Author Topic: Dyeing Keycaps  (Read 4300 times)

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Offline heavygrinner

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Dyeing Keycaps
« on: Fri, 04 June 2021, 03:57:04 »
Hello, I'm considering dyeing keycaps to the colour scheme I want. I've been reading up on DIY dye processes here which favour Dylon multipurpose dyes and iDye Poly.

Keycaps should be PBT, and I have a few questions.

1. As I'll need to be able to see the legends, if keycap legends were translucent, would I still see them if i dyed a white keycap to dark brown/black?

2. Would it be better to just have the legends on the stock keycaps printed?

3. Are there any kinds of solutions or ways to add the legends back? Presumably these are light coloured legends on darkly dyed keycaps. Been struggling with this thought, as I'm not sure if cutting out and pasting alphabets with sticker paper pre-dyeing would work, since it may look amateurish (with my horrible hands), or maybe it could boil up in the water.

4. As I would like the legend fonts to look good, does anyone have suggestions on which (preferably cheap/cheap enough) white keycap sets to get that have front-facing legends, that also have a set in black?

Offline Speedx77

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  • Location: New York
Re: Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 04 June 2021, 12:07:28 »
Convenient timing of this post, I was just about to dye some keycaps myself to avoid outrageous prices.

Check out this imgur post, what he does is pretty cool. imgur album: https://imgur.com/a/7KpYJ#AvSAsCh and linked reddit post: https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/comments/70k5iu/dont_buy_it_dye_it_how_i_dyed_caps_with_legends/

This youtube video from wildcat might be helpful as well:

Idk how he does it exactly, but he retains the legends of the keycaps without completely removing the color/ only dying the white. I think that has something to do with the period of time/temperature he dyed them for.

Will be trying to dye some keycaps myself using that imgur method, I can update you if you want.
DZ60, Banana Splits, GMK Peach Blossom :)

Offline heavygrinner

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Re: Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 04 June 2021, 13:48:22 »
Convenient timing of this post, I was just about to dye some keycaps myself to avoid outrageous prices.

Check out this imgur post, what he does is pretty cool. imgur album: https://imgur.com/a/7KpYJ#AvSAsCh and linked reddit post: https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/comments/70k5iu/dont_buy_it_dye_it_how_i_dyed_caps_with_legends/

This youtube video from wildcat might be helpful as well:

Idk how he does it exactly, but he retains the legends of the keycaps without completely removing the color/ only dying the white. I think that has something to do with the period of time/temperature he dyed them for.


Will be trying to dye some keycaps myself using that imgur method, I can update you if you want.

Yes that would help us loads! We need more records and photos of dye work. There are only a handful on the internet via reddit and youtube. I agree with you about the time spent cooking affecting legends, although it seems like he was disappointed with Dylon powder dye. It was cooking for a long time, 40 mins.

If you're going for a custom colour scheme on your keycaps that aren't available in mass market, perhaps there is another alternative you can look at which is trying to find a vendor who does customised 5-sided dye sublimation. I think they can just "paste" the colours over the keycaps. I don't know how good or bad an idea this is (i'm pretty new to keebs).

Offline eloiole

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  • Location: France
Re: Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 07 June 2021, 07:48:41 »
Hello guys,

I'm currently in the process of dyeing my own keycaps so may be I can answer some of your questions.

First little backstory, I designed a 60% keyboard, inspired from some leaf variegation from my plants naively thinking that I would be able to find custom coloured keycaps.



Sadly, after some googling I realised it was a sweet dream and my best option was probably iDye Poly. I got most of my inspiration from this thread : https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=35444.0 and went to ask for advice directly on jacquard's forums : https://www.jacquardproducts.com/forum?p=post%2Fadvice-to-create-some-color-11666616%3Ftrail%3D15

So :

1. As I'll need to be able to see the legends, if keycap legends were translucent, would I still see them if i dyed a white keycap to dark brown/black?

The general rule of dyeing is that you can only dye something to a darker colour. So if you dye the all cap and the cap has different colours / materials it will affect them differently but it's hard to anticipate the result without trying.

2. Would it be better to just have the legends on the stock keycaps printed?

It depends on the result you are looking for. Respecting the rule "you can only dye something to a darker colour than it was" if you have white keycaps with dark legend you can dye it to a darker colour and still see the legend. If you have dark keycaps and lighter colour legends, you can dye the lighter colour to a darker one.

3. Are there any kinds of solutions or ways to add the legends back? Presumably these are light coloured legends on darkly dyed keycaps. Been struggling with this thought, as I'm not sure if cutting out and pasting alphabets with sticker paper pre-dyeing would work, since it may look amateurish (with my horrible hands), or maybe it could boil up in the water.

To my knowledge, it's the only solution but it seems so hard to achieve a nice render. Luckily I'm not using any legend so it makes things easier.

My current experiment :



I'm trying to get a darker green, that's why you can see some fails on both ends getting something way to dark.

My conclusion, in all honesty, I think getting the colour you are looking for by dying them is as much as an utopia as trying to find the right colour on the internet unless you just find the perfect colour from iDye poly or Dylon in the first place. Mixing the colours is a mess and require a lot of dye and retry changing ratio, concentration, temperature and time of cooking. I would by curious to see the result of pro 5-sided dye sublimation, I'm willing to try it if anyone can send me the link to this type of service.

Offline heavygrinner

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Re: Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 24 June 2021, 13:42:12 »
Hi all,

A post update on the result. Here's what it is:







It is actually surprisingly easy and quick - the most important point is to make sure ALL the powder has dissolved into the water before stirring in the keycaps. I only needed to bring it up to a boil each time, put in the keycaps and stir for a minute or sometimes less.

I was a very lazy person who didn't have a sieve, so i just put the caps into an old pot. This ran the risk of letting the keycaps stay in longer than the others if you take too much time trying to fish them out (I only had a plastic spatula so it quickly became a skill of keycap hunting in there...like a carnival game).

I used normal water - though don't follow this because different countries have different minerals in tap water so I don't know how that will affect you.

These were a mixture of idye poly (idye DOES NOT WORK AT ALL, trust me) and Dylon dye.

iDye poly was shipped to my country so each packet cost me an average of $15-20. Very expensive, and i found the that yellow powder refused to dissolve evenly. You can see the imperfection on the 'K'.

Dylon multipurpose dyes worked AMAZING! they're so easy to dissolve, they dissolve evenly in the water. The keycaps did not take long to absorb the dyes at all - keeping the caps at boiling point is the key.

Dylon dyes cost about $3-4 for me so I love them.

« Last Edit: Thu, 24 June 2021, 14:23:58 by heavygrinner »

Offline metalkeyboards

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Re: Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 07 July 2021, 14:26:53 »
naiz!
All METAL All DAY!

Offline sedekki

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  • Location: USA
Re: Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 07 July 2021, 21:51:08 »
ive never seen anyone dye keycaps. i never expected them to come out so nicely colored

Offline Volny

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Re: Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 10 August 2021, 06:04:05 »
They look great. I'm curious how long they keep their vibrancy, or if they eventually fade.

Offline RitzyKraken

  • Posts: 5
Re: Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 02 September 2021, 19:41:02 »
I had no idea that you could dye keycaps. I’m currently working on making a full set of epoxy resin keycaps so that they can be any color/design I want.

Offline cest73

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  • Location: serbia
Re: Dyeing Keycaps
« Reply #9 on: Sun, 05 September 2021, 13:22:26 »