Living recycled computer keyboard bench

Published on December 21st, 2011 | by Tom Chu

8

10 Fun Ideas for Recycling Your Old Computer Keyboard

Keyboards come and go. They are just one of those items that you are more likely to go through than other electronic hardware, such as earphones or mice. It is an accessory, and unless you really invest in something high end you will probably occasionally make replacements.

But that creates a lot of waste. There is plastic, metal and rubber, none of which is biodegradable, and it can be hard to find local recycling centers that take those materials. That is why more and more people try to reuse their keyboards in other ways. In fact, upcycling can be pretty simple, especially parts like the keys.

Check out these 10 excellent ideas for upcycling keyboards.

1. Keyboard Necklace

keyboard necklace

This cute little choker seems like the perfect accessory for every tech-savvy teen girl (which is most of them, now days). The keys can spell out anything, though in this case they used a netspeak version of “g33k,” which was a nice touch. It might also look great on a black piece of lace rather than the knitted band.

2. Bench

bench of a keyboard

An incredible piece of art and a very creative use of recycled materials, this bench has been part of an exhibition for some time. It was made by artist Nolan Herbut. But it is more than just
some keys pasted to a bench. He handmade the unique frame from Baltic birch wood and then attached the keys. They click when you sit down or touch them, just as if you were typing. There are 2,000 keys in all.

3. Purses

keyboard bag

Geek chic has remained in style for several years now, and it isn’t likely to go away. Part of this is due to the changing ideas of what “geek” really means. These purses embody the concept while being quite stylish. There have been a lot of these made recently, and they make pretty sturdy bags.

4. Belt

keyboard belt

Further adding to your accessories collection, you could make this belt. It is a standard long buckle in this instance, but you could adapt any style to fit it. The keys have just been attached to the front, which would have to be done carefully. Otherwise it would be impossible to buckle the belt without breaking off the keys in the process.

5. Earrings

keyboard earrings

These great earrings were made from the thin that you can find under the keys. This jewelry maker used the pattern already in the plastic and then molded and hardened them into a circular shape.

6. Hairpins

keyboard hairpins

Have you seen the price of those hairpins with little ornaments on the end? A simple bobby pin with a butterfly can be $5 for a set. Why not just make these? Depending on what keys you use, you can really make a statement. I like the idea of using Insert and Delete or Enter and Backspace.

7. Pen Cup

pen cup diy keyboard

Every desk should have a cup for pens and pencils, because those items have a tendency to migrate and end up all over the house or office. Always know where yours are with this creative creation. While this one looks like the keys were pasted to another cup, you could probably make one only using keys and some kind of simple base like a cardboard square.

8. Box

box keyboard

With all of that new jewelry, you are going to need a box to put it in. How about you use any leftover keys and make one? This person has just taken a simple tin – such as you would get with those stale Christmas cookies someone inevitably sends – and pasted keys to the surface.

9. Picture Frame

picture frame keyboard

A frame is very easy to make. This is a good desk accessory to go along with that keyboard pencil cup. I like the idea of spelling things out along the frame, which this crafter didn’t do. Names, adjectives, even sweet little things like “love forever” are possible here. Plus, keyboard keys are easy to paint.

10. T-Shirt

tshirt keyboard

T-shirts with stand-out graphics are common, and there are a lot that come with Lego shapes and other similar items. This is a really cool way to decorate a shirt with anything you could think of – especially if you keep the letters intact, as you can write messages along the front.

Keyboard keys make a brilliant craft item that you can use for just about anything. The other parts, such as the circuitboard, can also be appropriated, as we have now seen. So don’t throw that broken keyboard away; just upcycle it. It’s fun, functional, stylish and good for the environment.



Tags: , , , , ,


About the Author

Tom Chu is the SEO manager at PsPrint, an online printing company specializing in brochure and poster printing among other popular services. Follow PsPrint on Twitter and Facebook



  • http://www.ecosmartworld.com Maureen O’Neill

    My son was presented a ‘golden keyboard’ award for computer camp. It was a keyboard spraypainted gold, with his name and award written on the keys. A great idea!

  • http://www.bloginfrance.com Steph

    These are all very creative ideas. I especially like the hairclips and pen cup. I’m now waiting impatiently for a keyboard to recycle – ours are all fairly new so it could be a while …

  • Pingback: SUNfiltered | Green tech finds: Earthships and solar get affordable

  • http://www.epcusa.com Mike Wilkerson – EPC, Inc.

    What a great article! I will be sure to feature this in our upcoming newsletter. I also see some great seeds to spill into my daughter’s community focus class. As a provider of keyboards to so many, we’ll have a great avenue for resources to do things just like this. Thanks for the inspiration and keep cobbling together great articles like this one. Cheers!

  • http://michelleejknowles.com/index Michelle Knowles

    So cool! There are some really great ideas here & I’d love to try some of them out. I have one keyboard at the time being that I’m no longer using, but that’s fine. It’s just great to have some wonderful ideas for recycling things in ways that aren’t always thought to be easily recycled. Thanks for this. :D

  • http://buffalolawncare.com.au Ken

    I’m all for recycling and reusing everything possible to save some coin, but I can’t say I like any of these things at all… what I’ve learnt over the years is that not everything can be recycled and that some things are best left to be binned or melted down… and for me, thats the case with old keyboards.

  • http://techwayservices.com/ Tech Way Services

    There are some fun ideas about recycling the keyboards, especially the necklace or the picture frame. But, you should be aware that recycling other computer parts poses some great dangers, since there are many toxic substances present in many computer components. Recycling a computer should be done by experts, in a specialized environment.

  • Joel

    The keyboard bobbypins image is from a cool artist, Nicola, at http://www.geekware.ca .

Back to Top ↑