Wanna Customize Your Own Xbox 360 Controller? Here Are Some Ideas
In the past 10 years of online console gaming, the Xbox 360 controller has become the most preferred device to use – which comes as no surprise given the consistent popularity of FPS-shooters (like the Halo and Call of Duty series) as well as the generous amount of exposure the controller received in mainstream media (that patented design can be recognized practically anywhere, whether white or black!). So in terms of recognition, what else could be better than the Xbox 360 controller? Why, customizing your own Xbox 360 controller of course!
Unfortunately I didn’t get an Xbox 360 special bundle that already came with customized skins on the controllers (like the Gears of War 3 or Halo 4 editions), so I’ve had the black ones for the most part. But after scouring the internet for ideas, I’ve come across a couple of them that could be worth your while (and budget!)
Here’s a helpful hint:
Now before we get into the design ideas, I feel like it would be quite useful to share this dated yet useful video on how to disassemble your Xbox 360 controller:
Now this may seem a bit tedious, but I’ve been able to take a controller apart in the past, so as long as you take note of the steps mentioned, you should be fine. More importantly, this prevents further malfunction from the pcb/parts that could be caused by paint/fixative seeping through the controller’s shell, especially if wet.
Option 1: Leave your “mark”
Now suppose you are on a extreme budget, but still wish to put a little zest on your controller, you can always pull out some of your favorite permanent markers to do get the job done. The nice thing about markers is that the contents of the ink makes it waterproof, so once you color in your designs and let it air out, the ink will stay put. And of course, permanent markers come in a variety of tips, colors and finishes (metallic maybe? how about blacklight reactive?), so you pretty much have a multitude of options at your fingertips. Made a mistake while designing? Nothing a little isopropyl alcohol can’t fix, too!
It should be worth noting that with markers, you don’t necessarily have to disassemble your controller, since you can draw around the nubs and buttons (although personal preference is to disassemble all the same). Also, to ensure that your designs stay put, spray on a little fixative and leave for 5-10 minutes just to be sure.
Option 2: Something that “sticks”
Another quick and affordable design idea is to use stickers. These come in
different shapes and sizes, as well as paper or plastic base. This option is a logical one as well – a controller fresh out of the box comes with a sticker with instructions on how to switch it on, so the controller’s surface material is definitely suited to take in stickers.
One thing you have to make sure of when using stickers is that the adhesive tends to wear off due to sweat or moisture, so make sure that you either place the on areas of the controller where it won’t receive moisture, or if they are on surface areas where they are in contact with your hands, make sure your palms are dry. Fixative would add some longevity, just in case.
There are ready-cut stickers out there you can choose from, such as MightySkins’ Protective Vinyl Skin Decal Covers. This variant (featured in tree camo colours) has a patented advanced-air release which makes it easy to install without making a mistake, and can be removed without leaving any sticky gunk. And it’s scratch-proof, too!
If you’re looking for more sticker designs, I’ve got a couple here that you can look into!
Option 3: Spray it on
Now if you’ve got a bit more cash to spend, spray painting your designs is another cool effect you can go for. Spray painting requires a few coats (1 to 2 coats should do the job) and offers a variety of primers (if you want to change the base color), finishes (gloss or matte), textures (matte or metallic) and effects (glow in the dark, blacklight reactive). There are also several techniques you can employ when spray painting your controller, such as:
- base coating then marking over secondary colors with masking tape or painter’s tape; or
- create patterns on stencil (acetate sheets or thick paper would do) then spray through them
This design process does require a bit of time for drying stages (minimum of 10 minutes per coat, 3-4 days after applying the last coating), so patience is a must. It is also important to follow the instructions on the spray can’s warning labels for safety purposes.
Option 4: Nice cover!
Now perhaps you find the process of disassembling the controller too
tedious, but you instead have a bit more resources to add some colour to your pad. Why not consider grabbing a silicone cover then! Silicone cases come already molded and cut to match the controller shape and controls, so all you need to do is pull them on. These cases have great malleability, and so you don’t have to worry about excessive tearing to get the case to jacket over your controller. Some versions even have rubberized markings to reduce hand slippage when used.
A perfect example of this is from HDE’s line of protective silicone skins, like the black one you see here. They provide a natural grip and is non-intrusive for gamers to enjoy.
Keep in mind, however, that the silicone cases may tend to get dust and grime in the small gaps between them and the controller surface. Make sure to remove and clean both the case and pad every so often, not just to maintain the case’s grip, but to also reduce color wear and smudges.
Want to know more about silicone covers not necessarily for the 360 controller? I have some samples for other consoles you might want to check out!
Option 5: The complete overhaul
Finally, if you have a bit more cash on your hands and really want to go for something unique, then changing up your controller’s housing is the best choice (you may recall, I had written about this, but for the PS4 controller). This customization is a full revamp of your default housing, but provides you with multiple finishes and colors. And while this may take more time and expertise, you also get to change the buttons and thumbsticks (some housing shells come with these parts) thus increasing the amount of custom detail for your pad!
If you’re ready to get started on going full housing switch and you like the chrome blue seen in the image, then you’ve got to have a look at this Custom Replacement Wireless Controller Shell Case from HDE, which comes with button set AND 2 screwdrivers – Philips head and Torx (nifty if you want to unscrew the area behind the rumble battery pack).
As with the previous article I wrote about controller shells, none of these are created perfectly in the mold of the stock controller’s body – depending on the way it was manufactured, there’s a remote possibility of some imperfections in size and cuts for the housing. When this happens, feel free to trim or compensate in order to get maintain functionality.
That’s all for now. If you have any more design ideas for controllers and want me to look into it, feel free to leave a comment below. Happy designing!
Categorised in: Custom Controllers