Souffle-pen Laptop Decor




Introduction: Souffle-pen Laptop Decor

in this, my first instructable, i will be showing you how to create a design on your laptop lid with Sakura souffle pens. these are like gel pens, but they sort of inflate as they dry, so that the colors end up quite opaque and vibrant when they're done. in this case, they also present a semi-temporary method of creating intricate designs on your laptop lid on the cheap.

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Step 1: Step 1: Ingredients

for this recepie you will need the following:

1x Sakura Souffle pen
- the Sakura Glaze pens also work, but other gel pens i tried did not write on the slick surface of my laptop lid. if you have a relatively un-shiny laptop lid, you may find that other gel pens work.

1x pencil
- the softer the lead, the better. the hello kitty pencil i used has B lead, although i normally use 2B, but i think anything HB or less will work fine.

1x rubbing stick
- the one you see pictured is a fancy little tool from Basic Grey, actually intended for those scrapbooking rub-ons. you can also use those little grey plastic styli they sometimes include in rub-on packs, and even popsicle sticks will do, although PLEASE be careful about how hard you press on your laptop lid. damage can occur to your screen if you press too hard. so be careful, mkay?

your design
- i used henna designs, based on some brushes i found over on deviantart, but of course you can use whatever you want. keep in mind that any image you use will end up as its mirror image once you put it on your lid, so if you want letters, you'll have to flip them before printing them out. also please be sure that you use images in the public domain or available for personal use. stealing images is bad! (/end public service announcement)

tracing paper
- for tracing whatever design you chose

grid paper
- if you want your design symetrically or specifically placed

- for cutting around your design once you trace it

artist's tape
- for taping the tracing paper down to your laptop lid. i used Scotch's high tack artist's tape, and it didn't leave any residue and came up very easily. i do not recommend using standard clear tape, as it is likely to leave a residue.

and of course, the actual laptop
- dur. i'm using my eeepc, coz it's totally awesome in all possible ways but i'm sure you have a laptop hanging around somewhere, otherwise why would you be looking at this instructable.

Step 2: Step 2: Warnings

  • seriously, don't go pressing super hard on the lid of your laptop. your screen is on the other side of that thing, and if you press too hard, your going to kill pixels. don't be a pixel killer, use a light touch
  • in my testing, i found that the pen does scratch the shiny surface a little bit. if you leave the design on there, of course, you won't be able to tell, but if you decide to take the design off, you may see its remnants. under normal lighting conditions, i couldn't tell, but if the light catches your laptop just right, you'll be able to tell exactly where you scribbled. i found this can be minimized if you use a light touch with the pen. you may need to make two passes over your design, which will take more time, as you will have to wait until the first layer completely dries (perhaps an hour) but if you're super worried about damaging your laptop, you may want to chose this option. if you're freakish about that sort of thing, you may want to test this technique on some out-of-the-way place on your laptop. i tested a little on the inside of my laptop, next to the touchpad. it was the same shiny surface of my lid, and since my hand is always there, i'll never have to look at it. the scratches that ended up there are such that i can only see them if i reflect the light source right at them, and i can't even feel them with my fingertips.

Step 3: Step 3: an Actual Step

although it might have been brainier to start from the middle and work out, or to start from the top left and work down, i decided to do the part of the design i'd actually decided on first. this happened to be the little swirly border thing, which i basically free-handed onto the tracing paper. if you have a specific border you'd like, you can trace that (as you'll see me doing in a couple of steps here) and of course you're welcome to do whichever part of your design pleases you most first. be sure to get a goodly amount of lead on the tracing paper, as we will be transferring this lead to your laptop lid in the next step. (this is why we need soft lead, as harder leads will not transfer to the lid darkly enough.)

once you've got enough lead on the tracing paper to look dark and shiny, cut out the tracing paper around your design (as i have already done in the main image here) and then tape it in place on your laptop lid, graphite against the lid. although you don't need to mummify the thing, you are going to be rubbing on it, perhaps with some moderate force, so be sure to tape it securely~

Step 4: Step 4: Rub It In

take your popsicle stick (or your little plastic thing, or your fancy plastic thing) and GENTLY rub the back of the tracing paper. this will transfer the graphite from your pencil onto the lid and provide a little template for you to trace over in the next step. rub firmly and evenly, but gently. if you've traced the image properly in the last step, you shouldn't need to press very hard at all in this step.

Step 5: Step 4.5: Gently Now!

when you think you've rubbed enough, SLOWLY peel back one edge of your tracing paper and take a peek. if you can clearly see your design, you've done well. you can remove your tracing paper and tape and move on to the next step. if you can't see your design well, carefully lay your tracing paper back down and keep rubbing. maybe try a little more force...

the picture below only hardly shows it, but you can see the swirly design pretty clearly. it should be a different kind of shiny and slightly more silver/grey than your laptop lid.

Step 6: Step 5: Inking

bust out that Souffle pen and trace over the graphite you just put down. it may take a few seconds for the ink to start flowing fully; try marking on a scrap piece of paper to get the ink flowing before you head for the laptop lid. also, make sure there aren't disgusting crusties on your pen nib. going slowly will get you the fullest color, as the ink will be laid down thicker. you can get different gradations in color by changing the speed of your inking, if you're good enough.

in the main image below, the top part of the swirl is not yet try, this is why it looks darker than the rest of the swirl. all the colors of the Souffle pens do that, so if you're not sure what color you'd like, you may want to practice on some black paper and let it dry to view the final results.

