Introduction: How to Paint Your XBox360 Controller!

Picture of How to Paint Your XBox360 Controller!

Step 1: Supplies!

Picture of Supplies!

To start off, you will need a few items.

� XBOX 360 Controller
�Torx T-8 Security Screwdriver (you can get a regular T-8 and break the security pieces with a small
flat-head screwdriver though)
� Small phillip's screwdriver
� Painter's tape
� Exact-o-knife or razor blade
�Spray paint (Krylon fusion for plastic is preferred)
� Clear finish
� Sandpaper

Step 2: Disassemble and Clean

Picture of Disassemble and Clean
First off, you are going to have to disassemble your controller. I'm not going to go into it, I'll just post this video, which yes, I used myself. very helpful.

Make sure to put your circuit board, rumblies, buttons you're not going to paint, screws and springs somewhere safe.

After disassembling, you need to clean your controller thoroughly! I just used cotton balls and rubbing alcohol, some people say to use glass cleanser, it's really just your preference, but cleaning it is key.

Step 3: Sanding

Picture of Sanding

Now that it is clean, sand it!
I used a sand sponge from Wal-mart, just a few bucks. Fine grain.

Lightly sand your entire controller. Pay closer attention to the shinny buttons - start and back buttons, the triggers, bumpers(entire top piece really) and the D-pad.

Blow or brush the sand off and you are ready to paint next!

Step 4: Paint

Picture of Paint

Now your controller should be 100% ready to paint, if you prefer you can do a primer, but I did not and everything went fine.

I stuck my triggers, start and back buttons on nails in styrofoam. Also I stuck the D-pad, bumper top piece and gray bottom piece into some, just so i could get good paint coverage.

For this step I put painter's tape in the holes on the front(for the d-pad, sticks, start, back and abxy holes) so that when i did my second coat it wouldn't glob up inside the controller. (which is was completely useless because I didn't paint anything while it was together, so you can pretty much ignore this silly step.)

To start you want to put your base coat on (preferably the lighter color). Be careful to do several light coats. Wait about 20 minutes between coats. The first coat may not seem like enough but after 3 or 4 coats, it will be looking good.

After this step, I let my own dry overnight.

Step 5: Apply Your Design

Picture of Apply Your Design

This is where the razor and painters tape comes in!

For this step, I put the shell of my controller back together so I didn't have to line everything up separately. I placed my design and then after I was satisfied I went and cut the tape at the cracks with my razor. I went for a zebra stripe and it's pretty sweet I would say. :D

Make sure your tape is stuck well or the paint will seep into it a little.

Step 6: Second Color

Picture of Second Color

Now that the design is done, cut the seams and take the shell back apart.

Paint your second color just like the first. Several light coats, about 20 minutes apart.

Let this dry awhile before removing the tape. Carefully remove your design and marvel at your own awesomeness.

(Sorry I didn't take any pictures of it while the whole thing was painted with the tape. I was too excited to finish it.)

CLEAR COAT! I cannot stress enough for you to put a clear finish on your controller. This will protect the paint from chipping and keep it nice and shiny! If you don't put this on the paint will be off before you know it.

The process of clear coating is much the same as painting. Several, quick even layers about 20-30 minutes apart. Let is dry good overnight or you'll end up putting fingerprints into it.

Step 7: Reassemble.

Picture of Reassemble.
So this is where you put it all back together, I'm not going to explain again, this guy will though! Yeah, I had to use this too, lol!

Thanks to and youtube and stuff for the videos, good job guys!

Step 8: Well You're Done Now!

Picture of Well You're Done Now!

So get your GAME ON!


TheAllDaySon (author)2016-08-25

This is possibly the best hand sprayed controller I've seen. I've just started to get into doing this myself.

Why, thank you for the kind words! :)

No worries :)

What kind of material did you use to cut out the stripe shapes. I work in a label company so material is ready available to me. I found what I used peeled off easily

I used a razor blade. An exacto knife would work great too. All materials are listed in the article.


