Picture of 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.
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Step 1: Use your word processor

Picture of 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 Writer you pull down Format and select Character. Then look for Background and Font Effects.

Step 2: Blacken around the letters

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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.
One of the best instructables ever, and there have been many, many before this. If the first attempt is not perfect it will be easy to do it over, and with practice we will learn little tricks to try until we perfect the application. Thank you for this.
Phil B (author)  Janey Murray1 year ago
Thank you. I now have some label tape with black background and white letters. The letters on my wife's notebook have worn away. We will give this a really good test on her computer. Thanks for looking.
verdastel5 years ago
Outstanding! It's simple yet it has never crossed my mind before. Thanks Phil, i have the same problem and i will try it right away
Phil B (author)  verdastel5 years ago
Thanks. It is not a perfect solution, but far better than enduring blank letters on a number of keys. Over time some of the corners on the letters have curled up, and I trimmed those corners off with a sharp knife. I have had to do this fix on two keyboards. The double-stick tape began to fail on one key. I simply put a piece of transparent tape over it and let the ends of the tape attach to the sides of the key.
I have done it to my keyboard keys :) I see the problem you mentioned...but hey, do you think it will help if you trim the corner into round shapes before sticking them to the keys? I'm sure it will help, though i don't know how significant it is. However, putting transparent tape from side to side is also a good solution. Anyway, thanks for sharing, Phil! (sorry for my weird english, not a native speaker, heh)
Phil B (author)  verdastel5 years ago
Your English sounds very good to me. I wish I could do as well in the 2nd language I am trying to learn. Making rounded corners might help. I began with square corners and when one began to curl I sliced that corner off on a diagonal when it began to get in the way of my typing. I think my double-stick tape is a weak variety. Somewhere I got the idea they make some tape with more adhesive power. I am glad this Instructable was useful to you. I just do not function well with keys I cannot read, even though I learned the keyboard many years ago.
it's already 4 months now, and none of mine has failed :) bottom line is, it's really worth it. Oh and in my place there are several kinds of adhesive tape with different qualities. It seems that mine is considerably good, it's clear, thin and has strong adhesive.
b1russell5 years ago
Um, great idea, but I'm terminally lazy - I mean, efficient! I fixed mine by using my P-touch label maker. Can anyone tell me why manufacturers insist on labeling the keys off-center? I AM, after all, old enough to remember typewriters. LOL
Phil B (author)  b1russell5 years ago
A P-touch label maker would be a very good idea. Can you get black tape and make white letters on it? I have only an old-style Dymo raised plastic letter label maker from the late-1960's.
rimar20005 years ago
Very clever solution to a boring domestic problem. Bravo, Phil! BTW, I have suffered the same problem that some mine instructable was published a week late or something. Thus, we enter every day to see the latest, we lose some interesting things. I believe the managers should address this problem.
Phil B (author)  rimar20005 years ago
Thank you, Rimar. The Instructable I mentioned did eventually gather viewers. After each weekend I try to review the last three or four pages in the Recent category. Frequently I find an Instructable I did not see, even though I was watching for new Instructables.
mowdish6 years ago

Thanks for the idea. I had a similar problem and used a white correcting pen to draw new symbols on the keys. It works, but the correction fluid wears off quickly and a printed ampersand, '&', will be much better than what I drew which looks more like this '8'.
Phil B (author) 6 years ago
This is a shameless plug. If you own a home duty circular saw with a weak base that flexes, take a look at my Instructable on Too Much Flex in a Circular Saw Base. By the time it was available for viewing, it was buried under five pages of newer Instructables. Thank you.
gmjhowe Phil B6 years ago
Hey phil, i know your having some pain with your ibles, i suggest the following.

  • Contact one of the Admins directly, they can make sure that there are no problems with your account.
  • Upon publishing an Instructable, if it does not show up in the recent list within contact one of the Admins - Noah, or Fungus are the best two, and tell them its stuck in the filters
Personally, i have found that when one of my Ibles gets stuck in the filters, once it has been 'released' it actually appears first in the list.

A list of the Admins can be found HERE
Phil B (author)  gmjhowe6 years ago
Thanks. The 'ible on flexing saw bases got listed, but where no one much finds it. It has gotten 21 views since 18:00 hours UTC.
gmjhowe Phil B6 years ago
Also, although every good ible is equal, some are 'more appealing' than others, eg, one of my photoshop based ibles only got a few 100 hits, but, my Steampunk Sniper rifle mercury bow, got alot more, part of it is in the content, part of it is in the naming and the picture. Its just the way ibles works.
Phil B (author)  gmjhowe6 years ago
I had noticed things like that. Things that really helped me a lot gather small interest from others while things I was almost embarrassed to submit gathered a lot of views and maybe even came to be Featured. A person just never knows what will strike another person's fancy. But, I just enjoy posting things I have found helpful and hope someone else will get the benefit of an easier way to do something or a way of saving some significant money. I pretty much know who I am by this point in life and do not depend on acclamation to feel OK.