DIY Washi Tape Laptop Keyboard

by Kira @ Her New Leaf on January 16, 2012

Look whose little old MacBook got a facelift this weekend! I spotted this idea from minifanfan on Making It Lovely last week and just had to give it my own spin.

I purchased my Japanese washi tape from Le Box Boutique on Etsy. There are hundreds of washi tape sellers but I chose Le Box because they allow you to purchase tape by the foot rather than having to purchase the entire roll. They were very easy to interact with and I would definitely recommend them if you’re looking to purchase washi tape!

I chose these ten patterns but only ended up using eight of them on my keyboard. The purple and blue patterns looked a bit more opaque than the others when applied to the keys and I’m kind of crazy when it comes to matchy-matchiness.

I first thoroughly cleaned my keyboard with rubbing alcohol to remove any dirt or oil that might keep the tape from sticking. Then I created a template from cardboard to more easily cut the length of tape needed for each key. I also snipped off the corners to keep them from snagging and peeling off the keys. Washi tape is similar to masking tape or blue painters’ tape in that it is easy to stick and restick in case you don’t get the placement perfect each time.

I originally wanted to do all the keys, including the small keys in the top row, but the tape seemed to have a harder time sticking to the small keys. If you’re wondering, most of the patterns are easy to see through, just in case I forget which key is the Z or X.

This project was a bit tedious but simple – perfect for a few hours in front of the tv. It actually went much quicker than I thought! I think the corners may start to peel over time, but the time/money investment wasn’t very big, and for now, I’m pretty sure I have the prettiest MacBook around!

What do you think? Have you ever done a project inspired by a photo found online?

{ 155 comments… read them below or add one }

joanne January 16, 2012 at 7:11 am

very very cool, kir!!! but maybe too tedious for me!!

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cshort247 March 18, 2012 at 3:42 pm

im in the same boat, but im super jelly of your macbook!

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Gran January 16, 2012 at 7:58 am

Amazingly cool!!

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Lori January 16, 2012 at 10:31 am

That looks so cute! Will you do mine? :)

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Maria January 16, 2012 at 6:42 pm

How adorable!

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Jeanne January 17, 2012 at 3:15 pm

This is the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time. I totally want to do it!

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Kira @ hernewleaf January 17, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Thanks for stopping by, Jeanne – send me pics if you do it!

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debra January 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm

very cute! i’ll prob do it…i think about how dull my laptop is all the time, believe it or not!

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entertainingmadness January 17, 2012 at 5:34 pm

I have a bunch of Washi tape sitting around waiting to be used and I love decorating things and making white things like my Macbook colorful. Looks like I have a new project for the weekend. :)

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Kira @ hernewleaf January 17, 2012 at 7:06 pm

I would love to see it if you do!!

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entertainingmadness January 20, 2012 at 2:59 pm

I went for it and decorated my keyboard. Wrote about it on my blog and linked back to your post.

http://entertainingmadness.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/colorful-keyboard-and-regency-hair/

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Kira @ hernewleaf January 20, 2012 at 6:58 pm

It looks great! I’m going to link you on my Facebook page : )

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Nicole January 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Awesome! I love that you went ahead and did this!

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Kira @ hernewleaf January 17, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Thanks for the inspiration, Nicole! I love following your blog! : )

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Wendy January 18, 2012 at 7:31 am

So fun!!

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Col January 18, 2012 at 7:43 am

how did you get the letters and phrases printed on the tape? it’s clearly not handwritten. Did you just take the washi tape and put it on a piece of paper, type up the letters, and run it through a printer?

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Kira @ hernewleaf January 18, 2012 at 9:07 am

Col – washi tape is translucent, so you can see the text through the tape, no printing necessary!

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Alyssa January 18, 2012 at 8:28 am

would this work with something other than washi tape?

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Kira @ hernewleaf January 18, 2012 at 9:09 am

The reason washi tape works so well for this is because it is sticky but easy to reposition. I think other tapes would be too sticky and much more difficult to place in the center of each key.

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keepingitindie January 18, 2012 at 11:03 am

What a fantastic idea – so cute and colorful!!!

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Carley L January 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm

This looks amazing! Last week I spent a good hour cleaning the keyboard of my MacBook. I think this would save me from spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to keep my white keys white and obsessing when my Mac doesn’t look like it did when I bought it 4 years ago.

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Carley L January 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm

I forgot to ask, what does it make the surface of the keys feel like? I really want to try and do this!

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Kira @ hernewleaf January 18, 2012 at 7:02 pm

They feel like tape : ) Doesn’t seem to be affecting my typing speed at all!

