Customise Your Laptop With Vinyl Sticker

Introduction: Customise Your Laptop With Vinyl Sticker

About: I make things, I am curious, and love learning and sharing.

Finally, I got round to removing the unwanted advertising on the front of my computer with a custom designed vinyl sticker. I had seen similar stickers on the front of people's computers in coffee shops around San Francisco, but none I saw actually covered up the icon -they just used the logo it as part of their design (i.e. snow white eating an apple). I wanted to get rid of the logo completely, and reuse the light in my own design.

This design not only covers up the logo, but it uses the light creatively to share a lovely glowing illustration with the world! You can be as creative with you like with this -I went for a hand's eye design, as it is an image I have felt strongly about recently, and have been sketching a lot in my notebooks. You could make a magic wand, a glowing star, a firefly, or anything that removes the logo and uses the light.

You will need:

1 sheet of vinyl

1 computer with some kind of light icon

1 vinyl cutter

1 vinyl cutter software

(optional) cardstock for making a test

Step 1: Make Your Design

Start with a sketch or an image of what you want. (firefly? twinkling stars?? bananas???). Simple black and white designs work best. Plan your design so that the white is cut out, and the black is one continuous surface.

This part of the tutorial assumes some prior experience in Photoshop, please search instructables for more help with Photoshop if you need. If you do not have Photoshop, you can also edit images in the Silhouette software (see step 3). It has some editing and drawing capabilities.

  • Open the image in Photoshop.
  • Find an image of the "light-logo" that is on your computer. In my case the "light-logo" is a yellow apple, which I downloaded from t'interweb. Add the "light-logo" as a new layer in your Photoshop image.
  • Scale and adjust the image to cover the logo fully, with the white areas where you want the light to shine through. It helps to switch the layer order back and forward.

Step 2: Using the Vinyl Cutter

We have a Silhouette Cameo in my local Maker/Hacker space, Double Union. They are not cheap (different models range from $180-$300) so it is worth checking with your local Maker/Hacker space to see if they have one, or lobby for the space to get one. It is well worth it!

You can also use any other make of vinyl cutter -but I will go through the steps with the Silhouette.

Step 3: Open Image in the Silhouette Studio

Once you have located a machine, you'll need to download the software here.

  • Once downloaded, open the application, and go to file>>open>>your image.
  • Resize the image by dragging one of squares in the corners.

Using the software for editing your image:

The software has some editing functions -so if you do not have Photoshop for step 2, you can upload an image directly to the silhouette studio, and follow the steps from here. The only drawback is it may be a tad harder to scale the hole in your design with the light icon on your laptop. To get around this I would recommend making some tests in paper before you cut your final sticker.

Step 4: Trace Image

The silhouette software is very user friendly -it is limited in what it can do, which makes it simple to use. Tracing an image is converting the image into a vector file, and creating a tool path. This is so that the cutter can plot where to cut.

  • Trace image by clicking "trace" icon on the right side of the tool bar. This will open up the trace option menu.
  • Select the area you want to trace.
  • Adjust the settings to select all your image.
  • Hit "trace"
  • You will see a red outline -this is your vector image

Step 5: Ready to Cut

Delete your original image -so you are left with only the red outlines.

Scale you image, so that it fits your logo. I did this by measuring the apple logo on my computer and adjusting the width of my image to fit. Position your image to fit your vinyl.

Step 6: Load Materiel

Load your vinyl into the machine -line up the vinyl and follow direction on the LCD display to load properly.

Step 7: Send to Vinal Cutter

  • Hit the cut tool in the right side of the tool bar.
  • Select "cut"
  • Select "vinyl"
  • Adjust your blade, you may need to take out the blade to do this (see instructions on your cutter to get this right). I used setting "1" as "2" was too deep and ended up cutting thought the vinyl backing.
  • When you are ready hit "send to silhouette"

Step 8: Wait for Your Design to Cut!

This is always fun to watch!

Step 9: Peel Sticker From Backing

Follow instructions on the vinyl cutting machine to unload your material.

*Carefully* remove any small details with tweezers.

Remove sticker from backing -again, do this really carefully so that it does not stretch or break.

Step 10: Re-claim Your Light!

Carefully stick the vinyl to your light-icon. Start with the "lit" parts (the holes) and then gently stick the rest of the sticker. Smooth from the center of the sticker, being sure not to trap any air bubbles. This part is fiddly, so be patient and careful!

It could be a good idea to make a test piece in paper first, to make sure you have the sizing right (my first attempt was slightly too big!). To make a paper version follow the same steps, but use paper setting in the software.

Finally, go to your local cafe and show off!

Make it Glow!

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