Introduction: Painting a Leapster - Gender Re-Assignment
When my niece, Macayla, outgrew her Leapster (and by outgrew I mean she got a DS) it got handed down to my son, Lucas. The only issue with this was it was pink and purple. Not exactly boy colors, so I decided to do something about it. I've had good luck with Krylon Fusion plastic paints so I decided to give it a go.
There are many colors of plastic spray paint available as well as different textures, so black shimmer isn't your only option.
Step 1: (un)Screw It!
Unless you want a black screen, or want to spend a bunch of time masking, the easiest thing to do is remove the electronics. It's not really that difficult. All of the screws are philips, none of those kooky triangular tamper proof screws. On the back of the leapster, remove all of the screws, including the 4 under the battery compartment.
Open the case and remove the screws from the circuit board and the speaker. I think I have them all labeled on the image but I may have missed one. If you see a screw, it needs to come out. Pretty simple. You won't be able to get to the last speaker screw until you lift up the circuit board. Two of the screws have flanges on them, make a note of where they go.
Step 2: Strip It!
When all of the screws are removed, the circuit board should lift right out. This will give you access to the buttons, which will be removed also.
Step 3: Prep It!
Prepare the parts for painting. Mask off the gray bezels around the screen and buttons, the labels above the buttons, and the chrome screw on the battery compartment. Also, be sure to mask off the contacts on the battery compartment. I wasn't going to paint the inside of the battery compartment, so I didn't worry about masking those parts.
I was in a rush and I didn't do any further prep work. Right after I sprayed it, I thought about it and figured I should have roughed the plastic with sandpaper, or at least cleaned the greasy fingerprints off of it. Well, the can says "no prep", I guess we'll put that to the test...
Step 4: Spray It!
Shake up the can and spray it on! As with any spray paint, a few light coats are always better than one heavy coat. This particular paint leaves a textured metallic finish, so you may lose some detail on the embossed parts, such as the print on the battery compartment. That doesn't concern me. Let it dry then get ready to put it back together.
Step 5: We Can Rebuild It, We Have the Technology!
After the paint dries, gather your parts and get ready to rebuild it. Take the masking tape off and re-assemble in opposite order you took it apart. Buttons go in first, then the speaker, then the circuit board. Make sure the screws go in the same places you took them out. Do not tighten the screws too much, or they will strip out.
Step 6: Done and Done
Put the cover back on, install the stylus pen and batteries and you're ready to go. I chose not to paint the cover and I think it looks pretty good. Lucas was very happy with it...until he decided he wants it painted green...
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