I dyed my PMAGS!


April 11, 2010, 09:05 AM
I posted in the deals section a while back a link to get windowed PMAGS for $12 each. The only catch: they were only available in OD green.

Now being the budget minded buyer I am, color didn't matter much when the price was good. I ended up with 7 of them all together. The green mags looked a little funny in my rifle, but it didn't bother me enough to care.

I've ordered some new parts to spruce up my A2 (flat top receiver, flip up rear sight, and a Primary Arms clonepoint which looks pretty good so far) and was trying to come up with a busytime project until the parts get here.

I was in the shower when it hit me. I had read something a while back about dying PMAGS and other polymer parts using RIT fabric dye. Checked it out online and it seemed simple enough, so off to wallyworld I went.

I picked up a bottle of black and a bottle of blue (the blue prevents the black being so dark it looks purplish), along with some de-natured alcohol and a 5 pack of rubber gloves. Oh, and a brick of .22 and 3 boxes of 5.56! :D

I stripped all the PMAGS down and washed them with soap and water. I was smart enough to take the time to strategize placement of the mags in the pot to ensure they fit and got adequate flow so I didn't get light spots. I got 7 mags in a regular sized stock pot with all the dust covers and everything.

I heated the water to about 160F and poured in the whole bottle of black dye and about 1/3 of the blue. I now had a pot of ink, boy was I in trouble if this stuff spilled!

I let the dye mix then backed the temp down to 140ish and started laying the mags in the pot with stainless steel tongs. The dye will stain everything but stainless steel and new porcelain, even glass! I left the dustcovers and base plates off the mags and dropped them in last. I let them cook, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or so. Then I took them off the heat and let them sit for another hour in the dye.

BTW, if you spill some, rubbing alcohol will take off FRESH stains!

I carefully set the whole pot in the sink and started running cold water into it while dumping small amounts of the dye at a time. It took a while to get the water to run clean; I also rubbed each mag by (gloved) hand and put it back in the cold water.

Next came the de-natured alcohol. The purpose is to get off any excess dried dye that will "sweat out" on your hands later. I soaked a terrycloth towel in the alcohol and just gave each one a good rubdown. It took off more dye but didn't change the color of the mags any. Time for another trip in the cold water bath.

Last but not least, I put them on a pan lined with paper towels and let them dry in the sun for a couple hours.

I held 2 of the mags in a tight grip as I reloaded them, trying to make my hand sweat. I didn't get any dye on my hands with either. They look great and the dye didn't chage the color of the window except for a very slight tint. Tinted window PMAGS!! The color matches my black 20 round PMAGS perfectly!

Lessons learned:

-Be very careful with the dye! It stains everything!
-Don't drop anything into the pot. Set it in with tongs.
-Treat the immersed parts gently. I got some very light scratch marks from stirring with metal tongs.
-Be very careful with the dye! It stains everything!
-Colors can be changed from lighter to darker, but not darker to lighter.
-This should work on most polymer products and web gear/nylon stuff.

**Review of the Primary Arms Multi-reticle red dot coming soon!**

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April 11, 2010, 10:02 AM
Sounds like a worthwhile endeavor. I did this same exercise some months back with my HK USC. In my case gray to black. Turned out wonderful.

Got any pics of the mags?

April 11, 2010, 11:29 AM
Here's a pic of the mags before dying:

Here's a pic of the mags after dying:

A perfect match for the rifle!

And one for you wallpaper pirates:

Ohio Gun Guy
April 11, 2010, 11:41 AM
looks great....Nice write up.

April 11, 2010, 11:44 AM
They did turn out great. Good job!

April 11, 2010, 01:23 PM
Looks great, I think they may even look better than the factory black.


Hani Pasha
April 11, 2010, 02:18 PM
Hey, that's pretty neat! Thanks for the detailed instructions.

April 11, 2010, 08:39 PM
Looks good!!! Pretty ingenious!

April 11, 2010, 09:00 PM
Wow. That worked out very well.

April 11, 2010, 09:08 PM
how deep is the color? Does color show in scratches from mag well?

April 11, 2010, 09:17 PM
The color is really dark; it matches my factory black PMAGS almost exactly.

That's the good part about the dye is that it permeated the plastic a mm or two. I haven't gotten to run any ammo through the new mags yet, but I took one and ran it into/out of the mag well 10-15 times to no ill effect. I put pressure on different sides of the mag so it would drag on the magwell and still made no difference.

I don't remember where I saw the idea, but the guy that did it nicked a mag with a knife to show how deep the color went. Looks deep enough for regular use. He also tried a bunch of different colors with his, including orange and red (why, I'm not sure).

RIT's website has a color chart that will give the mixture for a whole spectrum of colors. The black I mixed was one 8oz bottle of black and about 1/3 bottle of jean blue. Green can also be used to cut the black to prevent the purple tint.

