of hassle.

Things you'll need:
Electrical tape
Xacto knife
Ruler or straight edge
Big enough bucket for goalie head

To begin, choose which colors you would like to work with.  I went with Alabama's crimson, gray, and white.  I used a full length mirror to make the tape cutting process easier.  Pull your tape out into a long strip, and only press down the first inch or so onto the surface.  Try not to stretch it. Then, lay the tape down in a straight line, using the sides of your surface as a guide.  Use your ruler (or magazine) to cut strips out of your tape.  If you have the thin electrical tape, cutting it directly in half will give you a good width. Now, estimate how long of a stripe you will need to cover the sidewall from side to side.  If you are going diagonal, you'll need a longer piece.

Place them randomly around the head, mixing up the direction and thickness.  Remember to leave room for your next colors.  Try to avoid holes in the stick, or you will wind up with bleed marks like I go on the scoop.  If you want to go over a hole, you can always tape the back of the hole as well to keep dye from coming up through.  When your tape hangs off the side of the head, use the blade to trim it to the edge.  For the elephant logos, I placed the tusks only down where they were going to be in relation to the rest of the elephant. I used scotch tape to help accomplish this, but it was still difficult to get it lined up properly.

With everything where it needs to be for my first color, I start boiling the water.  Goalie heads usually take double the amount of water, depending on your bucket.  I got mine from the Container Store,and it fits perfectly.  Before you boil your water, make sure that you're boiling enough to cover the head. Put your head in the bucket, cover it with water, then add another half inch to compensate for evaporation or minor spillage.

Always dye your lighter colors first.  I went with gray, and kept it in for about 8 minutes. The time depends entirely on the temperature of the water.  The hotter it is, the faster it will change.  When it's the color you want it, yank it out and rinse it off.

For the next color, repeat step one. Continue making stripes and placing them around the head.  Make sure to mash them down over the first layer of stripes.

For my elephants, I peeled off the sticker with a piece of scotch tape.  That way I could see the tusks beneath it as I was putting it down.  I had to arrange it a little bit, which is why the tusks look different, but based on their size I think it gets the point across.

Now boil more water, and get your bucket back out.  You next color should be darker.  I went with the crimson to finish it up.  When dyeing dark colors, it's hard to tell what the true color is. Indoor lighting can make them appear darker or lighter than they really are. You can always go darker, but you can't go backwards easily.  Looking at it in sunshine is the best way to tell. I find that reds always look lighter than they really are.

So we got the head red, and now we just have to pull everything off.  The electrical tape should come off pretty cleanly, but if your stickers or your tape leaves any stickyness, just grab some Goo Gone.

That's it! You can do multiple colors, just keep on layering the tape.  Make sure to keep it tuned to Lacrosse Playground, my next article is one you don't want to miss.

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