This is a fun little side project I had running. I saw that it was possible to purchase keybard magnets for the fridge on Ebay, but seeing as I had both an old keyboard and some magnet strips laying around I thought it was possible to make these myself. And it turned out pretty well if I must say so myself.
You can purchase some keyboard magnets here:
If you do already have an old keyboard laying around, then £8 is a little expensive. I am sure you are able to find a magnet strip for around £1-2, and even the keyboard should not be too pricey when bought at a second hand store.
Have fun with this project and feel free to visit my site for more random guides: www.cavaleri.dk
There is a different way to do this, if you want to use hot glue instead. Have a look at this video tutorial on how to accomplish that.
Step 1: Gathering Materials
The first step is to make sure you have everything. However, you will not be needing much. Here is the list:
- Old keyboard
- Glue (I used tact/contact adhesive)
- A fine filler (I used a filler for painting)
- Magnet strips (can be bought cheap on Ebay)
- A small piece of fine sandpaper
- Tools (Pliers/saw and small screwdriver)
These are basically the things you will need. I had access to all of this but I would expect the total price of these to be around £5-7.
Step 2: Preparing Keyboard Keys
Okay our first step is to prepare they keyboard keys. You will need to detach them from the keyboard. I used a small screwdriver to break them free. They come off pretty easily so be careful not to break them. Simply stick the screwdiver beneath they key you want and pry it free.
Once you have the keys you want (I used at total of 29 keys), you will need to cut down the middle part so that it is even with the rest. This is to make sure the magnets are attached properly. I used a pair of pincers which you will notice in the image, but you could easily use a small saw or even a sharp steak knife for this. The keys should be easy to work with if they are old, mine had been laying around for years.
Do the same for all your keys. If you are using all the keys on the keyboard, then it will be a good idea to go ahead and measure their dimensions. You will need to know the width and length of these in the next step.
Step 3: Fill Up Your Keys
First I have to warn you. If you are using all the keys on your keyboard then move on to the next step before doing this one. I did not use all keys and had some spare keys for measures in the next step.
Great, now it's time to prepare the filler. Your box should explain how to blend it but I used 1 part water and 3 part cement. Be sure to make enough to fill all your keys, you will need almost 1 teaspoon of filler for each key. Stir the filler and wait a couple of minutes before continuing.
Once the filler is ready you will need to fill up your keys. Do not worry about using too much for each key, we will grind/sand them later on. I used quite a lot of filler on each key and some of it ran down the side. No worries though, it comes off easily once it's dry.
When you are done, leave the keys to dry and move on to the next step. It takes a while for them to dry and I left them over night to make sure they were dry enough to work with. However, it depends on the kind of filler you are using.
Step 4: Cut Out the Magnet(s)
You will need some spare keys for this step, or at least make sure you measure the size of your keys before adding the filler to them. It will be difficult to measure the size while they are drying. I made this step afterwards though because it is nice to do something productive while the filler is drying.
I used the small keys with letters and the large ones like those on your keypad (0, Enter and +). I will list my measures here and I think they are pretty standard. Be sure to check if they fit yours though.
Small: 18mm x 18mm
Large: 18mm x 37mm
Now go ahead and cut out the pieces. Do not worry about making them a little too small, just as long as you do not make them too big. They should not be viewable behind the key once they are on the fridge. 1-2 millimeter smaller than the keys does not make a big difference.
Step 5: Time to Clean and Grind the Keys
I suggest you to move outside for this step. It will be really messy!
Once the filler has dried completely, you will need the sandpaper to grind off the extra filler to make an even surface on the keys. Also, go ahead and clean of any filler which came down the side. Do not use water to clean it because the filler might dissolve and the keys will become useless. You can easily rub it off with your thumb.
I used some fine p100 sandpaper for this but regular p120 would do just fine. Just be careful only to grind the filler and not the keys themselves. They will easily become scratched!
Go ahead and grind all of the keys to make a smooth surface for the glueing the magnets on.
Step 6: Glue It All Together
This is the final step. Simply go ahead and glue the magnets to the backside of the keys. The glue should stick pretty well on the filler. Be sure to brush of any loose dust first though. Be careful not to use too much glue. We do not want this running down the sides, it will be more difficult getting it off again once it is dry.
Glue all the magnets to the keys and leave it to dry for a while. An hour should be more than enough time for this to dry but it will depend on the kind of glue you are using.
Once the glue is dry, you will have your very own keyboard fridge magnets to organize stuff on your fridge!