Picture of Wood Veneer Laptop Mod
This is my first Instructable YAY! In this Instructable I will show you how to apply a wood veneer finish to your laptop to achieve an old school look to modern tech.

Disclaimer: I'm not responsable for any permanent damgage to your laptop, if you don't want to permanently change your laptop than this is not for you.... this is not reversable. Be sure to take proper percaution when using liquids near laptop.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
The materials you will need for this project:
1) Laptop
2) A sheet of wood veneer(you can pick this up at most hardware stores like home depot)
3) Gold paint( if you can disassemble your laptop safely then use spray paint to give an extra shinny smooth look, I simply used a gold paint pen, I tried many different paints including enamels and acrylics,but they all chipped too easily... but the paint pen held up well. use a plastic primmer if possible(any tips you could leave me in the comment section of better ideas would be appreciated))
4) Brass wire(for edging)
5) Misc. ornamental jewelery(for decorating the top)
6) Paper(for tracing design)
7) Xacto knife
8) Super glue
9) Masking tape
10) Wood stain (i used cherry)
11) Polyurethane
12) Double-sided heavy duty adhesive sheet

Helpful Links:
flink Suggests:
"When choosing wood veneer, please be aware that there are different types of veneer as well as different wood species. Veneer can be found unbacked, paper-backed, and adhesive backed.

Make certain you have the right type. Needless to say, adhesive backed is what you should use here unless you have experience with contact cements :-)

Some sources of decent veneer:



The borgs have veneer, but seldom have a wide selection. From Rockler or woodcraft you can get some really exotic stuff. Some real lumberyards have veneer, too. Typically those that carry a good selectino of hardwoods.

You could also try
www.woodfinder.com to search for a veneer supplier in the US or Canada."

And heres a good link for hardware suggested by XaqFixx: Whitechapel, ltd.

Spannerz1 year ago
Nice choice of computer; I have a D630 (same if not similar) to yours that has seen better days (Colouration and the paint was fading/chipping), so I took the screen and body apart, and am in the process of painting mine (rough dark get + metallic flecks), the trim at the top of the screen however, I'm giving a gloss finish. Was considering giving my laptop a warhammer-feel by painting 'wear and tear' and adding a warning-yellow colour to the strip at the top, but I thought against it :P
mimaki cg603 years ago
To be highly accurate on the tracing, you could use a scanner. Simply putting the laptop on the scanner will render you a 100% sized picture. If your laptop do not fit the entire area of the scanner, you may do it in 2 pictures and then align them on any software that deals with pictures. Next you may either trace the details on some software so you have only the lines or print and cut with the scanned image itself. This is good for the bottom part at least, if the sides are not curved, it should work as well.
Winged Fist3 years ago
This is a really incredible laptop mod! Also a fantastic first instructable!

I'm curious; Now that it's been a few years since you made it, how has the wood veneer held up? I'm thinking about a similar laptop mod, and debating between veneer and contact paper. I'm sure veneer would look nicer, but I'm concerned that it might crack, split or chip with everyday use.

Any chance of seeing a photo of this after a few years wear-and-tear?
I just found an old iBook from 2001, think it needs a wood veneer! Thanks for the Ible!
This is great!
Did this with my Toshiba a few days ago but with a  plastic wood-lookalike-foil.
it looks like wood but is easier to apply and cheaper. 
had it at work yesterday and my (female) coworkers were impressed. ;-) 
in reply of my own comment
heres a pic of the laptop
s1dh5 years ago
THIS is an awesome tunning operation , CONGRATULATIONS !! I would like to have a feedback about Wireless : did you notice wireless reception decrease performance ? (As the antenna of your wireless NIC is behind the LCD screen , the back of your screen act as a receiver. If you add wood on this side the wireless signal could be lower ...)
thanks, youve given me the idea for the faceplate on my tower
jaxboy5 years ago
Extremely professional-looking job! It looks like a high-end custom laptop done for a celebrity or a CEO. Pat yourself on the back!
martzsam5 years ago
Something you should try is Krylon plastic adhesive spray paint. It actually bonds with the plastic so it won't come off. Anyway, nice work! I really like the cherry finish. This is quality work. Keep it up! Sam
msw31135 years ago
Is that an 8500?  Nice result, well done.  Work to be proud of.
What's next?  Veneered iPhone?
DracoGT (author)  msw31135 years ago
It's a old Dell Latitude d620.
Love to do the iphone if i could afford the 100 bucks a month to own one.