Just currently trying to do the xbox one controllers myself. I've found the layers of paint really interfere with the buttons. Need a bit of advice. This is the order how I've been doing them to no avail
plastic primer coat
light ->medium->heavy coat of colour
same process for clear coat

I think the paint I have does apply straight to plastic, I'm in the UK so krylon isn't an alternative

How many coats of color are you doing? No medium or heavy coats required.. all coats should be light and even and sprayed from 15-30 cm away. Your first coat may not even cover completely. Clear coat should also be applied by spray, in light even coats.
I have yet to do this to an xbox one controller tho, perhaps the buttons are shorter, I'm still thinking a few thin layers of paint shouldn't affect them.

managed to salvage the face plate from my recent let down project

I really like that shade of green!
I just used some old cardboard box, flattened out. Light, even coats is major key. And patience between coats.

Yeah I believe that's where my issue is. I spray a little too close and too thick.

In having to use my dad's shed to spray. So light is at a premium.

How do you actually set up to. I'm using a rotating cake display thing. I've seen majority of people just laying paper down and doing it that way

MylesT6 (author)2016-04-20

Hello, thanks for the great guide. I'm very interested in doing this, primarily with one of my Gcon 45 Light gun for the Playstation. Would I also need to sand the Gcon as well? I'd like to spray it a shiny gold. Can you recommend a suitable spray paint for this? Also, my primary concern is the paint coming off on my hands after long play sessions, due to sweat etc. How can I avoid this? As even a factory made Gold gun attachment for my wii wiimote controller came off on my hands after long use, due to sweat. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you - Myles Thomas

MooseSourberry (author)MylesT62016-04-20

I would still recommend sanding as this helps the paint adhere to the plastic. To keep the paint from rubbing off use a clear coat after the color coat, sorry to say that some paint may rub off on your sweaty mitts lol that is just wear and tear, to be expected over time.

CloudR (author)2015-11-01

If you're still answering questions, by chance, what grit sandpaper did you use?

MooseSourberry (author)CloudR2015-11-03

320 grit was what i used. Something fine, you don't want to scratch into the plastic.

VaGxMagnumz (author)2011-08-16

i used krylon fusion for plastic as my paint and clear coat but my controller feels almost grainy not glossy

ac-dc (author)VaGxMagnumz2015-07-10

You probably used the Fusion Textured version which is supposed to feel grainy. I wonder though, why do you think grainy is bad? Glossy has worse grip and your hands can get sweaty against it.

Hmm.. I don't know to tell you.. It may have been because weather conditions and that the controller wasn't entirely clean when you painted it...

rking54 (author)2012-10-30

is sanding absolutely necessary? because my controller is a already pretty smooth

Huntik (author)rking542015-06-03

Dude its so it gets rough so the paint has something to adhere to

ac-dc (author)Huntik2015-07-10

If you use standard spray paint you need to roughen the surface but if you use a paint for plastics (or vinyl dye) with a bonding agent/solvent in it, then a very light first coat, it will adhere without sanding.

GuyB1 (author)2014-08-11

is it ok if i use spirit alcohol instead of rubbing alcohol? i know this is a old post but just incase you still answer questions i would like to know. Thanks.

spencer22 (author)GuyB12014-12-05

That should theoretically work. All alcohol has similar properties. Just make sure it's a majority pure alcohol; the only edible alcohol I would consider for that task is Everclear, which is the reason people go out and get rubbing alcohol.

XtrixGamer (author)2014-08-04

I've started to make a living out of this, creating a custom controller company and all, I sell them 20 dollars each, and custom ones 50 dollars, this helped me so much, also some other things to but this is so helpful

I eagerly await my royalties. :D So glad to have helped you.

EpicNinjaaa (author)2012-11-27

Totally gonna do this! I'm thinking gold and silver with this sort of "zebra stripe" design!

aeszok (author)2012-09-22

Is the texture any different on a new black Xbox controller? I'm almost about to paint mine. Also, I'm going to sand>general primer(not plastic, its acrylic)>3 coats of a flat blue enamel>clear coat. Will the enamel over acrylic cause issues?

