Customizing Your Keyboard: How to Design Your Own Keycaps

With mechanical keyboards becoming increasingly popular, customizing your keyboard with unique keycaps is a great way to make your typing experience your own. Keycaps are the plastic covers that go over each key on your keyboard. Replacing your standard keycaps with custom designed ones allows you to add flair and personality to your keyboard. There are many options when it comes to custom keycaps, from materials to legends to specialty keys.

Choosing Your Keycap Material

The most common materials for keycaps are ABS and PBT plastic. ABS is smooth and shiny while PBT is textured and matte. PBT is generally considered more durable than ABS as it is more resistant to developing a shiny surface from oil from your fingers. There are also more premium materials like metal and wood that can be used for a high end aesthetic.

Deciding on Legends

The legends refer to the symbols and characters printed on each keycap. You can choose to go with standard QWERTY legends or get creative with iconography or your own custom text. Legends are often color-coded to help distinguish different types of keys. For example, red for letter keys and blue for modifier keys like Shift and Enter. The legends can be printed, engraved, or dye sublimated onto the keycaps.

Incorporating Specialty Keys

Many custom keycap sets come with novelty or specialty keys that you can use to replace keys like ESC, Enter, Shift, and Ctrl. These keys let you add fun icons, your name, or inside jokes. Backlit compatible keycaps and translucent keys are also popular specialty keycap choices.

Choosing a Keycap Profile

The profile refers to the keycap shape and determines the typing experience. Common profiles include OEM, Cherry, and SA. OEM has a flat sloped shape while Cherry has a spherical curve. SA has a tall and distinctively sculpted shape. The shape you choose is based on personal preference.


By customizing your keycaps, you can give your keyboard a look and feel that matches your personal style. From choosing materials and legends to incorporating novelty keys, there are endless possibilities when designing your own keycaps. Custom keycaps are a great way to make your mechanical keyboard truly unique.

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