geekhack Projects > Making Stuff Together!

RIT dye on my Model M


So, after seeing all the posts about RIT dying keycaps, I thought I would give it a go, since I had a model M that could use a bit of a spicing up. So I went to a Rite-Aid, bought some denture cleaning tabs and a box of powdered dark green RIT dye, and went to town. I gave the caps a good 20-30 minute soak in warm water with two denture tabs prior to doing this, and rinsed them pretty well. Then, I got to the hard part.

The RIT dye. A cold, calculated science around these parts. People have written it out before with detailed temperatures, times, and procedures.

I threw a good bit of that to the wind.

So, while I was at Rite-Aid, I didn't buy a thermometer. I probably should have, but since I forgot, and I wasn't going to be buggered to walk all the way back there, I decided I didn't need it. When it came to the whole water part, I filled my estimated 2 quart pot about halfway, until it looked like I'd have a decent amount to cover all the keycaps. If it gives anyone else an accurate frame of reference, it was the same amount I use when I cook a pack of ramen. I heated that until I saw a bunch of little bubbles on the base of the pot, and steam started coming off the surface of the water. I threw in a bit of salt, prior to noticing that the powdered dye already contained it. It was probably about half a teaspoon. I poured a bit into my hand and threw it in. Then I added the dye, stirred it around until it was looking good, and threw in the keycaps.

DISCLAIMER: Do not throw in the keycaps. The dye will splash, and you will end up with some spots on your clothes, and possibly your stove and counter top.

Following that, I began stirring. I went in three minute intervals, checking them every time I went to increment the timer. After 18 minutes, they looked pretty bad, so I decided to cut my losses and pull 'em out. I poured them into a strainer like you would use for pasta or draining ground beef, and rinsed them in warm water, and then cold water. I wouldn't recommend anyone rinse them directly in cold water. I'm not completely sure, as this didn't happen to me, but it seems like you could run the risk of cracking or warping your keycaps due to the sudden change in temperature. Try it with a test tube, and you'll see what I'm talking about. Once I had all the excess dye off, I threw them in a towel, shook it up to dry them, and popped them back on my board. I have to say that I'm not too disappointed. They're not the color I was going for (more of a British racing green), as they ended up olive/army green. However, my artsy sister tells me that I wasn't going to get the color I wanted with the dye I chose. Naturally, she was with me when I bought the dye, but failed to mention that. The biggest downside is that the dye shows the wear on these caps really clearly. The numpad looks pretty bad. If I was to do this again, I would do it with new keycaps (as I likely will soon enough.) I imagine these would look pretty good with an industrial case, if anyone wants to throw one my way. And now, for the obligatory pictures!

[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 53292[/ATTACH] [ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 53293[/ATTACH]
[ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 53294[/ATTACH] [ Attachment Invalid Or Does Not Exist ] 53295[/ATTACH]

Very classy. I like it. GJ

I used RIT "Dark Green" on the keys for a "camouflage" board I modded for my teenage son. The results would have been considered abominable, except for the fact that the splotchy uneven color was absolutely perfect for the camo effect. I used some "Cocoa Brown" that made for slightly uneven and ugly keys, but not nearly as bad as the dark green.

Only a straight light mark transverse on the spacebar was an obvious "issue" with the dye job.

I have done lighter, brighter colors such as "Scarlet", "Sunshine Orange", "Golden Yellow", and bright blue (can't remember the cute name) with spectacularly excellent results. And the darker modifier keys took the dye just as you would expect them to, perhaps ending even a bit darker than you might expect.

I would like to ask for members to send in their lists of which colors work well and which don't - I'm sure that it is case-by-case.

PS - black was amazing and beautiful - even a magnifying glass failed to reveal the original legends!

Is it possible to save a failure by going even darker? Say that your green went bad, could you for black to cove it all if you consider all black to be better than an uneven green?

You can go back to the bath for darker and richer colors.

I am guessing that black would hide everything, but I don't know for sure. I cleaned my keys very well before dyeing, so I doubt that was the problem.

The good thing about Model M keys is that they are tough and you could probably put them in the top pan of a double boiler for an hour and they would survive.


[0] Message Index

Go to full version