Colorful Laptop Backlighting for $5

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Introduction: Colorful Laptop Backlighting for $5

Hey guys, in today's Instructable, I'll show you how to change the color of your laptop's backlight! This takes some time, but the final product definitely is worth it. Please note that the size and cutouts of the Post-It will vary from laptop to laptop, and the laptop I'm using in this tutorial is a MacBook Pro.

WARNING:

If you aren't careful taking off the keycaps things WILL break. I carelessly (and I really mean carelessly, like just yanking the thing off) took an arrow key off, and snapped the scissor switch. While things like this are replaceable, they still cost unnecessary amounts of time and money. Proceed with caution.

Step 1: Supplies

Here are the supplies needed to complete this build:

(No, I'm not kidding about patience or time. This is a long and finicky project that takes hours.)

With the exception of the Post-It Pop-Up Page Markers, you should be able to find the rest of these items around your house. Also, regarding the Post-It price; the prices will fluctuate over time, however, it should stay under $5. As of May 12th, the Post-Its are listed for under $5


Step 2: Removing the Keycaps

Many laptop keyboards use scissor switches. Removing scissor switch keycaps isn't really that hard if you take it slow and carefully remove each key. Above, I linked a tutorial that shows how to remove keycaps from a MacBook keyboard, but this should work with any scissor switch laptops.

Step 3: QWERTY, Number Keys, and Modifiers

Now to the "fun" part. Here's what we have to do:

  1. Take one of the Post-It tabs and fold it over hamburger-style no more than three times (no fold creates a very light color, two folds creates a fairly darker color, and three folds makes the color as accurate as possible without being too bulky).
  2. Cut the folded-up Post-It so it fits over the letter on the key and nothing else. Remember, the bottom has to stay out of the way of the scissor switch clips on the keycap. This is demonstrated in Image 1.
  3. Tape down the fit Post-It. Once again, make sure the tape doesn't interfere with the scissor switch clips on the keycap. This is demonstrated in Image 2
  4. Put the keycap back on. This is demonstrated in Image 3.

Do this for each of the QWERTY Keys, Number Keys, and Modifier keys. The modifier keys are a little different due to different spacing on them, but there shouldn't be much difference between these keys.

Step 4: Function Keys and Arrow Keys

Next, we have to repeat the previous step with some variations. The Function Keys and Arrow Keys should be thinner, therefore, you must cut the Post-Its to fit them (Image 1 and Image 2). PLEASE NOTE: If you want to light up the smaller "function" spots (i.e. the little F1 cutout), cut out space for the stabilizer clips, as seen in Image 3)

Step 5: Enjoy!

Now, all you have to do is power on your computer and inspect your work. The keyboard should look pretty cool, and if you notice some keys aren't fully covered, you can take the keys off and fix the individual key. Anyways, since you've made it this far, it would help me a LOT if you left feedback in the comments below. Tell me how I did! Also, if you want to see more super awesome and epic projects, I'll leave a link to my social profiles for you to subscribe to below. Finally, feel free to check out my website for more awesome content (linked below). Thanks!

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    30 Discussions

    0
    user
    TH3P2

    Question 4 months ago

    Are the post its plastic or paper and will this work on a surface pro 4?

    1 more answer

    They are more of a plastic. As long as you can take the keycaps off of the keyboard, then it should work, however, you will probably need to proceed with caution as I am not sure if the caps can come off without snapping.

    Most interesting. Though a bit fiddly to do, as you point out, comes out well. Especially as no permanent change has been made it is a quick un-do if times/tastes change.

    Good job on the instructable too. Clear text and photos illustrate your steps clearly.

    1 reply
    0
    user
    zhafa

    2 years ago

    Good job with the instruction and steps. Will be trying very soon. Thumbs up for this!

    1 reply

    Thanks and good luck!

    0
    user
    medwa

    2 years ago

    Thanks!

    0
    user
    sipek

    2 years ago

    Title is a little misleading.. I was expecting backlight for a keyboard that doesnt have it.

    Another way is you could use alcohol markers like Letraset promarkers, Spectrum Noir etc they are permanent and you can just go right over the keys on your keyboard if it is black. You can add coats to make it more rich in colour too.

    3 replies

    Curious... You use the markers on the top of the keys, correct?
    Won't it rub off or does the alcohol base prevent it from rubbing off?

    What I did a lil while back was use it on the front and then use a clear Matt finish using Montana Spray paints. It is basically a varnish and looks very nice.

    Excellent video. You have the patience of a saint and ballsy too.[winkwink]. I will do this if and when [hopefully never] the occasion comes up.

    1 reply

    Thanks! It did take a while, but I think it was worth it.

    0
    user
    agis68

    2 years ago

    hmm I don't get it. How the sticky notes give light to the keyboard. Unless the

    keyboard has from the factory backlight and you simple coloring the white light with Orange Green and Blue sticky notes

    1 reply

    Yes hes simply "coloring" the lights. The computer he has comes with a white backlight on the keys.