How to Make Yellow Plastic Look NEW! From Drab to FAB! | Go-Go Kim

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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

How to Make Yellow Plastic Look NEW! From Drab to FAB!

We have all been there!

In a thrift shop, garage or estate sale and see the vintage machine at an incredible price. You lift up the lid and there it is...the yellow plastic 😒

The machine is not to blame! It is not made cheaply, it is the plastic.

I am going to share with you now how I took YEARS this lovely New Home Memory Craft 6000 and made it look brand new using only a few items I happened to have right here at home ( and I bet you do too)!

refurbish your sewing machine



Plastics are useful but over time can become discolored from a variety of factors but the most common is UV:

"Exposure to UV radiation can cause plastics to change color (turn yellow), crack, break, shatter or even melt!"

Polymersolutions.com has more to read on the topic of yellowing plastics.

I turned to the hive mind to find out what they knew about how to undo the ravages of UV on vinatge sewing machines. I asked in my Instagram stories and there were a few amazing people that gave me leads.

The best one ended me up at The 8 bit guy on YouTube.

It was everything I needed to know! I reccomend you watch the video! This guy is BRILLIANT!

To better demonstrate how this process works, I wanted bigger model to test out.  This vintage Kenmore 12 stitch cover was pretty awful ( bless her heart).

It was so yellowed, this was the best photo I could get! It came with a fantastic machine but was definetly showing her age. And at $7.99, I simply could not pass this great machine up!




** Before I start, I am not a professional scientist nor am I a sewing machine technician, I am doing this using my personal machines only. Please try this at your own risk**

The tools needed are easy to find and inexpensive to boot!

Saran Wrap
30 Volume Deveolper
Disposable gloves
paint brushes ( variety of sizes depending on what you are working on)
a plastic or glass dish
safety glasses ( I wear glasses so I was safe)
Q-tips
Drop cloth




Pour a good amount of the developer into a plastic bowl or bin and fill up your brush.


Apply a nice thick coat onto your surface.


This is where the magic starts!


Cover the area with saran wrap. This step is absolutely necesssary, if the developer drys out, it stops working.

If you have your hair lightened, you will recognize the use of the wrap!



Oddly enough, the very thing that caused the issue is the thing that will make the yellowing better! The next step it to put it in full sunlight! You can use a UV light if you have one but I don't and I cannot imagine buying one.


After 4 hours of hanging out at the spa, I brought the case back inside, gave it a quick clean up with clear water and paper towels ( please use the rubber gloves for this step also).

Can you believe the difference in the before and after?



It is amazing that it only lifted the discoloration and not even the scuff marks.




Here is more of what the big reveal for the New Home Memory Craft machine looks like after the treatment.

But first...

This is the before...




These are the brushes I used and how I placed the saran wrap.

I used very small watercolor brushes to work around the sides. I did not take apart the machine. If you are someone that is comfortale taking your machine apart and dunking the plastic pieces in the developer,  go for it!

The taking apart is not the issue for me, the putting back together is a whole different issue!





And a great progress shot of how fast this technique works!




Just like new!



When putting the machine in the sun, I had her on a small table and propped the top up so that it was flat and even to keep the developer from moving too much.  I checked frequently to quickly blot up with q tips any areas that were threatening to go into creavces.

The change is amazing! Now to set her up and start sewing!


It is a thrill to understand the whys of this issue and how to undo the damage to reveal something of beauty!



I hope you will give this technique for how to remove yellowing plastic from your vintage machines a try too!

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28 comments

Quilting Tangent said...

Looks great!

Kirsten J said...

That is amazing!!! I'm wondering if it changes the "feel" or finish of the plastic?

Robby said...

Too cool for school! It's not my sewing machine, but my food processor that has this issue. Time to try a little test patch on it. Thanks!

SarahZ said...

Simply amazing!!!! Kudos to your inquiring mind and the persistence to track down a solution!!!

Lesley Gilbert said...

I bought this same machine new in 1987 - after so many years I hadn't noticed the colour change, but I can live with it as it doesn't look as bad as yours, (before the make-over) but thanks for the advice - like you, I love my machine :)

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

That is just amazing! Thanks for sharing such detailed instructions and videos...and glad you're using that New Home 6000!

Liv2KnitNSew said...

Thank you so much for sharing this!! I have a lovely Singer I couldn't resist at a thrift store who could really be for from this 😁

CaroleM said...

This is great! 3 weeks ago I found a Kenmore on the side of the road with a sign that said free! Right price for me! Got it purring, but this will be a next great step.

Barb Neiwert said...

If that product will do this for plastics, imagine what it does to hair! Yowzers! Great to know for all sorts of plastics that have yellowed - thanks!

Eileensews said...

It looks great!

Murnas said...

Thank you so much for the info. I have this exact machine and it has yellowed. I will be giving the old girl a facelift. I've had mine since about 1989. However, I did get a new machine last July. It's a Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9400. It was worth the 28yr wait. It is beyond marvelous!!

elnorac said...

That’s amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this.

pikastitch2 said...

I wonder about yellowing vehicle headlights. I don’t have a car to try it on so,if someone tries it please let us know..
Thanks.

quilted collies2 said...

Where do y you get volume developer?

inabook said...

At any beauty supply store- they have different strengths I purchased the smallest bottle for less than five dollars and put it on my sewing machine put plastic wrap on it and placed it on a sunny window sill and when i came home after work - the machine was back to its normal creamy off white color. I was surprised and really glad I tried it.

Suzanne said...

I have GOT to try this, thank you!

Scott said...

Very cool post! I just got done restoring some yellowed computer parts. I used a thicker gel formulation found below. Seemed to have less waste (and it "stuck" better) than using creme!

https://www.ebay.com/itm/RetroBrite-Restores-Yellowed-Plastic-16-oz/164211728070?hash=item263bc81ec6%3Ag%3ANXQAAOSwWOFeWJFy

LESLEY said...

Hope this takes since I don't use Google! I'm looking around to see if I can use this. Nope but I did ask my son if he still had my under the cupboard CD player. He said it was all yellow and in the garage. I'm digging it out and giving this a try.
After that, he can come over and install it for me lol...

I'm wondering if this works on white metal. My microwave has white plastic which has stayed white but the top & sides are metal and have yellowed over the years.

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Go-Go Kim said...

It does not change the feel at all!!!!!!

Ronja said...

I am curious to know if the black pieces were effected at all? I want to try this method for my pfaff 1027, but I am afraid there will happen anything with the black pieces? ofc I will try to not get the developer on that, but it could happen when trying to cover the white parts as good as possible..

jane robert said...

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Anonymous said...

Use tape to cover it

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Use a specialized plastic cleaner and polish to effortlessly revitalize yellow plastic surfaces by thoroughly cleaning, applying the cleaner, and gently rubbing it in circular motions. divorce and family law new york

Justin said...

Thank you for sharing these tips! My outdoor plastic furniture has been looking dull and faded. Excited to see if these methods will bring back its vibrant yellow color.
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