How to make custom keyboard stickers

Written by elizabeth chaplin
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How to make custom keyboard stickers

Add your own personal touch to your computer workstation. A way to modify your computer area is by designing custom keyboard stickers and printing them out onto vinyl sticker paper using an inkjet printer. Use fonts from your computer or hand-letter your own text using a Wacom tablet to create interesting letters, numbers and symbols.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Photoshop
  • Ruler
  • Wacom tablet (optional)
  • Inkjet white waterproof vinyl
  • Inkjet printer
  • Glossy over-laminate sheets (or sticky back laminate)
  • Scissors or X-acto knife

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Instructions

    Making a Grid

  1. 1

    Measure the numbers, letters, symbols and command buttons on your computer keyboard using the ruler. Make a note of these measurements.

  2. 2

    Open a new 8 1/2-by-11 inch document in Photoshop at 300 pixels per inch.

  3. 3

    Change the background to the colour of your keyboard using the Paint Bucket tool. You may need to experiment with colours by printing out sample swatches to compare for the closest match.

  4. 4

    Use ruler guides to lay out a grid on your document with about one-eighth inch gap between the squares. The grid squares should be the same size as your measurements. It is easiest to begin with the letter, number and symbol keys, since these are usually the same size.

    How to make custom keyboard stickers
  5. 5

    Choose a light grey swatch.

  6. 6

    Select the "Line" tool and trace along the grid to create reference outlines for cutting. Hold down the "Shift" key to make straight lines.

  7. 7

    Go to "View" then 'Clear Guides.'

    How to make custom keyboard stickers
  8. 8

    Right-click on the layer with the line shape and hit "Rasterize Layer Mask."

    Designing

  1. 1

    Create your custom hand-drawn letters, numbers and symbols using the Wacom tablet and position them in the centre of each grid square. You can also download free creative type fonts from www.1001fonts.com or www.dafont.com.>

    How to make custom keyboard stickers
  2. 2

    Print out your custom key designs onto the vinyl sticker paper using your inkjet printer. Keep in mind that you will have to change the paper type settings on your printer. This will vary depending on what type of printer you have.

    How to make custom keyboard stickers
  3. 3

    Peel back about two inches of backing from the over-laminate and carefully stick it to the end of your sticker sheet, making sure the over-laminate is straight.

  4. 4

    Slowly slide the ruler along the top of the over-laminate while rolling the backing off until the vinyl sheet is completely covered. This will reduce air bubbles between the over-laminate and the vinyl sticker sheet.

  5. 5

    Slide the ruler over the over-laminate a few more times to remove any remaining air bubbles.

    Finishing

  1. 1

    Cut out the stickers along the light grey guidelines using scissors or a ruler and X-acto knife.

  2. 2

    Remove the backing from each vinyl sticker and stick it onto the designated keyboard key.

  3. 3

    Repeat these steps for command buttons, such as the space bar, enter button and backspace button.

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