Introduction: Rit Dye Keyboard Mod

I recently became the owner of a very nice mechanical keyboard which spurred me into using my old board as a guinea pig for experimenting with Rit Dye.

Step 1: What You'll Need

The first challenge was actually finding the stuff, as it can be quite rare in some places [obviously you can order online, but I wanted this to be as cheap as possible in case it turned out disastrous].

I ended up taking the advice 'look in little old convenience stores' and it worked out to my advantage. The guy gave me the bottle at a steal, since it appeared to have been on the shelf since the 1920's...


What You'll Need :
• A pot you don't particularly care about
• At least two keyboards, preferably with similar keys [the one I subbed keys from had some non-standard ones, which was a pain]
• Rit Dye
• A screwdriver or lifter of some kind to dislodge keys

Step 2: Prep

Wash your keys.
They'll turn out streaky if you don't give them a good scrub beforehand.

Prep the dye by bringing a pot of water to a boil.

The bottle has some incredibly diluted instructions that I found didn't work. I ended up just dumping the whole thing in – but like I said- this dye was as old as the Queen, so use your best judgment for the ratios. I've heard good things about 1 to 1 [1 cup of dye vs 1 cup of water].

Step 3: Cooking the Keys

Once you have the dye and water at a boil, turn the stove down to a simmer.
Add the keys, stirring constantly for the first fifteen minutes.
If you're especially concerned about them hitting the bottom of the pot, suspend them in a sieve.

Step 4: Timing

I don't recommend doing this during a heat wave. I am lazy and left it unattended for about ten minutes and ended up with a warped Enter key.

Don't do that.

I left the keys in for a total of 30 minutes. I would suggest 20 tops, as some of my keys shrunk during the process. Although, I imagine this would be less of an issue with heartier keys not foraged from a 5$ garbage board.

Step 5: Post

Remove from heat and let cool.

Rinse your keys thoroughly until the water runs clear. Give them a good scrub to remove any excess dye.
Line washed keys out on paper towel [residual dye may still exist, I don't recommend putting them on anything you care about until they're 100% dry].

Step 6: Comparison

Here's the result after 30 minutes in Old Rose dye.

Step 7: Subbing in Dyed Keys

Design your keyboard.
It's a pretty good idea to take a picture of your base board and Photoshop your ultimate plan. You want to avoid jimmying the keys off and on repeatedly.
Also, it's a quick reference for where all the keys will go.

Once you've got an idea, gently pry the keys you'll be replacing off the base board. I use a small allen key, but if you have the actual key removal tool, all the better.
A screwdriver works equally well, but you have to be careful not to nick the keys.
I did the removal in like-minded clumps [number keys, etc] for simplicity's sake.

Step 8: Final Product

Pop in your dyed keys and you're all set.

For a slap-dash first go, it didn't turn out too badly.
Learn from my multitude of [mostly negligent] mistakes and you'll have something pretty sharp, I'd wager.

Cost : ~$5
Time : 90 minutes

Comments

author
CrLz (author)2012-08-13

Cool Idea!

author
mikeasaurus (author)2011-06-21

Wow, the results look great!
(per ChrysN's comment: totally put the finished keyboard picture as your intro)

author

Thanks! I'm surprised it actually worked, considering a good portion of the dye had solidified at the bottom of the bottle.

[done and done! :)]

author
ChrysN (author)2011-06-21

That looks great, you should put the picture on your keyboard as the Intro picture.

author
vigerpersinger (author)ChrysN2011-06-22

Thank you! And duly noted- I've put another angle of the finished product up in the intro.

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