Make Magnets From A Broken Computer Keyboard

Make Magnets From A Broken Computer Keyboard

A few years ago I spilled a glass of lemonade on my roommate's computer, most of it ending up in the keyboard. Thankfully I was able to pop the keys out and painstakingly swab my way out of that pulpy mess.

Between those little spills and all the abuse our keyboards take when we're frantically hitting the keys just a tad too hard, it's no wonder so many end up broken. But when they inevitably die, don't be so quick to toss them.

There are lots of ways to upcycle a computer keyboard, from using the circuit sheet to make a wallet to a bracelet made from the keys. But I love transforming keys into magnets and pushpins.

Keyboard keys are recognizable yet still pretty neutral, so they can be used anywhere. They're great for posting pictures, notes and tests on the fridge and for having a little fun with magnetic poetry. They're also perfect for posting notes and memos in the office -especially if you're in either the computer or publishing industry.

You'll need:

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Keys from a keyboard

Magnet(s)* or flat-headed metal pushpins

Non-toxic, eco-friendly glue


*When it comes to magnets, stronger is better. The magnets will have to hold the weight of the key, plus one or more sheets of paper. You can get strip magnets, which are generally sold in a roll, or you can buy small individual magnets. Contact companies that supply the lettering for road-side magnetic signs, as these magnets are pretty powerful, and the cost is pretty low.


Pop all of the keys off the keyboard (butter knives and spoon handles work well for this) and wash them to remove any dust and grime.

Cut the magnet into portions, so that they fit on the back of the key's center post with minimal over-hang.

Apply glue to the key and affix the magnet. To ensure your magnet will stay stuck to the key, place all keys upside down on a hard, flat surface. Place a heavy book on top of the keys until the glue is dry (it works like a clamp to remove air).

Let the glue dry overnight to ensure a tight, long-lasting bond, then stick 'em to any magnetic surface and have fun!

For push pins, simply glue one pin head to the back of the key and let dry overnight.

Note: If you're feeling really crafty you can make word/phrase magnets by gluing several letters to one larger strip of magnet. Just remember you only have one of every letter!

Difficulty level: Easy

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Cara Smusiak
Cara believes using natural products and eliminating harsh or synthetic chemicals leads to a healthier, happier lifestyle. She grew up in a family that recycled just about everything, avoided harsh cleaners and heavily-scented products, and often turned to holistic medicine. Cara has degrees in art history and journalism, and has taken classes in environmental toxicology and environmental geology. She is passionate about healthy and natural living, environmental awareness and policy, and holistic health care.