Introduction: Make Your Own Multi Colour PCB

Picture of Make Your Own Multi Colour PCB

In this Instructable I'm going to show you how to make your own coloured PCBs

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

A PCB to dye
A Permanent Marker the colour you want to dye your PCB
Acetone (I use nail polish remover that has acetone as the main ingredient) 
Kitchen roll

Step 2: LETS GO!

Picture of LETS GO!

Start off with a clean PCB, and colour the edges of the PCB before moving onto the reverse of and finally the front of the board totally covering in permanent marker.

At this point it will look streaky and rough (like its just been colour in with a marker) but don't worry, the magic is yet to come!

Step 3: The Magic

Picture of The Magic

Take a square of kitchen roll, and dab it with your acetone and wipe it over the PCB till the copper track shine though.

This process will remove the streaky and rough marks made by the felt of the marker pen, leaving a beautiful smooth dyed finish ready for tinning & populating.

Step 4: Experiment With Colour

Picture of Experiment With Colour

Now you have seen how easy the process is, why not experiment with some colours!

I would like to thank Kat from Sonodrome for all here help, and highly recommend her tutorial videos that can be found on the linked forum.


focheezy817 (author)2015-04-01

This isn't working with my board. Only a little of the color is staying on the board and makes it look really streaky and cloudy. It doesn't exactly look like the pictures

ArcAiN6 (author)focheezy8172017-07-29

This won't work with FR4, you have to use the cheap resin bonded paper type boards.

Are you using FR2 or fiberglass type board? as this only works on FR2 synthetic resin bonded paper type board.

MichaelB18 (author)2014-11-14

Can you dye it if it has transistors, leds, and what not on it and still work?

Dill pickles (author)MichaelB182014-11-28

Probably not the dye might ruin the transistors ,and LEDs

Dill pickles (author)MichaelB182014-11-28

Probably not the dye might ruin the transistors ,and LEDs

Jan_Henrik (author)2014-05-05


kentsfield (author)2012-08-04

Didn't work :(

I am using the FR2 Cardboard, not the fiberglass one with a permanent marker. I first added a few layers of "dye", then gently rubbed it off. But well, I just rubbed everything off. I tried it a few times more, but well, you don't see anything. I first used acetone free nail polish remover, then a one with acetone. Same result. I also used different permanent markers. still nothing :(

sorry to hear it didn't work for you, maybe try another brand of board, as iv never come across a FR2 Cardboard that didn't take the ink.......maybe yours has some funky new protective coating?

QBN-14 (author)2012-07-27

How long do you let the sharpie sit before you wipe it off?

gatan (author)2010-05-14

what are you used for drawing layout? protel or?
can you share that program for me? :)

tigerbomb8 (author)gatan2011-11-02

i use Eagle or Fritzing

jgosselin (author)tigerbomb82011-11-12

i would love to use eagle but i am at loss on how to use it. any help would be greatly appreciated. very cool instructable btw all my pcb's are going to be blue :D

pensativo (author)jgosselin2012-05-20

Try EAGLE. Trust me, the best way to do it is to download it and poke around. Then look up as many tutorials online as you can and poke around in it some more. The thing about these things is that the more features you get the steeper the learning curve, but it is well worth it. I have used a few software packages and for the price you can't get any better. :)

chipscolaman (author)2011-11-03

But will it blend?

nice, thx

Sparticles (author)2011-09-21

It didn't work :(
With acetone I just rubbed everything off instantly. (and yes, it is a permanent marker)

What type of Clad Laminate board are you using?

Its has to be one of the brown FR2 paper based,not the FR4 fiberglass board.

Ah yes, it is fiberglass. Too bad because it really looks nice in your pictures.

Spaceman Spiff (author)2011-06-15

Worked Great, first try! Thanks for the ible!

ryukyu (author)2010-11-24

I use rubbing alcohol to clean up after soldering. Wouldn't the alcohol (or similar flux remover) cause the dye to run?

orion4713111 (author)2010-05-09

what's "kitchen roll"?

owenaero (author)orion47131112010-09-20

it is a rooling pen used for flattining dough

SRChiP (author)orion47131112010-05-10

I think it's just some thick tissue. (generally used in kitchen)

orion4713111 (author)SRChiP2010-05-15

sounds like what we call "paper towels" here in the states.

godofal (author)orion47131112010-05-29

 is a paper towel, i live in the netherlands where we call it a kitchen roll as well (well,  in dutch ofc XD )

gzaloprgm (author)orion47131112010-05-16

Tell me if you managed to paint a PCB, I tried with this method and the tint went to the paper...

killersquirel11 (author)2010-06-25

Does the marker rub off at all on your fingers?

cliffyd (author)2010-06-04

Just did this diy on my latest pcb, looks great! Thanx for the tip......cliffyboy

amando96 (author)2010-04-22

 But the copper is still out in the open...

icecreamterror (author)amando962010-04-22

Yes, this is not to be mistaken with solder mask.

To solder mask at home, you can paint on PEBEO acrylic inks used to paint on glass, then bake.

Ipodfan414 (author)2010-04-20

Where do you get PCBs?

If you mean where are the PCB from the main photo?
They \re from the lovely people at who came up with this technique. 

gzaloprgm (author)2010-04-17

Hmm. It isn't working. When I rub the pcb with acetone the tint dissapears and the pcb stays normal. Should I let the tint dry some hours?

agis68 (author)2010-04-17

 simple genius. Ive made it and also I used some Vitro colors. Its more stonger than marker and more easily.

Thanx for the idea dude....5/5

zack247 (author)2010-04-14

wow. never knew that. this'll come in handy! have you tried it with multiple colors yet? i want to know if the colors would blend or not before i try

roadieflip (author)2010-04-14

I figured how to do this a while ago without actually realising it. I accidentally got ink into my bottle of acetone and threw it away when I had my boards go streaky. I never even thought of using it to colour my boards.

Great idea. Saves messing about with clothes dye and heat.

nadav (author)2010-04-14

 Very cool and well documented! Great 'ible. 

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