PVC is great: cheap, common, easy to work, and easy to join
temporarily or permanently. Only problem is, it's kinda ugly, much of which
owes to the fact that it only comes in white, gray, sometimes black, and (if
you're willing to pay through the nose) clear. "Furniture grade" PVC pipe
can sometimes be found with integral color, but you're limited to factory
shades and if you want matching elbows, tees, or other fittings, you're out
of luck, because fittings only come in white. Sure, you can paint it, but
PVC doesn't take paint all that well, and the paint is prone to flake and
screws up the dimensional tolerances. With stain, you get color that doesn't
flake or add thickness, so you can stain pipe and fittings different colors
before assembly and still expect them to fit. You can even take them apart
and reassemble them in some other way without affecting the finish.
We'd like to thank Sean Michael Ragan from (DIY
community.) for finding this use for our
stains and making their use accessible by writing up his process and
producing the image you see here- and for maintaining an exchange with
interested visitors to the site, sharing information and feedback.
Step 1 —
- "Clear Cleaner" is a product used to prepare
PVC pipe and pipe fittings for gluing. Chemically, it is
identical to "Purple Primer," but without the added purple dye.
Or you can use Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK) . Available at the
hardware store and cheaper than PVC cleaner
- Rekhaoil Dye for PVC stain Note that
these dyes are very strong;
one ounce goes a long way.
Step 2 —
Add dye to cleaner
- Work in a well-ventilated workspace and wear
nitrile gloves and goggles at all times when handling the
solvent or the dye.
- Using your volumetric pipette, draw up the
required volume (1 ML) of each dye and transfer it to the container of
Clear Cleaner or MEK (4.ounces). Be careful not to cross-contaminate the dyes.
- Close the can lid tightly.
- Wipe off any stray solvent or dye from the
outside of the can with a paper towel.
- Gently shake the can for about 15 seconds to
mix the dye into the solvent.
Step 4 —
- Generously slather the stain onto the pipe or
pipe fitting using the can's built-in applicator. Work quickly,
rotating the piece and making sure to smooth out any streaks or
drips of color before they have time to dry.
- Spilled dye can usually be cleaned up with
lighter fluid and a paper towel. Dye that has dripped off PVC
pipe will be harder to remove because it will have dissolved
polymer in it; loosen it with a copper dish scrub and lighter
fluid, then wipe up with a paper towel.
Step 5 —
- Set the stained PVC aside, on a safe surface, to dry. In point of fact the solvent will dry up very quickly. Under most conditions, an hour will be more than enough.
- Once dry, the stained PVC should be able to pass a "white glove test" and not transfer even a small amount of color to anything that touches it.
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