Can you Paint a Laptop?

Painted Laptop
Painted Laptop (Source: Amazon)

Laptops are available only in a few standard colors like; grey, black and white. You might have decorated your laptop using skins, covers, and stickers. But, Can you paint the laptop directly?

Painting the laptop yourself would give you more control over the customization, and it’s a fun activity if you are artistic.

In general, Laptops can be painted using safe-to-use paints like acrylic paints. However, paints having a high amount of volatile organic compounds, cobalt, lead, etc., can harm your laptop and your health.

Hand-painted laptop (Source:

Last week, I wanted to add a purple theme to my workspace and laptop. However, I could not find any skins that matched my shade of preference.

So, I decided to paint my laptop. However, it was not as easy as painting on a canvas or furniture. The paint did not stick, and some got inside my keyboard.

Read on to save yourself from disasters while painting and choose the correct paint and method.

Can you Paint a Laptop?

You can certainly paint your laptop’s outer covering to create a customized look.

However, if the paint gets on the screen, webcam, ports, and the bottom of your laptop, it might permanently harm or stain the parts.

You can paint on any kind or brand of laptop as long as you do not paint the screen or touchpad of the laptop.

Can you paint laptop
Painting laptop (source: Amazon)

Advantages of Painting a Laptop

You paint your laptop to decorate it. Yes, that is the primary purpose of painting your laptops.

However, painting your laptop offers more benefits like protecting your laptop and covering the discolorations.

Here are some of the pros of painting your laptop.

  • The laptops usually come in standard colors; black, grey, and white, which can be pretty dull. You can customize your laptop by painting it another color or adding graphics and drawings to them.
  • Your laptop’s casing can be scratched easily. Thick paints like acrylic paint coat your laptop’s case; your paint layer will be peeled first if bumped anywhere, protecting your laptop.
  • The plastic casing of your laptop can discolor easily due to sunlight and heat. You can easily make your laptop look new by painting your laptop evenly.
  • Laptop casings can cost anywhere up to $200. Whereas you can easily paint your laptop using acrylic paint, costing $0.87.
Can you paint laptop
Painted laptop (Source: Pixabay)

Disadvantages of Painting a Laptop

Painting your laptop does upgrade its look. However, it can cause problems like irritation, warranty claiming, etc.

Here are some of the cons of painting your laptop.

  • It will be challenging to use cases and skins as acrylic colors can make the laptop bulky and have an uneven surface.
  • It will void the warranty and decrease resell value of your laptop. The warranty on most laptops will be void if you paint the laptop and scratch off its logo.
  • You might also have problems selling those laptops as not everyone might prefer your custom style.
  • Fumes from the paint can cause irritation and headaches due to volatile organic compound exposure.

According to studies, overexposure to paint can also damage your liver functions. It can also cause nose, eye, and throat irritation.

What Can I Use to Paint my Laptop?

Before we can classify the paints as safe and unsafe for use on laptops, we need to understand some criteria that make them safe or unsafe.

Some criteria like high VOCs and Flammable properties, etc., can make a paint unsafe for use.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): Some paints have very high VOCs solvents, affecting the air quality.

According to research, VOCs, when emitted in the air, can cause breathing problems like asthma when exposed to painting high VOCs paint for even one hour.

Flammable Property: Highly flammable paints containing enamel, alkyd, and lacquer can burn even at flashpoints as low as 100 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

This can worsen the condition if your laptop is exposed to a mere spark of flame.

Fire damage to Laptop
Fire damage to Laptop (Source: Pxfuel)

1. Safe Paints for Painting Laptops

The safest paint that you can use on your laptop is water-based acrylic paints. They are non-toxic and non-flammable paint.

While most acrylic paints are not directly harmful, you need to check for AP (Approved Product) certification; an Art and Craft Materials Institute (ACMI) approved product.

Other paints such as enamels and latex can also be non-toxic, but they need to be low in VOCs, which some brands only offer.

Here are some of the safest non-toxic paints.

Safest paintsFeaturesProduct Image
Speedball Acrylic Paint – Archival Quality, AP Non-ToxicPaint type: Acrylic
Cobalt and cadmium-free
AP certified
Liquitex - 1045889 Professional Heavy Body Acrylic PaintPaint type: Acrylic
Cadmium free
Acrylic Paint Set Non Toxic Acrylic PaintPaint type: Acrylic
Conforms to ASTM D-4236
BEHR Premium Ultra Pure White Semi-Gloss Enamel Zero VOCPaint type: Acrylic
Greenguard Gold Certified to meet standards for low chemical emissions
Afm Safecoat Flat Paint Pastel Base 0 Voc, White GallonPaint type: Enamel
Non Toxic
ideal options for anyone with chemical sensitivities
Old Fashioned Milk Paint Non-VOC Powder PaintPaint type: Milk paint
Natural paint
Non toxic

2. Unsafe Paints for Painting Laptops

Latex paints are not safe to paint the laptop as they have high VOCs quickly emitted into the air.

Although latex paints are safe for users, they can be harmful to children and pregnant women.

Watercolor paints used for arts and crafts on paper do not stick to metal surfaces which can cause the paint to run down the laptop and enter the laptop’s internal parts.

Some water-based paints can also contain formaldehyde or ammonia, which can cause eye irritation and are not the safest paints.

Moreover, spray paints are also not considered safe as they can contain gas propellants, propane, and butane.

According to the New Jersey Department of health, propane and butane are highly flammable and can easily catch fire when sprayed near fire sources.

Any paints with ingredients like cobalt, manganese, cadmium, chromium, and lead can cause side effects to the laptop and your health and should be avoided.

