Dyeing pre-colored (grey) PBT caps?

Hi friends, does anyone here have experience dyeing already-colored PBT caps? I’ve been doing research and looks like most people dye white caps. I have some topre HiPros coming in the mail. They’re all grey and I want to dye at least some of them to a slightly different shade (maybe dark red or dark blue) and want to see how they’ve turned out in the past before I attempt.



I have some experience with that.
Grey caps are no problem. The grey pbt just makes the resulting colour darker, depending on how dark the original grey is.
I tried that with orange and purple dye, on light grey, medium grey and red pbt caps.

I can’t however tell you how dark is too dark to yield nice results.
To give you an idea of what I mean with “light grey” and “medium grey”, you may take a look at the kbdfans nordic keycap sets. I tried both the dsa and the cherry set.


Just wondering, if you like I could post som pictures to show the outcome of my dyeing.


Hi 63N, i would love to see your dyes! I’m re-thinking dyeing grey ones tbh but would still love to see what you’ve done

In fact I ordered more dye a few days ago, for a new project.
If you can wait a little longer I’ll make some photos of the process, and upload them together with the older pictures.


of course! I won’t get my caps for a while so take your time!

Ok, let’s cook!

I’ll post several pictures throughout the day as the dyeing process goes along.

First, the caps, to give you an idea of their original colour.
The picture was taken with cold white light on a white piece of paper, with flash.
(Those are kbdfans DSA caps)

I use an old stainless steel pot for the dyeing solution.
Don’t use aluminium, as you would also dye the pot :wink:
I made myself a special glass “strainer”, just for caps-dyeing.
It’s cylindrical to make better use of the volume, thus needing less liquid.
The holes in the glass strainer make it easy to agitate the caps in the solution, just by lifting it out of the pot, and pushing it in again.
By doing so, plumes of dyeing-solution will “stirr” the caps without scratching them.
The glass strainer is also extremely easy to clean.

On we go…

For this run, I use “Kelly Green”, as all the times before iDye Poly.
So far I always used destilled water, just to be sure.
Next time I will use tap water, just to try it.

Two close-ups of the “soup”.

The caps after dyeing, before cleaning.


Wow these really turned out great! Would love to see the contrast between white and grey ones

excited to see the finished product

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Actually I hoped the green would be a little lighter, but I am happy anyway.

Today will be a long day, so I am not sure if I manage to post more pictures today.
But I’ll post them together with pictures from my first two experiments (orange and purple) very soon.

I have more dye and more caps waiting for a few more trial runs.
I’ll do red, yellow and blue soon.

The results after cleaning* (see note below) and drying:
Alphas to the left were light grey, modifiers to the right were darker grey.
It’s impossible to see a difference between them in this picture.
With the naked eye, the previously darker modifiers are a slightly darker green.

A picture of my results with orange. Some un-dyed caps of the same brand/type for comparison:
Those were kbdfans cherry profile.

And some purple caps. Those were kbdfans DSA caps, same as the green ones.

So far the orange came out best, in my eyes the purple and the green got a little to dark.

  • About cleaning:
    The most time-consuming part of dyeing is actually the cleaning.
    As you can see in the pictures (e.g. the glass strainer after dyeing) in my earlier post, the dyeing leaves some residue on everything. That residue needs to be removed mechanically, it won’t come off otherwise. It does not dye anymore, but every single cap needs to be brushed thoroughly, especially on in inside. That takes quite a long time…

Hmmm, I wonder if it would be sped up with ultrasonic cleaning :thinking:


I thought about that, yes. Sadly my ultrasonic cleaner was beyond repair, so I can’t try it.
But then, how often do I dye caps? It doesn’t hurt to brush caps for about an hour now and then :wink:


Have you ever cleaned with denture tabs? I have seen them featured in a bunch of refurb/cleaning threads but haven’t used them myself personally. Thinking about getting an ultrasonic cleaner (I’m getting into vintage boards these days) but maybe denture tabs could save me some money if that works just as well.

Also, I love how the caps turned out! Thanks for sharing your work with us. I think your photos and some others I’ve found online confirmed my suspicion that DIY dyeing would darken the legends a bit. I’ll update this thread if I end up dyeing my own caps.

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No, but I may give it a try one day. Since the yucky stuff on dentures is quite sticky too, it might work well on the sticky residue after dyeing :wink:

I personally believe that it just seems so. The legends are already black, so they won’t get any darker. Dyeing clearly reduces the contrast a lot, which I believe might give the impression that the legends got darker.

But I am very curious what happens when dyeing caps with grey legends…
I’ll see if I can get my hands on some that I might just throw in with the next batch.

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