sqeeek DracoGT5 years ago
LOL exactly why I don't have one :D Great instructable btw, thinking about using this on one of my old laptops... I have an Inspiron 1100, and a Tecra S2...
sqeeek5 years ago
Nice one, I might have to try that. I'm looking for a way to make this old Inspiron 1100 I just got look a bit better...
sqeeek5 years ago
Actually, I don't think water would hurt much of it. The screen, maybe, but usually electronics can handle plain water pretty well. My dad and I have a family network business, and we've soaked a couple of routers in saltwater before to short out and therefore reset the FLASH memory, and they have always worked just fine afterwards :D... don't recommend that, though, unless you have to.
linc58855 years ago
This is an awesome masterpiece, I will be 100% doing this!!!, I have been staring at my old dell laptop trying to figure out how to make it look like an old Book you just showed me how sweet , Thank you for shareing.
If you have the ability to disassemble the case on the laptop any errors in the veneering process can easily be undone by using Hide Glue instead of a PVA type glue or epoxy.

Hide Glue (the synthetic stuff from Tite-Bond works as well as traditional hide glue) is used by instrument makers because a little bit of steam releases the glue so that any errors can be corrected.

If you apply the veneer and it doesn't come out correctly simple take an iron and on the low setting (no steam) and "iron" the veneer until the glue softens and the veneer will slide right off. If you are careful you can even reuse the veneer.
I tried this but I failed miserably. :(
hinoai5 years ago
Very cool! A less time-consuming (but less impressive) possibility would be to try it with wood-grain contact paper, maybe? When my laptop comes back from the shop, I'm going to give it a go!
trebuchet035 years ago
Nice :) I woodied my laptop apparently over two years ago (the laptop isnow parts :( ) :p

Cross Link - http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Woody-Laptop/

I dig your embellishments :) I wanted to do this to my EEE, but there'ssome nontrivial compound curves in parts of the case that just destroythe look when veneering. There are grander ideas peculating though :D
hascher5 years ago
What about using the stain that already has poly mixedin?  That might solve the issue of applying poly by itself -and you only have 1 step instead of two.  Love the look!!! Thanks for the great idea!
Benson15 years ago
I'm kind of spamming your comments but I just thought of another question....

Do you notice your laptop heating up more than usual now?
cthiele5 years ago
Great job for the first instructable!  The firstl look gives the impression that it's much harder to do.  What was the total price of all the pieces?
Benson1 cthiele5 years ago
It really all depends on the quality of veneer you get.  I know ofsome veneers that can cost up to and over 5000$......But that's veryhigh quality, and in bulk.  You can get a pretty good idea on costby looking up a local veneer place.

