How to Dye Plastic With Rit Dye

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(Image: Lindsey Crafter )

Dyeing isn't just for fabric anymore -- with Rit Dye's new "DyeMore" line, formulated for synthetics, you can stretch its application to plastic and acrylic! Experiment dyeing with buttons, beads and bangles that you have lying around the house, or take a trip to the dollar store for plastic clothespins or sunglasses.

Things You'll Need

  • Rit DyeMore for synthetics  
  • Slotted spoon 
  • Paper towels 
  • Plastic containers 
  • Metal pan 
  • Gloves 
  • Plastic items for dyeing 

Dye can stain hands, clothing and surfaces, so be sure to adequately cover your workspace and wear gloves.

(Image: Lindsey Crafter )

Warning

  • Results may vary as many plastic surfaces are sealed or impervious to dye. Plastics with a matte porous finish are dyed easily, while shiny plastics are more difficult to dye even using a stove-top method. Do not attempt this project with items you aren't willing to experiment with.

Try dyeing pearls, buttons, beads, unfinished light switch plates or sunglasses.
Try dyeing pearls, buttons, beads, unfinished light switch plates or sunglasses. (Image: Lindsey Crafter )

Step 1: Dip Dye Method

Mix liquid Rit DyeMore according to instructions on bottle, or pour directly into your plastic dyeing containers for deeper colors. Submerge plastic items into the dye bath checking every 10 minutes until desired color is reached. Rinse under cold water and sit aside to dry. If you find your items are not changing color you may want to attempt dyeing them with a stove top method.

(Image: Lindsey Crafter )

Tip

  • Dye an item multiple colors by submerging it in shallow dye baths.

(Image: Lindsey Crafter )

Step 2: Stove Top Method

For items that take on little or no color, you may find adding a heat source encourages some plastics to absorb the dye more easily. In a medium saucepan used exclusively for crafts or dyeing pour in liquid dye and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer and submerge plastic items into the dye bath with a slotted spoon, stirring constantly and removing items regularly to check on their coloration.

(Image: Lindsey Crafter )

When the desired color is reached, carefully remove the items with a slotted spoon and let cool before rinsing under cold water. Sit aside to dry.

(Image: Lindsey Crafter )
Plastic pearls dyed with the stove top method.
Plastic pearls dyed with the stove top method. (Image: Lindsey Crafter )

Tip

  • Try mixing dye colors to maximize the shades you can dye without buying individual bottles -- like fuchsia and blue to make violet.

(Image: Lindsey Crafter )

Tip

  • Didn't get the finished product you were hoping for? A little metallic paint can complete the unfinished look of an inconsistenly dyed project-- simply splatter it on or paint chic stripes.

(Image: Lindsey Crafter )
(Image: Lindsey Crafter)

Have you had success dyeing plastic before? Share dye-able items for us to try in the comments section below.

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