DIY Wood-Grain Laptop Wrap

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Introduction: DIY Wood-Grain Laptop Wrap

A simple tutorial for turning your scratched and dented laptop into a fun and unique statement!

Supplies: Wood-Grain Contact paper (found at most dollar stores), x-acto knife, scissors, tracing paper.

So, to start, go ahead and power off your laptop and take out the battery so you're free to work on it without any worries. If you have all sorts of junk on yours, like I had on mine, you can scrape it off and use a little adhesive remover to get it nice and clean again.

Step 1:

Now, unroll your contact paper, and lay your computer on top with the grain going whichever way you want, then cut around it, leaving a large border on all sides (you'll trim it down later).

Now, you can decide what you'd like to do about the logo on your cover. I decided I wanted mine to outline it, so I used a piece of tracing paper to trace the outline, then laid it over the contact paper in the middle, and cut out using a x-acto knife (I used a little piece of tape to keep it in place while I cut it out). You could also just cut a large round window for it and use a bottle cap or anything that's nice and round.

Step 2:

After you cafefully remove the backing, lay it gently on top of your laptop, careful to line-up where your logo cut-out is, and smooth the contact paper out. Then, flip over so the top of your laptop is now on the floor, and begin trimming the edges. I used my straight-edge ruler and "eyed" it the best I could, re-trimming it if I needed to. Then you just fold up around the edges of your laptop.

If you don't have a round edge laptop, or just don't want your cover to "bleed over" you can also just take the measurements of the area that you want to cover and cut it out before you apply it. And if you'd like your corners rounded a scrapbooking photo-round cutter would work perfect!

Step 3:

I also decided to do the inside too since it was pretty beat-up looking as well - I used pretty much the same type of process to do the inside that I used on the outside, tracing the trackpad and cutting it out beforehand to get the right size.

Step 4:

All done!

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39 Comments

Could you warm the plastic with a heat gun to make it conform to the shape? I would imagine they do it when vinyl graphics are installed on a car...

1 reply

I just watched a video in which a laptop was placed in an oven at 60 Degrees as part of it's temperature resistance testing. That should give you an idea of how much heat can be applied if you're doing something vreative with adhesive materials. The Spec for your system will be available online somewhere. Look for Max and Min Operating Temps : )

Great instructions! I used marble contact paper for my macbook skin. Love how mine turned out!! https://youtu.be/T27DCQ895RM

When I had a wrap on mine, my laptop went through several hard drives... I think the aluminum case is used as part of the cooling system, and during the summer, the wrap put it over the top. Just a word to the wise.

3 replies

You are absolutely right about that. Half of the reason they switched to the aluminum unibody enclosure was to improve heat dissipation. The entire computer body is now a giant heat sink. If you recall, the earlier, polycarbonate shell Macbooks (I still have mine) had overheating issues because polymer based compounds are generally very insulative...

I have never used that type of contact paper, but without knowing what it is made from I can pretty much guarantee that the "paper" itself, as well as the adhesive, are going to have poor thermal conductivity and will therefore lead to your computer running hotter than it did before. As nice as the idea is (I like the wood grain look) it is not going to be very good for your computer's health:

Decreased heat dissipation ==> Increased operating temperature ==> increased electrical resistivity ==> slower operating speeds, even higher operating temps, and increased risk of component damage.

From what I can tell, this "paper" is a very thin plastic sticker. But the good thing about it is that it only goes on the top (behind the screen) and by the keyboard and trackpad if you so wish. The parts of the computer that get hot don't have to be covered.

Yes, I had my mom get rid of her pretty new plastic Macbook Pro shell for the same reason. She was sad, but it was a good move.

On the other hand, if you have a black or white plastic-shell laptop with a beat-up exterior, this is a good idea to make it look nicer.

Are there any temperature issues with this ?

ASUS done the same thing with their laptops.

http://usa.asus.com/Notebooks/Special_Edition/U2E_Bamboo/#overview


Bamboo laptops.. pretty epic

For that paper, do they make any other colors or just wood grain?

I am an avid dis-liker of Mac's but damn, if they looked like that, I would be the first to buy one!

Nice job. Great way to rejuvenate the MacBook Pro. It's served me well, and just won't die, but it could benefit from a makeover. So thank you.

True that!

Just remember that todays contact paper is a shelf liner and as such doesn't stick like it used to. If you want something of decent material use automotive type vinyl. MUCH more durable and many more grain options.

3 replies

I don't know; could it be there's contact paper, and there is contact paper? I know there is thee drawer/shelf paper you mentioned that has a light cling characteristic, and on can still buy the self adhesive vinyl with that backing you peal away. The house stuff is probably pretty strong for most uses. Many options available online, some other than wood grain that some women might prefer. Metallic choices some may like better than wood grain, Che kicker is the cost :(

I used to make vinyl signs... Super durable stuff! and now it's easy to buy vinyl already cut from a print shop like fed ex. Is that the same as automotive vinyl? Anyone want to make some template patterns?

Not being a duty expert on vinyl I can't say for sure. I "think" that the automotive vinyl is more uv resistant, more stretchable and thicker. I've done cars with it, both inside and outside surfaces, and I do know it's much superior to contact paper except in removing it.

This is so so beautiful. I can just imagine how it feels also, to hold it. I really love wood, and equally I love computers (in a different way - but a lot). You've managed to combine the two. Gorgeous and flawless work.