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How to dye perspex


I am a jewelry student and over the summer I would like to experiment with some alternative materials such as perspex, resin etc. I noticed there was an article on etching perspex on your site and wondered if you could give me any information on dyeing perspex. Any info you have would be greatly appreciated.


Julie Charnley
- Glasgow, Scottish Midlands, Scotland



You are dealing with a solid, polymerized plastic. You can't dye it.

But acrylic (i.e., Perspex, Lucite, Plexiglass = polymerized Methyl Methacrylate) is attacked by quite a few solvents, Polar solvents like acetone Acetone [affil link] as well as the more powerful aromatic hydrocarbons.

Hence, if you had a coloured solvent, ergo, you could paint one side of your masterpiece, OK?

But there's a drawback sometimes ... if the material is stressed, then a solvent can enhance and make visible the stress lines.

How to check that out? Easy. Get two pieces of polarized glass. Put the acrylic in the centre. Rotate the polarized glass. If you have a hole in the material or even if you bend it, then stress lines will appear.... and they should appear if the material is scratched or, you being a jeweller, it is buffed = heat reaction = stress lines, I would think.

Hope this helps. If so, please donate something to your favourite charity, Scotch Malt?

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton [deceased]
(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).



I forgot to mention that if you 'work' acrylic ... by bending, cutting, sawing, threading, milling, cementing, etc.... you will engender stresses.

BUT there'an answer to that ... back in Ye Olden Days, even I.C.I. the big UK chemical Company, had an interesting article on how to stress relieve Perspex. Don't ask me about it as this was never my area of expertise ... but in said Olden Days we used to weld Perspex preferentially over Plexiglass because it was more completely polymerized (i.e., higher quality) than Perspex and used to show LESS stress cracking at the welded areas.

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton [deceased]
(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).

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