Steampunk IPod Classic Case




Introduction: Steampunk IPod Classic Case

This simple instructable will show you how to decorate an iPod case, to give your MP3 player a steampunk flare.

I have to give some credit where credit is due, to a few other Instructables; the Steampunk iPod Portable Rig, and the Steampunk Discman

My final product is not nearly as impressive as the genuine wood and brass iPod created by Brass Eyes, but it's also not nearly as labor or skill intensive. And whereas Evinfire used a foil with a wood finish, I went with the cheaper and easier to use contact paper, but still the same principle and desired effect.

I'm pleased with my final product, and after more than month of daily use, it has held up nicely.

• iPod Classic
• iPod Classic hard plastic case
• Wood print contact paper
• Gold appliques

• Gold metallic paint
• Clear nail polish ( or shellac)
• Copper metallic spray paint

Step 1: Prepare Case

This 30GB state-of-the-art iPod Classic (circa 2005;-), is certainly a bit of a dinosaur in 2012, in the age of the iPhone and iPad, but certainly not too old to be beyond useful. This iPod was a gift from my septuagenarian mother, who hasn't quite gotten the hang of MP3's or podcasts. It came with the hard plastic case made by Speck Products, but I'm sure there are a variety of similar products from other vendors.

You could probably use the techniques described below to decorate the actual iPod, but it won't be nearly as well protected from wear-and-tear or impact damage. The other benefit of decorating the case rather than the iPod itself, is if you don't like it, you can replace it.

The tricky part was removing the case from the iPod without damaging either. If you have an iPod like this that's already in the case, force a thin tool, maybe a credit card, into one corner, and gently apply pressure until the case pops open, and then clean the case with some rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth or cotton ball.

Step 2: Cut and Apply Contact Paper

I picked up a roll of contact paper at my local 99 cent store, which has  a variety of prints available. I chose a dark reddish oak print.

Cut a piece of contact paper to roughly the size of your case, then place the case over the cut piece of contact paper, and draw an outline on the paper backing.

With an exacto knife or razor blade, cut the contact paper to size. Once you have it cut to size, place the cut piece face up on the plastic case, and use the back of your exacto blade (or a similar tool) to press around the inner dimension of the screen portion of your case. This will make it easier to cut at the window for your screen.

The last cut is the round whole for the control disk of your iPod. Carefully remove the paper from the back of your contact paper, and apply to the face of your case. Trim any excess.

Once you have the front of the case covered, flip it over and use your blade to cut out the circle for the control disk.

Step 3: Treat With Nail Polish

This step serves a dual purpose: Coating the contact paper with nail polish will increase the longevity of the veneer paper, and it also serves to make this cheap contact paper actually look like varnished wood.

I used nail polish because I didn't have any clear shellac, polyurethane or varnish available, and also because it was cheap. (also just a buck at my local 99 cent store;-)

Step 4: Apply Appliques

I looked at a lot of different options for giving the front cover a bit of brass steampunk flare, and finally decided to go with a few gold paper corner appliques, that came with a set I bought at a craft store for another project. If you can't find something like these, use your imagination!

After you've applied your decorative trim, give it another once-over with nail polish to give it a bit of a shine.

Step 5: Spray Paint Back Case

I used a metallic copper spray paint for the back case. My original intention was to have a smooth copper metallic look. But as the paint started to dry, it also started to coagulate, creating an unintended craquelure effect. Completely unintentionally, I think this looks even "steampunkier", giving an added antiquated effect.

Step 6: Paint Edges

After the front and back are finished, you may want to add a bit of metallic paint (I used gold), to cover up the last few exposed bits of plastic. In retrospect, it would have been easier to do this before applying the contact paper.

With a small brush and some metallic paint, carefully paint the edges of the front case (the ones that will be exposed), and the inner lip of the round disk where the controls will show through.

Step 7: Finished!

Above is a photo of the finished product, as well as the iPod Classic installed in the case.

The photos above also show a glimpse of my Retro Stereo Patch Cable, which goes nicely with this case.

If you like this Instructable, also take a look at my Steampunk iPod Classic stand and Decopunk iPod rig.

