Tuesday, July 15, 2014

DIY Practice Keyboards


After I saw this blog post by Color in My Piano, I really wanted a practice piano. I liked hers, but I wanted something a little bigger that could be used for overall piano practice.

I was initially scared of the idea and kept putting it off. Now I wish had done it sooner. It is surprisingly simple.

Materials needed:

1. Board of some shape (I bought a 0.5 inch thick board measuring 5.5 inches by 24 inches at Home Depot)
2. White paint and paint brush (or you can buy a pre-painted board for a little more money)
3. 1 Paper-size Black foam (I bought the kind that has a sticky back that you peel off --so worth it!)
4. Scissors
5. Black permanent marker (fine tip)
6. Ruler and pencil for measuring

I didn't keep track of exactly how much this cost, but I will give you an estimate. I already had scissors, ruler, pencil, and black marker, so those were free. The boards I bought were pre-cut and sanded, which means a little more money, but about $6 each. I bought a sample of white paint, about $3. Paintbrush was somewhere around $0.50. Black foam was about $2.


So here is the breakdown of cost:
-- please remember these are estimates --
2 Boards: $6 each ($12)
Paint $2
Paintbrush $0.50
Foam $2
TOTAL: $16.50 ($8.25 each)

As always, the more you make, the cheaper it is.

Also, if you just buy a board and cut it into pieces, it would cost about $4 each for 3 or 4 of these.
Another option is to go to craft store and buy pre-cut slats. They come in packages of 6-ish for around $3. They are quite a bit smaller, but much more affordable. I have even seen BBQ slats at the Dollar Store that could be used. The possibilities are endless with this initial idea.


 So here is the instructions on how to make these:
1. Take board of your choice and paint it white. If you bought a pre-painted board, skip this step.
This step takes the longest and you have to allow it to dry overnight. Looking back, I really should have used spray paint. That would have been sooooo much easier.

2. Once board is white and dry, draw your lines 7/8 inch apart. I did this step with a ruler and a pencil first, then traced with a black permanent marker next.

2.5 (Optional step): You can paint a layer of gloss over your keyboard to seal in the colors, but it is not necessary. Be warned: if your kids decide to draw on these with permanent markers--it will not come off-whether you glossed it or not.


3. Cut out your foam pieces. These should be 0.5 inch wide by 3.5 inch long. If you are using a shorter board (as in from top to bottom, not how wide), simply make your black keys shorter (smaller than 3.5 inch).

4. I found the middle key on my keyboard and decided that was middle C. I did not write C on my piano, it is just on the picture above for your benefit. I then placed the black foam accordingly around that spot. I did it first without sticking anything, then slowly attached each black key.

5. Find some resources of things to do with your fancy new keyboard:
 Come back another day and I will make a post about things that can be done with a practice piano.

For a time frame:
Painting: 20 minutes (but overnight to dry)
Draw on lines: 20 minutes
Cut out foam: 20 minutes
Attach foam: 15 minutes
TOTAL: 1 hour 15 minutes
~Possum

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