How to Paint a Laptop Properly?

Acrylic paint is the most suitable paint for painting laptops.

However, they clump when they dry if you cant make the paint smooth before applying. So, your laptop might have a rough texture afterward.

However, if you like a slightly grainy texture, you can paint using acrylic paint.

Materials Needed for Painting a Laptop

The materials you require to paint your laptop will differ depending on the kind of painting you want to make.

However, some common items are necessary for painting using acrylic paint.

  • Primer: It helps the paint to coat the laptop better.
  • Painter tape/ Paper tape: It protects the touchpad, screen, ports, etc., and is easy to peel off afterward.
  • Newspaper: Laying the newspaper on keyboards and work surfaces can keep the painting process mess-free.
  • Sandpaper: It sands off the uneven layers and scratches on the laptop.
  • Sealant: You need to use a sealant to protect your paint for a long time.
  • Facemask: Facemask will protect your face from the aerosol of spray paint.

Step 1: Clean the Laptop

The first step is to clean up all the dust and dirt from your laptop’s casing. It is essential to clean your laptop first so that the paint and primer stick well to the laptop’s body.

Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe the dirt, dust, stains, etc., off your laptop. Use a q tip to clean the crevices of logos and hard-to-reach specks of dust.

If you have any logos or stickers, remove them and clean the glue residue. You can use a putty knife to scrape the logos off.

If you can’t get the glue residue off with water, wet a cloth with Ethyl methyl ketone or acetone and scrub the area.

Microfiber cloth laptop cleaning (Source: Amazon)

Read about; What to Use to Clean Laptop/Computer Screen?

Step 2: Remove the Laptop’s Chassis

If you also want to paint the underside of your laptop or do not want to use paper tapes, you have to remove the chassis.

Your keyboard, screen, vents, touchpad, and USB ports can be damaged if the water or paint is spilled on them.

So, it would be best if you protected them by covering them with paper tapes before painting.

Removal of chassis (Source: Wikipedia)

Step 3: Fix the Scratches

If you try to paint a surface with many scratches, the paint will not apply evenly. It would be best to sand out any scratches on your laptop before you start painting.

Use 400 grit sandpaper to smooth the body. It would help if you cleaned the laptop with a mild soap and water mixture before reaching the next steps.

There are other ways of fixing the scratches, too, mentioned below.

Scratch RemoversUsed for
ToothpasteAluminum and plastic laptops
Two parts of baking soda and one part of waterAluminum and plastic laptops
Plastic PolishPlastic laptops
Metal PolishAluminum laptops

Read about; How to Fix Scratch on Laptop Touchpad?

Step 4: Paint the Laptop

Before you paint, you need to apply primer to ensure an even coating. Use Universal Primer for proper adherence of paint to the laptop.

You can paint the laptop using acrylic paint by applying the first thin layer and then letting it dry. Apply six more layers and allow the laptop to dry for a day.

You can either use acrylic paint or spray to paint your laptop.

1. Using Acrylic Paint

After applying the primer layer, you can use paintbrushes and acrylic paint to paint your laptop.

Sketch out the design you want on the primer layer using a pencil, then paint the design you want. If you do not use a primer with acrylic paint, it can chip off more easily.

Acrylic paint (Source: Pixabay)

2. Using Acrylic Paint Aerosols

Spray paint can also be applied layer by layer. However, the spray paint can drip a lot if you are new to the method.

Step 5: Preserve the Design

The acrylic paint will not last forever. It would be best to use Lacquer to ensure the paint does not peel off over time.

You can use spray Lacquer and spray it from a distance of 20 cm. The lacquer can be dried using a hairdryer in a cold setting.

Frequently Asked Questions About Painting a Laptop

How to Dry Painted Laptops?

You can air-dry your laptop by operating a fan near it or leave it in a ventilated room for two days.

You can use hairdryers. But, do not use hairdryers in a hot setting as plastic laptops made from Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) melt at 200°C as per research.

You can use a touch dry method to see if your laptop has dried. Touch the painted portion, and if your finger does not smudge the paint, your laptop is dry.

Can I Paint my MacBook?

Macbooks have smooth surfaces, making paint very difficult to stick to the laptop’s body. So, you should not skip the primer while painting Macbooks.

Another option is to use acrylic paint markers instead of paints.

Use sealers like Krylon K01303007 Acrylic Spray Paint Crystal Clear to set your paint on MacBook.

Can I Paint my Laptops Keyboard?

You can paint your keyboard if you paint each key separately.

However, you have to be extremely careful as even a little water or paint spill inside the keys can cause short circuits.

Painted keyboard (Source: Pixabay)

How can I Repaint my Laptop?

To repaint the laptop, wet a cloth with isopropyl alcohol and gently rub to remove latex-based paints. You can use lacquer thinner to remove oil-based paints.

Isopropyl alcohol works for acrylic paints too. After removing the paint, you can repaint it by cleaning the laptop and applying primer and paint.

Can I Paint my Computer Monitor?

Computer monitors have vents at the back through which paint can seep inside. So, it is riskier to paint a computer monitor than to paint a laptop.

However, you certainly can paint your computer monitor if you protect the screen and the vents.

The best way to paint the computer monitor is to disassemble the monitor and use spray paint.

The steps of painting a monitor are the same as painting your laptop.


Painting your laptop helps personalize your laptop’s look. You can make your laptop stand out from the market products.

However, you need to think before painting our laptop as it can void your warranty.

You can paint your laptop using nontoxic, Ap-certified paints to protect your health. Most acrylic paints are safe for use on your laptop and last long.

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