Author Topic: Rit Dyeing Keycaps  (Read 4965 times)

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Offline o2dazone

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« on: Sun, 12 February 2012, 11:52:41 »
There seems to be a lot of scattered information about how to Rit dye keycaps. Members have either left the forum or rarely post. So I'm going to consolidate everything I know here, and hopefully pass along enough information to provide useful to others.




////////////// Instructions \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
FIRST AND FOREMOST. If you do this tutorial, you assume all risks of ruining your precious keycaps. ABS has a very high chance of warping and melting while being dyed, PBT less so. But even PBT can get warped. Additionally, there's no information on how long this dye actually lasts, so if you find yourself a month down the road wearing patches in the keycaps, gg no re. Lastly, these are merely the instructions I used to dye my own keycaps, and should not be taken as instructions for a successful dyejob. If you experiment with other colors, other mixtures, or just something completely not outlined here PLLLLEEEASSE pay it forward, and post up your findings. Even your failure is valuable information.


1. Bring distilled/filtered water to a boil and add a third of a packet of powder rit dye for every .75 liters. Obviously the more dye you add, the quicker it'll take. There's claims that the longer the keys sit in the dye, the more it seeps in. I'm not sure how accurate that is, or if adding more dye will make the dye take faster, but not seep quite as much. I've also heard some people letting them sit overnight in hot (but not too hot to melt plastic) dye. Who knows the longevity of that, and obviously experiment with cheap keys first (Model M PBT)

2. Bring the water/dye mixture down to a simmer (wisping evaporated water should be floating above the surface, should be right below boiling). I also had good results with adding some salt. Rit dye comes with salt anyways, but I added a teaspoon extra.

3. Drop all keycaps you intend on dyeing, into the mixture simultaneously. If you want a "set" they all have to be done at the same time, or else you risk them being slightly different colors.

4. Using a spoon or chopsticks, slowly stir the keys every so often, making sure they don't sit in any one area for too long. You don't have to stir them ALL the time.

5. Occasionally check different keys for color. Once you've reached the desired color, take them out and toss them in cold water. This will slightly darken the color, so make sure you compensate for that (or pull the keycaps out, dunk em in cold water and re-submerge them in the dye if you want more control over it)

6. Once the color is what you want, be sure to rinse the keys from all the dye and dry them, making sure no puddles of leftover dye sit or dry on the keys.



NOTES:
-I used powder dye. I've heard that liquid dye works better, and I've heard powder is the only way to go. I did powder because of a better color selection, and it was cheaper.

-CLEAN your keycaps before throwing them in. Oily or greasy keycaps will have undesirable splotches on the keys. If your forget, take them out immediately, clean them, and put them back in. This can be as easy as wiping the surface down with wet paper towel, or an isopropyl bath.

-Some keycaps and colors take the color differently. Out of PBT Poker keycaps, Model M keycaps (both one piece and two piece), and HHKB keycaps, the HHKB took the color the quickest. Model M keycaps took the color, but took about 15 minutes per batch.

-Thoroughly rinse the pot you used with bleach and extremely hot boiling water between each batch. This might mean washing the pot 3-5 times between mixtures.

-Be wary of what materials you're dyeing. Model M sparebars are PBT, but HHKB/Realforce spacebars are ABS, which means they'll have a higher chance of melting while trying to dye it.



Results

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Colors I used:

Red = 'Scarlet'
Yellow = 'Golden Yellow' (This can get more burnt yellow if left in longer)
Camo Green = Kelly Green
Wine colored = Mixture of 'Scarlet' and 'Purple'
Vibrant Purple = 'Purple'

Offline JustCallMeCrash

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Not good enough?
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 14:27:59 »
Wasn't my wiki good enough for you?
http://geekhack.org/showwiki.php?title=Island:21017

Offline Glukos

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 14:33:37 »
Quote from: JustCallMeCrash;514366
Wasn't my wiki good enough for you?
http://geekhack.org/showwiki.php?title=Island:21017

Offline JustCallMeCrash

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 14:37:40 »
LOL.. that's exactly what I was shooting for.

