Laptop Skin

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Introduction: Laptop Skin

Do you want your own high-quality vinyl laptop skin, but don't want to pay $20? Then read on!

Step 1: Set Up: Choose Your Image, Buy Materials

You will need:

1. A laptop

2. A high resolution image (resolution should be at least as high as your laptop screen)

3. A white gloss self adhesive A4 vinyl label suitable for inkjet printers (I ordered mine from eBay http://www.ebay.co.uk. Ten sheets cost me 10GBP).

4. Some sticky back plastic. I used the stuff libraries use to cover their books, bought from my local stationers Rymans http://www.ryman.co.uk/. A huge roll cost only 2GBP. It is thin, durable and tough.

5. A colour inkjet printer

6. A scanner is useful but not necessary

Step 2: Find the Correct Image Size

Optional step:
If you have a scanner, scan your laptop. Using an image manipulation package that supports layering (e.g. gimp http://www.gimp.org/) load the scanned image. Add a new layer and in this layer draw a box over the scanned image that marks the intended edges of your laptop skin. Make sure you curve the corners of the box to match the contours of your laptop if you wish to do so. Delete the layer containing the scanned image, so you are left only with the outline of your laptop skin. Now load a new layer with the image you wish to use as a skin. Resize and position the image so that the outline of the skin contains the image correctly. Now merge the layers. You should now have an image with the intended outline of your skin superimposed which will help you when you need to cut the image out.

If you do not have a scanner, you will instead need to resize your image so that when it is printed it will be the correct size for your laptop. Use an appropriate image manipulation package.

Step 3: Printing and Cutting

1. Print the resized image on the vinyl (make sure you print on the correct side!) using an inkjet printer set to the highest print quality possible

2. When dry, cover the A4 sheet with the sticky back plastic, ensuring there are no air bubbles. This is to stop the ink rubbing off the skin in your bag

3. Cut out the laptop skin, but save a small square of vinyl to test the adhesive on your laptop. I used a guillotine to keep the edges straight. If you don't have one, a roller cutter will do; failing that use scissors

Step 4: Test!

This is an important step to check the vinyl adhesive won't damage your laptop.

Take the small piece of vinyl you saved, remove the backing to expose the sticky surface and stick it somewhere discrete on your laptop. Leave it there for some time (I left mine in place for a month). When you feel an appropriate time has passed, remove the vinyl and check that it hasn't caused permanent damage to the laptop casing.

If the laptop is old and you don't care about it you can skip this.

Step 5: Stick Your Skin On

1. Ensure the surface is clean

2. Position the skin on the laptop and hold in place

3. Remove the backing from one corner of the skin and stick it in position

4. Slowly remove the backing and making sure at all times the laptop skin is in the correct position. If it isn't then correct for it now. Be careful not to introduce air bubbles. I found avoiding them impossible, but it is possible to remove small air bubbles later

5. With your thumb nail, slowly work small air bubbles to the edge of the laptop skin smoothing as you go

6. Enjoy your laptop cover!

The finished photos have been taken four months after attaching the skin. During this time my laptop has been thrown into my bag without a case on a daily basis, along with the charger, keys, pens etc. As you can see, it has held up well.

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    51 Comments

    Very cool for landscapes!

    worse case scenario, you peel the sticker off and you have glue stuck to it. careful not to get any inside cracks and such, rub some olive oil on the plastic with a cotton ball. let it soak a while (like 20 minutes) and come back ready to scratch it off with your nail. a solution of vinegar and water with a rag or paper towel will most likely remove the rest. if that doesn't do the trick, repeat same process. if that doesn't to the trick, repeat same process but this time use orange oil instead. if that doesn't do it, go get some goobegone. i would be wary of using goobegone after reading this: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=668521
    but hey.. if my first suggestions didn't work i don't know what else would.

    ...also, there's a way to remove stickers that results in very minimal specs, if any, of glue. however, this process is 'prolly not good for an electric device. what is this wonder i speak of? i speak of soaking your stickered item in SUPER HOT water and slowly peeling the sticker off. or using a hair dryer while slowly peeling off. aside from these to methods burning you, they also, you know.. might KILL your laptop. so i would only do those if you REALLY DGAF about your laptop ;)

    6 replies

    or you could just use lighter fluid and a rag; methylated spirits, or high grade isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) will also work. the key is to use a solvent to dissolve the glue residue. you can use the equivalent of salad dressing (read: oil and vinegar) to take off the gunk, but really, its going to take longer, and you risk getting said salad dressing inside of your laptop, which if you like the smell of old vinegar could be a good thing, but i personally find it unpleasing.

    Lighter fluid and a rag? Sounds like a firewall...ROR

    The scent of vinegar will dissipate in about half an hour, but the toxic fumes that get into your lungs and the environment from the other things you suggest probably won't before the damage is done. I prefer not to get cancer or to hurt the welfare of other beings, so I'll stick with the vinegar and oil. Yet with either one, I'd be concerned about it getting into my computer. That's why if I do it I'm going for a vinyl cling, which isn't environmentally conscientious either.

    I know somebody who did that, but not with isopropyl, no he soaked it in acetone... Its interesting when the black color comes of but looks so ugly... Well after that he payed me 30bucks to spraypaint it (singletone). I know thats not a useful comment, but still interesting what some people do with theyr stuff before they start thinking ;)

    I Found solution, use eraser, gently Rub eraser over the glue residue. It comes off, but you might hurt your hand in the process.

    Don't use vinegar or water. KEROSENE will dissolve the glue of sticker without affecting the color. After removing the sticker, wipe the surface with kerosene soaked in a cotton ball, wipe clean the surface with a yellow cloth

    to bad this is completely over expensive, your normal laptop skin will cost only about 7-10 dollars

    8 replies

    Craigslist.com and freecycle.org are a couple of sites I use frequently, the later being ALL free stuff if your lucky nuf to find and acquire said item. Their should be groups @ your local you can join...free

    Not sure you're going to find a pre-made skin with a picture of your mom...

    Well,Ebay For Generic Themed skins,But For Your Own Custom Skin Yeah you gotta make it yourself.

    Lol but very true...

    She only spent 10 GBP for ten sheets which is about 1.5 USD per sheet plus 2 GBP for a whole roll of that shiny plastic stuff

    .....Didn't this profile say he's a male? :/

    whats that sticky back plastic that costs £2 called??
    cause i dunno what im looking for :S

    thanks :)

    1 reply

    As an alternative, one could use a clear, acid-free spray sealant (could also use unscented hairspray).