What are Custom Keycaps?

Custom keycaps on a mechanical keyboard.

Have you ever seen a mechanical keyboard with keys that look a little…unique? Then you probably have already spotted custom keycaps.

One of the reasons why mechanical keyboards are the preferred choice for many people is that you can modify them. Mechanical Keyboards allow for different types of modifications until you can tweak your keyboard to suit your needs.

Custom Keycaps are one of these mods.

What Exactly Are Custom Keycaps?

Custom keycaps are just like their name describes. They’re custom-designed keycaps that you can use on your keyboard to give it that extra-special appeal. It also makes it unique and personal because you buy custom keycaps because you have a liking for them, not that you are forced to choose them.

Sometimes, you can even get some manufacturing companies to custom-make keycaps for you as you wish, complete with designs and decorations. Replacing your keyboard’s keycaps with custom keycaps is not difficult, although it may take a while.

All you need to do is pull up the existing ones from your keyboard and press in the new keycaps.

Materials

Keycaps are made of different materials. We have two main types, the ABS and the PBT.

ABS or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is the most common type available. It is crisper to feel and a better choice for double-shot printing. It is also straighter, and the keys are more consistent. With ABS keys, you have more color options to choose from.

The other type, PBT, is also known as Polybutylene Terephthalate. It is slowly gaining recognition in the market as a few newer keyboards have started using the material. It is rougher to feel but very tough and resilient against wear and degradation. It also doesn’t become shiny from use.

Asides from these two main materials, mechanical keyboard enthusiasts have also created interesting and creative custom keycaps using other types of materials. One such material is wood.

The custom keycap artisans choose varying types of wood and carve out keycaps from them. When they have crafted them into keycaps shape, they paint or design them into beautiful pieces that beautify your keyboard. Some of the types of woods they use include Japanese or Vietnamese wood.

Another unique material used is a blend of clay and resin to form solid keycap designs. Glitter paper, crystal, glitter powder, leaves, and flowers are all part of the materials that keycap artisans craft custom keycaps out of.

Pricing

Keycaps come in different designs, quality, and materials; this influences the prices of keycaps you will find. To buy custom keycaps, determine how much you are willing to spend and what features or design you want your keycap to have. Prices range from as low as $10 – $150 or more.

Can You Put Custom Keycaps on Any Keyboard?

No, you cannot. Different mechanical keyboards come with varying types of switches. Not all types of keycaps will fit on every keyboard switch. Cherry MX switches are some of the most common ones available, and so many keycaps are built with this in mind.

However, if you have a keyboard switch that varies from the regular, look out for keycaps that have been built for that type of switch specifically.

Where Can Custom Keycaps Be Purchased?

Custom keycaps can be found in various places including:

  • Mechanical keyboard accessory shops
  • Reddit
  • Instagram
  • Etsy

Stay tuned, we will be sharing a comprehensive list of keycap sellers on the site.

Final Thoughts

Although custom keycaps do not offer any functional value when modified, they improve your keyboard’s look and give it an aesthetic appeal. Since you will be using your keyboard for such a long time, switching your regular keycaps for custom keycaps can help liven up your experience.

Even better, you can switch back to your regular keycaps whenever you feel like it!

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