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Breanna January 18, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Can you take it off at any time or is it permanent?

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Kira @ hernewleaf January 18, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Washi tape has about the same stick as regular masking tape. It appears to be easily removable but I’ve only had it on my keyboard for about a week, so I can’t tell you for sure. Any leftover stickiness should come off easily with rubbing alcohol.

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Andi Luther-Philippe January 18, 2012 at 7:53 pm

SO CUTE! I love washi tape!

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Molly January 18, 2012 at 8:26 pm

How do you think this would look on black keys?

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Sarah January 25, 2012 at 12:25 am

my question exactly! i have a macbook pro and love this idea but don’t know how it’ll look with the black keys showing through!

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Natalie Stroble January 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm

I would like to know this as well..

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hillary January 30, 2012 at 12:14 pm

did it work?

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Kira @ hernewleaf January 30, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Hi ladies! Unfortunately, I only have one laptop and it is white, so I’m not able to say for sure what it would look like, but I would be glad to post a link if someone else posts photos!

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Lyndsey February 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm

LOVE THIS!!! and LOVE THIS NEW BLOG FIND!! i also have black keys but would love to try this!!!! has anyone tried yet?

http://www.alovelylittleblog.com

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Kira @ hernewleaf February 17, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Lyndsey, I’ve had so many questions about this and I feel bad I can’t help out – I have but one lonely Macbook and it’s white! If you do the project, send me photos, I’d be happy to share it on my Facebook page!

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Abby March 12, 2012 at 6:45 pm

I just did this on my macbook pro. It worked well for me, but I think I’m going to have to keep the keyboard lights on (which I normally don’t to save battery life), but I love it! I don’t have a blog, but I did my pin my new revamped keyboard! Take a look!
http://pinterest.com/pin/60306082480294431/

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abigail January 18, 2012 at 10:58 pm

love it !! just order the tape ! but my worry now is the black keyboard it has white letters I hope it works !! =)

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Natalie Stroble January 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Do tell how it turned out.. I want to do mine if my husband will allow it!

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Erin January 19, 2012 at 7:06 am

Would you be willing to share a template for the different shapes of keys? I know this project should be idiot proof, but alas…

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Kira @ hernewleaf January 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Erin – I just estimated how wide the keys were and cut a piece of scrap cardstock to the same width – most of the keys are just about square (the same as the width of the standard washi tape), just a few took some extra eye-balling. Just jump in, you can do it! : )

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Erin January 22, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Thanks for the encouragement :) looking into buying some washi tape

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Eat It Anyway January 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I love it, and would consider doing it! WOW!

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Shawnna January 19, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Love this idea! I’ve been looking for a way to spruce up my Macbook!

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Kristin January 19, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Ahhhhh amazing! I love this!

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Johanna C January 19, 2012 at 8:20 pm

love this idea! do you think it work for a MacBook Pro, with the black keys and white letters?

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spoonfulofsugarfree January 22, 2012 at 11:16 am

I love this! super cute. will have to try.

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honestly4you January 22, 2012 at 1:58 pm

did u write each letter on each sticker?

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Kira @ hernewleaf January 22, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Washi tape is translucent, so you can see the text through the tape, no writing necessary!

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Elizabeth January 22, 2012 at 9:34 pm

So cute! Can anyone help me, I can’t buy any washi tape, are there any shops that sell?

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Kira @ hernewleaf January 22, 2012 at 11:36 pm

I’ve seen it at some specialty stationery shops, perhaps you can find one that carries it in your area.

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chaobella January 24, 2012 at 8:31 pm

thank for sharin

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emilie January 25, 2012 at 1:06 am

what a great idea… It looks gorgeous. Now I want to try it too !

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doodledani123danielle January 25, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Hi! I love this project and really want to do this! One question though, how did you get the letter on the stickers?

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Raychel January 26, 2012 at 2:45 am

This looks so cute! I found it on pinterest and HAVE to do it. I just ordered my washi tape. :) Hope it comes in fast cause im excited. :)

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Melissa January 26, 2012 at 6:54 am

Was one foot of each pattern enough or did you buy more than that?

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Kira @ hernewleaf January 30, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Melissa, I bought two feet of each pattern as that was the minimum I could order. It was plenty, I have lots left over for more projects!

