Stuck for gift ideas but limited by a strict budget? Check out this DIY stocking stuffer. This keyboard magnets project devised by Laura Hall, the second post from our try-out contributor, is quick, cheap, handmade and customized. What's not to love?
What you'll need:
- Old keyboard with large keys
- Package of magnets (available at the craft store)
- Thin cardboard (a cereal box works well)
- X-Acto knife
- Q-Tips or cotton balls
For the packaging:
- Small-size plastic baggie
- Stapler and staples
- Markers, paint, etc.
1. Count out all the letters in the name or phrase you'll be spelling out. If there are doubles or triples, you'll need more than one keyboard!
2. Round up a spare keyboard or two. If you don't have one lying around, check the thrift store or ask on Freecycle. Mine were $2.99 at Goodwill.
3. Pop off the keys using a screwdriver.
4. Clean the keys using q-tips or cotton balls.
5. Computer keys have a long back (shown), which you can choose to leave on if you want your magnets to stand far off the surface of your fridge.
Otherwise, use scissors to score the plastic, and trim the extra with an X-Acto knife. (On the older of my two keyboards, the plastic was brittle enough to snip off with the scissors alone.) This took me about 10 minutes in total, so don't worry too much about this step.
Shave the edges to be even using the X-Acto knife.
6. Using the glue, carefully adhere the magnets to the back of the keys. Be sure to select a glue that has a rigid bond, like Superglue. It may depend on the strength of your magnet, but household repair glues like GOOP or Gorilla Glue have flexible bonds that can't withstand the pull when you remove the magnet from the fridge surface.
If you're using an instant bond glue, be sure to place the key very carefully on the magnet. It's easier than trying to put the magnet on the key, and once it's on there, it's st
7. As you wait for the pieces to cure, trim a thin piece of cardboard to the width of your bag. When you cut the cardboard vertically, double the size so you can fold the piece in two. Make a clean fold down the middle of the card.
8. Use pens, markers, glitter, paint, sequins, etc. to add some holiday dazzle (but remember, this might end up inside someone's stocking, so maybe keep the glitter to a minimum). If you do both a front and a back decoration, make sure each side's design will be right-side up when the piece is on.
9. When the key magnets are dry, slip them into the plastic bag, facing out.
10. Align the cardboard topper with the bag, front side out, and staple in place.
11. Slip the magnets into that lucky someone's holiday stocking and wait for Christmas morning, or leave the packet on the fridge for a surprise!
How To and Photos by Laura Hall