Tutorial Tuesday - Dyeing Plastic Buttons

I had never even considered dyeing my own buttons until I came across this tutorial on the RIT website. I have a huge amount of white and translucent buttons, which are all a bit dull and I can never quite find a use for them, but I also can't bring myself to get rid of them!

Dying the buttons would be the answer to my problems - but one of the biggest problems I have - it that RIT dye is not available in the UK as far as I am aware and I can't find an equivalent product. So if you do have access to RIT, then do let me know how you get on - I would love to know! Or, if you know of a dye, available in the UK, then do please let me know too!

Supplies Needed:
  • Rit Liquid or Powder Dye: Any color or mix dye to create a custom color. Colors used in photographs: Sunshine Orange, Evening Blue, Scarlet, Fuchsia, Lemon Yellow, Violet, Apple Green, Golden Yellow
  • White Buttons
  • Measuring Cup
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Disposable Plastic Containers for dyeing buttons
  • Spoon for mixing dyes
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Plastic Table Cover
  • Paper Towels
  1. Cover work surface with a plastic table cover.
  2. Decide what colors you like and prepare dye according to the basic recipe below. Liquid dyes are more concentrated than powder dyes so use half as much dye. Always test color with fabric scrap or paper towel before dyeing buttons. If color is too light, add more dye; if it is too dark, add more water.
  3. Basic Recipe: Measure and mix 1 teaspoon liquid dye or 2 teaspoons powder dye with 1 Cup HOT Water. Shake liquid dyes before measuring. Water should be about 140°F. If your tap water is not hot enough, heat some in the microwave or a tea kettle.
  4. Pour dye and water into a plastic container; stir. Make sure container is deep enough.
  5. Immerse buttons in dye solution for 2 to 5 minutes. Stir occasionally and check color frequently. Remove buttons when desired color is achieved. Rinse buttons. Then wash with soap and water, rinse and dry with paper towels.


  1. What a fabulous idea! I'm pretty sure they sell Rit at the chemists here in Oz, will definitely have to try and let you know how it goes. I have coloured them with alcohol inks before but it can be a bit blotchy. The other great thing I'm addicted to doing at the moment is heat embossing them - especially with copper or pewter embossing powder, great for the faux metal button look for cards (when you don't want to sacrifice one of your good buttons - you can just emboss a dodgier one ;)

  2. You can use regular Dylon fabric dye. I haven't tried it myself but I have seen the results from someone else who did it to cable ties!
    Found this tutorial on ebay of all places

  3. that's a great tip - thank you for that - will def. try and give it a go!

  4. Hiya, I bought some RIT liquid dye from Amazon.co.uk...The Cloth Shop. I also discovered last night that Macculloch & Wallis sell the liquid and powdered versions for cheaper. http://www.macculloch-wallis.co.uk/Product.aspx/RIT%20Dyes!9369 Neither give quick delivery!

    I really want to dye some white and plain pearly buttons too...may I ask if you know where to get nice plain buttons from here in the UK?

  5. hi Keri, you should be able to buy them from most haberdashery shops but I think eBay is the best to buy in bulk & cheaply! hope that helps!

  6. This doesn't work. I followed the recipe and it just didn't work.


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