How to Paint a PC Case (Complete Guide)


custom painted pc case

 

Can a PC Case be Painted?

A PC case can be painted as long as you take the required precautions. To paint a PC case the case will need to be dismantled so that you can paint the sides and inner surfaces.

Keep in mind that painting a PC case is the last step towards modifying the case. It must be done after all other things that you want to do on the case such as bending, cutting, drilling and so on, have been completed.

You must first decide the color and finish you want for the PC case. The next step is to select the right type of paint for your case. Also, remember to keep some filler handy.

I recommend you practice painting your design on paper before painting on the PC case directly.

You can also go through several videos online to guide you on this. Choose the right place where there is ample ventilation.

Consider opting for Plasti-Dip as it allows you to peel off the paint if you need to for any reason. Also, this allows your paint can to rest in hot water so that the paint gets thinned and generates a fine mist when you do the spray painting.

 

Is it Safe to Spray Paint a Computer Case?

It is generally safe to spray paint a PC case. The frame can be painted and the fan can be painted as long as the fan is removed from the motor assembly. The heatsink, motherboard and power supply should not be painted.

 

Computer Tower Case Frame

There is usually no problem in painting the housing or frame of the PC case.

 

Fan

The fan can be spray painted as long as you can remove the unit from the motor assembly. If not, you must ensure that the paint doesn’t get into the bearings. There should also be no paint on the motherboard or CPU. It’s generally advisable that you paint the blades separately.

 

Heatsink

The heatsink must definitely not be painted as the heat dissipation efficiency will get lowered considerably. This will cause the aluminum to get anodized. As a result, your system will get heated up fast.

 

Front panel connectors and solder points

These should not be painted when you decide to spray paint your PC case.

Remove the components inside before you start painting the PC case as most of them like the motherboard and power supply unit tend to get affected. If this isn’t possible, you must at least tape the case electronics and other parts that must not be painted.

 

Can the PC CPU fan be Painted?

You must bear in mind that if the paint has metal in it, painting the CPU cooler tends to lessen the heat dissipation. You can opt for spray painting the PC CPU fan as long as it is out of the case.

Make sure that the bearings remain free of paint. Also, take care that no paint falls on the motherboard and CPU.

Painting the fan blades may cause imbalance if the paint drips and isn’t applied uniformly. There are chances of the blades becoming noisy because of the weight of the paint. Their longevity may also get affected.

If you plan to paint the blades, then you must turn the fan on to dry after the application. The airflow will help to get rid of the excess paint. However, this can be messy and the paint might splash on the motor, causing damage.

 

What type of paint Should I use on a PC case?

Spray paint is a good choice to use on a PC case. You can also opt for automotive paint, especially if you want to paint the case white.

It’s important that you choose a paint that is compatible with the body material of your PC case.

On the other hand, if you don’t want your PC case to have a glossy appearance, consider choosing paint with a matte or satin finish.

If your paint isn’t premixed with a primer, you must get a primer separately and mix it with your paint. If you’re opting for dark color paint, a black or gray primer is ideal. For light color paint, choose a white or light gray colored primer.

Most people recommend using Plasti-Dip paint with a matte finish. This paint allows you to apply several thin coats on the PC without any paint runs or bubbles. It can also be peeled off easily if you don’t like the result. Some other good options are Rust-Oleum, Krylon and Plastikote.

 

Best Paint to Use on a Metal PC Case

You can use car paint to paint your metal PC case. There is no need for any special heat-resistant paint as the inside of the case is relatively cool.

However, instead of opting for painting with a brush, you can consider using spray paint as it will ensure a smooth finish. Epoxy paint will help to reduce the chances of scratches on the metallic surface.

Most manufacturers use satin or enamel paint for their metal PC cases. If you’re still apprehensive about the right choice of paint, you can consider taking a part of the case to a paint store and getting their expert advice.

You can paint your metal PC case by following the steps given below.

  1. Dismantle the PC case from the front and sides. Also, remove the screws and plastic parts fitted on the case.
  2. Clean the surface to be painted with a soft cloth and cleaning agent to make sure that it’s free of debris.
  3. Apply masking tape over the surfaces that you don’t plan to paint. Fold the ends of the tape so that it can be removed easily later.
  4. Place the panel to be painted on a few newspapers or cardboard to avoid paint on the floor.
  5. Apply a primer over the area to be painted. Ensure that the primer is compatible with the paint that you are going to use.
  6. Apply spray paint on the panel using a quick sweeping action and at different angles. Make sure that you maintain a considerable distance and do the painting in a well-ventilated area.
  7. Let the paint dry completely for an entire day.
  8. Remove the masking tapes that you put earlier on the covered areas.
  9. Reassemble the dismantled PC case.

If you find instances of over-spraying, you can remove the excess paint by rubbing gently with sandpaper.

