Please read all of the following directions carefully before you begin:
 
For decades we have tried many different methods and many different sequences for the tinting and artwork.  We have found the following methods to be the best all around, for our skin and coating system.
 
Before you begin your artwork and tinting, all of your sewing must be completed. Also the cockpit must be installed. When working with nylon you have to remember that it is at its relaxed state when cold.  So you want to sew your boat in the cold and shrink the boat in the cold. If you are planning to use painted graphics try to limits your creations to thin line work.  Limit the space of solid colors. The reason for this is the urethane coating will not be able the saturate in the nylon as well as the non painted areas. For this reason I recommend fabric markers for the line work. There are many markers that do not bleed as much as others. Unfortunately the most common markers in the store do bleed beyond acceptable tolerances. For example Sharpie Marker’s are not a good choice. One brand that I prefer is Painters.  These are the ones with the rattle ball in side.  They come in many colors and many line thicknesses.  You can not use just any dyes on your kayak.  Many do not set correctly in the nylon. Many dies are not compatible with the urethane coating.  We have in stock the correct dyes.  We also stock many colors.  The cost for the dyes is about 10.00 to cover 1.5 - 2 kayaks.
 
As the years go by I have been discouraging more and more the use of a lot of art work. As a matter of fact, I have been discouraging the use of all artwork under the coating.  The first place of degradation of the urethane has always been on the art work.  If you have to, fine, but remember to do fine, thin line work and use the markers. Heavy paints will make like a shell on the outside of the cloth and the coating will not be able to penetrate into the fiber.  The result will be in a few years (depending on the UV exposure) the coating will crack and lift on the painted areas.  Although it does take years you will be disappointed and the repair is difficult. If you want to use different colors in large areas, you can do this with the dyes.  You can mix different color dyes and fill them in different areas for your design. What makes the dyes different is they do not fill the weave nearly as much as the paints would. Then the urethane is allowed to do its job and saturate more completely in the cloth.  So focus your design using the dyes as much as possible. Use the markers for the separation of colors.

 

Just shrinking (No Dye) recomended
Things you need:
Spray bottle
Household iron
 

Your kayak should be right side up on with you saw horses set in thirds of the kayak (app. 6’ apart).  This is so you will shrink your kayak with the shear and rocker that you put in the kayak when you made it.  If the horses are too wide apart there is a chance you will shrink the kayak with more rocker and shear than intended.  The opposite could happen if the horses are too close together.  You will be shrinking the deck of the kayak first. Because you kayak is most likely not flat bottomed, it will teeter from side to side. Let’s take advantage of this and use it to level our deck. Your deck is pitched and this teetering on the bottom will help to correct the out of level deck.
Set the spray bottle on the finest spray. Now hold the spray bottle in one hand and the iron in the other. Start at the bow or stern and begin to spray the level side (port of starboard). Do not let the water to run down the sides of the kayak!! This will leave undesirable stains in your boat. Direct the water away from the sides. You will not see the stains until you apply urethane. The iron should be placed on the hottest setting. Now place the hot iron on the wet surface of the kayak. Do not push hard on the fabric. Support the weight of the iron but remain contact on the cloth. You should hear and see steam. This crackling noise is normal.  Keep wetting out the cloth and ironing almost dry as you go. Continue this until you reach the cockpit.  Then tilt the kayak and start again on the other side. Repeat the process until you reach the cockpit again.  Now continue to the stern and repeat the other side.  This is usually enough. If you feel the skin needs more shrinking, you can do the bottom. Turn the kayak over and move the sawhorses in a little. Very carefully spray the water from the kneel to the first stringer. Do not let the water run down the kayak. Iron just till the first stringer. Do not touch the first stringer.  The reason for this is not to let the iron melt the lashing material underneath the cloth. This will bleed the wax or plastic into the cloth and stain the cloth.
In summery, start by locating your sawhorses.  Do not let the water drip down the sides of the kayak. Remember to support the weight of the iron and do not over work. Lastly do not let the iron touch where the lashings are under the cloth.  Good luck and have fun.

