Tutorial - Dyeing Plastic Beads

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2 Large Vintage Style White Rose Pendant or Cabochon PC002     PC002 Dyed orange

Making your own custom colors can help expand your freedom in creating a piece. Also, it is a lot of fun! We have been dying plastic flower cabochons and beads, for fun and as custom orders for our customers for awhile now. While we are no longer doing custom colors by the order, we are still applying this method for fun and encourage those who like to experiment to give it a try!

Before going at a big pot of beads with your dye in hand- be sure to run a "test" on each bead you want to dye. Each bead can be made of different formulas, so you can and will get varying results. Sometimes a bead dyes wonderfully and quickly with no problems at all. However there are some that are more stubborn and will take several dye baths to achieve the color you want. Also, there are some that won't dye at all. We recommend using crystal (clear) or white beads when doing this, however some colors will work as well. For the example above, we used 2 Large Vintage Style White Rose Pendant or Cabochon PC002. Keep in mind if you are using a colored bead, you can't go from dark to light, and the mix of colors may not work out as nicely as planned.

There are other things to consider before dying your beads.

  1. It is messy! So be prepared to have rags or paper towels to protect any counter space you don't want dyed. You may want to wear gloves to protect your hands from staining. Also, be as neat as possible as the dye will stain your surfaces. I have even had my metal sink catcher get stained before, so please keep in mind that it is possible to stain any part of your kitchen before you start!

  1. Plastic melts! So please, do not use too high of a heat or "cook" them for too long.

  1. Results WILL vary! It takes a lot of experimenting before you figure out the right amount of dye, time, and heat to get the result you are looking for. Meanwhile, be sure to take notes on every step including measurements of all the "ingredients" and time length so you can re-create the color if it came out just right.

  1. Last, any materials you use to dye your beads should only be used for dying your beads! They will not be fit for cooking/eating after use with dying beads.

a pot to dye your beads in

a mesh strainer


dye (we like RIT brand powder or liquid)


paper towels/rags

measuring utensils

plastic beads or cabochons

metal spoon

stove top

sink with running water

First, you need to prepare your dye bath. Follow the instructions on the packaging to measure your dye, salt, and water. You need enough water to cover your beads completely, so adapt the amount of dye and salt needed to the amount of water you use. I usually use a medium heat on my stove top, and that gives me good results. Be careful not to go too hot, or you may melt your plastic! Since stove tops can vary with heating, the right heat may take some experimenting. After your dye bath is nice and heated, you can add your plastic beads. Keep the mixture moving, stirring it constantly.

You can check your beads every now and then to see if it is the desired color. When you have the color you love, it is time to turn the stove off, take it to the sink and pour the beads into the mesh strainer. While doing this have the water running to wash the beads. Continue washing the beads until the water runs clear.

Lay your beads on paper towels or a rag to air dry. Now, your done! Enjoy your beautiful custom colored beads!

Tips: Sometimes things don't dye evenly. We notice this particularly with some of the flower cabochons. All those intricate details leave lots of spots for air bubbles to form, so the dye bath does not reach all of the tiny spots right. Sometimes, just rinsing and repeating a few times will fix this. Usually after 3 dye baths or so the white spots will be covered. Sometimes, it just does not work though!

*Please note, do this project at your own risk! Please be safe when handling hot items and liquid and while working on a stove top. There is the possibility of staining any thing that the dye may come in contact with. Any item being dyed may have varying results. Too high of heat may melt plastic.

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