makin' keycaps

I've been making keycaps out of polymer clay.

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I've been making keycaps out of polymer clay. I bought two sets of blank PBT keycaps for the #yet another dactyl build in white and black, and after reserving a checkerboard's worth from the appropriate rows, I still have several left over. 

I didn't know much about doing this when I started, but I will tell you that ABS keycaps will melt in the oven, so use either PBT keycaps or air-dry clay. 

  • 1
    Find good visual references.

    This seems like an obvious step one, but I have created a few 'caps from memory and they would have been better if I had used a visual aid. Case in point: the hole layout on the ice cream sandwiches is just wrong. They are supposed to be staggered, like bricks and bad keyboards.

  • 2
    Decide how you will build the keycap.

    Will this be a miniature that uses a keycap for a throne? Or will the design encompass the entire keycap (like the burger)? If you're going to use the whole keycap, make sure the walls are thin enough that it will still go up and down and not rub against neighboring keycaps. If you are building for an island-type Escape, they just have to be thin enough to actuate.

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Dan Maloney wrote 05/06/2021 at 19:40 point

My daughter would get a kick out of these -- she often sculpts little things like this with polymer clay just for fun. Your detail level is amazing here!

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kristina panos wrote 05/07/2021 at 17:14 point

Thank you, Dan! ^_^

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kristina panos wrote 05/06/2021 at 15:46 point

Thanks Mike!! I coat them with a thin layer of satin polyurethane after I bake them, which might help a little with the vibrancy. They shouldn't really need to be sealed, but it makes them a little bit shiny and more commercial-looking. Sometimes it makes them look more realistic, depending on the subject.

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Mike Szczys wrote 05/06/2021 at 15:27 point

These are amazing! The textures really bring them to life, and I love it that the clay stays a vibrant color after baking. I think the pizza slice is my favorite :-D

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