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Keyboard Builders' Digest / Tips & Tricks

Splatter painted keycaps

Human_Evolution shares his experiences with splatter painting a keyboard in the '80/90s style.
Published November 26, 2021

Inspired by guitars and sneakers splatter painted by Phil Collen, lead guitarist of Def Leppard, (who was inspired by Jackson Pollock btw), Human_Evolution spent a fun day with his daughter using a similar technique on keycaps.

The method:

While wearing rubber gloves I put a small blob of acrylic paint about the size of a pea or less onto my index fingernail, then simply flick and repeat from many angles.

I just need to find a clear coat that feels good to touch, something about as smooth as plastic. Right now I have a flat clear coat and it doesn't feel that great.


  • Rust-Oleum Gloss black spray paint.
  • Americana Neon acrylic paint, scorching yellow and sizzling pink.
  • Rust-Oleum flat clear coat.

I tried so many things. Rust-Oleum clear coat, testors top coat, pledge floor polish (recommended as a light protection coat on model forums) the list goes on and on. I finally just ordered spray max 2k clear and gave it a nice even coat every 15 mins or so until it was fully coated thick and the can was empty for some mice I did. Everything else I tested over 6 months rubbed off. Be sure to read up well on it and have a nice rattle can technique because the stuff is what is used on automotive and has like a 12 hour realistic pot life.

How long did the project take?

It was an all day event. I had to wait for paint to dry and I test out different paints. If the base paint was not gloss, it would just suck up all the vibrancy from the neon acrylics, a gloss base was crucial, flat and satin base coats had poor results. I may have learned a technique that will make my next project a little better as well. I found that if you use Rust-Oleum 2x gloss spray paint and then add acrylic while the Rust-Oleum is still curing, the acrylic and the Rust-Oleum enamel fuse into 1 layer. It looks somewhat professional and may nullify the need for a clear coat. I'm interested to see what it feels like to type on once fully cured.

And the inspiration:

Fun fact: Phil Collen is color blind.

Published on Fri 26th Nov 2021. Featured in KBD #54 (source).

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