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Sarah January 28, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Just finished! Perfect project to do while watching a movie :) Here’s mine!
http://sarahtremayne.tumblr.com/post/16659816292

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Kira @ hernewleaf January 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Looks fantastic, Sarah! I posted it over on my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Her-New-Leaf-Blog/329109590455030

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Raychel February 3, 2012 at 11:26 am
Kira @ hernewleaf February 9, 2012 at 11:33 am

It looks great, Raychel! I love that stripey pattern you used : )

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Lacey from leboxboutique February 8, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I just wanted to say thank you again Kira and to all of your fantastic followers who have visted http://www.leboxboutique.etsy.com to grab some tape! We have had a great deal of customers mentioning this post!!! Hope you all are loving your tape:)

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Kira @ hernewleaf February 9, 2012 at 11:35 am

Thanks for your great products and service, Lacey! I’ll keep your shop in mind for future projects : )

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ourdreamlives February 9, 2012 at 6:04 am

This is seriously amazing… super tempted to do this as soon as I get home tonight! Just discovered your blog via pinterest – it’s fab, especially the primp my blog stuff!
Sally

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Kira @ hernewleaf February 9, 2012 at 11:37 am

I’m glad you’re enjoying it, Sally! Hope you’ll keep reading!

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Ava February 13, 2012 at 1:24 am

Its goood

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melissa February 17, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Ahem, I guess I’m taking one for the black keyboard team…

It SEEMS to work just fine, I imagine it won’t look as “sunny” as a mac computer though. Plus, the white letters don’t really pop through the tape. I can see them through white bits, but not so much through coloured bits. Fine if you don’t need to look at the keyboard, but I think I’d need to keep the numbers and some of the function keys bare.

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Lyndsey February 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm

you tried it?! could you attach a picture?!

http://www.alovelylittleblog.com

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Rachel February 18, 2012 at 6:10 pm

this is too cute! i want to do this, but my keyboard is black…do you think it would be better on white or black? before i order from Le Box Boutique on Etsy, i just had to ask your advice. (:

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Kira @ hernewleaf February 18, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Rachel, I think it would look great on a black keyboard as well, but I imagine the letters won’t show through as much since they are written on the keys in white. I’m sorry I don’t have more insight, I have been begging my readers to send me a photo of a black keyboard but haven’t gotten any yet! If you decide to do it, please send me pictures, I would love to feature it on my Facebook page!

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Lisa February 22, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Hi! Thanks for the great project and link to the etsy shop. I just finished this on my macbook pro, and it looks really great! My keys are black, so the designs on the tape don’t stand out as much and you can see flaws in my cutting a bit easier. Thankfully, the macbook keys are backlit, so with the brightness up (even just a few clicks) I can see the symbols under the tape. It is still really cute! Here is a picture:
http://i40.tinypic.com/2cgj39s.jpg

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Jordan Rohrbach February 25, 2012 at 8:53 am

this is sooo amazing. but i have a question. you can take the tape off if you end up not liking it correct? because i don’t want the tape to ruin the keys….

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Kira @ hernewleaf February 25, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Jordan – it comes right off no problem. It leaves a slightly sticky residue that you can easily clean off with rubbing alcohol.

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Katie February 25, 2012 at 4:33 pm

I really like this idea. However my MacBook has black buttons. Do you think this project would still work on my computer? Thanks.

Katie

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Dee White February 28, 2012 at 7:00 pm

can you send the list of tapes you ordered so that I can order I really like the style of yours

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Mademoiselle February 29, 2012 at 3:22 am

Génial ! Tanks ♥

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Liz March 2, 2012 at 2:23 pm

How does typing on it work? Is the tape sticking well? Does it feel weird on your fingers?

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paulgl March 2, 2012 at 10:33 pm

amazing and cool

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glxtp March 2, 2012 at 10:36 pm

How does typing on it work? Is the tape sticking well. nice and cool

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nova March 3, 2012 at 7:48 am

I am SO stealing this idea. :)

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Zella Criscillis March 6, 2012 at 10:45 am

I just bought these at Burlington Coat Factory for $5.00 in Zebra and Leopard! Had lots of patterns. Can’t imagine cutting all these!!

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liz March 6, 2012 at 12:56 pm

This is a cute and unique project to try :) i wonder if it would work well on a black keyboard

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Méa April 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

Me too !! I wonder …. :/

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linziloop March 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm

This is really nice, I like that it’s not a permanent thing so you can remove it without having a horrible sticky residue on the keys, at least thats what I would expect from something similar to masking tape. Neat job!

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sara March 21, 2012 at 9:44 am

This is great i am ordering my tape now! How do you know how small to cut them. Are there specific measurements? does it not loose it sticky when handling it while cutting?

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