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”


Customize-Your-Own-Xbox360-Controller-markersNow 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


Customize-Your-Own-Xbox360-Controller-paintNow 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:

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 wanna-customize-your-own-xbox-360-controller-here-are-some-ideas-hde-black-silicone-cover
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 wanna-customize-your-own-xbox-360-controller-here-are-some-ideas-hde-chrome-controller-shellfor 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!


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30 Comments

  • Marc says:

    Hey Raphy

    Thanks for a great post. I am now full of new ideas and on my way to my workshop to get started customizing my controller.

    Especially liking the idea of spray painting, but have always been hesitant to strip my controller. Your video has left me feeling much more confident now man. thanks.

    Just in case I don’t win with the DIY aspect 😉
    Are there any particular housings that you would recommend having a look at?

    I have found a few locally, but nothing that really stands out.

    • Raphy says:

      Hey Marc,

      Thanks for the comment! Yeah I know what you mean about stripping the controller – it’s very daunting from the onset. It’s a good thing tht video had great information on how to do it!

      If you’re looking into housings, though, I’d recommend something along the lines of the HDE Custom Replacement Wireless Game Controller Shell Case – they’ve got an awesome line of chrome finishes and also come with Torx and Philips head screwdrivers (handy!)

      Hope that helps!

  • The Fat Guy says:

    Hello Raphy,
    Great article about customizing the 360 controller. I did not think about painting them, I have bought stickers and even custom covers for them.
    I am not artsy enough to drawn on them with markers it would not look good.
    I like you ideas and you have definitely given me food for thought about this, I look forward to doing more customization.
    Thanks,
    San

    • Raphy says:

      Glad to help, San! It’s always exciting to customize a controller coz of the numerous possibilities. At the end of the day, though, it’s important to feel happy about making it your own. Nothing beats the thrill of having a unique controller to show off to your peers!

  • James says:

    Hey Raphy, I am personally an Xbox 360 gamer myself and have never actually considered customizing my controllers… Whether this is because my arty skills are close to zero, or because I haven’t had the money to get them customized, I’m not sure, but it’s definitely something I could do!

    I really like how you gave different methods for different budgets, as this gives an option for nearly everybody. Another option that I’ve looked into myself is getting a ‘modded controller’ from a site such as Evil Controllers, as you can get some really awesome customization from there, but they’re expensive.

    • Raphy says:

      Thanks James! I think the hesitation on customizing a controller boils down to 2 things: what kind of design to put and how to go about putting it. Once you get over either, the rest should be fun! I also want to say that to take your time customizing it when you do take the leap, as all details need extra care.

      Yeah Evil Controllers is pretty expensive! They have an amazing assortment of modded controllers in their store and they even carry lefty and righty one-handers, too! The nice thing about getting from them is the shell of the controller fits nicely. Some housings run the risk of being slightly off-scale, so it’s a bonus that the Evil Controller line are built snug to the inners

  • alicia says:

    Very informative site. I like the idea of using permanent marker to decorate your controller. It’s cheap and we can design it according to our like. Why i never think about that? I usually just buy cover that look great and put it on my controller. Thanks for the idea 🙂

    • Raphy says:

      Not a problem, Alicia! Yeah, using permanent markers were a nifty option because of its availability, and not to mention it’s one of the least intrusive design ideas, if you’re not into stripping your controller open. Good luck!

  • Norleila says:

    Hi Raphy.
    You have great ideas on customizing your own xbox 360 controller. It doesn’t look so difficult but I think the stickers sound the simplest.
    Do they have stickers that are ready-made and where could we get them from?
    As far as the silicone cover is concerned, do you think it’s comfortable on the hand? I don’t want it to affect my game concentration.
    Looking forward to your suggestions.
    ~Norleila

    • Raphy says:

      Hi Norleila! Stickers are definitely one of the easier design customizations out there, as they come pre-cut already. In fact, some are even bundled with a sticker for the console, too! I would recommend the Protective Vinyl Decal Skin Cover from MightySkins – the gloss lamination guarantees no scratches or fades, plus the vinyl has a patented advanced air-release making installation and removal mess-free.

