Restore Painted Letters on Keyboard Keys

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Introduction: Restore Painted Letters on Keyboard Keys

My laptop and our new desktop computer have cool looking black keys with white painted letters. After a while, certain keys lose their painted letters from fingernail strikes. Note the A, S, D, H, L, E, R, T, O, N, and M keys. In low light it can be hard to find the right key. There is a way to restore the damaged keys without paying the price of a new keyboard for caps.

Step 1: Use Your Word Processor

Type the damaged letters in your word processor. Use the Arial font. I set the font size at 22 points. I elected to have the color of the letters as white and the background color black. In OpenOffice.org Writer you pull down Format and select Character. Then look for Background and Font Effects.

Step 2: Blacken Around the Letters

After printing the letters you need, use a felt tip marker to blacken a bit more border around them.

Step 3: Apply Clear Tape to the Letters

Paper letters would not wear well on a keyboard. Cover them with a good quality of clear tape. The light areas over the A and between the E and R are from light reflecting off of the tape.

Step 4: Add Double Sided Tape to the Back

Pull the long leader from a roll of double sided tape and apply the tape to the back side of the letters you printed. As you can see, I used a piece of scrap paper for this project.

Step 5: Cut the Letters Apart and Apply

Cut the letters apart one by one with a scissors and apply them to the keys as you cut each. The reflection of the flash makes the new letters appear especially light in shade, but that is an illusion.

It works better to make the letters a bit smaller than the key surface. Notice the T. Smaller is better than an edge that extends beyond the key surface and continually catches on your fingers as you type. If a letter is poorly aligned after you apply it, peel it off and apply it again.

Refurbishing painted letters damaged by fingernail contact makes your keyboard easier to use, even though you know how to touch type and even though they are not a perfect replacement. They also seem to wear well and the touch of your fingers on them is nearly identical to a keyboard without the new additions to your keyboard.

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    35 Comments

    I used my french manicure pen.The white tip on it is perfect to paint the letters on your keyboard.Wipe your keyboard off with alcohol, let it dry.print your letters on,let dry for a couple minutes, use clear polish when your paint is dry..easy.

    OMG! Haahaa I just came down here to write the same thing. I happen to have it on my desk at the moment and used it rather than the instructable. We're great minds. :)

    MoobL or Lanilea - Can you please tell me which french manicure pen you used? I was going to buy Sally Hansen White Tip Pen but the reviews weren't great. Thanks!

    I'm almost positive mine was Kiss brand. I bough it from a store here called Fred's. It's a Pharmacy and a small store. Basically a store like Walgreens, CVS, etc. Kiss is an inexpensive brand. If you're looking for quality for your nails, I suggest Essence. I've never had chipping or flaking with Essence pens.

    Good luck.

    Thank you.

    Good Instructable! Though I had no idea how fiddly double sided tape is! I think I spent more time trying to peel the tape and position it on the keys than I would have if I'd replaced the keyboard. ;)

    I made a mistake. I meant to say to make a VERTICAL slit, not diagonal. Just find a corner and slit 1/2" into the corner , so straight down.

    I had the same problem, especially when the cut letters are so small. I solved the problem by turning over the cutout letter, taking an exacto knife and making a half inch diagonal slit into one corner. You don't want to go all the way through, so you need not press hard. Then I slid the exacto point under one side of the slit. It raises that part and you can peel off the back.

    The double sided tape I used came on a roll in a dispenser. There is no backing on it, but the adhesive is not very strong, either.

    Some keys on my wife's notebook computer lost their lettering. I now have Brother P-Touch label maker. I got a black tape (white letters) cartridge for it and replaced damaged letters on my wife's computer. The label tape is holding up well and looks great. If you can, try this. I think you will be pleased. (To remove the backing from the P-Touch labels, gently fold the finished label lengthwise. The backing slit runs down the middle and will begin to separate from the label so you can remove it very easily.)