In one of my previous entries, Vinyl Cutting Tutorial, I showed you step by step how to operate a vinyl cutting machine and apply the vinyl. However, this tutorial will be walking you through the steps of customizing your computer keyboard with the use of vinyl.
If you run into any issues with your vinyl project, then refer to my previous Vinyl Cutting Tutorial.
- Vinyl cutter
- Adhesive vinyl
- Transfer Tape
- Box cutter or X-ACTO blade
- Calipers, Measuring tape, or Ruler
- Card (i.e. credit card)
- Computer Keyboard
Step 1: Sampling Ideas to Size
Measure the keys and areas (caliper is preferred) that you want to customize. Design the your decals to be slightly undersized to prevent yourself from exceeding the area where it will be placed. Afterwards, produce a couple iterations of your design(s) to help you decide which look you like best.
Step 2: Cut, Remove, and Apply
For this step you will need to break out the transfer tape, tweezers, and a card.
Please refer to my Vinyl Cutting Tutorial Instructable for tips on this step.
Note: Apply firm pressure when applying vinyl to keyboard.
Step 3: Line It Up and Prepare to Stick
The most crucial part of any vinyl project is proper alignment and securing the adhesive. For my project, I had difficulty getting the silver vinyl to stick to the keyboard. My solution was to back the silver vinyl with a black vinyl (which matches the surface of the keyboard and sticks better). In order to do so successfully, I had to properly align the two separate vinyl cut outs. Which can be done with ease by placing the back layer of vinyl on the vinyl role's white backing surface. Then remove the top layer of vinyl and place it on top of the bottom layer. After securing both layers together, remove them together (as one), and place them where you like.
Step 4: Make It Your Own
This is your keyboard now. You may not have built it, but this one is yours. You bought it, so you can customize it however you like. I recommend starting by claiming it as yours. Proceed by covering up that manufacture's logo with your own. I encourage you to go as far as you'd like to alter the appearance of your keyboard.
I customized my keyboard by simply contrasting the colors to create the appearance that my design is the original. The purpose of my project was to label the keyboard's controls for operating my shop's CNC Mill.