Scratch Images Into Plastic Case





Introduction: Scratch Images Into Plastic Case

Use steel wool to rough up a plast case leaving a design shiny.

I have a camera case that had a pretty glossy finish. That's not really my style, so I wanted to roughen it up a bit(or pre-age it). I think some sort of sandblaster would have worked well to do this, but I didn't really try to get a hold of one of those.

I also had the idea to mask of a portion of the plastic to keep a design in there. I am in no way good at freeform drawing, so I went with the old standby(and somewhat clichéd) images of 80s video game characters. I had no clue how it would turn out, so this is very much an experiment in the actual probject, as well as the instructable(this is my first try at one)

Step 1: Prepare Tools and Ingredients

I started by getting all the parts I thought I would need together on my workspace (which doubles as a dining room table). I guessed pretty well at the beginning, and the only tool I needed extra was a vacuum to clean up the mess of plastic and steel wool I'd made.

Step 2: Cut Out the Images From the Sticker Paper.

I neglected to get a good picture of this step(oops). So, I'll combine it with the next (pretty easy) step which is to place them on the plastic.

Since I picked very pixelated images, it turned out to be pretty easy to cut them out. I didn't need much pressure on the knife to make it happen since the sticker was kinda like heavy cardstock.

Step 3: Scratch!

It's time to get out the steel wool and start scratching away at the plastic. I mostly just used the steel wool in straight lines perpendicular to the edge of the sticker. I thought this method had the best chance of not accidently annihilating the sticker.

The stickers themselves held out pretty well. The ink on top of them scratched away, but that's find by me.

Step 4: Get Rid of Those Stickers

I pulled the stickers off, and cleaned away the bits of grime they left behind. I think it looks ok. It would have been better with a more uniform matte finish, but I wasn't really quite sure how to achieve that. It now kinda looks like someone removed the picture they've had on their wall for the last 20 years.

I'd love to know if anyone has any better ways to achieve a similar look.



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    really cool idea.......think it would work on the back of an ipod???

    5 replies

    Try to keep $400 devices as shiny and scratch-free as you can :P Unless you stole your ipod, in that case, do scratch, it'll make the ipod harder to recognize.

    Don't encourage them! Thats my job!

    It seems to be half the Earth's population's job now-adays *Lady I'm taking your purse* (Grabs bag). At least there's more politeness around these parts? I've actually met some pretty nice burglars.

    I'm going to post a unique way to customize your iPod and protect it at the same time, stay tuned. (posting it in the iPod group)

    That would work on anything you can scratch, lol.

    cool, i would like to try this.

    I did the front of my cell phone....I'd leave a pic but it's black and hard to see in a picture.

    It looks like that one thing I once saw on Orange County Choppers (I used to watch it), where one of the guys had a headlight cover or something tube-ish and used that technique, except that they used some sort of sandblaster or something...

    Not bad I do say. Just don't actually do this to your electronics.

    once youve taken off the original sticky you could take the part you cut off, put that around the still shiny areas and use the really fine steel wool to make the edges more defined

    I like it. You could reverse the part of the sticker you use and see how that looks. You know, use the stencil made by cutting out the image. PS- Is that Mario about to land a mushroom? : )

    so you dont etch the imiages right in, but scratch away the area around it. Very inovative, well done.

    sweet dude 2 thumbs up!!!!

    This is interesting, in that you can use a sand blaster if you have one and get smoother results, with the steel wool to get a coarser deeper sand down. Alternatively you can create a large mask and label stuff with this method as well. Really cool dude!

    this is a pretty sweet idea... you could do this on cheap trash cans too!