Sunday, April 25, 2010
Tutorial: How To Make A Giant Keyboard Floor Mat
My giant keyboard has generated some interest after my last post, so here's a tutorial so you can make one, too! I made it a million years ago on a whim one afternoon. I didn't measure anything, and if you look closely, you'll see that some of the white keys are narrower than others. No matter! It serves my purposes, and it didn't cost a cent since I had all the materials on hand. My young students love having something big enough that they can walk on. Their eyes light up when I pull it out! I use it for teaching the names of white keys, teaching whole and half steps, having students stand on intervals, etc. I'm sure you can come up with lots of uses for it.
A twin bed sheet (flat), a wooden yard stick, a sheet of poster paper, a large sheet of construction paper, scissors, and a jumbo, permanent marker with a 5/8" tip like this one: Avery® Marks-A-Lot® Permanent Marker, Jumbo Chisel Tip, Black
It's been so long since I've made mine that I don't remember the brand of marker I used. It was just a giant, poster-type marker - not a fabric marker or a specialty product. So, I can't guarantee your results. I've only washed my sheet a handful of times, but it has never bled. If it fades, just draw over it again. For the first few times, I'd wash it either by itself or with things you don't care about, just to be safe. As an alternative, you might use fabric paint. I'm not crafty enough to know what to recommend! If you are, please share your ideas in the comments!
I've drawn on my white board to illustrate the instructions. You'll be drawing directly on the sheet. My lines are not perfectly straight, nor are they drawn to scale, but they'll show you what to do.
Fold the bed sheet in half lengthwise. You should have a long rectangle that's approximately 96 inches long and 33 wide. (Your sheet may vary a little.) Insert the poster paper between the two layers and keep it underneath your marker as you work so that any bleed-through from the marker goes on the poster paper and not on the work surface underneath. (This will save the other half of the sheet in case you mess up on the first try.) Using the yard stick as a straight-edge, draw a straight line that is 90 inches long. This is the bottom edge of the keyboard. Your line should be parallel to the long side of your rectangle, about 2 inches from the edge of the sheet. Make a hash mark at the beginning of the line and at 9" intervals so that you have 11 hash marks spaced 9" apart.
On the next picture, I've numbered the hash marks for illustration purposes. Don't number yours! From the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, and 10th hash marks (BE SURE to skip the 1st, 4th and 8th ones!) draw a line perpendicular to your first line. These lines should be approximately 15" long.
From your construction paper, cut out a 6 x 12" rectangle to serve as a template for the black keys. If you're using 8.5 x 11" paper, you will have to tape two pieces together in order to make a rectangle 12" long. On my white board picture, I'm using a bit of a sticky note as a template. Position your template at the end of each of your 15" lines. Draw around it and fill it in until each line has a black key.
Draw a line from the hash marks we skipped earlier (1, 4, 8, and 11) to the top of the keyboard picture and then close off the top edge. You're done!