May 1, 2010, 05:48 PM
Someone in the autoloader section was asking about changing the color on a LCP frame. He got a good deal on a LCP but it has a pink frame. I sent him this thread, maybe dyeing would work on a polymer frame although starting with pink might be tough

Ragnar Danneskjold
May 1, 2010, 05:50 PM
It might be cool to dye one orange to only be used with dummy rounds or something.

Al LaVodka
May 1, 2010, 06:09 PM
Very sharp and nice follow-thru on getting 'em ready.

I cold-RIT dyed a plain canvas newspaper delivery bag (remember when KIDS delivered newspapers?) that had a sorta reflective orange-cloth strap ALL orange to use as a game bag a coupla decades ago. I used it a coupla times but finally had to admit it was pink...


May 1, 2010, 06:24 PM
It might be cool to dye one orange to only be used with dummy rounds or something.
I bet you'd have to bleach or lighten it somehow to get it to look anything other than a real dark auburn. It would be a cool idea though.

May 1, 2010, 06:35 PM
It might be cool to dye one orange to only be used with dummy rounds or something.
They already make those....I have one around here somewhere....

May 1, 2010, 06:43 PM
Wow, they turned out well.

May 1, 2010, 06:48 PM
how come it didn't dye the window...?

and BTW.... does it work on metal? like a RIA 1911 frame..?

May 1, 2010, 08:30 PM
how come it didn't dye the window...?

and BTW.... does it work on metal? like a RIA 1911 frame..?

I dont think dying the frame would work but depends on what the frames made of it could be andonized.

May 1, 2010, 08:43 PM
Doubt it would work to dye metal with.

I think it didn't dye the windows because they aren't porous plastic? They have a VERY slight tint to them, but it's not really noticeable.

May 3, 2010, 07:48 PM

Great job, and nice easy-to-follow instructions.

May 3, 2010, 07:52 PM
A lot of work just for a change in color. What's wrong with green? You could have probably traded them for black ones?

I took all of my mags and spray painted them various colors desert brown 3 tone camo, and forest 5 tone camo.

May 4, 2010, 10:55 AM
Wow, I was thinking that this was a crazy endeavor, but they turned out great!

May 4, 2010, 01:15 PM
Sweet; they look great (and I may use this process in the future)...but...(just a heads-up) the black ones are going for $11.97 on CTD right now.


May 4, 2010, 03:36 PM
Certainly makes for a good "slow day" project. Kept me busy longer than it would to make a couple clicks to order the black ones, and it cost way less. The dye was maybe $5.

leadcounsel: Bet it took me less time to dye mine than to 5 color camo yours.:neener: Nothing wrong with the green, just gotta accessorize, man! It's not an EBR with a big, fat, green mag sticking out of the bottom!

Just remember if anyone wants to try this:

Light to dark is possible, the other way doesn't work.

There are MANY different colors you can make with the different dye colors. RIT even has a color chart on their website.

I would use the tan color mags to do any wild colors. I think the green would change the hue of the final color. ie instead of ending up with a yellow PMAG, you might end up with a yellowish blue; yellow+green=blue. All of this is experimental though, so do what you will at your own risk! It would be cool to find a way to strip the original color from the PMAG to allow easier color changes.

May 4, 2010, 03:44 PM
Nice job....looks great!

John Parker
May 4, 2010, 07:09 PM
Does this mean I can dye my Glock Day-Glo, fire-engine green?????

May 4, 2010, 08:32 PM
I don't see why it wouldn't work.

May 4, 2010, 10:59 PM
i'm dyeing my glock ;)

May 4, 2010, 11:12 PM
What happens when they get wet?

What happens when they come in contact with solvent?

May 4, 2010, 11:34 PM
i'm dyeing my glockGood job, sarduy...I too think all Glocks should die [ducks and runs]. http://forums.nitroexpress.com/images/graemlins/smilies/general/sofa.gif

May 5, 2010, 07:01 AM
What happens when they get wet?

What happens when they come in contact with solvent?

The mags were rinsed for a long time in water after dying until the water ran clear and they passed the sweaty hand test with flying colors. I also gave them a good rubdown which helps remove the extra dye left behind after rinsing.

The dye seeps into the plastic, but there's a certain amount that stays on the surface that must be removed. I just drilled a drainhole in one of them and the color goes a mm or 2 into the plastic.

As for the solvent, I just took a patch and rubbed one briskly. I got a small amount of black on the patch. I'm thinking that's some of the leftover dye on the surface; no matter how much I sat and rubbed in one spot, the color did NOT go back to green.

I don't use solvents on my mags very often anyway, so not much of a big deal for me.

If anyone has any "color fastness" tests they'd like me to try out, I'm all ears!

Update: I continued the solvent test by soaking a patch in Hoppes and continuing to rub the same spot as earlier until I got no more color on the patch. The mag is still as dark as ever and now I can pretty safely say the color is PERMANENT.

May 5, 2010, 07:10 AM

you have that part wrong blue+yellow=green, yellow+green=baby puke, mustard color.

May 5, 2010, 09:10 AM
You're right, got it backward!

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