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Project: Give Your Cell Phone Some Character and Pizzazz

Sure, modding your PC is cool, but how many people get to see it? Keep in mind that you can modify just about any type of case. This means you can also mod items you carry around with you every day. For example, why settle for a premade cell phone cover when you can paint your own design?

You'll first need a few items for this project:

  • Masking tape

  • Model paint (specifically for plastics)

  • Plastic-model filler

  • 400-grit sandpaper

  • Dishwashing soap

Here are some tips specifically for painting cell phone covers:

  1. Completely disassemble the phone. Paint and its fumes can damage the sensitive electronics. Carefully mask off any areas you don't want painted.

  2. Use a paint that's designed for models. This paint is intended for use with plastics and will be the easiest to work with. Krylon Fusion works very well.

  3. Preparation is the key to a good finish. Use plastic-model filler to fill in any nicks or areas you want smoothed out. Sand the cover with a 400-grit sandpaper and wash it thoroughly. Use dishwashing soap or a plastic cleaner that leaves no residue.

  4. When painting, put the spray can in a bowl of warm water (not boiling) for a few minutes. This will help the paint atomize better.

  5. Let the paint dry for at least 48 hours before using the cover. The longer you allow it to dry the better. Before the paint is fully cured, it is still soft and prone to damage. Total curing times vary. Most of the time it takes 30–60 days, but the phone is perfectly useable within that time. See Figure 3.11.

Figure 3.11Figure 3.11 Kathy Cano Murillo, an artist from Phoenix, Arizona, posted this picture of her painted cell phone on her web site at ( Kathy Cano Murillo)

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