Learn how to make your own custom DIY Laptop Skin easily with Printable Vinyl! Print any design you like at home with your regular printer! It’s easy to do, and don’t worry, I will walk you through all the steps. This post was originally shared by me over at the Expressions Vinyl blog and also contains affiliate links, which help to support this site. Thanks!
I got the idea in my head a few months ago that I really wanted to add a fun pattern to my laptop. I use the thing all the time, and I just wanted to make it a little more happy! I had also been wanting to try out some printable vinyl, and a DIY laptop skin seemed like the perfect opportunity to try the stuff out!
Guys – I’m so glad I gave it a try! Now I get to look at these cheery little cacti every time I get to work. Aren’t they cute? And the good news is it turned out this DIY laptop skin was really easy to make, and I thought you guys might want to know how to make your own too, so I’m going to show you the whole process today. 🙂
Want to customize your own devices or make your own personalized vinyl decals? Let’s do it!
DIY Laptop Skin Supplies:
- Inkjet Printable Vinyl
- Vinyl Laminate Overlay (Economy has a matte finish and Premium has a glossy finish. I used Economy/Matte)
- Application Tool (an old credit card works well too)
- Inkjet Printer
- Silhouette Cameo or Scissors
Before we start, I think it is important to note that the printable vinyl has a permanent adhesive, which means it may be difficult to remove or even damage some surfaces when removed. In other words, don’t apply this stuff to any family heirlooms. You may want to test a scrap of vinyl on the bottom of your laptop before applying your skin if you are concerned.
The first step to making your own DIY laptop skin is to find a design or pattern you like or make your own. I found this cute little cactus pattern by Anna Deegan, which is available in the Adobe Creative Cloud. In my photo editing software, I put the pattern into a rounded rectangle the size of my laptop.
Next, I opened the rectangle in my Silhouette studio software and made sure it was scaled to print the right size. Because my laptop is 13 inches wide, I had to print the skin on two sheets and piece it together on the laptop. To do this, I placed the image so that half of it fit on the page, and then used the straight knife to cut it in half. Hold down shift as you drag to keep your cut perfectly straight. [If you don’t have a Silhouette and are printing and cutting by hand, then you will just need to scale to size and cut in half in your photo editing software (photoshop or gimp).]
I used Silhouette’s print and cut feature, which uses the machine’s optic eye to cut around your printed design, but since the shape is so simple, you could absolutely cut it out with a pair of scissors or a paper trimmer. To use the print and cut feature, you will have to trace around your image to tell the machine where to cut.
To trace your design, draw a rectangle around the shape to select the trace area. Uncheck the “High Pass Filter” box and slide the threshold all the way up to 100. Then click trace outer edge. This should draw a cut line around the outside of your design.
Now send the image to your printer. But before you cut your design, we have to do one thing – apply the vinyl laminate. Vinyl laminate is a thin, clear overlay that protects your printed design so it will last and hold up to wear and tear. (I really recommend not skipping the vinyl laminate overlay. I don’t know how the printable vinyl holds up without it!)
Start by cutting a piece of the vinyl laminate down to the same size as your paper, 8.5″ x 11″ in this case.
Then peel the backing away from the top of the vinyl laminate and carefully line it up with the top of the printed vinyl sheet. Slowly smooth the laminate down onto the printed sheet as you pull away the backing.
Burnish the laminate onto the printed sheet with your application tool to make sure it is really stuck on to the vinyl well without any bubbles.
Once the design has been printed, and the laminate has been applied, you are ready to cut! Either load it into your Silhouette, or put your scissors/ paper trimmer to work.
Next step, applying the skin! With the backing still on, position the two pieces so they fit, centered, on your laptop. Tape one half down in place with the backing still on. Next, peel the backing off of the other half and carefully line up the center edge with the first half. Slowly press it down onto your laptop, smoothing it down with your fingers and/or your application tool as you go.
Finally, repeat the process with the other half. Be sure to really burnish the decal onto your laptop with the application tool to make sure it is really on there, and that’s it! Your DIY laptop skin is all done.
I really love my laptop’s new look, and I especially love how inexpensive and easy it was to create the exact design I wanted.
I actually finished this project several months ago, and I have to say, I’ve been really impressed with how well the laptop has held up! I was concerned about the ink smearing or rubbing off, but from what I have seen, the printable vinyl wears really well when paired with the vinyl laminate. I definitely see more printable vinyl projects in my future!
Hey Psst – If you want to learn more tips and techniques for working with vinyl, I have a great new resource! My new Craftsy course, Silhouette Saavy: Venture into Vinyl. It’s an online video course that will teach you everything you need to know to make vinyl projects with your Silhouette. We make everything from large wall decals to t-shirts to an etched mirror – it’s a lot of fun.
Okay, that’s it for today! If you make your own DIY laptop skin, I would love to see it! Share your photos to my facebook page or tag me on instagram or twitter (@persialou), and don’t forget to use the hashtag #persialou for a chance to be featured.
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