Tag Archives: rainbow piano

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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The piano project! Part One -no turning back now!

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So, a couple years ago I answered an ad on-line where someone was offering a free piano. All I had to do was move it! So, I put an ad on craigslist asking for a quote for the cheapest mover. I ended up hiring the cheapest quote, and to make a long story short, I got what I paid for… The “movers” pulled up in my driveway with the piano laying on its side in the back of their pick up truck! They somehow managed to get it off the truck, and up the stairs to our front door. But believe it or not, it still plays pretty well! It’s on my bucket list to learn how to play the piano, and I would love for the kids to learn too. But, the keys are in rough shape. A lot of them are chipped and broken off. Here’s a picture…

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Here is what I would love to see it look like:

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Have you ever seen a rainbow piano before? Me neither! But I did see on line that there is a kids piano program where the keys are colour coded.
When I first got the piano, I ordered a set of replacement keys from a website, along with glue and clamps.

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My plan was to replace the broken keys with the new white ones. But then I started thinking…why can’t I use the replacement keys as a pattern, and make they keys out of something else?
Right now, I am thinking I am going to make new keys out of polymer clay like Fimo or Sculptey. But, I will make a couple test keys first.
No matter what material I use, I have to take off all of the ivory off the rest of the keys. I used a compinatiion of a scraping knife, pairing knife, and exacto knife to chip off most of the keys.

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Some of the keys popped off easily, but most of them cracked, chipped and came off in small pieces

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I am now officially at the stage in the project where there is no turning back! I am also at the stage where I am thinking that maybe I should have thought this through a litlle more.
This weekend we a have birthday party, computer classes, eye exams for the whole family, and we were thinking about taking the kids skiing on Sunday…did I mention we are going away next week? So packing should probably be in our plans somewhere right! There is lots of time left over to renovate a piano right? OK, it might take a while, but keep checking in with me! If you have any suggestions for materials I could use for the keys, please comment!!! Don’t forget, they have to be rainbow!