Offline o2dazone

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 15:33:10 »
Actually I like your tutorial a lot, but it was missing a few things when I jumped in: Water to dye ratio, powder or liquid, and that you had only done blue and red. Not discrediting what you did, as yours was the most recent, and thorough, but I still felt left with a few unanswered questions. Either way, doesn't hurt to have another persons perspective on it :)

Btw totally took the chopstick idea from you, until I ran out of chopsticks and used a funky old spoon.

Offline isp

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #5 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 15:33:46 »
Nice work...they look great!  I do have an extra set of blank whites for the hhkb so I might try this some weekend.

I'm assuming white keys work best?
hhkb

Offline o2dazone

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 15:39:49 »
I dyed the light grey modifiers and they come out a little darker than the white ones. Same go for my pearl/beige IBM keycaps. The original color of the key has an effect on how it turns out.

Offline JustCallMeCrash

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 16:10:57 »
I agree that the powder gives the best results.  I've done Navy, Royal Blue, Black (twice), Dark Brown, Dark Green and Scarlet.

Offline o2dazone

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 16:21:29 »
Could you share your findings with Royal Blue? (either here or your thread lol). Mine would just not stick at all...

Offline pitashen

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 16:29:17 »
good to see this post back! hope it doesn't go away this time lol...
\\\\ DSI Mac Modular Keyboard (Brown) w/ Leo  Blank Keycaps //
\\\\ Leopold 87keys Keyboard (Brown) w/ Black CherryCorp + SP DoubleShots //
\\\\ Filco Majestouch 2 NINJA (Black) w/ White CherryCorp + SP DoublsShots //

Offline WhiteFireDragon

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 14 February 2012, 16:53:40 »
I just bought navy blue to hopefully get black this time. The black I bought last time turned ugly brown.

Offline JustCallMeCrash

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #11 on: Wed, 15 February 2012, 07:24:29 »
Quote from: o2dazone;514487
Could you share your findings with Royal Blue? (either here or your thread lol). Mine would just not stick at all...


They turned out REALLY well, actually.  Very vibrant. [ Guests cannot view attachments ] 40587[/ATTACH]

Quote from: WhiteFireDragon;514517
I just bought navy blue to hopefully get black this time. The black I bought last time turned ugly brown.


I had some ABS keys that were a muddy gray after I ran them through, but they darkened up when I re-ran them.  I also had some dark brown keys that I decided I didn't much care for (they looked fine, they just didn't give me the look I wanted) so I ran those through a course of black and they turned out really well.
[ Guests cannot view attachments ] 40588[/ATTACH]  Crappy photo, the colors aren't representative, but I think you get the idea.  That's the Dark Green on the alpha keys and Brown-turned-Black on the other keys.

Offline o2dazone

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 18 February 2012, 17:06:32 »
Wow, that's with Royal Blue? Maybe they changed the formula, because my Royal Blue wouldn't take (after 30 minutes of dyeing).

Offline WhiteFireDragon

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 18 February 2012, 20:39:06 »
Quote from: o2dazone;518154
Wow, that's with Royal Blue? Maybe they changed the formula, because my Royal Blue wouldn't take (after 30 minutes of dyeing).

Did other colors stick to the same cap that you tried with royal blue? If other colors worked, then you probably also got a bad batch of dye. My bad batch of black turned the caps brown, then black but only after about 10 hours of dying because they wouldn't stick to the PBTs either.

Offline JustCallMeCrash

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 20 February 2012, 12:46:55 »
Quote from: o2dazone;518154
Wow, that's with Royal Blue? Maybe they changed the formula, because my Royal Blue wouldn't take (after 30 minutes of dyeing).
I got that color in about 3 minutes.  Yes, three.  I didn't do anything outside of by description, either... clean with 90% rubbing alcohol, rinse, pre-dissolve the dye in boiling water, add to near-boiling water on stovetop, drop in keys, monitor with chopsticks.  Total amount of water was less than two quarts.  *shrug*

Offline modulor

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #15 on: Tue, 06 March 2012, 14:16:27 »
I was considering doing this with a few of the keycaps on my G80-11900.  This formula guide may be of use to anyone attempting this:

http://www.ritdye.com/colorit_color_formula_guide
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Offline kidchunks

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 08 March 2012, 15:37:43 »
Again, thanks for the guide o2dazone :).

