How can I best spray paint my white Macbook's exterior?
March 18, 2009 7:51 AM   Subscribe

How can I best spray paint my white Macbook's exterior?

I'd like to (durably) paint the outside of my white macbook. I've got experience with spray paints and stencils, but as the outside of my mac is glossy plastic, I wouldn't know how to best make the paint adhere. Is this possible, or will I just have to sticker the hell outta it instead?

Thanks in advance
posted by ilumos to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This is what I'd try.
posted by Lou Stuells at 8:11 AM on March 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

You might also try scuffing up the surface with a fine to medium grade sandpaper before spraying.
posted by Bango Skank at 8:19 AM on March 18, 2009

I would be really wary of spray painting expensive electronics... I would try and find a trashed macbook for testing.

This thread has some good information about spray paint. You might also look at this AskMeFi. Here are two laptop painting tutorials.
posted by gregr at 8:28 AM on March 18, 2009

First think I would do is remove the display so you're only working with plastics, not electric components. iFixit has a good guide to removing the display that will get you as far as the whole top piece. I would go a step further and remove the lcd so it's just plastic but if you're not as anal retentive you could probably safely tape off and cover the LCD and be alright.

Then go for the spray paint listed above and you're good to go. If you decide to sand first I would go for a very fine grit, just enough to give it less gloss and help the paint adhere.
posted by genial at 8:50 AM on March 18, 2009

You definitely need to sand it so it isn't glossy, even if you use that Fusion paint. It's likely that it will wear off over time as well. That's what I've experienced anyway.
posted by orme at 10:01 AM on March 18, 2009

Have you looked into applying some sort of cover to the laptop instead of painting? A white plastic shell perhaps?
posted by Doctor Suarez at 10:23 AM on March 18, 2009

I've spray painted a number of plastic Laptop cases and similar things, and some very glossy ceramic surfaces... but not a glossy MacBook.

- DISASSEMBLE everything, so you're only working with the case. You may think that it's possible to fully mask off all the parts you don't want to paint (or expose to lacquer fumes... like the screen), but it isn't.

- CLEAN the case thoroughly.

- SAND everything to a slightly rough texture with a medium grit sandpaper (220-320 grit). Then go over it with a tack rag to remove any remaining plastic dust.

- PRIME. I've had good results with Bullseye. Consider two coats of this stuff, separated by a couple of hours.

- PAINT. At this point, just about any paint will stick to the primer, but I like hard enamel. Automotive and model paint provides the most unique colors. Remember, thin, even sprays are much better than a heavy coat.

- WET SAND. 600 grit. This polishes out any imperfections, and prepares the surface for...

- PAINT. The key to a flawless finish is multiple coats.

- WET SAND. 600-800 grit.

- CLEAR COAT. This is the key to longevity. Find a clear lacquer, either glossy or matte. Apply multiple, thin coats.

- WAIT. Wait four or five days after the last clear coat, then...

- WET SAND. 1600-2000+ grit. This is really just to knock down any high spots, or orange-peel textures somewhat, before you...

- POLISH. Use some buffing compound and a buffing wheel to polish your surface up to a nice shine.

- WAX. You've just built an automotive-like surface, you can use carnauba wax on it if you want (this will help reduce fingerprints, and further protect the surface).

posted by toxic at 10:39 AM on March 18, 2009 [4 favorites]

The best way to paint your Macbook might be to hire it out to a company like Colorware. They've been doing this sort of thing for a few years now.
posted by Jeff Howard at 11:34 AM on March 18, 2009

Do as toxic says. Also, be wary of closing up any venting ports/grills try not to overpaint them as your laptop is going to be harder to cool.
posted by wongcorgi at 12:39 PM on March 18, 2009

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