Mercury Power, Make Up!
October 25, 2013 6:23 AM   Subscribe

I have a blue Nintendo 3DS XL. Sailor Mercury has a blue flip-top Super Computer. The difference (apart from magical powers) is a gold symbol decal on the back. How can I get that onto mine? This is not for cosplay. It is for playing games in public and feeling supremely cool.

I am crafty and have some experience wielding an exacto knife back in my paper sculpture days; I own my own self healing mats and can generally make good educated guesses about art materials. But I've never worked with vinyl, or the shiny, slightly pearlized plastic of the 3DS casing. I definitely don't want to mess up the device's surface in any way, so I think anything that involves a sealant, like hand-painting the symbol, is out.

Would vinyl work? Where can I get just a sheet of it in gold, since it only seems to be sold in enormous rolls and I really only need about 4 square inches for the final project, and do you have any tips for me, a novice? What's the difference between a permanent decal and one that isn't?

Do things like cut-your-own metallic gold sticker paper exist? Is there transparent sticker paper I could paint with gold paint and seal and then apply to the 3DS?

Do you have better ideas? I am not aiming for the final object to look like it does in the source material, but rather like an actual object that would exist in reality, so I want the decal to look as much like it belongs as it can. But I'm worried about messing up the casing, or whatever I use getting abused and flaking/falling off. Do you have any experiences to share in this respect?

I don't have much of a budget for this and am not looking to learn an entirely new medium; consider this a one-off project. But I want it to look as good as possible. If there is no comfortable middle ground, here, please let me know. Is there somebody I can pay to do this?
posted by Mizu to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
You can get vinyl wrap sample sheets on Amazon for cheap. This one is a gold carbon fiber texture, but you might be able to find regular gold if you dig around.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:36 AM on October 25, 2013

Well, if you can make a vector art version of the ankh-like thing, you can take that to most sign shops and they can use their vinyl cutter to cut it out of their vinyl for a reasonable price. The hitch is that a vinyl sticker will shift and move around on you. You could do an inverted version of the vinyl art and use the vinyl as a stencil with plastic-bonding gold paint, but the permanence and risk factors are much higher there.

But for the price and the risk, make up a vector version of it and fish around local sign shops. It's their bread and butter, really.
posted by Kyol at 6:37 AM on October 25, 2013


B) Sticky-backed vinyl (like Contact Paper!) is exactly what you want for this. Hit the nearest craft store and have a look at their Contact Paper section - you'll probably end up with a roll, but it'll be a small roll, and that gives you the ability to experiment a bit with the size/quality before you pick your perfect version.

Make yourself a template, cut the vinyl on your mat, stick on as needed. It might get a bit abused, but anything you do, apart from actually engraving and filling it in with real gold, will get abused. And the roll of vinyl means you can make a pile and stick them on everything.
posted by Katemonkey at 6:41 AM on October 25, 2013

Oh! And examples of wear-and-tear:

My netbook has a strip of mirrored contact paper-like vinyl on the back *cough* To make it look like Jensen's *cough*, and that has lasted through being carried around a few places. Right now, it's just sitting in one place, but it's stood up well for a few years. However, it is a single strip without any fancy elements.

On the other hand, the vinyl Iron Man sticker I have on my phone case has been on for like a year and a half and you can't really tell it's Iron Man any more - the picture's nearly all gone.

But I think that while yours will get some wear and tear being in your bag when you're not using it, it should last up pretty well.
posted by Katemonkey at 6:49 AM on October 25, 2013

Do things like cut-your-own metallic gold sticker paper exist?

posted by phunniemee at 7:24 AM on October 25, 2013

Best answer: Relevant.
posted by griphus at 12:42 PM on November 10, 2013

Response by poster: Wow griphus, thank you! I'm going to be patient and then throw my money at those people, instead of wasting it on a project I ultimately won't be as happy with.
posted by Mizu at 3:03 PM on November 10, 2013

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