SLIDESHOW

18 Cool and Creative Laptop Mods

Whether your taste runs to Soviet propaganda, Hello Kitty, scary skulls, camouflage, or another unusual theme, there's a laptop mod for you.

Tired of Boring Black, Silver, or White Rectangles?

Some folks out there don't live in the normal laptop world. Instead, they make their laptops their own, changing them with modifications. For this slideshow, we hunted down some of the best laptop mods, including custom cases painted in blazing metallic colors, a "TronBook," a machine in an intricate steampunk style, and even an impossibly girly laptop inspired by Hello Kitty. See if one or more of these masterpieces catches your fancy.

Scorched Earth

Dave Williams’s impressive creation, Scorched Earth, involves a clay-covered laptop lid into which he pinned plaster skulls wired with LED lights.

Image: Courtesy of Bit-Tech.net

Bamboo Painting

Marina paints her Lenovo ThinkPad regularly by hand, using stained-glass paints. A benefit of using these paints, she writes, is that they are easily removed. They last about half a year on a laptop with daily use.

Image: Courtesy of Decorate Everything Around You

Portable Typewriter/Adding Machine

Mary Robinette Kowal preferred a more vintage style for her period-piece laptop mod. She made custom stickers for each key and every area of the laptop, and painstakingly applied them. The spacebar received special treatment too, gaining a thin wood veneer just like old typewriters used to have.

Desert Camouflage

A desert-camouflage-painted laptop looks tough both indoors and out. Notebook Forums user dave621 came up with this "desert digital pattern" after being inspired by a military website. He used a stencil to apply the paint. The good thing about camouflage paint jobs, he notes, is that you don’t have to worry about minor mistakes because they all blend in.

Image: Courtesy of NotebookForums.com

Two Game-Console Laptop Mods

Star modder Ben Heck, aka Benjamin J. Heckendorn, came up with these laptop-mod takes on two game consoles. For more, see his explanation of how he fashioned his versions of the Xbox 360 and the PS3.

Images: Courtesy of BenHeck.com

Stenciled Wave

With the help of Photoshop and some careful cutting, you can put a painting on the back of your laptop. Trevor Shannon converted the famous woodcut painting The Great Wave Off Kanagawa by Hokusai (that's the original artwork at right) into a stencil in Photoshop, and then applied the stencil to a laptop and spray-painted it.

Image: Courtesy of Decorate Everything Around You

Armadillo Laptop

The decoration here is reminiscent of leathery armadillos or snakeskin. Most people aren't accustomed to thinking of laptops as having textured cases; but this one does, thanks to stained-glass paint, which adds personality to a basic black laptop.

Image: Courtesy of Decorate Everything Around You

Soviet Propaganda Style

The custom paint job for this Soviet propaganda-style laptop mod involved coming up with the graphic, sanding the surface of this scratched-up Toshiba Satellite Pro U400, and spray-painting the colors in several layers. A friend of the modder sketched the Russian soldier found on the inside of the laptop.

Image: Courtesy of Hexus.net

Doodle-Book

David K. Every took apart his Apple iBook and inked the black and white pattern and pirate skull on the lid to make what he calls a Doodle-Book. He used alcohol to remove the paint on the laptop lid--a tedious process, apparently, involving a lot of soaking and scrubbing--and then he set off the ink drawing with a spray of silver paint.

Image: Courtesy of Applefritter.com

Datamancer Steampunk

If you’re a fan of the steampunk aesthetic--which mixes Victorian designs and anachronistic technology--and if you have $5500 to spare, this elaborate, hand-crafted laptop/machine by Datamancer can be yours. The 17-inch laptop comes complete with intricate clockworks, engraved designs, recessed gold-foil maps, a key-shaped USB flash drive, and other "paraphrenalic technofetishism."

Image: Courtesy of Datamancer

Hello Kitty

For the kids (or anyone's inner Hello Kitty lover), here’s a pink laptop that doesn’t hold back in its adoration of the Sanrio character. Fabián Jacob, aka FJ!!, uses nail decals, hologram silver decals, pink and red paint, and pink fuzz to say "Hello Kitty" to this laptop.

Image: Courtesy of Exonome.com

Princess of Persia

In this laptop mod, HardForum user ZygoatD took a standard gray Compaq laptop and painted it metallic red for his girlfriend, with some golden symbolic touches that evoke her Persian heritage. Much sanding, priming, filling, sealing, coating, spray-painting, and gold leafing turned it into a Princess of Persia special.

Image: Courtesy of HardForum

Metallic Tribal

Modder megaglowz painted his old black Dell laptop in Metal Specks Burnt Copper paint, and applied automotive pinstriping in a tribal pattern to liven up its looks. He used five coats of paint and five coats of clear, upgraded the internal speakers, and even tossed in a matching fire desktop theme to make this mod really hot.

Image: Courtesy of Bit-Tech.net

Monster Ti

Fans of the TV shows American Chopper and Monster Garage will appreciate the bold style of this laptop mod. As modder Ted Warren describes it, the mod is actually very simple--he used translucent shelving paper as a mask for spray-painting the flames.

Image: Courtesy of Applefritter.com

TronBook

Applefritter user icruise’s laptop mod takes advantage of the (now discontinued) Apple iBook's clear case. He used paint designed for coloring light bulbs on the iBook frame, and replaced the standard palm rest with a transparent one to turn the iBook into a futuristic-looking "TronBook."

Image: Courtesy of Applefritter.com

Ring Mod for Cooling a Laptop

Now for something a little more practical. This ring mod picks up air from outside the laptop and directs it upward into the case to cool the machine. Check out the modder's video to find out more about this addition, as well as two other cooling-mod techniques.

Image: Courtesy of Zenodilodon

DSC DJ Station

This mod, which the maker calls the DSC or DJ Sound Control, is a computer converted into a portable DJ station. The modder used a Lenovo A700 All-in-One PC with a 23-inch multitouch screen. Yes, this isn't actually a laptop mod, but it was too cool to omit! For details, watch a slideshow of the DSC's construction.

Arcade Laptop Dock

This dock is a modified arcade-game cabinet into which the user can dock their laptop to play video games and enjoy that old-school cool at the same time. The modder has a series of videos on his site showing just how he did it. The image on the left shows the laptop hidden to preserve the arcade aura; the right photo shows the laptop sitting in the dock.

Image: Courtesy of Envador