How to Dye Skate Wheels: Step by Step On Wheel Dying

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If you are looking for a way to spice up your skateboard, then dying your wheels is an easy and inexpensive option. The result will be worth all the effort! You will have fresh new wheels that are sure to turn heads on the street or at the skate park.

We will answer all of the important questions regarding wheel dying in this article.

Are you a skater looking for some new colors? Maybe you want something green or yellow. Regardless of the color,  dying your skate wheels can be a fun and rewarding project. Continue reading to learn this process.

Why Dye Roller Skate Wheels and Skateboard Wheels?

There are several reasons a rider would want to dye their skate wheels. Every skater has their reasons for choosing this artistic expression for their board. 

Some people just get tired of the same boring colors. Dying them can make you stand out at the skate park. 

Maybe you saw someone post a cool picture on a social media message board and it gave you inspiration. There are many reasons for partaking in the wheel dying process.

Can You Dye Roller Skate Wheels?

Any skater that uses polyurethane wheels with bushings can dye their wheels. This means roller skaters and skateboarders will have no problem with the process.

You can use rollerblade wheels for dying as well, but they’re a little harder to take off and reapply. The wheels on a rollerblade are also shaped differently from roller skate and skateboard wheels, so sometimes, you might have difficulty getting the dye to apply properly.

 How To Dye Roller Skate Wheels and Skateboard Wheels

Before you start the guide, there are a few ingredients you are going to need. Most of these can be found at any grocery store or retail location like Walmart.

Materials

·         RIT dye powder (the color is up to you)

·         Hot glue (optional)

·         Acetone

RIT dye can be found at nearly any retailer or grocery store. Normally, this dye is used for clothing and other materials. This brand carries a large variety of colors, so you will have a vast selection to choose from.

Alternatively, you can use the DyeMore all purpose dye brand. DyeMore will dry on the wheels in a matter of minutes, while the RIT brand takes overnight. Regardless of the brand, for dying you will use the same method.

The glue is an optional material to use. If you want to separate wheel sections and stop certain portions from getting dyed, glue is the solution to this. We will cover this more later. If you plan on doing multi-colored wheels, you should get the heated glue.

The acetone is used to remove old graphics from your wheels. If the wheels did not contain any graphics, then the acetone is not necessary.

Equipment

·         An oven

·         Large pot to fit the wheels and bushings

·         Toothbrush to clean the wheels

·         Dish soap and paper towel

·         Hot glue gun (optional)

·         A timer

·         A teaspoon

·       Rubber gloves (optional)

The oven will heat the dye and water inside of a large pot with wheels and bushings. Before you start the process, you will need to clean the wheels with a toothbrush and soap.

After making sure you have the right materials and equipment, prepare an area for the dying process. We like to use newspaper to lay down first, so we don’t stain anything with dripping dye.

It is also helpful to lay a tray down to place the dyed wheels on when they are drying. Alternatively, you can use an old piece of cardboard for a drying platform. If you don’t want your hands dyed, use the rubber gloves. 

The Process

1. Removal of Skateboard and Roller Skate Wheels 

Remove the wheels and bushings from your skateboard or roller skates. Make sure you remove the bearings from the wheels. If you don’t take the bearings out first, you could risk damaging them from the gritty powder used in the dyes or rust.

If your wheels have any graphics on them, use acetone to remove them. Soak the wheels in acetone for a few minutes, then take them out and scrub them hard. Give them a good rinse when you’re done. You can skip this step if the wheels are bare already.

2. Wash the Skateboard and Roller Skate Wheels

Use the toothbrush and dish soap to wash the wheels and bushings. Remove the bushings first and clean the two components separately.

After scrubbing both with the toothbrush, dry them with a towel and set them aside. When you have cleaned all your wheels and bushings, inspect them to make sure there is no debris on them or remnants of the old logo. You want a set of nice, clean wheels.

3. Fill

Fill the pot with enough water to submerge the wheels and bushings. Don’t just use enough water to cover them. Both components need to be completely submerged.

4. Heating and Dye Bath for Skateboard and Roller Skate Wheels

Heat the water to a boil and add your dye to get your color started. RIT recommends a one-ounce packet of dye for every three gallons of water. This ratio is good to use if you are dying white wheels.

However, if the wheels were already dark, the mixture should be more concentrated. Keep in mind that the more concentrated the mix is, the darker colored the wheels are in the end.

For example, if you want darker wheels and are dying a dark surface, you might use one ounce of RIT for one gallon of water. The basic idea if you want darker wheels is more dye and less water.

Stir the water to dissolve the dye powder. You don’t want boiling water. It only needs to be simmering. If you notice steam rolling off the water, turn the oven off and remove the pot from the heat. You want the water to be just below a boiling temperature so it doesn’t damage the urethane or rubber.

5. Timing to Desired Color

Drop the wheels in the liquid and set the timer for two minutes. Stir the mixture while the wheels and bushings are in the pot, so the heat doesn’t melt the urethane. Be careful, because this stuff is hot.

After the timer goes off, remove the wheels and bushings and place them directly into cold water to stop the heating process. Give them one last quick rinse before you put them on your drying platform to dry and inspect.

6. Finishing

After a few minutes of drying time, inspect the components to see if they are the shade you want. If you want them darker, place them back in the mixture for one more minute or until you reach the desired color. Make sure the flat spots are covered and dyed properly as well. You want the whole thing to be covered, not just portions or half of each wheel.

Make sure the components are dry before returning them to your roller skates or skateboard.

If you want to separate sections of the wheels to be dyed in different colors, use your hot glue and a glue gun. Spread the glue on the section you DO NOT want to be dyed and let it harden.

After applying the color to the exposed areas, peel the glue off and allow the wheel to dry. Apply the hot glue to the dyed area to cover it, and then dye the remaining bare areas.

Conclusion

Dying your skate wheels can be an exciting and entertaining process. Remember that it might take a couple of rounds until you get the desired effect.

It wouldn’t hurt the wheels or bushings if you remove the dye with acetone if the first session didn’t achieve the desired shade. Continue to try until you get the color you want. After one or two sessions, you should be a pro.

Try making swirls and other cool designs. Take pictures and post them to social media to show everyone your cool creations!