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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workshop » » Dying sponge balls (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

jimgerrish
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East Orange, NJ
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I am looking for a dye to use on sponge balls, specifically to dye a yellow 4" sponge ball to make it a green 4" sponge ball with dye that won't start discoloring everything it touches, like sweaty hands and other sponge balls that come into contact with it. Does anyone have experience with this and a willingness to share? Thanks in advance.
Mr. Woolery
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Fairbanks, AK
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The only sponge dye I've tried is indelible leather dye. I used black dye to make sponge ladybugs from half-balls. The dye is alcohol based and dries fairly fast. You can check a local Tandy outlet or other leather craft store for green dye. It should be around $7 for a bottle. Wear dish gloves and saturate the balls fully, then squeeze out and allow to dry. I bet that would work fine.

But I have not actually done the color you are asking about, so I could be totally wrong. It is just the first thing I would try.

-Patrick
Mr. Woolery
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Fairbanks, AK
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Okay, so it looks like the green costs a bit more than brown and black (which is what I use for my leather work). Here is one source: https://www.amazon.com/Tandy-Leathercraf......ther+dye

-Patrick
jimgerrish
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East Orange, NJ
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Thanks for your fast response, Patrick. The green used for leather products looks a little more dark and gloomy than what I am looking for, but on top of a yellow colored sponge it might brighten up. I like that it is alcohol based rather than water based.
randirain
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Fort Worth, TX
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Have you tried Ritz dye... When I worked for Disney, we dyed nylon rivets with Ritz and it worked great.
It's cheap, and you can get it anywhere.

Randi
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jimgerrish
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East Orange, NJ
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Thanks for the suggestion, Randi. I was hoping to find someone who has dyed sponge balls before and knows what works and what doesn't. I have a few small yellow sponge balls for testing, but if someone has some tried and true method for turning them orange, or green in a more or less permanent way that doesn't just rub off on other sponge balls, I'd appreciate knowing what dye was used before I start using up my supply of yellow sponge balls on experiments.
randirain
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Fort Worth, TX
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Ok.. Let me try this another way....

Use Ritz dye... It will work.
It will dye the balls, you, the sink, everything...


Randi
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jimgerrish
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East Orange, NJ
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Randi: I'm sure Ritz dyes will work to change the color of sponge balls. What I am not sure of is the permanence of the dye to stay where it is put and not migrate to my hands, the table cloth, the other sponge balls that aren't dyed that same color, etc. I have had the problem in the past with blue sponge balls, made by some unknown person or persons in foreign lands, which, if stored next to red sponge balls (for example) left blue dye marks on the red sponge balls, destroying them for use in a sponge ball routine. This is what I am trying to avoid in dying my own sponge balls. Currently, in performing with various sponge ball routines using red, yellow and blue sponge balls, each ball is stored in its own separate box where it can't come in contact with any other color of sponge ball for any length of time. The balls can be briefly in contact with one another without exchanging colors, but during storage when they aren't being used in a trick, have to be kept isolated.

In order to "set" Ritz dye when used with silks, the silks are rinsed in boiling water. As you can imagine, this boiling won't work with sponge balls, nor will the ironing with a hot iron (the process used to set Dharma Trading Company silk dyes) work well on sponge balls.
jimgerrish
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East Orange, NJ
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So far I am having good progress with powdered dyes (like Ritz) but dissolved in alcohol instead of water. It will take some more testing to determine how permanent the dye is, but first results are encouraging.
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
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I once dyed paper to make spring flowers with Easter egg dyes in a cup. As with eggs, white vinegar set the color permanent, the liquid did not have to be hot. It was hot to just dissolve the dye tablet.

The only thing I know about colored sponge is that the dye mixes with 3 other liquid chemicals to create the sponge in a mold. This makes me think that any dye you dip the sponge in may not mix with the yellow color of the sponge.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
jimgerrish
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East Orange, NJ
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That's a good idea, Bill. I always thought the purpose of the vinegar was to have the acid react with the calcium in the egg shells rather than with the dye, but I have some white vinegar and I'll see if it improves the process on a sponge ball. I'll report back in a few days, because this may take some time to soak in, then rinse off with water so that the sponge balls don't have a vinegar after-smell when working with them.
jimgerrish
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East Orange, NJ
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I am now the proud owner of a green sponge ball that I dyed myself from a Yellow sponge ball. The process I used was to squirt some green food coloring (from the grocery store) into some clear alcohol in a plastic cup (thanks, Mr. Woolery!). The yellow sponge ball was dropped into the solution and mushed about with a spoon until it was a dark even green. It was a little darker than I wanted, but the next process lightened the green. After the alcohol-soaked ball was squeezed with the spoon to get rid of most of the green dye and alcohol, it was set in an upside down cup from which I had removed the bottom, so it could dry with air all around. I gave it one full day to dry, then I dropped it into a cup containing white vinegar. Once again, it was mushed around, removing the dark green and leaving it a lighter green. Squeezing out all the vinegar, it was again dried overnight in the upside down drying cup. Finally, to get rid of the vinegar smell, the ball was washed in clear water, removing just a small amount of green color this time, showing that the vinegar had indeed "set" the color in the sponge (thanks Bill!). Now it has fully dried and I have been able to handle it and perform with it next to other yellow sponge balls without any sign that it is losing its color to my sweaty hands or the other sponge balls. I'm not ready yet to try storing it next to a yellow sponge ball for any length of time, but I am confident that I can now use green sponge balls in a mixed-color ball routine with no difficulty. I'm thinking of ending my current red, yellow, blue sponge ball routine (WizJ #29) by gathering up those three sponge balls and asking a spectator to hold them as I clean up and put the other equipment away. I casually mention to the spectator (and audience) that I used to perform with a green sponge ball also, but it disappeared one day and is now lost and I haven't been able to find it. Then I ask the spectator to give me the red, yellow and blue sponge balls so I can put them away, and he opens his hand to find three green sponge balls. "You found them! How clever of you! Next time I'll show you the magic with green sponge balls!" The same will also work with producing a 4 or 5 inch diameter green ball as a finale, or perhaps I'll merge the three green sponge balls into the giant green sponge ball... I haven't yet decided which will play better.
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