Introduction: Brushed Steel IPod Back!

Picture of Brushed Steel IPod Back!

Looking for a new look for your iPod? Tired of the chrome back that scratches just by looking at it? Well, now you can exponentially improve the overall appearance of your iPod (in my opinion) by brushing it! Well, actually, you are going to put a lot of scratches in the back of your iPod. Sounds cringe-worthy, but it looks awesome in the end, just look at the pics. :)

Note: I will not held responsible for any damage of any kind this project could cause to your iPod. Do this at your own risk. Thank you!

(This is my first Instructable...let me know how I did. Thanks!)

EDIT: This was not my idea originally! Google "Brushed iPod" to find other people who have undertaken similar projects.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials.

Picture of Gather Your Materials.

What you will need:

-Short section of 2x4, or something similar. (Roll over image on the far left for a better discription.)
-Paper towels
-ScotchBrite pad or a sanding block.
-Some tape (Gaffers tape is best)
-An iPod

Step 2: Preparing Your IPod.

Picture of Preparing Your IPod.

We are now going to put tape around the plastic edges of the iPod, to keep the plastic from getting scratched. Be very precise. If you leave some plastic exposed, you will scratch the plastic. If you cover some of the metal, you will leave a strip of chrome when you are done brushing. Do this on all four sides of the iPod, and fold the excess tape over the front.

Step 3: Preparing the Surface.

Picture of Preparing the Surface.

Tear off a section of paper towel, fold it, and place so that it is butting up against the guide.

Take your iPod and place it face down on the paper towel. Push the iPod flat against the guide. You are now ready to brush the iPod. Isn't this exciting?! :D

Step 4: Brushing the Back of the IPod.

Picture of Brushing the Back of the IPod.

And now, the moment we've all been waiting for... WE ARE STARTING TO BRUSH THE IPOD!!!!!!

First, if you so desire, copy the iPod serial number down. Depending on the finish, it may or may not be visible after brushing. Switch the iPod's hold button on. Hold the iPod flat against the guide with one hand. Using the other hand, take the ScotchBrite pad, and start "sanding" the back of your iPod in a back and forth motion. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth.... you get the picture. This could probably take close to an hour, if you put some elbow grease into it, you may be able to shorten the process.

If you are impatient like me, and want it to go a little bit faster, you can try using the sanding block (with some sandpaper, of course) to get a rough finish, then using the ScotchBrite pad to give it a "finished" finish. If you have the time though, I would recommend using just the ScotchBrite pad. It will look a lot better in the end.

Step 5: Brushing the Sides.

Picture of Brushing the Sides.

The two longest sides are the easiest to do. Just wrap the sponge around the sides and go for it!

The top and the bottom are a little bit more tricky. On the top, try going around the hold switch with a small, folded up piece of sandpaper.

On the bottom where the iPod plugs in, either tape it up, or just go over it. Just do try not to get any sanding residue in there.

Step 6: You're Done!!!!!

Picture of You're Done!!!!!

Congratulations, you are done! You now have an iPod that is truly unique, and it will be the envy of all your friends. If you get any other horizontal scratches in it, help is just a ScotchBrite pad away.



mgaukrodger (author)2011-01-05

I ahve a stupi question. Does it feel scrached and will it prevent it from getting deep scratces thanx.

Big G (author)mgaukrodger2011-01-05

Hi there! You shouldn't be able to feel that it's scratched, as long as you use a scotch brite pad. If you use a coarse sandpaper, you might be able to tell. :P
It won't necessarily PREVENT it from getting deep scratches (scratches against the brush may be somewhat noticeable) but you can always take the pad and brush those scratches out, so it's not that big of a deal. Thanks!

jacob5680 (author)2010-08-07

I did something of this sort to a plastic Xbox360 faceplate. I had an elite with a white front panel ( part of the deal when I got it ) which I painted black to match the rest. My painting failed epicly and left bubbles and bumps. I used steel wool and started making it smooth. There is a nice matte finish, it's smooth, with white outlines on all the edges. Looks fairly nice.

LexiLovesPie (author)2010-08-07

I did this to my iPod on accident I thought the scotch brute pad was a sponge so I wet it and started "cleaning" (I thought) and when I finished it was brushed metal kinda funny

Learnable11 (author)2010-04-23

I was so giddy about doing this myself, I made an instructable. Then, it was like, 'related instructables' and voila, here's yours. i've deleted mine, but know i share your enthusiasm. although, mine took about 10 minutes to do with a legitimate damp scotch brite pad. 

