Getting keyed up

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It’s been a while since I have had a chance to spend time working on my piano… But I have been trying to put in a little time on it when the kids are watching tv, or after they are in bed. For those who didn’t read my previous piano post, to make a long story short, I got the piano for free, I just had to pay to have it moved. But, it needed some work. I have really been meaning to clean out the basement and it’s amazing how you can justify projects like restoring a piano, when you don’t feel like doing a real job like organizing the basement! The piano keys need to be rainbow…that’s more important, than any kind of housework, right??

I had to start by picking off all of the old keys. I used an exacto knife, a kitchen knife, and a scraper. Some of the keys just popped off, others had to be chipped off and broke into tiny pieces.

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I lightly sanded the keys with sandpaper to remove any slivers, or uneven parts.
When I first got the piano, I had bought a set of replacement keys, because I was planning on repairing the chipped keys. (That was before I thought about making them rainbow, of course) So I was able to use those as the patterns or templates. I decided to use a fimo type clay that you bake in the oven as the material for the keys.

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Last summer, I bought a pasta maker at a garage sale, intending to learn how to make pasta, but I have never used it, so I thought I would try it on the clay…it worked amazing!

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So I rolled out all of the colours, then I used a plastic stamp to press in a swirly design for texture. I added the stamp to cover up some of the fingerprints or marks, because I thought it would be really hard to keep each key perfectly smooth. I thought the swirls would cover up any imperfections (well, that was my plan anyways…)

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I used a sharp knife to cut out each key, using my replacement keys as templates.

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Then, I laid them out on the piano, and trimmed the top and bottom.

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Once I had all of the keys trimmed to the right size, I moved them to cookie sheets and baked them in the oven at about 310 degrees for half an hour.

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Then I brought them outside to seal them with a coat of clear satin varnish spray paint.

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As I was playing around with the keys, I noticed that the sides and fronts of the keys were unfinished, so I took a chance and used a black wood stain to coat the tops and sides of each key. After the stain dried, I used a nail file to sand between the keys if they were sticky.

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Then, one at a time, I carefully glued each key down with a silicone glue. I was probably the most careful for this step because if the keys were not lined up properly, it would effect the way the piano plays. So I did need to get out the exacto knife a few times to trim a sliver off the sides of the keys.

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But check it out!!!! I am really happy with the results and the kids love it…the cool part is that now they can learn songs and notes using colours. All we have to do is colour in the music with the key colours!

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4 responses »

  1. I’m speechless. I’ve been professional pianist and years ago also taught piano. When I first read your ideas for the piano I confess the word sacrilege came to mind, but this looks fun. You are so creative and not afraid to think outside the box on so many things! You go girl!!

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  2. Thanks! We are really happy with the results too… i love the way it feels too…I don’t think I would have even thought of doing that to a more expensive piano!

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  3. Pingback: Page not found | Artzcool's Blog

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