Introduction: Keyboard Xmas Ornaments


The idea is simple, make a x mas globe covered in keyboard keys  for that wonderful internet geek in your life. I got the idea for this last year after looking at someone else's page on keyboard message board pins and after making the ornaments for my friends as holiday gifts i felt it was only right to give back to this wonderful community and finally post this. 

As with the rest of this, everything I say is just a recomendation based on the experience I have making these for the last 2 years. My first official recomendation is that you deviate from this as much as you like; pick all the ascetic choices your heart desires and experiment as much as you can. My only request is that if you do make your own, please, please take pictures and post them as comments.

Step 1: Get a Keyboard

You can get em anywhere; from that old Windows 97 in the garage, yard sale, ebay, computer store, or maybe even your school looking to get rid of some outdated crap. This year I bought 22 for a buck on ebay, shipping was a beast, but it came to about $1.17 per keyboard. As a rule of thumb I don't spend more than $2 on a board I'm going to key and you shouldn't either.

Once you have you keyboards, flip em over, gut em, and rip out them precious keys (and maybe clean them if need be). The keys are really all you need; if your a pack-rat like me, keep the cords and LEDs for the first 5 or so and then just throw away everything but the keys (or recycle if you can of course). I suggest you put the keys of each keyboard in a different bags so its easier to keep the keys consistent on the balls. 

Step 2: Prep Styrofoam Balls

This year I used 3inch and 2inch diameter Styrofoam balls which you can purchase at any craft store or wherever. Last year I painted the balls 1 on 2 colors, black or nada and personally I proffered the colored. This year I tried blue and red but I've included pics of each so you can chose for yourself. 

There are several methods of painting these balls and I've included my favorite ways along with some pics but feel free it skip this part as everyone has their own way of spray painting. 

NOTE: The one thing to be wary of when painting these is that the paint will deteriorate the Styrofoam so only do a very light coat how ever you do it.

Step 3: Add Keys

 One thing that makes this so perfect for gifts is that you can really personalize the ornaments to anyone! If interested, go thorough you keys and pick out the letters to your special someone's name or Mary Xmas or Happy Chanaukah, 1337 or Leroy Jenkins, just go crazy (I've got my professors name on one on the hope of getting an A)

Now I've worked out a procedure for getting the keys in and looking good and if your going to follow any part of this tutorial, I recommend you follow this.

It starts by lightly pushing the key where you want it to go so that there is an impression on the Styrofoam and then poke a hole with a screwdriver about the size and shape of the back of the key and then push the key in for a hopefully snug fit. I like to put the keys in in rings and if your going to do this I suggest you do the widest ring, or equator if you will. Set all the keys in each ring before you go in and glue them on. After set go in and glue the keys in one at a time around the ring. Also it helps to keep the keys in place until the hot glue dries a little; rubber bands help.

I find it also helps if you cut groves from some of your other keys like enter or shift so that they don't stick out on the sides. This can be done simply, as with the rest of the keys, by pressing until you have a light imprint on the Styrofoam and then cutting along the lines so that the key can sit a little further in the foam and jut out less.

To put on a hook I drill a hole in the top key, so it really helps to have one key on whatever you call the top; this also helps with making the keys readable.

Step 4: Mount

 The one bit of true creativity I feel I was able to bring to these is the hook. I recently came into procession of half a radio shack worth of electrical parts from 1996 and about 200 resistors and thats what I use. It makes me feel like I'm well on my way to earning that degree in electrical engineering. 

If you don't have a stockpile or small electrical parts, or don't feel like parting with something so pivital to that new and improved furby your building to scare the crap out of your little sis, you can use any wire for a hook.

I drill a small hole and then hot glue the hook in place, pretty simple any way you do it.

Hope you have enjoyed this and please leave me some comments tellin me what you think.

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