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    Nice protective case design/mod, I like the fact that you didn't modify the Mp3 player itself, which is great if you want to upgrade. (Unless of course they change the product design (I'm looking at you Apple!)...)

    Anyways I think it's a nice piece. (though I would be tempted to go the harder rout of using actual wood and metal to make a case for the Mp3 player instead)

    I do have one tip for metallic paints like the copper, if you want a smooth coat apply very light layer. Also applying evenly and also shaking the can thoroughly, both before and while you are paint should help.
    Though the crackled texture can work very well.

    I've done something very similar before, myself.
    The cylinder is an old compressed air canister with a old horn from an air horn ans the "regulator" and a modified tire pressure gauge (replaced the  lens with glass, added a custom scale and made a new pointer)
    The cylinder itself was originally painted steel, so I sanded most of the paint off (which since I was mainly using a wire brush rotary bit, yielded some nice texturing to the steel). Then I added a flat black crackle (spray) paint over the sanded steel, then I added my copper (spray) paint over that. The trickiest part to get the colour just he way I wanted it to was the gauge, it was originally a black plastic that refused to take the brass colored acyclic paint I was using, so I ended up lightly spraying that with the copper spray paint.
    Another little trick I used was to give the illusion of the parts being wielded together (the horn for the air horn and the canister), this I achieved using hot glue and painting it over with silver leaf.
    Winged Fist
    Winged Fist

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks Electfire! A few more photos and you've got yourself an Instructable here;-)


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    A slideshow maybe, a full 'ible not really. Unfortunately this was one of those little side projects of mine that I didn't think about documenting well. The whole process I described to you is from what I remember. I still have the piece though, as I have yet to add it on to anything I've build. (it will probably end up on a modded airsoft or paintball gun.) The one thing related to this I most likely will post,once I thoroughly work it out, is how to convincingly paint various plastics to resemble various metals, mainly aiming for the looks of copper pipe (cause the prices of copper are limiting when on a small, self-funded project) and cast iron pipe. (similar reasons as the copper though cast iron weighs considerably more) I recently have come across a material that lends a cast iron like finish to PVC pipe (quite by accident actually), that once I do some more testing with, I might write up a quick 'ible on.

    If you have any ideas on how to finish PVC pie to look convincingly like copper pipe, I will appreciate the suggestions.

    As always,
    Happy Making!

    Winged Fist
    Winged Fist

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    "... how to convincingly paint various plastics to resemble various metals, mainly aiming for the looks of copper pipe "

    You might want to consider copper foil paper, like that used for origami, or metal brushed contract paper. And a coat of shellac or polyurethane will give it added longevity.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Or Dragon scale metallic rub on paint bought at any ceramic supplier.?!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hmm, interesting.
    Is that similar to Rub 'n Buff?
    or is it meant just for ceramics?
    Please, tell me more!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    You can apply it to anything wood, metal, plactic, and so on.
    Look for metallic rub on paint.

    Name of product:
    Ceramichrome TOUCH 'N GLO Metallics
    Company Ceramichrome Inc.
    Westminster CA, 92683

    No idea if it is still made or not. I got these from my grandmother who runs a ceramic shop

    No buffing needed just over time as all un protected metallic paints do, They will fade and dull.
    So reapply when needed i guess, I painted pewter dragons with the stuff 20 years ago.
    Paint what ever you're going to do Black as a base coat then when its dry rub the paint on you will get great effects.

    More or less you are antiquing.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice, thanks for the information Grasshopper!
    Antiquing, aging, and weathering are always of interest to me,
    especially when it comes to steampunk and other things made to look old.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Foil paper? Hmm, hadn't thought of that!
    I would think that wouldn't be too hard to find at a craft store like Michaels,
    due to all the scrap-booking stuff they have.

    I haven't gotten a chance to test the effect I was talking about, but I will go ahead and mention it. It's using that "liquid rubber" sealant spray that is advertised on TV.
    It gives a nice look similar to the texture of old cast-iron piping, though the color is off, though that could be fixed either before it drys with a paint/dye mixture, or after it drys.