DIY Laptop Skins

DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

In this DIY, we marry analog and handmade concepts with new technology and materials. I usually roll my eyes at projects that lean too heavily on a service or prepackaged good, but I’m excited to share inspiring new tools and materials with loads of creative applications. Using my smartphone’s camera, I photographed a hand-drawn doodle and compositions of delicate flowers to make my own Custom Laptop Skin. Actually, it’s re-positionable wallpaper printed by Spoonflower, but it adheres well to any smooth surface so you can go crazy covering your walls, notebooks, phone and laptop.

Originally, I wanted to make a skin from a single image that spread across the laptop, but Spoonflower’s program is best designed for creating repeat patterns. You can use pre-existing images, but keep in mind that imagery that requires a fixed orientation, like a standard snapshot, might not work as well as a repeat pattern. Graphic imagery and patterns work best.

I visited my favorite flower shop in Brooklyn, Park Deli, who have the best funky, fun and colorful flowers. I played around arranging the flowers on paper and shot images with my phone. These images, which I link to in full resolution after the jump, were then turned into peel-and-stick wallpaper. The flowers made for interesting repeat pattern designs, and I loved the idea of my laptop having a softer edge. Don’t limit yourself to just flowers, though. Think of all the fun objects, sketches, and doodles that you can shoot and turn into your own custom peel-and-stick paper — the possibilities are truly endless. —Jessica

DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

DIY laptop skin project for Design Sponge
DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design SpongeHere are the smartphone photographs I shot in full resolution (after some cropping) clockwise from the top left: one, two, three, four, and the doodle image here. Feel free to use them to make your own laptop skin, custom wallpaper or even a screen saver.

Supplies

– Photo or drawing
– Large poster board paper
– White foam core (optional)
– Re-positionable wallpaper
– Pencil
– Scissors

Instructions

DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design SpongeStep 1: Compose a photo or create a drawing. I laid flowers on colored poster board and the drawing close to a window and used small panels of white foam core opposite of the window to help bounce light onto the subject. Even lighting is the goal, and bright window light is ideal. It’s softer than direct sunlight, which can have harsh shadows.DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design SpongeDIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

Step 2: Edit your image using your favorite editing app. I like Afterlight (.99) and Snapseed (free) for post-processing my smartphone pictures. For the image of the drawing, I converted the image to black and white by completely desaturating the image using the saturation tool and bumped the contrast all the way up so that it would look crisp and graphic. For the flower images, I kept the processing to a minimum, making minor tweaks to the contrast, saturation, and sharpening them a bit, too. I also cropped all the images to the edge of the colored backdrop.

Before – Straight from my phone DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge After – Cropped, desaturated and contrast bumped up.DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

Step 3: Upload and order your image from Spoonflower. There are other places to print custom wallpaper, but I found Spoonflower to be the most economical. Choose Wallpaper > Peel and Stick (repositionable) Woven > Swatch (2’ x 1’). One swatch is enough to cover a 15” laptop with some leftover for another small object. Once you’ve uploaded your image, there are built-in options to play with to change the wallpaper’s appearance, like how the pattern repeats (basic, half-drop, half-brick and mirror) and the design size. I toggled through the options to see what worked best for each image.

Tip: On the left hand panel there’s an “Edit with PicMonkey” option where you can rotate your image, which is helpful to create an interesting repeat. Many of my images need to be rotated upside down to properly repeat, and I used this built-in feature to do it.

Step 4: Once you get your wallpaper, lay it flat and position your laptop where you’d like the image. Trace around your laptop and cut.DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

Step 5: It’s easy to apply, just peel and stick. It’s re-positionable, so if you need to adjust that’s easy to do. Peel one end of the paper, and working from the top corner to the bottom, stick the paper and smooth out any air pockets. Boom! You got a custom laptop skin with enough leftover to make a custom decal, or cover a small notebook. DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

DIY Laptop Skin Using images from your smartphone by Jessica Marquez for Design Sponge

DIY laptop skin project for Design Sponge

  1. Aleksandra says:

    That is so very pretty. Luckily my laptop already has a dragon on it or I would have to lose an evening to this ! :)

  2. Marty says:

    Well isn’t this just the best. Genius. I love it.

  3. Natalie says:

    This is so great – I can’t believe how simple it is!

  4. Kali says:

    This is really beautiful – I like the flower ones! Great idea:-)
    Kali

  5. Clara says:

    So clever! Thank you for the how-to.

  6. Rebecca M says:

    I have a new work laptop that we are encouraged to decorate. I love the idea of creating my own image (or borrowing one of yours.) Thank you!

  7. Stephanie says:

    The one I loved was number 3 (the black one) but unfortunately it is linked to the wrong photo, would we be able to get the new link please? Thanks heaps! Love it!

    1. Hi Stephanie, Thanks so much! The black image is #4. What are you up to- making a laptop skin?

  8. Rebecca F. says:

    That’s a wonderful idea for using stick-on wallpaper! I actually have several scraps of stick-on wallpaper from prior work and a laptop that’s seen better days (I carry it everywhere as part of my business. I’m thinking I can take a few those scraps and piece them together for my own laptop. Thank you for the inspiration!

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