I have been a member of Instructables since May of 2009. I have ooohed and ahhhed at all of these amazing things that people have created. I have also said "One day I will do that". Well, it took 8 years but "one day" finally got here. So here it is, my first instructable - How to "steampunk" a logitech trackball mouse. I hope you like it!
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Step 1: Take It Off
The first step is to separate the cover of the mouse from the guts. The trackball will pop right out. Flip the mouse over and you will notice 4 strategically placed screws holding the mouse together. Grab your trusty screwdriver and take them out. Once you remove these 4 screws and find that the mouse STILL won't open, don't panic. There is a hidden screw underneath that sticker. This is done so that folks won't take apart their trackball, break it and then return it as defective. Poke a hole in the sticker over the screw location (see picture) and remove the 5th screw. Do note that once you poke a hole in that sticker to remove that last screw, your warranty is DONE. Once you remove the 5th screw, gently lift the cover from the guts. It should come off with little effort. Set the screws and the mouse base (guts) in a safe place for later.
Step 2: Bedazzling
It's a fact - when you think "steampunk" you think "bright shiny jewels in lots of assorted colors!". Yeah, ok, maybe not. But you do think of rivets and it turns out that jewels can substitute for rivets in a pinch. I had these Jewelry Essential jewels laying around from a project I did with my daughter a while back. You can find them at your local craft shop or in the craft section of a big box store.
Using a sharpie, place dots around the base of the mouse case where you want the jewel/rivets to go. When you're happy with the dot placement, simply glue the jewels to the body of the mouse with a strong glue (I used Krazy Glue). Use just enough glue to see a small spot on the mouse case. It doesn't take much at all. Then simply place a jewel on the glue and move on to the next one.
Step 3: Optimized Prime
Once the jewels are placed and the glue is dry (pretty much immediately with Krazy Glue), it's time to prime for paint. In a well-ventilated garage, workshop or outside space, spray the first coat of primer on the case. I recommend a white primer but it's up to you and your intended final look as to how you pursue this. If you use lighter colored jewels, you can likely get away with two light coats of primer. I used 2 red jewels. I did 4 coats. Red is not your friend in this project.
One thing that I will do differently if I make another of these is to take apart the buttons and paint everything separately. Inside the case, the 4 buttons are locked in without screws and are relatively easy to remove if you are careful. I opted not to remove the buttons and primed/painted everything all together. I have to do a good bit of sanding and repainting around the edges where the buttons meet the case. After all, we do want the mouse to function properly and not just look interesting. So, if you choose to leave the buttons in, check on the paint as it drys and wiggle the buttons from inside the case to ensure that they're not sticking to the rest of the case.
Step 4: Time to Shine
Once the final primer coat is dry, it's time to shine! I used Rust-oleum Hammered bronze paint. It has a subtle texture that IMHO looks great and appears to be more metal-like. Two light coats of this paint about 24 hours apart gave me the look that you see in the picture above.
Step 5: Aged to Perfection
To really sell the steampunk look, you don't want the case to look pristine. It looks much more interesting (and realistic) if it appears old and somewhat worn. To accomplish this, get a bottle of brown translucent stain (Americana Gel Stains was $2.99 at my local Hobby Lobby). Using a small paint brush, apply the stain to each of the rivets on the case and immediately wipe it off with a cotton cloth or old t-shirt or the like. The stain will remain around the base of the rivets providing an aged look. You can then brush the stain across the rest of the case ensuring that you wipe it off before it can dry. The stain will fill in the subtle pits in the paint and leave you with a decent aged look.
Step 6: Get It Together
You're almost done. Go back to where you left the mouse guts (base) and screws. Hopefully they're still there. Carefully place the new and improved cover over the base (note that the usb cord has a specific tray that it fits in) and put the five screws back into their holes. Place the trackball back in its cradle, plug the mouse into your computer's USB port and ensure that your mouse works as expected. You're done!