Mechanical keyboards are undoubtedly gamers’ favorite tech partner thanks to the excellent feel and sounds they offer.
You can make your mechanical keyboard even more special by putting a little extra time and effort into customizing it. Also, dying your keycaps is a good idea! (especially when your legends on keycaps have faded after long use)
It’s obvious that dying keycaps takes much more effort than getting a pre-made set of keycaps, but it allows you to craft your own unique “work of art”.
And the good news is that even if you’re not a meticulous person, following our guide on how to dye your keycaps at home will help you do your art at ease.
Now let’s play with some dye and your keycaps!
Materials and tools
Before going with the craft work, you will need some ingredients on hand.
White PBT keycaps
(ABS caps will melt in boiling water)
Dying keycaps is the process of heating the ink until it becomes vapor to penetrate each gap of the plastic molecules on each keycap. Therefore, make sure the keycaps you’re about to dye are white and made from PBT so they do not melt or warp under heat like other plastics.
Although you can also dye ABS caps, take caution and keep the water temperature low during dying.
Dye (iDye Poly), Color Intensifier
iDye Poly is a specialized dye that is recommended when you want to dye keycaps. You can order 1 pack on Amazon for just around $10.
The iDye Poly comes with a pack of color intensifiers. Color intensifiers are semi-permanent dyes that boost the vibrancy and radiance of the dyed materials.
- A disposable pot (for boiling keycaps)
- A spoon/Other alternatives are disposable chopsticks or long bamboo skewers (for stirring the pot)
- Distilled water
- A disposable strainer or coffee filter (optional)
- Keep in mind that you can only dye your keycaps to darker colors than the original colors. However, they may not have to be plain white. For example, you can color dark grey keycaps black and they turned out beautifully.
- The final color is shown approximately. Results may vary with the material types.
Let’s go through 8 steps on how to easily dye your keycaps at home:
Step 1: Clean the keycaps and utensils
- Wash the pot: If you’ve used the pot previously, make sure it’s clean.
- Wash the keycaps: Clean your keycaps with hot soapy water if needed, then set them aside.
After doing that, you’ll need to remove keycaps. Check out this post: How To Remove Keycaps Without Tool? Simple Guide For Beginners to make the process quicker.
Step 2: Boil the water
You should boil about 500mL (~2 cups) of distilled water to maximize concentration. Use as little distilled water as possible while still submerging all of the keys.
You should boil for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the water as hot as possible. Since PBT melts at 223 °C (433 °F), you won’t be afraid of your keycaps melting.
Step 3: Add the dye and Intensifier into the boiling water
Blend the dye pack in the boiling water and use the spoon to stir. You can stir for around 1 to 2 minutes until the dye is entirely dissolved.
Note: Stir slowly and be careful to avoid getting the dye on the clothes or splashing the boiling water and causing burns
After the dye totally dissolved, add the color intensifier.
Step 4: Submerge for the first 10-15 minutes
Submerge the keycaps very cautiously after the dye appears uniform. Then, wait 10-15 minutes for the keycaps to soak up the color.
Remember not to stir the keycaps since the mental strainer may scratch them.
Step 5: Re-boil the dye and continue dying for the next 10-15 minutes
The process of dying can be split into two 10-15 minute sessions. This helps you to avoid making a mess in the kitchen while also assessing the dying color and uniformity.
It’s okay if some people want to keep the pot on the burner for 30 minutes. However, the fumes may cause color marks in the exhaustion. If you’re doing this way, use a lid to keep the damage to a minimum.
After the first 15-minute sessions, put the keys out of the dye and wash them with cold water till the water is crystal clear while waiting for the boiling of the dye.
Once the dye boiling for around 1-2 minutes, continue to soak the keycaps for 10-15 minutes.
Step 6: Wash the keys with soap to remove the dye residue
To remove dye residue or some little black things from keycaps, wash them in soapy water.
Don’t skip this step because the dye residue is hard to remove and causes your keycaps to be less smooth and uniform.
Cleaning your keycaps also needs certain skills. Read on How to deep clean your keycaps and mechanical keyboard safely and easily? to gain those skills and keep your keycaps a good look always.
Step 7: Let keycaps dry overnight!
Don’t be in a hurry! Allow time for the keycaps to dry completely. If you’re truly worried about water still remaining in the keycaps, use some q-tips to remove them.
Before drying them, you can also rinse them with distilled water to leave all mineral deposits.
Step 8: Put the keycaps back on your keyboard and enjoy
A stunning keycap set is coming. Just reattach the keycaps to your keyboard and enjoy its fresh look.
The process is just that and if you follow each step correctly, the keycaps will certainly be colorful and eye-catching. Don’t be confused! See, dying keycaps is simpler than you think.
After all, you will get your art without spending too much money. Watch this video to get everything about the process of dying your keycaps at home.
FAQs on dyeing keycaps
Can black keycaps be dyed?
No. Keycaps can be only dyed a darker color. Our advice is to start with white PBT keycaps and dye them whatever color you choose.
Can you paint keys with acrylic paint?
Yes. Keycaps can be painted using acrylic paints. You can simply paint your keycaps the way you like thanks to its fast-drying features, durable and thick coating on metal items, and long-lasting coating.
How do I dye my own keycaps?
Here is a simple guide on how to dye keycaps:
- Step 1: Clean the keycaps and utensils
- Step 2: Boil the water
- Step 3: Add the dye and Intensifier into the boiling water
- Step 4: Submerge for the first 10-15 minutes
- Step 5: Re-boil the dye and continue dying for the next 10-15 minutes
- Step 6: Wash the keys with soap to remove the dye residue
- Step 7: Let keycaps dry overnight!
- Step 8: Put the keycaps back on your keyboard and enjoy
Should you dye ABS keycaps?
It’s not recommended. However, you can still dye ABS keycaps in a low-temperature condition with caution. There are several users who successfully dyed their ABS keycaps.
What paint do you use for keycaps?
If you would like to paint the entire surface of your keyboard, we highly recommend acrylic paint. You can simply cover the entire area with a paintbrush.
Have you already got all steps on how to dye your keycaps at home? It was pretty much simple, right?
We wish you will have a fun dying time and get your work done successfully!