How to... Color Dye Plastic Computer Parts

How to... Color Dye Plastic Computer Parts

Taryn Williford
Jul 28, 2009

When we asked if you have a go-to color when you're picking out gadgets, we found that most liked their gadgets to remain neutral, but modern. Black-, white- and silver-colored stuff took the stage. But some of you brave souls who prefer a brighter out look on life (one reader boldly commented, "Pink! It stops my husband from running off with my gadgets.") might enjoy this tutorial, which can help you easily and inexpensively dye—not paint—your plastic peripherals...

If you wanted your old-school beige computer tower to be black or you're just the kind of funky cat that digs a purple keyboard, until now your options seemed to be spray paint or go home. But the problems with spray painting parts are a long list.

Because it's just a colored coating on the surface, your painted gadgets won't have the same look or texture as before—that's why it's usually easy to spot a spray-painted surface. Plus, the paint will get into small nooks, like an engraved logo or small dips in raised lettering, and essentially remove them from the surface. Lastly, anytime you're coating something, you're adding fractions of an inch to it's dimensions. For some gizmos, that might not matter much. But try sliding a CD-ROM tray in and out of a sprayed computer tower. Not fun.

But thanks to, we now know that you can easily 'dye' plastics at home. We know plastics aren't something we typically think of as porous and dye-able like fabrics. But the colorants in these spray-on vinyl dyes actually absorb into the polymer itself.

You don't have to prime or sand the surface. The finish won't chip, scratch or peel. You're not coating anything and you'll leave be all exposed embossings and raised letters on the surface.

It's typically used by folks who restore auto interiors, so check out a local hobby shop, or maybe even Wal-Mart, to get your hands on some for your needs-to-match gadget. Or you could always turn to trusty old Google Checkout by searching for "vinyl dye."


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