MooseSourberry (author)aeszok2012-09-27

I see no reason why this would cause issues. :)
Happy Painting!

S.Gipson (author)2011-12-16

Do you have to disassemble the x-box controller?

MooseSourberry (author)S.Gipson2011-12-18

Yes! You don't want to paint the buttons and analogs.

jrg3ni0us (author)MooseSourberry2012-03-25

Couldn't you just cover the sticks and buttons with painters tape, while being careful to cover the joints and openings

S.Gipson (author)MooseSourberry2011-12-29


tzymbra (author)2011-09-21

The grainy feeling is a side effect of painting down onto the plastic; when you angle your spray paint like that it tends to spray more propellant rather than actual paint.

You can try to avoid this by spraying in short bursts and if you notice what is coming out of the can is almost entirely white; turn the can back upright and spray for a second into the air and it will usually start spraying color again.

Also making sure the paint is mixed by shaking the can regularly while painting can help with this problem.

The alternative to painting down onto a flat surface is to hang the item and spray it while its hanging in the air, but if you do this you have to be very careful as paint tends to run more painting like that; quick short coats.

MooseSourberry (author)2011-07-14

MOST DEFINITELY! You can't paint it with all the buttons and parts inside! Not unless you only wanted it for decoration. Because it will not work if you paint it before disassembling it. 8}

johnsonz25 (author)2010-05-29

Thanks alot, I sprayed this one with "hammered Steel" and it turned out pretty cool, works fine too.

Tayl90mm (author)johnsonz252010-10-03

Sick dude! I love it!

juneapaluna (author)johnsonz252010-06-16

That looks awesome :)

Wow that is really cool lookin. I know it would have been weird for a little while maybe, but if you had painted the a,b,x, and y buttons as well it would have looked really sweet. lol But nice job.

Doctor Freeman (author)2010-08-22

can i do this with a ps2 controller (side note if anybody knows of a mod to make a xbox 360 controller work in a ps2 that would be great thx)

Oh for sure, you could do this with anything really, your actual console casing, hell a N64. A ps2 controller might be a little more or less complicated but I just dont' really know the specifics Wow I have no idea, but I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult considering the ps2 controller is smaller, but I am definitely not the person to figure something like that out, lol. Great idea.

thx but what kind of paint do i use to make it look glossy like yours, CaseBoy's second one, and mmcpherson4's (not like johnsonz25's, caseboy's first one and KhronosDiavolos's) thx (ps great job)

I have listed even the type of paint to use in my supplies. Any paint will do as long as it is a "glossy" paint, not flat or matte or satin. Glossy is what you want, but really you could go with flat as long as your clear coat is a glossy since that is the top layer it will do the shining. :] Do show photos if you paint your 'troller.

like put the innards in the xbox 360 controller

mmcpherson4 (author)2010-03-26

hey, i thought yours looked awesome so i went with your design.. :P
thanks dude

CaseBoy (author)mmcpherson42010-05-28

 not sure if it just the pic the joysticks seam to be bubbled or rounded. how did you do that

mmcpherson4 (author)CaseBoy2010-05-28

There ps2 thumb-sticks.. I seem to play better with them.. :P

That looks frickin sweet! :D Nice job.

hellstudios (author)2010-04-05

and I thought I did a good job at mine.... holy damn dude. nice.

Well thank ya sir. Yours is pretty spiffy. Too bad you don't play 360 though ;D

CaseBoy (author)2010-04-05

where can you buy Krylon fusion???

MooseSourberry (author)CaseBoy2010-04-05

All of the supplies I bought are from Wal-Mart. Any hardware store has Krylon Fusion though. Also, most craft stores carry it too(although the price is jacked way up there.) I would suggest Wal-Mart though, their prices are the lowest!

CaseBoy (author)2010-04-05

 oh i spray painted another check it out!!!

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