      One production flaw that makes silicone covers disruptive to play is the part where the edges meet, as there is some overlap to ensure full casting on the controller. But for the most part, there are silicone covers from HDE that have a nice, natural grip to it that is non-intrusive to the gamer. As long as you don’t use it with the chatpad (which makes it hard to slide the silicone over), you got a really good protective and natural-feeling cover. Hope that helps

  • MForgacs says:

    Your headers really stand out and are very punny. I love that! You show that you have experience and know what you’re talking about, and it’s great to know that you do. These are good ideas that I might use for my own controller. It doesn’t look as hard as it seems! Where are some places I can get a skin or cover for my controller?

    Cheers
    MF

  • John says:

    Raphy,
    My son has a Xbox 1. Will the same procedure work for taking apart and painting. He wanted a camo controller, it was like $70, I told him not now. Maybe I can suprise him with a camo one for a lot less money. Did not know you could customize your controller with so many options. The next time he goes to his friends house to play, he would have something really different.
    John.

    • Raphy says:

      Hi John! I’m with you on that – buying gaming accessories or peripherals can be a huge expense over time, so buying new controllers definitely put our wallets in a pinch! You can definitely give him a camo version for more than half the price.

      If it helps, I found a bunch of designs – it might be for the PS4 but ModFreakz (the guys who did the hyrdro-dip covers) has versions for Xbox One and they have camo designs there. Hydro-dipping brings a nice, clean finish that looks natural on top of the controller plastic shell. Hopefully their designs may be the ones you choose! I’m sure your son would love it. 🙂

  • Roger Lee says:

    I’m don’t have an xbox, but I’m a gamer and I love to do some little awesome stuff like customization on my gear for that extra awesomeness. This article is just excellent for that kind of stuff, Hope you do more for PS4 (because that’s what I own), I could use some customization tips. Great page, Hope to see more of it.

  • Kyle says:

    Hello, thank you, I didn’t realize you could customize your own xbox 360 controller so much! I’ll definitely have to try it out!

    Kyle

    • Raphy says:

      Yes, most definitely! Even with the Xbox 360 being on its last set of legs, there’s still a vast assortment of controller customizations available. I say, give it a shot! The possibilities for vinyl stickers and custom housings are the more popular ones, but at the same time protective silicone and href=”https://gamingcontrollersforyou.com/squidgrip-review-improving-your-gaming-grasp-with-these-game-controller-grips” rel=”nofollow”>grips are no slouches, either. Finally, it’s all about what suits you and feels like you, so it’s important to make it your own. Happy customizing!

  • Daniel says:

    Great info Raphy, I’m a huge gamer myself but I’ve never tried customizing my 360 controller on my own. It definitely would save money if you plan to buy a custom controller but now you can do it on your own. Awesome website by the way, I’ll be sure to check it out more.

    • Raphy says:

      Buying a custom controller is definitely worth the amount you shell out, but of course it’ll all depend on what kind of customization you’re looking for – the really good ones out there are controllers that give you the liberty to add more trigger buttons or switch out an analog stick for a d-pad; These value for these are better because the controller becomes suited to you and not the other way around.

      If you’re looking for just minimal aesthetic changes, it’s preferential – whether it’s a new grip, fancy sticker, outer protection, full shell replacement or augmented buttons, there are plenty of ways to go about it, all of which I can highly recommend.

  • Hannah says:

    These ideas for customizing your xbox 360 controller are awesome!

    I never knew there were so many different resources for pimping up your controller. I like the idea of spray painting it with a stencil or using stickers. I do consider myself a bit of an artist so I would like to try making my own stencils and having a go at spraypainting it.

    Nice one. I really enjoyed this post.
    Hannah.

    • Raphy says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! I think a lot of the hesitation when it comes to customizing controllers is due to lack of awareness for the different options that are available. And more often than not, these ideas are pretty inexpensive.