And the prices of stain and such vary depending on what you get.....I'mbasically answering your question by not answering your question, sorry.
Benson15 years ago
Hey, I was wondering why you would add the polyurethane after sealingthe veneer to your computer.  Wouldn't it be safer to do itbefore?  Or would the polyurethane warp the wood.....Not that itmatters....It sounds like sanding would be nicer anyways, just curious.
Re-design5 years ago
Nice job.  I like the fact that you didn't "recase" it.
Very nice! Now I'm thinking of modding my Netbook. Good ible!
kellychap5 years ago
This is a great idea and a great instructable.  Thanks - I'll have to see if I can conjure up the courage to do this one!
Yeah I see what you mean, looks amazing but what happens if something goes wrong?
DracoGT (author)  Kryptonite5 years ago
The safer approach would be to skip the polyurethane and just sand it, as mentioned in step 8
I'd love to do this but trying to let my mum or dad mod one of their laptops is a near-to-zero chance.
JCO725 years ago
Sweet mod.  I'm just doin black leather and chrome on mine...
Sounds great, post pics though!
ionfreek4585 years ago
 could you do this to a mac??
 if i get a new computer im doin it with my mac.
it seems like you could probably design this into a sleeve-like thing too, so that you can remove it if you ever needed to great instructable btw!
The only problem then would be a question of how would you keep them (top/bottom veneers) connected over the hinge.. Maybe could stitch on some fabric but that'd probably insulate the fan exhaust.
Thats true
Maybe stitch it onto some stretcy fabric, and put some kind of thin mesh (like window screens) over the fan areas
 thad prevent it from the emp blast.....but id suggest an old crate or a very large cigar box...
shortone5 years ago
 this is great! Does anyone know if/where you can get purpleheart wood veneer? Purpleheart is a tropical wood that is dark purple in color, and could look really cool on one of these...or padauk, which is almost orange!
yyeessno5 years ago
Remember you can/should) rub down the polyurethane with very fine steel wool between each coat. It gives a finer finish and makes it smoother to the touch.
static5 years ago
 Nicely done, all the way around, the final result looks great. But the steampunk label added to everything that looks old is getting kind of dated itself. Here the result is similar in look to Campaign furniture, that predates the steam era and deserving of attention in it's own right.
flink5 years ago
When choosing wood veneer, please be aware that there are different types of veneer as well as different wood species. Veneer can be found unbacked, paper-backed, and adhesive backed. <br /><br />Make certain you have the right type. Needless to say, adhesive backed is what you should use here unless you have experience with contact cements :-)<br /><br />I like the look of this mod. I have an old dell that I think would look much better for a facelift.<br /><br />Great instructable.<br /><br />Some sources of decent veneer:<br /><br /><a href="http://www.woodcraft.com">www.woodcraft.com</a><br /><br /><a href="http://www.rockler.com">www.rockler.com</a><br /><br />The borgs have veneer, but seldom have a wide selection. From Rockler or woodcraft you can get some really exotic stuff. Some real lumberyards have veneer, too. Typically those that carry a good selectino of hardwoods.<br /><br />You could also try <a href="http://www.woodfinder.com">www.woodfinder.com</a> to search for a veneer supplier in the US or Canada.<br />
DracoGT (author)  flink5 years ago
Thanks for the info and links, if you don't mind i added it to step 2 of this ible(with credit given: )
XaqFixx5 years ago
I did something similar with my netbook, but not as nice as yours, and mine is still incomplete.  You can save yourself a few steps by getting pre-finished, adhesive backed veneer.
A good source for decorative bits is Whitechapel, ltd. they make reproduction hardware for furniture, and carry nice corner pices and brass dodadds.
DracoGT (author)  XaqFixx5 years ago
Thanks for the source, if you dont mind i added it to this ible. And in the future i think i will be using a pre-finished, adhesive backed veneer.
Phoghat5 years ago
Very nice work. I've got an old Compaq Digital Computational Engine I'd like to steampunk.
axydlbaaxr5 years ago
Love it!  I've been thinking about something like this for my netbook for a while now.  Great to have some tips!
Great Instructable!  Simple and consise. 
Willard2.05 years ago
Awesome job, It looks great. I have a couple of questions for you though. First, what species of wood did you use? And second, How much was it? It looks absolutely fantastic. Willard
 Species of wood? makes it sound all complex and scientific, but at a guess id say it was a teak or harder wood than that
Thanks, I went to the hardware store and all they had was oak.  I am typing this while I am waiting for the veneer to dry on my laptop.  Thanks again for the great idea.