Per my pm, I actually decided to go with one solid color of idye poly (violet). one liquid rit dye (aquamarine) and one powder rit dye (fuchsia). I will post results and the process here.
« Last Edit: Thu, 08 March 2012, 15:40:25 by kidchunks »
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Online wcass

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #17 on: Sat, 10 March 2012, 23:58:27 »
if you have a pasta pot - these work great. the built in strainer keeps the keys off the direct heat of your stove (lowers the chance of warping) and makes it easy to check the color and rinse when you are done.

salt is added as a "fixing agent" when dying fabric; you don't need it for plastics.

if you have a film on the surface of your bath, this can cause blotchy coloring. add a single drop of liquid dish detergent to disperse the film.

the red caps in my sig were dyed about a year ago, and still look the same. i have them on my "at work" board so they are used a lot.

Offline Ghostpixel

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #18 on: Wed, 28 March 2012, 13:58:17 »
Would it be possible to dye a realforce case? The upper part of the frame. From black to something else.
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Offline o2dazone

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #19 on: Wed, 28 March 2012, 16:06:04 »
I'm not sure if the case is ABS or PBT. If it's ABS, you risk heating it and warping it. The whole idea about dyeing the keycaps is that they withstanding wear and tear better than paint. In the situation of the case, spraying it might be better, but it might wear on the lower area below the spacebar, where hands are almost always placed and wearing.

Online hashbaz

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« Reply #20 on: Wed, 28 March 2012, 16:43:16 »
People have tried dyeing cases, and they almost always warp.

Offline escargot

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #21 on: Wed, 28 March 2012, 17:42:24 »
What about the Steelseries 6gv2 keycaps? Considering they are namely highly absorbent amd porous in the laser etched lettering, wouldn't work to dye specially fine?
I saw a post over at OCN where some guy tried it, but it didn't work for him, although I guess he didn't have a clue about dyeing plastic.
What do you guys think?

Online hashbaz

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« Reply #22 on: Wed, 28 March 2012, 22:35:24 »
Quote from: escargot;559675
What about the Steelseries 6gv2 keycaps? Considering they are namely highly absorbent amd porous in the laser etched lettering, wouldn't work to dye specially fine?
I saw a post over at OCN where some guy tried it, but it didn't work for him, although I guess he didn't have a clue about dyeing plastic.
What do you guys think?

They are almost certainly made of ABS plastic, which generally is a no go for RIT dyeing, as they can't take the heat.  Cherry doubleshots are an exception, but they are super thick and beefy.

Offline Aranair

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Rit Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #23 on: Wed, 28 March 2012, 23:50:46 »
Since I just sold my Filco TKL and have 104 blank white pbts with no keyboard...time to try this D:

May the force be with me lol.

...Now where to find rit dye in Singapore :/ I see dylon all over.

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Online hashbaz

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« Reply #24 on: Wed, 28 March 2012, 23:52:31 »
Quote from: Aranair;560020
Since I just sold my Filco TKL and have 104 blank white pbts with no keyboard...time to try this D:

May the force be with me lol.

...Now where to find rit dye in Singapore :/ I see dylon all over.

People did not have good luck with Dylon in the original RIT thread.  I think you can get RIT on ebay.

Offline Aranair

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« Reply #25 on: Thu, 29 March 2012, 00:00:47 »
Quote from: hashbaz;560021
People did not have good luck with Dylon in the original RIT thread.  I think you can get RIT on ebay.

heh nice, expected them to be bit more expensive. Its Rit Dye Fabric powder right?

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Online hashbaz

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« Reply #26 on: Thu, 29 March 2012, 00:08:49 »
Quote from: Aranair;560026
heh nice, expected them to be bit more expensive. Its Rit Dye Fabric powder right?

Yeah.  There is also liquid RIT, but the consensus seems to be that it doesn't work as well as powder.

Offline Aranair

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« Reply #27 on: Thu, 29 March 2012, 00:10:22 »
and alot more expensive lol. just bought sunshine orange and golden yellow to try out first...its a pity they don't have lime green ): ):

Edit: just read in their website, lime green can be achieved by mixing heh.

Edit 2: Bought teal to get yellowish green too ...
« Last Edit: Thu, 29 March 2012, 00:33:02 by Aranair »

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