What Are The Best Types Of Paint For Painting A Laptop Cover?

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As a tool you might use to earn a living, and almost certainly spend time with for several hours each and every day you deserve your laptop to look good, be expressive, unique and represent who you are. 

But the majority of standard laptop chassis are plain….and well, boring. Whilst the ones that have the option of coming furnished with cool limited edition designs are either incredibly expensive or cheaply made. 

Whether you’re planning on refurbishing an old scratched up laptop or creating a personalised cover, using paint to do so is not only possible but pretty straightforward.

Acrylic paint applied from an aerosol can is the best option to refresh your laptop cover regardless of whether it is made from plastic or metal. This type of paint is cheap, easy to apply and available in a wide range of colors and finishes, whilst artistic touches can be applied using acrylic paint markers.

Here we’ll suggest a few ways in which you can apply paint to transform your laptop cover as well as how to preserve the new design so it doesn’t chip or fade over time.

Must have supplies to paint a laptop cover

Before you get started there are some supplies that you cannot get out of accruing if you decide to paint your own laptop cover. 

Regardless of how you choose to apply your paint in the end you will need:

  1. painters tape to protect the laptop ports and give you clean edges
  2. a spray can of primer to improve the ability for paint to adhere to the case
  3. An aerosol sealant so your new design will be protected from damage after it dries
  4. newspaper to keep your workspace clean
  5. a facemask if you intend on using spray paint

Now that we’ve got our supplies in order it’s time to go over how you might want to apply the acrylic paint to your laptop case.

Preparing your laptop cover to be painted

Clean off any grime and dust: A simple wipe down with a damp cloth will likely do just fine to remove oily fingerprints, dust and dirt. Take some time with cue tips to really clean out grooves or depressions created by logos. 

Remove the chassis: An optional step but a worthwhile one if you want to paint the underside of the laptop, or just want to bypass the need to tape off any of the delicate  

Be aware that acrylic paint is a little sticky to the touch when first applied so there’s a good chance it will trap dust when wet. To avoid this try not to paint in an environment that has a lot of airborne particles

Fill in any deep scratches: If you have especially deep scratches (too deep for primer alone to act as a filler) then before you get to experience the fun of painting you might be best putting in some time gently sanding them down with some high grit wet and dry sandpaper.

Keyboardkings.com have created an excellent guide on how to do this, so we’ll say no more. 

Apply painter’s tape: Protect the sensitive components of the laptop by covering grills and ports with tape, whilst cutting a tight fit around any logo using an exacto knife. 

The straight edge of the tape could be used to help with some elements of design such as forming geometric shapes.

Paint a laptop cover using acrylic paint and a paintbrush 

One option to paint a laptop cover is to use regular acrylic paint applied with a paintbrush. 

Applying a layer of white primer, sketching out your design with pencil or marker and then filling in the detail with color is one popular option.

Be aware that using too coarse a brush will make it  apparent that you painted on the design. If you’re okay with seeing minor brush strokes on your laptop case, then that’s fine, but some people want a cleaner look that a paintbrush just won’t be able to provide.

If you’re working with paint alone and none of the primers or sealants, be aware that acrylic paint is more prone to peeling and chipping than spray paint.

Spray paint a laptop cover using acrylic paint aerosols

Some benefits of using acrylic spray paint on a laptop case is that the design will look crisp and uniform.

Spray paint is also a pretty thin paint so putting on a lot of layers won’t bulk up the case too much. Perfect if you don’t quite achieve the look you were looking for the first time round.

Some problems with spray paint are that it’s prone to spitting and forming drips if you aren’t familiar with how to control the flow coming from the can. 

It is harder to remove too but this only means if you want to make a new design you have to spray paint over the old design rather than removing it with a scraper.

Spray paints are also more expensive so your budget might end up restricting your desired color scheme.

Additionally, most places require people to be a certain age to purchase spray paints as they require more safety precautions than acrylic. 

If conducting a refurbishment of the laptop to achieve as close to its original condition as possible, acrylic spray paint colors are available to match manufacturer color codes.

If you’re stuck trying to think of a design for your laptop you can use stencils – either premade, or homemade – to get some really cool designs (such as geometric patterns, or mandalas) on your case. Make stencils by cutting out printable designs from the internet with an exacto knife of scissors, or purchase them online.

Using acrylic paint markers to customise a laptop cover 

Let’s say you simply want to draw your own design onto the laptop cover, be it a small signature doodle or a full cover motif. For this acrylic paint markers, the tool of choice of many professional artists, are perfect. 

In fact a trend of using Posca Acrylic Markers to decorate MacBooks (after the customised sneaker and tote bag trends) swept YouTube a few years ago. You shouldn’t have too much trouble finding inspiration or technique tips to create the best look.

If you don’t feel totally comfortable drawing freehand with the paint markers you can transfer a drawing from paper onto a primed laptop cover. 

There are a few clever ways to do this. 

You could print out a design you like, shade the rear of the paper using a graphite pencil and then trace over the design. This will transfer the image onto a surface covered in light colored primer.

A little more time consuming but you can also outline the design with pin pricks and brush charcoal over the holes to create an outline of your design onto the computer.

Protect a newly painted laptop cover

Regardless of which manner you choose to apply the acrylic paint, you’re going to want to seal your work with a protective coating. This will help your design stick to the laptop and not chip, fade, or transfer onto other surfaces. 

Your best bet will be to purchase a spray on clear coat sealant that also offers protection from UV rays. Keep in mind it will however make the design harder to remove if you do have a change of heart.

Chris Dosser

Chris Dosser

Co-Founder of Eden Indoors

Enjoys sharing solutions to problems encountered whilst building and improving his own home office over the past 8 years. Environmental graduate with a love for biophilic design at home and houseplants. Obsessive about making information easier to understand and simpler to digest.

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