DracoGT (author)  Willard2.05 years ago
Honestly im not sure what type of wood i used, my dad had some left over wood veneer(part of what inspired me to do this). I'll have to get back to you on that. I hope it works out well for you, post a pick when your done i'd love to see it.

P.s. i also updated parts of this instructable in step 5 and 8.
I will post a pic when I am done.

Nice, good effort. looks great.
Kai-125 years ago
This is awesome. Somehow I always thought it would be harder to do this, but now I'm seriously considering giving this a go. One question, though: When you put the soaked veneer over the laptop to let it dry in shape, wouldn't that be risky? Would it be possible the laptop would get water damage from that?
DracoGT (author)  Kai-125 years ago
I dried off the excess water so it was meerly damp, certainly not dripping wet, i was concerned as well... thanks for the comment, ill update this instructable to clarify. I also forgot to mention that its a good idea to remove the battery....just in case.
mycroftxxx5 years ago
Very professional-looking job. I have a Dell Mini 9 that I have partially steampunked. I replaced the upper lid with a routed-out lid from a cigar box and redid the hinging with cabinet lid hinges on each side. One feature that seems to get even more attention than the lid is my trackpad, which I covered with a cedar veneer lifted from a second cigar box. 1/32" veneer is more than thin enough for a trackpad to function through. You might consider doing the same thing - just test your trackpad by laying a piece of the veneer over the pad and seeing if it still remains accurate.
Descon5 years ago
this is great! I might have to steampunk my laptop now...
otoupalik5 years ago
That is very cool. I have been trying out different covers for my Macbook but I think that one is was cooler. Great work!
omnibot5 years ago
This is the most amazing mod I've seen.
ItsTheHobbs5 years ago
That's awesome! Very steampunkish.
aaronanalog5 years ago
Wow ! Very nice. I may try this on mine as well. For everyone who is worried about doing this just remember it is just a laptop, and even more it is YOUR laptop ! Why not personalize it ? I know I will have my HP for a long time. In 2 or 3 yrs your lappy will be worthless on the market so go ahead and make it like you want it. Thanks for the ible ! 5 stars for you !
DracoGT (author)  aaronanalog5 years ago
Couldn't agree more :)
smessud5 years ago
Very neat. A 5-star for me. Too bad I am not patient enough to do such neat things. BTW, gold nail varnish gives excellent results, but it my be more expensive than gold markers. When do you add steam to your notebook?
dwjp90 smessud5 years ago
lol, no steam. Steampunk is a look/style

DracoGT (author)  dwjp905 years ago
Yes yes i know, i figured it was close with the wood and brass look.

]Couldn't help but notice... The laptop looks great!

But... I see you're missing one of the rubber feet from the bottom of the laptop.
The above link is a great site for getting parts for Dell laptops.
DracoGT (author)  emergesunscathed5 years ago
Haha, ya i lost it in the process, I appreciate the link, i definitely check it out, thanks.
Awsome!!! i always wanted to do this but had no idea how.... THANKS
drhoff5 years ago
that is sweet. looks great.
Wow, this is just amazing mate. I'd wish i could do this to me Old Macbook. Maybe you can work in some sort of Snapp.on or something like that. guess i have a new project cxD
Absolutely gorgeous, and simple to make too. awesome!
i've been wanting to do this for sooo long, but i could never find the faux veneer i wanted.
Dr.Paj5 years ago
I like my 13" Macbook Pro the way it is... but it's a good ible
That looks amazing!
seconded 5 stars faved subscribed yay
shilohjim5 years ago
Nice look. I'm too chicken to do it to my laptop though.
orksecurity5 years ago
Nicely done. Good attention to detail both in the project and description.
tomstedham5 years ago
That is pretty sweet! I'm thinking about doing that now...
Builder865 years ago
It's too cool. Well done very nice work
lemonie5 years ago
Really nice look, job well done. L
That`s awsome Good job!