Faded commodore and keycap solution

Not feeling artistic with retrobright? Is your commodore a funky color? Have keycaps missing but don’t want to order individual keycaps?

Much the same here… but I fancied a fun solution.
While I do have some pristine keycaps and a c128 case available, I couldn’t part with a perfectly fine C128 case that seemed to enjoy it’s days in the 1980/1990 sunlight, so I decided to go on a whim and do some fun painting.

For the keyboard solution, I ordered a cheapo c64c keyboard and stole what I could from a broken C128. The only problem with this solution is you have to be aware that not all keys are equal in size. You have to pay attention to the size dimensions on the replacement key for the original. If you are desperate though, this may not matter much in the grand scheme of things. You can find labels for your keys from Etsy, Ebay and other commodore shops. I grabbed mine from www.4keyboard.com

My painted Commie before key replacement (Yes, I saved the good keys!)


My painted commie with painted replacement keys (that were previously in poor condition) and used labels from 4keyboard.com

The end result was a very pleasing, although somewhat a muder-mystery style commodore that looks just awesome. The labels look really good and do not stand out for the most part.

This was a really fun project to do. Lessons learned from this were:

  • Make a map of the keys you are painting to ensure you are getting the right key placement (size matters).
    for this, I placed ten keys on a piece of paper and marked the paper as a specific number, took a picutre of it, then painted the keys. After the paint job was done, I used the picture as a reference to determine which keys were which.

  • Dremel out the commodore printed information on the key prior to painting (otherwise, it keeps bleeding through!)

  • At a cheap price, order several sets of the keyboard labels. I had two white and two black to use

  • Find updated commodore labels on Etsy - there’s some great artists on there supplying them.

  • Watch out for under or over spraying keys! Bubbles may form!

  • A keyboard puller is a lifesaver! And watch those jumping springs!

I love the look of this. And I feel good knowing I have a true traditional case safely in storage should I ever want to go back to the legit look… but I am extremely pleased with this!