If you're like us, you probably try your best to remain organized for as long as possible, especially under your desk, but it doesn't take long for all of your power cables to congeal into a gigantic mess. We've explored a few different ways of keeping your cables organized, but this novel approach will make each of your cables as distinctive as possible thanks to custom dyes and colors.
Most power cables are sheathed in PVC, which means that they'll take a stain just like PVC. In order to do so appropriately, you'll need to test a portion of the cable to ensure that it will take the stain. Once you've ascertained this, then you can start the staining process.
The process involves creating your own colored stain or just using Oatey's Purple Primer, which is available in hardware stores. We suggest that you start off with the Purple Primer and if you're successful, move onto creating your own stain. To create your own stain, you'll have to mix colors with Oatey's Clear Cleaner. The colors you'll add are known in the trade as Rekhaoil dyes and they have been designed so that they can color the clear cleaner. They can be found in small quantities on eBay and hardware stores.
In order to stain cables, you should work in a well-ventilated area. Some plastic garbage bags should be deployed below your staining station. A rag or towel should be next to this to allow the stained cable to dry. A metal tray with a few layers of paper towels will be used as your main painting area. Apply the stain directly to the cable using the applicator that is included with the can. The stain dries very quickly. Once it's completed, you can do touch-ups to make the stain even.
Lastly, you'll clean up the metal parts with a paper towel dampened in lighter fluid. If you're staining a power cord, not a USB cable or Ethernet cable, you should test if your mod affected it with a multimeter. If you don't have one or aren't comfortable doing this, ask a friend. Now that you're done with the modifications, it's time to start organizing your cables. There are many ways that you can do this. The IKEA Signum is a good way to get started. If that doesn't work, then you can try to wrangle your cables using a rain gutter.
Binder clips can be used to organize some of your cables. If you're still having problems, then you should check out everyday items that can help you in keeping those cables organized. The most important thing is to keep at it so that your work area remains as clean as possible, including all of the cables that you use. Using zip ties, labels and dyeing your own cables will make this process easier.
(via Make, photos by Sean Michael Ragan)