Painting Cork Boards and Cleaning Keyboards

I tackled two minor projects for my office this weekend. I’m talking about my work office, not the in-progress home office. One is a small upgrade just to make me happy, the other is a read-at-your-own-risk-I-had-to-for-my-sanity-and-health. I’ll go ahead and start with the pleasant project of painting a cork board.

I had a typical brown cork board in my office that didn’t match anything and I really wasn’t fond of the color. With a simple coat of paint though, I knew it would look great. So I took it home for a little upgrade.

Funny story though, I did this while watching Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals and was very distracted and completely forgot to take a before picture. Whoops! It wasn’t until the Lighting scored their first goal that I realized this and took this before-ish picture.

But they scored!

Haha, priorities. Lesson learned: thou shall not DIY during Stanley Cup games. Oh well, you get the idea of what it looked like before I started painting. Typical brown cork board. I first painted the cork with the left over sample paint from our home office. It just so happens that the grey we picked for our home office is a darn close color match to my office walls at work. That was not planned!

I didn’t bother taping the frame since I would be painting that next, and one coat of grey paint covered the cork just fine (I wanted to maintain the pours nature of the cork).

After letting it dry overnight, I taped the edges of the cork board and gave the border two coats of white eggshell paint and finished with a third layer of semi-gloss to give it a nice shine.

I took the tape off before I went to work and brought it back to the office. It is so funny to me how well the colors match, but it makes the board such a subtle feature and I love that.

While I was waiting for the cork board to dry, I cleaned out my keyboard. Fair warning – its gross so feel free to skip the rest of the post, I won’t hold it against you. Just do me a favor and clean your keyboard…especially if you inherited yours like I did.

So that’s what happened, I inherited a very nice keyboard. The problem was…it was very dirty. I don’t know anything about its previous owner, but the little air spray can was no match for this. All the keys were dusty in between each other and I could see stuff sitting in the tray below all the keys. I couldn’t get it out by turning it over and shaking it. I knew I had to take it home and clean it out.

I started by taking a picture to remind myself where all the keys belonged. You think you know these things, but you would be surprised at how quickly you might forget. ;-)

I wanted to use a screw driver to pop the keys off but it was too thick to get under the keys so I resorted to a gift card to get me started :)

Once I had the first key off I used the screw driver to pop the rest. If you decide to tackle our own keyboard, pay attention to two things. Some of the keys pop off and go flying…so don’t let it hit you in the face and keep track of them at all times! Wouldn’t it be aggravating if you lost one??

I was already mortified by the mess under the first few keys, but I was not prepared to see the whole thing.

Oh my, the ugly truth comes out. That. Is. NOT. OK.

I put all the keys in a plastic bowl and filled it with hot water and dish soap to soak while I cleaned the rest of the board out.

I took the board outside and used dry Q-tips to get the majority of the stuff off.

To really clean it, I filled a small Tupperware lid with vinegar and dipped Q-tips in that (no double dipping for me) and cleaned the entire board.

I made sure to keep the liquid out of the holes as to not damage the innards of the board. Both of these steps used a decent number of Q-tips but I had to go to extreme measures. To get the grime out of some of detailed features of the board, I used toothpicks.

The keys were quite clean after their soak, so I just gave the bowl vigorous spin cycles while I rinsed them with hot water and laid them out on a rag to air dry.

I popped all the kays back in place and The Engineer told me that it looked like a new keyboard. I am so relieved to have a clean keyboard. As an added bonus, the keys are much quieter now without all that grime in there!

Sorry for the gross pictures this time, but I wanted you to know what might be lurking under your keys…have fun thinking about that for the rest of the day :)