Introduction: Restore Painted Letters on Keyboard Keys

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first to…

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 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.