How to Paint Video Game Controllers

How to Paint Video Game Controllers

Summary: We did ALL the research to show you how to paint customized video game controllers. 

Maximize Your Gaming Experience

If you're a gamer tired of Fortnight skins, it's time to get some "skin in the game" - and paint your controller! Many PS4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch players would love to get their hands on one of these. 

Nintendo Switch

Customized and handcrafted controllers are fully customizable and allow you to personalize key areas of design & function to match your style. Pro gamers like having something that shows both their personality and clout. 

red ps4 controller

Discerning mothers like having their children not fight over identical controllers, and so may be motivated to pick this up as a fun family project.  

Collectors enjoy framing something like the below on a mantle-piece. You may not be able to achieve the results Devin Smith gets with his custom controllers - as he adds in other elements besides color, including fabric, metal, and polymers. 

end of line designs god of war controller

God of War design by Devin Smith of @end_of_line_designs

Whether you're doing it for yourself, as a gift to a friend, or are looking to professionally get started as a console and controller designer, here's where to start. These materials and instructions serve as the building blocks for a custom game controller designer's empire.  

Materials Needed to Customize A Controller

-Very small Flat-head screwdriver - to open the controller up

-Very small Phillips-head screwdriver - to open up the interior directional pad

-Tape - blue painter's tape works well as it is clearly visible, you can rip it with your hands (no scissors required). Taps is used to keep paint off the surface which you want to cover

-Spray Paint - make sure the spray-paint binds to plastic!  

-Tweezers - to work in hard to reach areas 

-Stickers - for spicy memes and branding

Disassembly Required 

Disassembly and assembly required. xbox one disassembled pieces

To get started, fully disassemble your Xbox, PS4, or Nintendo Switch controller. Be sure to set a work area where none of the buttons, triggers, directional pads, springs, and screws can get lost; hard tile floors are preferable to carpet; a work bench is preferable to working on the floor - but we respect your lifestyle choice. 

Disassembly can be one of the hardest parts of the process. If you run into any trouble you can always search online for the following:

  • "disassemble ps4 controller"
  • "open up wii controller"
  • "take apart xbox controller without breaking it"

You'll be left with the external "shell / faceplates" (including the buttons, trigger buttons, and directional pad) and a variety of internal parts. Leave these internal parts (screws, springs, chips, wires) to the side, you will need them again when you re-assemble the device. 


Wash whatever surface you will paint.

Use water and hand soap or dish soap to clean the faceplates, buttons, and directional pads of any dirt, grime or Cheeto stains. You want a nice clean surface the paint can stick to. 

Let dry for at least an hour. You may use a towel to speed up the drying process.

Spray Painting

Lay down cardboard or magazines as your work area. Work outside, in an open garage, or in a well ventilated area. 

Paint the external of the Xbox controller shell

Read the paint instructions provided. Shake up the can as many minutes as required; this breaks up the paint. Test the paint on a far away surface to make sure paint doesn't clump or splatter. Spray for 2 to 3 coats, allowing rest for 30 minutes on each coat. 

The more coats, the brighter the results.

Creative Ideas

How To Custom Paint Your Xbox Controller Matt Carl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMk9O1fZ3Vg&t=187s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMk9O1fZ3Vg&t=187s How To Custom Paint Your Xbox Controller

How To Custom Paint Your Xbox Controller https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMk9O1fZ3Vg&t=187s paint it black Matt

Removed the tape

How To Custom Paint Your Xbox Controller https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMk9O1fZ3Vg&t=187s orange black xbox controller

How To Custom Paint Your Xbox Controller - disassembly and painting - pictures courtesy of Matt Carl, mechanical engineer


Let the paint sit for about 24-48 hours before reassembling all the pieces back together. 

Time to play some Halo! 

Halo Co-op

Remember when split-screen co-op was a thing? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

When you'd get mad at your friends for screen-watching but you were screen-watching too. 

Back in those days, someone had to use the broken controller. Usually the broken controller was the one which would fritz out and not work so well; the one not made by the original manufacturer, but by some offshoot company. My, how the world has changed since then. 

Accessible Gaming for All

Custom video game controllers are not only functional and aesthetic, but built with accessibility in mind too. Adaptive controllers enable individuals with disabilities to participate in. We want to applaud the work of custom-made console designers, engineers, and programmers. 

Their work not only looks cool, but enables a new generation of gamers with physical limitations to feel just like every other kid - and enjoy the fun of video games. 

My advice: "Treasure your youth while you have it. Halo 2 comes but once in a lifetime."

If you liked this article, you'll love the Dragon Ball Z special

Leather Care Supply logo splash red

Sneakerheads should check out Nike, Adidas, New Balance, and Vans online custom shoe program that lets you customize every inch of the shoe. 

Would we mention our own products?

 obviously gif 

Leather Care Supply Custom Video Game controllers article products

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Artists - If you already have a lot of followers and want Leather Care Supply to sponsor you with spray paint, brushes, and supplies email gm@leathercaresupply.com 

Share this article with a friend who's played Halo!

Halo 2 screenshot

Until next time friends!

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