Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tutorial: Make an Upcycled Computer Key Necklace

I must admit, I am a bit of a geek/nerd. I like sci fi and fantasy, I have a big vocabulary, and I know a lot about some pretty strange and obscure topics, such as why you should never keep a goldfish in a bowl. Ask me about that later. And all that is only the tip of the iceberg. So, to celebrate my geekiness and nerdiness, I decided to make this upcycled computer key necklace! Now, upcycled is simply a new word that means to recycle something old into something better or cooler than it was before. This computer key had functional quality before I upcycled it, but now it has ornamental and symbolic quality.

Here's what you need for this project: 

A lighter (Yes, there is fire involved!)
Needle nosed pliers (My round nose pliers are also pictured here because I use them for everything, but you only really need one pair.)
Computer Keys
A thick needle or thin nail
Jump rings and a clasp
Not pictured: A serrated knife or saw 

I got my computer keys from a keyboard I got at a garage sale. First you need to take the keyboard apart (some keyboards are different, but this will probably involve unscrewing the back.) and remove the keys. Now, you may notice that the back of the key is not flat, but looks like this:
 Since this shape doesn't make for a good pendant, we need to get rid of that obtrusion on the back. I simply hacked it off with the serrated blade on my pocketknife. That may not have been the most efficient method, but it got the job done.
Now I'm going to cheat a bit like they do on the cooking channel, and show you a different one that already has this step completed.

Since the enter key is longer, it had two parts that needed to be sawed off.

Next is the part where we can play with fire! Take the lighter and heat up the end of your needle (or nail). Once it is hot enough, find the spot where you will want to attach the chain, and push the needle through. It should melt a clean hole all the way through. Repeat from the other side of the hole so it is even. It shouldn't take too long to heat it up, just long enough that it's too hot to touch. (Don't try to touch the hot end to find out. Please use common sense and don't hurt yourself.) Remember, you just want to get the tip hot, not the whole needle! Once you are finished with the first hole, make a second one on the opposite side.

You can now attach a jump ring to each hole. 

Now take your chain and measure how long you want the necklace to be. After you have this length of chain, you will need to divide it in half exactly.
Then attach each length of chain to each jump ring on your computer key, add the clasp on the end, and presto! You have a wonderfully geeky computer key necklace!

After I finished this necklace, I decided I wanted to make another with a bit more of a girly flair. The first one is great for guys or gals, but I really like this second one the best.  This time I used a backspace key.
The only thing different for this necklace is that you will need some headpins and beads of your choice. I used glass faux pearls and hematite beads, because I really like that combination. You will also need to melt three additional holes in the bottom of your key, the same way that you did for the top, and make sure they are evenly spaced. If you have a regular size key (a number or letter instead of a long one like backspace) you may only need one or two holes. Arrange the beads however you wish on your headpins, and make a loop on the top of the headpin. Slip them onto the holes and make sure they are closed completely.

I'm also planning on making different versions of this necklace, like using the letter keys to spell textspeak or short words, or using ctrl+alt+delete, and more.  Do you have any good ideas about how to combine the keys to make a witty necklace? Feel free to leave a comment if you have ideas!

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