Big G (author)Learnable112010-04-26

Aw, that's too bad about making the same instructable and having to delete it, I feel kinda bad! I'm sure you'll find something else to instructablize, though. :) Thanks for commenting!

knex_mepalm (author)2010-04-26

 next time cut a perfectly shaped sticker to cover the logo, or at least air brush iPad nano back on.

ilovetea (author)2008-08-14

Nice, will this work on a silver iPod Shuffle? (I think its aluminum) Also, Ive seen ones that dont remove the apple logo, is that possible? Thanks

Alcreion (author)ilovetea2009-08-09

if you dont shave down to much of the 'metal' you should still be able to see the logo

Big G (author)ilovetea2008-08-14

iPod shuffle? Which generation? I don't think that would work too well. :P Unless you mean the Nano, then yes, it should work. As far as keeping the logo is concerned, I wanted a completely brushed look, so I started off with sandpaper, which made the logo disappear quite quickly. :) Try using JUST the scotch-brite pad, it will take longer, but in the end you should be able to see the logo. Thanks for the comment!

ilovetea (author)Big G2008-08-18
Big G (author)ilovetea2008-08-19

Oh, got it! I think that should work just fine. Be sure to use lighter pressure, because the aluminum is softer than steel.Thanks!

Redgerr (author)ilovetea2008-08-14

sure, you just sand around the logo lol :) its not impossible, it will just take-- yet again-- longer :)

baneat (author)2008-09-10

I can't do this to my very expensive iPod, it's permanent :P

toogers (author)baneat2009-06-01

not unless you have a time machine!

spike001 (author)2008-11-21

If I wasn't OCD about my ipod, I'd do it!

miga (author)2008-09-21

Nice guide! I just did it on my iPod touch, looks good.

Redgerr (author)2008-08-14

hey nice instructalbe i had one question though... in the picture in step one... what is the item you said that we would know what it is ;) im so curious :D

Redgerr (author)Redgerr2008-08-14

im jking btw, amaing instuctable :)

Big G (author)Redgerr2008-08-14

Haha, thanks! :)

Redgerr (author)Big G2008-08-23

np :D

Big G (author)Redgerr2008-08-14

Mysteries of mystery! What could it be?!?! :D

thatdamnNathan (author)2008-06-30

i did this with my iPod, but it seems as though minor scratches are still showing up. is this normal?

Big G (author)thatdamnNathan2008-07-01

I think it probably needs to be brushed a little bit more, although it sort of depends on what you are using to brush it. If you are using sandpaper, pieces of sand might be coming loose and creating counter scratches as you brush. Try using something very fine, like a scotch brite pad or something similar, and brushing for a while. Be sure to use the straight guide for making the brushes nice and straight. That would be my best guess, hope it does the trick! :-)

chevyboy666 (author)2008-06-01

just did this to my 5th gen 30g video only put bout 10 minutes of work into it and got rid of most of the scratches and the back was still fully readable

haloalternative (author)2008-05-12

This is great I did it with my iPod Touch after it got to scratched up. Unlike yours though there are more lines and there closer together so it looks like a Zune 2 back but shinier. I thought it would be difficult because of the Wifi cover and Power/Sleep button. For anyone who wants to do it if you want to keep the iPod logo and all the writing on it I would do it while the back isnt scratched to bad because to keep the logo you have to rub it softly and you can still kind of see the scratches that were there before. I may post some pictures later.

Big G (author)haloalternative2008-05-13

Great! Yeah, I'd love to see some pictures if you have any. You may also wish to experiment with taping over the logo, the serial number (and maybe the wi-fi cover) then brushing as normal. The rest of the iPod back will be brushed, but the logo and writing will still be readable.

pwnt (author)2008-05-01

I just did mine...being only 15 and kinda scrawny, it took a bit more than an hour with my 4th Gen 20GB, but it looks pretty snazzy. Used electrical tape (I think. It was black and didn't leave marks), covered the iPod logo on the back about halfway through, so that it'd be brushed and still visible. Didn't quite know what to do with the top (4th gen has hold, headphone and peripheral connector holes) so I just inverted it, and scrubbed away. Very nice. Thanks for the guide!

Big G (author)pwnt2008-05-02

You're welcome! Good to hear it turned out well. Thank you for commenting! =)

speeddemon93 (author)2008-04-21

Very nice, looks sweet, but how well can you see the apple logo and other info after brushing it? On some other sites it was very clear, but I can't even see it on yours.

