How To Color Traps: Traditional Boiling Method

beaver on shoreline

As I walked out of the barn I felt pretty good about myself. I just finished removing the rust from all of my traps. I was ready to hit the trapline. Or so I thought.

My old trapping mentor chuckled when I told him I was happy to have that work behind me and ready to get to trapping.

I was about to find out I still had more work to do and learn how to color my traps.

Traditional Method For Coloring Traps

Dyeing your traps will help you be more successful on the trapline. When done properly your traps will come out looking black. Traps that haven’t been colored are more likely to scare off a trap wise critter.

The method my old trapping buddy taught me still works today just as well as it did back then. It’s pretty quick and doesn’t dent the pocket book much at all.

Be certain you’ve already removed all the rust from your traps, then make sure to clean them up good.

To clean your traps in preparation of coloring them, boil them for around ten minutes in a mixture of lye and water. If you don’t have any lye available then use hard wood tree ashes instead.

Once cleaned, rinse your traps off in stream water (avoid using tap water if at all possible). Now you’re ready to move on the fun part.

How To Color And Boil Your Traps

All you need to get your traps colored is some water and log wood chips and a pot to boil it in. Add in your water and then about a half a pound of log wood chips for each gallon of water.

Get the mixture heated up to a boil and add in your traps. Keep the solution with the traps in it at a simmer for an hour and then remove from the heat. Let the traps stay in the solution overnight.

In the morning return the whole thing back to heat and bring to a simmer once again. Let slow boil for a few minutes and then remove from the heat once again. Now your traps should look nice and black, just how you want them.

Using Logwood Crystals

You can use logwood crystals to do the same as above if you so prefer. The logwood crystal is just a more concentrated form of the same thing we already talked about using to color your traps.

This time add water and traps to your pot and bring it all to a boil. All your traps should be fully submerged in water.

Just as it comes to a boil remove it from the heat. Now pour your logwood crystals all over your traps in the water. The ratio you should be using is about a pound of crystals per ten gallons of water.

Now let the whole thing set overnight. The next day put it all back on the heat. Once it comes to a boil remove the traps and place them right on a hot waxing container. Once cooled you will have perfectly colored traps.


The great thing about coloring your traps is that they will be rust free for a good long time. That means you won’t have to derust and color them again anytime soon. The nice, blue black color also is great for trapping. At the time I learned about this process I didn’t understand how much help my buddy was providing. I just thought I would be more productive out on the trapline but the effort put in paid off in a much bigger harvest, I have no doubt. Be sure to treat your traps right too, you can thank me later.

For more trapping tips check out these articles

Written by Fred

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