How to mod your laptop

Have you ever wanted to liven up your laptop's looks? Here's how to spruce up your portable PC with stickers, paint, fabric, and more.

How do you change the look of a laptop? I mean really change its look--just shifting around the wallpaper, screensaver, or Windows color theme doesn't count.

This is a bigger task than you might expect, especially if you've tried modding a desktop PC. Shiny new cases, LED fans, all sorts of spray paint and side panels--those guys have it easy.

Laptops aren't quite so moddable, since you basically have only one case to work with. But whether you just want a quick makeover or are willing to throw caution to the wind, we have some quick tips and ideas to make it prettier, uglier, or just plain more noticeable than your average portable PC.

But tread carefully. Electronics and water don't mix; electronics and clay, paint, or adhesive really don't mix, and it's not as if you can just replace your laptop's motherboard and go about your business. Proceed with caution, and do your best to make sure your laptop doesn't show up in our Trashed Laptops slideshow.

Gelaskins: Stickers For Your Laptop

194178-34_lukechueh_guitargero_500-white_original

If the thought of taking a screwdriver and some paint to your laptop makes you squeamish, don't worry--you can still liven up the feel of your notebook without almost destroying it in the process. Try checking out Gelaskins, both a Website and a product that comes as a single huge sticker that you can apply to the external (and sometimes internal) sections of your laptop.

If you're turned off by the prices or patterns, don't fret: Plenty of online companies sell similar products of different varieties, including decalgirl.com, zagg.com, and skinit.com, to name a few.

194178-gelaskincraigcmehil_original

Find a product that meets your notebook's dimensions and order up your favorite design. Once your skin arrives in the mail, unpeel it and carefully apply it as straight as you can to the correct part of your laptop.

You can use a credit card to smooth out any excess air bubbles, but try to apply the skin in such a way as to avoid that step entirely.

194178-34_lyleowerko_boomboxii_500-white_original

You get only one shot to make your applied-skin mod perfect, so feel free to take all the time in the world to line up the skin so it's exactly how you want it to be.

While you can remove your skin if you muck things up, you run the risk of having a bit of adhesive (or a bit of sticker, if you accidentally rip it) remaining on your laptop's exterior.

If stickers aren't your thing, you can also pick up a large plastic shell that fits around the top and bottom halves of your device and, with luck, changes the look and color of the laptop entirely. It's tough to locate such shells for PCs, but Apple fans can find solace in the unique polycarbonate designs of a company called Speck.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags notebooksmodding

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

David Murphy

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?