31 August 2015

Project: Shelf Liner Laptop Makeover

I have a somewhat unusual laptop. It's a Dell Latitude 2120 netbook, designed primarily for use in schools and offices, which I got a few years ago through my school's partnership with Dell. The case is rather bulky and coated in a textured, rubberized material, and I got mine in red since that's my school color. (Trivia fact: it's the same model and color as Troy's laptop in Season 1 of Community.) It's very institutional-looking, and the rubbery coating has gotten weirdly shiny in some patches in dull in others over time. Since nobody makes laptop stickers and skins for my particular model, I decided to experiment with self-adhesive shelf liner to give my computer a facelift. I was pleasantly surprised by how well it worked!

I knew the red edges of my laptop would show a bit even after I covered the lid, so I picked this red-and-white trellis patterned shelf liner to coordinate. I measured my lid carefully and cut the paper just slightly smaller than the top of the lid, figuring that it was easier to allow for a small border than to get an exact fit. It was a little tricky to get the size just right and trickier still to get straight edges, even with the aid of a scrapbooking paper trimmer. In the end my edges turned out slightly wobbly, but I don't think it's particularly noticeable.

I love how much prettier my laptop looks since covering it, and now it isn't an eyesore sitting on my desk when not in use. Overall this was a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to spruce up an aging laptop, and I'm glad I gave this project a try. A couple of notes for those interested in trying this themselves: the shelf liner removed  cleanly when I tested a scrap piece, but I don't know if it will leave residue if left on for a long period of time or if used on a laptop with a different outer finish. Also, clean your laptop exterior really well before applying the paper for best sticking power, and use a paper napkin or soft cloth to buff out any air bubbles beneath the paper.

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