 

How to Paint the Interior of a PC Case

You can follow the tips given below to paint the interior of your PC case after disassembling it.

  1. Rub the entire area of the interior part of the case that you wish to paint using a scrubbing action. Consider using a Scotch-Brite pad to do this.
  2. Clean the above area once again using a towel and cleaning agent.
  3. Apply a self-etching primer from bottom to top horizontally with a slight overlapping action. Make sure that the primer can is at a considerable distance from the case. You may have to warm up the primer in hot water.
  4. Allow the primer to dry for a couple of minutes and redo the above-mentioned step followed by drying for the duration specified in the primer can.
  5. Sand the case lightly using 600-grit sandpaper.
  6. Wipe the case with isopropyl alcohol followed by a spray of compressed air.
  7. Let the case rest for about 15 minutes.
  8. Warm up the paint and spray it like the primer. Apply a couple of coats with sufficient drying time between them. After the final coat, let it dry for the duration specified in the can.
  9. Rub the case gently with a tack cloth to remove excess drips.
  10. Wet an 800-grit sandpaper and repeat steps 5 and 6 mentioned above.
  11. Warm up the clear coat and apply it just like you did with the paint and primer.
  12. Wet-sand the case with 1000-grit sandpaper.
  13. Clean the inside using isopropyl alcohol.
  14. Spray some compressed air on the case and let it dry for about 15 minutes.
  15. Repeat steps 11 to 13 a couple of times.
  16. Apply the final coat of your clear-coat. Be careful when you do this as there will be no sanding after this.
  17. Allow the case to dry inside the house for a few days.
  18. Put together the dismantled parts and reassemble the case.

 

Tips on Painting a Plastic PC Case

The steps given below will guide you on how to paint your plastic case.

  1. Sand the case gently and completely with a 600-800 grit sandpaper.
  2. Spray the primer over the areas to be painted. You may need to apply four light coats and one thick coat.
  3. Allow the case to dry for some time after each coat is applied.
  4. Spray the paint that is recommended for plastic the same way you applied the primer.
  5. Top up with a clear lacquer epoxy if you want your case to have a reflective finish.

 

Tips on painting aluminum case

The steps given below will guide you on how to paint your plastic case.

  • Mask the surfaces of the case that you don’t want to paint.
  • Wipe the surfaces to be painted with soapy water to get the oil, dirt and grime off. Follow up with a wipe using clean water.
  • Apply a primer over the surfaces you wiped earlier.
  • Wet-sand the metal surface using coarse 600-grit sandpaper.
  • Repeat steps 3 and 4 with ample drying time between each coat.
  • Apply spray paint on the case and remember to keep the paint at a distance of about 12 inches from the surface being painted.
  • Apply a couple of thin coats and allow the paint to dry completely before applying another coat.

A clear coat is often not required on an aluminum case unless it will be handled regularly. 

 

How to paint a PC case

You can follow the steps given here to paint your PC case. You must choose a well-ventilated area for the painting. Also, remember to disconnect the case from the power supply before you start the process.

 

Items Needed

  • Paintbrush or brushes
  • Paper towels
  • Sandpapers
  • Screwdriver
  • Alcohol
  • Paint

 

Method

  1. Open the case from the side and remove the drive cables, hard drive and other drives.
  2. Take off all expansion cards and disconnect the power supply cable from the motherboard.
  3. Remove the motherboard from the case by taking off the screws used to fix it in position.
  4. Remove the power supply unit from the case by detaching its screws present at the back of the case.
  5. Remove any Velcro tape or sticker stuck on the case using sandpaper. This will help to retain the paint on the surface better.
  6. Wipe the case completely using a cloth and rubbing alcohol.
  7. Spray a uniform coat over the case from a distance of 8 to 12 inches. You can apply a second coat and a clear coat after the first coat has dried fully.
  8. Reassemble the computer by putting back the components removed in steps 1 to 4.

It’s a good idea to use several thin coats of paint and paint only after removing the dust inside the case with water and drying thoroughly.

 

How to remove paint from a PC case

You can remove the paint from your PC case using a paint-stripper or an aerosol gasket remover. Use in a well-ventilated area to avoid contact with toxic fumes. Alternatively, a wire brush or sandpaper will also help.

You can use paint stripper to remove the paint by following the steps given below.

  1. Apply the gel-like paint stripper over the area you want the paint to be removed using a brush.
  2. Let it rest for the time specified in the instructions given on the paint stripper container.
  3. Wash the surface with water from a garden hose to get rid of both the stripper and the paint from the PC case once the paint starts bubbling and lifting.

Remember not to allow the stripper to remain for a very long time as it can harden up and make the removal difficult.

Another easy method is to soak a cotton cloth with some paint thinner and scrape the paint off using this.

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