Dyeing and Shrinking WITH IRON (recommended)

Things you need:
    •    one 2 liter container (pail)
    •    old clothes iron
    •    two or more 2” foam brushes
    •    heat gun (optional)
    •    old towel
    •    plastic gloves

The dyeing process is part of the shrinking process. Your kayak should be right side up on with you saw horses set in thirds of the kayak (approx. 6’ apart).  This is so you will shrink your kayak with the shear and rocker that you put in the kayak when you made it.  If the horses are too wide apart there is a chance you will shrink the kayak with more rocker and shear than intended.  The opposite could happen if the horses are too close together.

Now take about 1-oz of the dye and put in one liter of warm to hot water that you have inside the 2 liter container (pail).  Now add about 10-15 per cent vinegar.  Shake well  or stir well with your stir stick.
To check the color, simply tack a scrap piece of nylon and dip it in to your mix. When the dye is at its wet state is the approximate color you will have after the urethane coating is applied. If you feel the color is a little weak, just add more and remix. You should mix the dye in the large container throughout the process to maintain consistent color.
 
Now start to spray the mix on the deck of the kayak.  Apply the mix pretty heavy, but try not to let extra mix to run down the sides of the kayak.  While spraying with one hand, have a foam brush in the other spreading the wetter places to the drier ones.  Try to even out the dye as much as possible.  Apply the mix about 2 feet from the end of the kayak on both sides. Then (with you brush close to catch the die) begin to spray the side and the bottom on the first 2 feet. This is where your friend comes in.  Have him or her use the heat gun in the high position,  dry where the dye is.  Hold the gun about 4-6 in away directing the air on the dyed area.  Melting the nylon is a real concern.  The way to prevent this is to keep the gun and the air moving.  Most try to be prudent and hold the gun far away.  This will dry the dye but will not permanently shrink the cloth.  The cloth will shrink but, maybe it will not be permanent.  To get permanent shrinkage you must create steam. If you keep the gun moving you will not melt the cloth.  You must concentrate and keep a keen eye where you focus the heat.  The cloth will change color before it melts.  It becomes darker, but if this happens you are seconds from burning a hole in the cloth.  I know this sounds scary but it is not.  Just keep the gun moving in small circles the size of a softball about 6 away from the kayak. Concentrate on making steam. Oh, to complicate things more, you can not see the steam.  You are blowing the steam inside the kayak. So the best advise is to concentrate on drying the kayak quickly.
 
Once you catch up with the die on both sides of the bottom and sides of the kayak to the top.  Go back to the top and repeat the process. Keep your friend with the heat gun going following you along the way. You see the idea is the shrink the kayak with the steam while it is freshly wet.  This timing will give you maximum steam. If you let the kayak dry on its own is will shrink on its own but not as much and not as permanently as with the fast steam. I recommend to start in the bow, and work you way to the stern. The reason for this is to get some experience. The stern of your kayak is usually a little more difficult because of the truncated stern. You must be wondering way I did not recommend you to turn your kayak over to do the bottom.  The reason for this is because we have found that if you turn the kayak over and dye the bottom the dye will run on the deck and leave unwanted stains that are impossible to blend in. It is very important not to flip over the kayak and work this whole process right side up.  This way all the dye runs to the kneel and the runs get hidden.
 
The last concern is the saw horses. Now because your kayak does not have a flat bottom, your kayak should be able to teeter from side to side. When you get close to the horse, work the side that is up off the horse.  Have you friend right there drying and shrinking right behind you.  Continue your dyeing a few feet past the house so the heat gun can dry the kayak well where it will touch the horse. Then flip the kayak on the other tilt and repeat the process.
 
In summery, make sure you do this process in the coldest part of the day. Be sure you have your horses in the correct location.  Your friend should read these directions carefully, so you can work together in harmony.  Do not flip the kayak.  Make sure the dye is very dry under the saw horse before you tilt to the other side. Remember to  keep the heat gun moving at all times. You must make sure the kayak is completely dry before you think of the urethane process.
 
You will notice the color will lighten a lot when it dries. Keep in mind that the color will come back vibrantly when the urethane coating is applied. If you still feel the color is lighter than you thought you can apply another coat.  If you add another coat you have to coat the entire kayak the same way as you did the first coat.  If you change the process in any way you most likely will have places that are unsatisfactory.

