Custom keycaps refer to replacement keycaps that can be used to customize mechanical keyboards. Mechanical keyboards have individual key switches under each key that can be removed and replaced, allowing the keycaps to be swapped out. This allows keyboard enthusiasts to personalize the look and feel of their keyboards like GMK67 in a variety of creative ways.
On this page
Why Customize Keycaps?
There are several reasons why someone may want to customize their keycaps:
- Aesthetics – Custom keycaps allow you to change the colors, materials, textures, fonts, icons, novelty designs, and overall look of your keyboard. This lets you match your custom keyboard to your style or setup.
- Ergonomics – Some people find custom shaped or textured keycaps more comfortable to type on. You can get keycaps optimized for gaming or typing.
- Sound – Different materials like PBT keycaps or metal produce different acoustics when typing. Custom keycaps can create unique audible profiles.
- Durability – Aftermarket keycap sets are often higher quality and made from more durable materials than stock keycaps. They resist fading and wear better over time.
- Value – Replacing only the keycaps can extend the life of a quality keyboard and costs less than buying an entirely new one.
Types of Custom Keycaps
There are various types of custom keycaps available:
- Artisan Keycaps – These are handmade novelty keycaps that come in one-of-a-kind designs like characters, animals, objects, etc. They are more like art pieces to accent specific keys.
- Full Replacement Sets – A full set has custom keycaps for all the keys on the keyboard, so you can reskin the entire thing. Popular styles include Cherry profile, OEM profile, and SA profile.
- Individual Keys – You can buy single custom keys for important buttons like WASD for gaming or the arrow keys for navigation. This lets you customize on a per-key basis.
- Backlit Keycaps – These have transparent legends to allow light from LEDs on gaming keyboards to shine through. Made from shine-through or doubleshot plastic.
- Engraved/Etched Keycaps – The legends are engraved or etched into the keycap instead of being printed on top. Provides a clean, minimalist look.
Materials for Custom Keycaps
Keycaps are primarily made from plastic, but can also be found in other materials:
- ABS – Affordable plastic that allows extensive customization options. Often found on stock keycaps.
- PBT – More expensive but very durable plastic resistant to oils from skin. Desired for a textured feel.
- Polycarbonate – Transparent plastic used for backlit keycaps to show off keyboard lighting.
- Metal – Aluminum, brass, steel, and more create premium solid metal keycaps. Heavier and more acoustic.
- Wood – Natural material made from various woods, often with a secondary resin for durability. Provides an earthy look.
- Resin – Liquid plastic that can be artfully colored and molded into custom designs. Used for artisan keycaps.
Where to Buy Custom Keycaps
Dedicated communities and marketplaces exist for buying custom keycaps:
- Group Buys – Small batches of keycaps are produced through group buys, limited runs only available via preorder.
- Vendors – Retail sites like GoblinTechKeys, Drop, Kinetic Labs, KBDFans, specialize in mechanical keyboard parts.
- Artisans – Small artisan keycap creators sell direct or through raffles on Instagram, Reddit, and Discord.
- Etsy – Crafters and artisans sell handmade custom resin keycaps in their Etsy shops.
Customizing your mechanical keyboard keycaps with aftermarket sets lets you personalize your typing experience. The wide range of materials, textures, colors and designs let you choose keycaps that fit your aesthetic, ergonomic, acoustic or illumination preferences.