Introduction: Colorful Laptop Backlighting for $5

Picture of Colorful Laptop Backlighting for $5

Hey guys, in today's Instructable, I'll show you how to change the color of your laptop's backlight! This takes some time, but the final product definitely is worth it. Please note that the size and cutouts of the Post-It will vary from laptop to laptop, and the laptop I'm using in this tutorial is a MacBook Pro.

WARNING:

If you aren't careful taking off the keycaps things WILL break. I carelessly (and I really mean carelessly, like just yanking the thing off) took an arrow key off, and snapped the scissor switch. While things like this are replaceable, they still cost unnecessary amounts of time and money. Proceed with caution.

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

Here are the supplies needed to complete this build:

(No, I'm not kidding about patience or time. This is a long and finicky project that takes hours.)

With the exception of the Post-It Pop-Up Page Markers, you should be able to find the rest of these items around your house. Also, regarding the Post-It price; the prices will fluctuate over time, however, it should stay under $5. As of May 12th, the Post-Its are listed for under $5


Step 2: Removing the Keycaps

Many laptop keyboards use scissor switches. Removing scissor switch keycaps isn't really that hard if you take it slow and carefully remove each key. Above, I linked a tutorial that shows how to remove keycaps from a MacBook keyboard, but this should work with any scissor switch laptops.

Step 3: QWERTY, Number Keys, and Modifiers

Picture of QWERTY, Number Keys, and Modifiers

Now to the "fun" part. Here's what we have to do:

  1. Take one of the Post-It tabs and fold it over hamburger-style no more than three times (no fold creates a very light color, two folds creates a fairly darker color, and three folds makes the color as accurate as possible without being too bulky).
  2. Cut the folded-up Post-It so it fits over the letter on the key and nothing else. Remember, the bottom has to stay out of the way of the scissor switch clips on the keycap. This is demonstrated in Image 1.
  3. Tape down the fit Post-It. Once again, make sure the tape doesn't interfere with the scissor switch clips on the keycap. This is demonstrated in Image 2
  4. Put the keycap back on. This is demonstrated in Image 3.

Do this for each of the QWERTY Keys, Number Keys, and Modifier keys. The modifier keys are a little different due to different spacing on them, but there shouldn't be much difference between these keys.

Step 4: Function Keys and Arrow Keys

Picture of Function Keys and Arrow Keys

Next, we have to repeat the previous step with some variations. The Function Keys and Arrow Keys should be thinner, therefore, you must cut the Post-Its to fit them (Image 1 and Image 2). PLEASE NOTE: If you want to light up the smaller "function" spots (i.e. the little F1 cutout), cut out space for the stabilizer clips, as seen in Image 3)

Step 5: Enjoy!

Picture of Enjoy!

Now, all you have to do is power on your computer and inspect your work. The keyboard should look pretty cool, and if you notice some keys aren't fully covered, you can take the keys off and fix the individual key. Anyways, since you've made it this far, it would help me a LOT if you left feedback in the comments below. Tell me how I did! Also, if you want to see more super awesome and epic projects, I'll leave a link to my social profiles for you to subscribe to below. Finally, feel free to check out my website for more awesome content (linked below). Thanks!

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Comments

watchmeflyy (author)2016-05-28

Clever idea. :)

9fiftyfive (author)watchmeflyy2016-07-05

Thanks!

blue LED (author)2016-05-20

Most interesting. Though a bit fiddly to do, as you point out, comes out well. Especially as no permanent change has been made it is a quick un-do if times/tastes change.

Good job on the instructable too. Clear text and photos illustrate your steps clearly.

9fiftyfive (author)blue LED2016-05-28

Thanks!

zhafa (author)2016-05-23

Good job with the instruction and steps. Will be trying very soon. Thumbs up for this!

9fiftyfive (author)zhafa2016-05-28

Thanks and good luck!

9fiftyfive (author)2016-05-28

Thanks!

sipek (author)2016-05-28

Title is a little misleading.. I was expecting backlight for a keyboard that doesnt have it.

ThraxanD (author)2016-05-15

Another way is you could use alcohol markers like Letraset promarkers, Spectrum Noir etc they are permanent and you can just go right over the keys on your keyboard if it is black. You can add coats to make it more rich in colour too.

TriciaK3 (author)ThraxanD2016-05-15

Curious... You use the markers on the top of the keys, correct?
Won't it rub off or does the alcohol base prevent it from rubbing off?

ThraxanD (author)TriciaK32016-05-15

What I did a lil while back was use it on the front and then use a clear Matt finish using Montana Spray paints. It is basically a varnish and looks very nice.

TriciaK3 (author)ThraxanD2016-05-16

Awesome, thanks!

RobertA2 (author)2016-05-15

Excellent video. You have the patience of a saint and ballsy too.[winkwink]. I will do this if and when [hopefully never] the occasion comes up.

9fiftyfive (author)RobertA22016-05-16

Thanks! It did take a while, but I think it was worth it.

rlim10 (author)2016-05-16

Yes,truly GENIUS !!!

9fiftyfive (author)rlim102016-05-16

Thanks!

agis68 (author)2016-05-15

hmm I don't get it. How the sticky notes give light to the keyboard. Unless the

keyboard has from the factory backlight and you simple coloring the white light with Orange Green and Blue sticky notes

rundmcarlson (author)agis682016-05-15

Yes hes simply "coloring" the lights. The computer he has comes with a white backlight on the keys.

sethsdad (author)2016-05-13

Does this glow in the dark (or is that a different set of post-its)? And does this work with Micronopoly keyboards (your example is Mac)? In spite of these questions, this is a pretty nice instructable!

RyanC123 (author)sethsdad2016-05-15

if you have an all black (not backlit) keyboard, you can take off all the keys, mask off the area & spray it with glow in the dark spray paint with two VERY LIGHT COATS other wise you will screw up the keystroke functions.

Again, if your keys are solid black, they won't glow, but the spaces around them will

9fiftyfive (author)sethsdad2016-05-13

It doesn't "glow in the dark", if you mean this way:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phosphorescence#/med...

They just change the laptop's backlighting colors.

I don't know what you mean in terms of a "Micronopoly keyboard", but any keyboard that uses scissor switches (which is what most modern laptops use) will work.

Also, thanks!

zuzum1 (author)2016-05-14

nice

9fiftyfive (author)zuzum12016-05-14

Thanks!

l19bal (author)2016-05-13

Love this!

9fiftyfive (author)l19bal2016-05-13

Thanks!

tutaarthur (author)2016-05-12

This is absolutely genious.

9fiftyfive (author)tutaarthur2016-05-12

Thanks! I had originally seen this done with some hard-to-find translucent stickers. I wanted to try it myself, and the idea of using the Post-It tabs came into my head. I previously used the tabs to change the color of my phone's flash, so I figured I'd revisit the idea again, just with a keyboard.