      I would say, though, that it’s best to put some kind of protective coating on your controller after spray painting. A couple of fixative coats and topping it off with some good quality silicone covers should do the trick.

  • Paul says:

    These are some pretty sweet Xbox 360 controller customization ideas Raphy. I haven’t used my Xbox 360 controller in a couple years since the console is becoming obsolete, but I can see myself using the controller for games on my PC. I think I’d probably go with stickers because I don’t like the idea of a permanent alteration that I might not like so much down the road. I’ll take a look at the designs that you linked to. Thanks!

    • Raphy says:

      Truth be told, I was a huge fan of the Dual Shock controllers from PlayStation because the grips were spaced evenly and there was enough space to press everything on the controller – I was turned off with the Xbox’s controller back then because it felt very clunky. The 360’s controller is definitely one of the really good ones made as they really took time to make the ergonomics suitable to most users and weighted it enough that it would handle well.

      I definitely suggest this line of stickers, there are several to choose from plus the finish on them prevent slippage. Good stuff I tell ya!

      Finally, if you were looking at using your controller for the newer consoles, it definitely helps to invest in a controller converter – they are in USB form (which is standard), so they’re very portable, plus the input lag’s not too bad either. I highly recommend it, in fact I’m getting one right now!

  • brandon says:

    Hey Raphy,

    I love video games and I have had a 360 since they came out and now an Xbox 1. I’ve always had the boring white controllers and never really thought about doing my own customization, but this article will give me a few ideas. I like the idea of just using a marker so I don’t have to take the controller apart although I’m not the most artistic so it would probably come out bad. I’m thinking about the spray painting one and just putting some cutout shapes to create different designs.

    Best regards,

    Brandon

    • Raphy says:

      Hi Brandon!

      Yeah, a lot of us tend to just stick to the “stock” design of our controllers because we like how clean and pure they look. Not only that, but the thought of having to disassemble our controllers only to put it back together again after designing them is very intimidating especially for people who aren’t accustomed to doing that.

      Fortunately there are plenty of resources online and on Youtube on how to disassemble controllers to better guide us. Lucky millenials, lol!

      Good call with spray painting – in fact, you can probably even using painter’s tape to cover the buttons or in place of cutouts. It’s definitely at par with sticker designs in terms of simplicity. Also, if it helps, you could look into hydro-dipping for cleaner and more organic designs. Either way, that’s some exciting stuff to look forward to!

  • Rob says:

    Customizing your controller is a great idea, I know there’s plenty of stickers out there now that you can just slap on your controller but it’s just not as authentic as doing it yourself.

    Although taking apart my own controller is something I wouldn’t have an issue with since I’m a pro at taking things apart then putting them back together with a handful of ‘extra’ parts I’ve never seen before. Great idea though!

    • Raphy says:

      You definitely get the full customized effect when you change your controller shelf, there’s no question about that. More than anything, it’s a relief that in this day and age, there are video tutorials all over YouTube on how to properly take apart and re-assemble a controller – back in the day we’d go with our gut, lol!

      What I like about custom controller shells is the variety of finishes that are available on the market – of course, they won’t have the same fit as the stock ones, but they are very close! Have a look at these options for yourself!

  • Guy says:

    I haven’t considered customizing my controller ever. I thought about it though. My friends usually do it all the time, and I usually think it was customized from the start. I’m guessing you have a customized halo controller in your possession? Yeah, that was probably a stupid question, lol. Well if you ever want to network, you know what to do. Good luck and take it easy.

    • Raphy says:

      Didn’t have a customized HALO controller, if that answers your question – I did have a nice spray-painted MW2 one. The thing with customizing from a base that already has some work done is that it defeats the purpose of having that design on the product in the first place. The whole point of customizing is to put better details on a base/stock controller, which you actually have large liberties to do with a white or black 360 controller.

      If you do ever consider doing this, any of the options I mentioned would work. But if you’re looking for something that will last longer, you may want to consider hydrographics on your controller. Not only do you get to choose from several unique designs, but the chemical bonding on the design will ensure that it will last for a long period of time.

      Good luck to you as well!

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