Step 7: Step 6: Wash, Rinse, Repeat

steps 3 through 5 are the basic process. if all you have are simple lines and dots, and you don't particularly care about getting them in any kind of structured order or placement, you now know all the skills necessary for coloring all over your laptop lid. congratulations~

in my case, i had to alter the swirl design slightly because the eee logo was in my way. as a result, my overall design isn't completely symetrical, but i actually like it better this way. if you have a logo in your way, you might consider incorporating it into your design.

Step 8: Bonus Skills A: Centering

for the bottom portion of my design, i wanted the little arcs to be a) symetrical and b) centered horizontally. the symetrical part i did in photoshop before i printed it out, but the centered part is actually very easy with tracing paper.

first, i cut my tracing paper to the exact width of my laptop lid, and then i folded it in half. then i lined up the bottom of the tracing paper with the design, and lined up the fold with the center of the arcs. then you trace your design onto the tracing paper and apply your tracing paper to the laptop lid, the same as usual, but this time matching up the edges of the tracing paper with the edges of your laptop lid. i eyeballed the amount of space at the bottom, and used a coincidental curve in the base of my laptop lid to make sure things were leveled, but you can also measure this or use some basic guide, like the width of your index finger.

actually, don't worry that much if you mess up, Bonus Skills B will show you have to remove mess-ups.

Step 9: Bonus Skills B: Whoops!

well, if you're anything like me, you mess up more than you get things right, so when i started thinking about this project, i wanted something that wasn't going to be completely permanent, since i knew i was going to mess up somewhere along the line. i tested a little on an out-of-sight section of my laptop, and found that the Souffle pens stand up pretty well to rubbing with your finger, but are removable if you want to.

method a, the fingernail: this is my fav. if you have a mid-size chuck you need gone you can lift up dried Souffle ink with your fingernail or other such plasticine sheet-like device. those little scrapers you use for dishes also work well. for small or hard-to-reach mess ups, such as mine below, a toothpick works well. i used the blunt(er) end of a porcupine quill, since that's what i had to hand. make sure it's nothing too sharp though (i.e. needle probably = a bad idea) as those will scratch your shiny surface.

method b, the damp cloth: this isn't so awesome, but it's good for wiping your entire laptop lid when you're sick of your current design. a slighly damp washcloth or paper towel and some firm rubbing should remove the ink from your lid.

  • remember the warnings step! if you remove your design and see tiny little scratches where the pen touched your lid, there may not be much you can do about it. i recommend a light touch when applying the pen.

Step 10: Bonus Skill C: Imperial V Metric

centering horizontally AND vertically simultaneously, the scariest of the zen master techniques! well, in our case, there's actually several ways of getting a design (in my case, the octagonal medallion) centered on a laptop lid.

method 1: measuring. you're always welcome to get a ruler out and simply measure your laptop lid, marking the center, and then out from there however much you need in order to fit in your chosen design. this is the easiest, and it requires probably the least time, but definitely the most maths.

method b, 2: no maths, plz! if you really don't have that many math skillz (trust me, not a rarity at this house~) and you have a relatively small laptop screen, you can cut a piece of tracing paper to the exact size of your laptop lid and fold it, as we did in bonus skills a. if you think about it, this is simply an extention of those skills, so using the same techniques certainly has a nice ring of efficiency to it.

method 3 or c: grid paper. because i just love the stuff, and because i already had the medallion traced and cut out, i decided to use grid paper. i folded it in a method similar to method b above, and found my center that way.

and a very low 4, or d, or that little iv in brackets they use in footnotes: wine...

  • in my case, i didn't want the exact vertical center. i wanted the horizontal center and then the center of the distance between the top of the arcs and the top of my laptop lid. this complicated things somewhat, but i'm not the person in my house who distains math, so it wasn't so bad.
  • in the second picture, i've upped the fill light on the shot way out of proportion so you can see the medallion after i rubbed it on. as it turns out, you also get a pretty good shot of your humble narrator, so, `allo.

Step 11: The Finishing Touches

- if you've waited about an hour, and you find that parts aren't as bright as you'd like them, you're welcome to go over them again with the pen. i find that this doesn't always work well, so you may be better off removing the offending section via one of the methods outlined in Bonus Skills B.

- you may see some graphite around the lines. this won't really be noticable from afar, but if, like me, you want those dasterdly lines gone, you can GENTLY (super gently!) rub it off using your finger. please make sure the ink is entirely dry before you do this, as if it is not entirely dry, your finger will smoosh the ink out of shape, and you will be sad.

- that's it! enjoy your new goods! if you create something awesome, let me know. i'm sure eager to see what everyone does with this technique.

  • thanks everybody for viewing my first ever instructable~ if you've got any questions/comments/demands for further pictures, let me know and i'll do my best!

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    8 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    It came out really awesome, thanks!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    you colored on something? (_) awesome! i'm glad it turned out well. do you have any pictures you'd like to share?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Unfortunately, no, I do not... but maybe if I do this again I'll have a camera that actually works.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I would never dare do that...... but it really looks great !!!!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    That looks great. I have some kind of rubber coeating on my thinkpad, so it wouldn't work, but yours is really stylish. Did you cover the end result with some kind of clear vinyl or something to protect it?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    thanks~ didn't coat it with anything, since my laptop leads a relatively sedate life at home. i'm not sure if that wouldn't dull the shiny a bit, but if you want it permanently permanent, it might be a good idea.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    That's a good question - I bet you could use Future Floor Polish on it.