Big G (author)speeddemon932008-04-28

It all depends on how you brush it. With mine, I wanted a complete matte brushed metal finish, so I applied very firm pressure on the scotch-brite pad while brushing. If you want the logo and other information to remain somewhat intact, I would suggest using very light pressure while using the scotch-brite pad. It will take longer, and may have a more shiny look to it, but the logo and other info should remain intact. If you want to insure that you will still be able to see the logo and serial number, try putting a piece of tape over those parts, then brush as normal. The area around the logo and serial number will be shiny, but completely readable. Hope that helps!

nightninja87 (author)2008-03-10

hey nice instructable couldnt you use brasso? instead

Big G (author)nightninja872008-03-11

Thank you!! :-D As far as the Brasso is concerned, I'm a little confused as to what I would be replacing it with. Do you mean using it to polish the scratches out of a chromed iPod so one would not have to brush it? Or just polish up the brushed back? Thanks for commenting!

nightninja87 (author)Big G2008-03-11

it basically removes the scratches somewat like using sand paper but faster

Big G (author)nightninja872008-03-15

Actually, removing the scratches would be the opposite of what I am trying to achieve. :-) The sandpaper is used to put scratches into the iPod back, not to remove scratches, which is what Brasso does.

nightninja87 (author)Big G2008-03-17

oh sorry my mistake i get what your doing now great instructable then

Big G (author)nightninja872008-03-18

No problem! :-D

Dr.Paj (author)2008-02-20

If i get the iTouch I would rather not do this, but once it gets a few too many scratches count me in.

Also, couldnt you put the scotchbrite pad under the sanding block for even smother finish? (or use a sanding block with 2k grit sandpaper?).

Another idea for you is to put a sticker on the back then start sanding and take the sticker off so that you will have the outline of the sticker on the back unscratched, just like this Instructable.

Big G (author)Dr.Paj2008-02-26

The pad under the sanding block? I think the pad is a tad too think to be used with the sanding block. :-) You could probably use a finer grit sandpaper and be fine, but the sand particles on it sometimes come off while sanding and cause weird patterns in the iPod back. It looks like little cross-grain circles in the back. And yeah, the sticker is a great idea! I once saw someone who had a flame outline on the back of their iPod. Looked so incredibly awesome.

Dr.Paj (author)Big G2008-02-27

I don't know if you are thinking about the same sanding block I have... My sanding block lets you switch out the sandpaper, for instance, change it to a 2k grit sandpaper. This would solve the problem that I sometimes have when I sand with my fingers on the paper (the finger thick grooves where I had the most pressure).

Dr.Paj (author)Dr.Paj2008-02-20

Also, does this void the warranty?

Big G (author)Dr.Paj2008-02-26

Nope, it doesn't void the warrenty, according to Apple....

So you should be all set! :-)

deth2all (author)2008-02-23

also, the back of the ipod is easily removed, look on youtube to see how its done, i can pull mine off just by using my finger nails. this would make this a LOT eaaier

Big G (author)deth2all2008-02-26

Using your fingernails? O_o

Wow, more power to you, man. :-D Yeah, pulling off the back, if you can easily do it, would probably make the job a lot easier, Less taping and stuff.

GorillazMiko (author)2008-02-03

Did this, starting to do this for people at school, they love it!

Big G (author)GorillazMiko2008-02-04

Awesome! Good to hear! To those who still have a chrome-backed iPod, JOINNNNNN USSSSSSSSSSS....... :-D

Skor459 (author)2008-01-01

I did this to my friend's and my 5G ipods and it looks very classy. That dust that comes off of the ipod smells crazy, like pennies taste. I love that smell/taste :3

Big G (author)Skor4592008-01-03

Pennies are awesome. :-P Glad to hear that it turned out well. Do you by any chance have a picture of it? I'd love to see how it turned out. Thanks for the comment!

cvxdes (author)2008-01-01

I would just take the back off the ipod, so I wouldn't have to worry about scratching the front, or messing up the dock connector.

!Andrew_Modder! (author)2007-11-19

Yes, this is very cool but! This EXACT thing has been done a couple of years ago! ( and also many other sites have this) so you should have said somewhere that this is NOT your idea. Witch it is kind of clear that this is not your idea, via the exact instructions given in these pages. But ya, its still cool if your ipod is scratched, but Not cool to take ideas and post them as yours :-(

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