 

Dye and Shrinking Application: With heat gun

The dyeing process is part of the shrinking process. Your kayak should be right side up on with you saw horses set in thirds of the kayak (approx. 6’ apart).  This is so you will shrink your kayak with the shear and rocker that you put in the kayak when you made it.  If the horses are too wide apart there is a chance you will shrink the kayak with more rocker and shear than intended.  The opposite could happen if the horses are too close together.

Now take about 1-oz of the dye and put in one liter of warm to hot water that you have inside the 2 liter container (pail).  Now add about 10-15 per cent vinegar.  Shake well  or stir well with your stir stick.
To check the color, simply tack a scrap piece of nylon and dip it in to your mix. When the dye is at its wet state is the approximate color you will have after the urethane coating is applied. If you feel the color is a little weak, just add more and remix. You should mix the dye in the large container throughout the process to maintain consistent color.
 
Now start to spray the mix on the deck of the kayak.  Apply the mix pretty heavy, but try not to let extra mix to run down the sides of the kayak.  While spraying with one hand, have a foam brush in the other spreading the wetter places to the drier ones.  Try to even out the dye as much as possible.  Apply the mix about 2 feet from the end of the kayak on both sides. Then (with you brush close to catch the die) begin to spray the side and the bottom on the first 2 feet. This is where your friend comes in.  Have him or her use the heat gun in the high position,  dry where the dye is.  Hold the gun about 4-6 in away directing the air on the dyed area.  Melting the nylon is a real concern.  The way to prevent this is to keep the gun and the air moving.  Most try to be prudent and hold the gun far away.  This will dry the dye but will not permanently shrink the cloth.  The cloth will shrink but, maybe it will not be permanent.  To get permanent shrinkage you must create steam. If you keep the gun moving you will not melt the cloth.  You must concentrate and keep a keen eye where you focus the heat.  The cloth will change color before it melts.  It becomes darker, but if this happens you are seconds from burning a hole in the cloth.  I know this sounds scary but it is not.  Just keep the gun moving in small circles the size of a softball about 6 away from the kayak. Concentrate on making steam. Oh, to complicate things more, you can not see the steam.  You are blowing the steam inside the kayak. So the best advise is to concentrate on drying the kayak quickly.
 
Once you catch up with the die on both sides of the bottom and sides of the kayak to the top.  Go back to the top and repeat the process. Keep your friend with the heat gun going following you along the way. You see the idea is the shrink the kayak with the steam while it is freshly wet.  This timing will give you maximum steam. If you let the kayak dry on its own is will shrink on its own but not as much and not as permanently as with the fast steam. I recommend to start in the bow, and work you way to the stern. The reason for this is to get some experience. The stern of your kayak is usually a little more difficult because of the truncated stern. You must be wondering way I did not recommend you to turn your kayak over to do the bottom.  The reason for this is because we have found that if you turn the kayak over and dye the bottom the dye will run on the deck and leave unwanted stains that are impossible to blend in. It is very important not to flip over the kayak and work this whole process right side up.  This way all the dye runs to the kneel and the runs get hidden.
 
The last concern is the saw horses. Now because your kayak does not have a flat bottom, your kayak should be able to teeter from side to side. When you get close to the horse, work the side that is up off the horse.  Have you friend right there drying and shrinking right behind you.  Continue your dyeing a few feet past the house so the heat gun can dry the kayak well where it will touch the horse. Then flip the kayak on the other tilt and repeat the process.
 
In summery, make sure you do this process in the coldest part of the day. Be sure you have your horses in the correct location.  Your friend should read these directions carefully, so you can work together in harmony.  Do not flip the kayak.  Make sure the dye is very dry under the saw horse before you tilt to the other side. Remember to  keep the heat gun moving at all times. You must make sure the kayak is completely dry before you think of the urethane process.
 
You will notice the color will lighten a lot when it dries. Keep in mind that the color will come back vibrantly when the urethane coating is applied. If you still feel the color is lighter than you thought you can apply another coat.  If you add another coat you have to coat the entire kayak the same way as you did the first coat.  If you change the process in any way you most likely will have places that are unsatisfactory.