REPAIR GUIDES
How to Paint an Xbox One Controller
Colin Niemczura, Editor-in-chief, XboxDIY.com
20 January 2017

Ever wanted to learn how to paint an Xbox One controller? XboxDIY will take you through the proper steps to prep, paint, and finish your controller.

If you’re interested in winning this controller, head over to the XboxDIY Controller Shell Giveaway page for more details. This giveaway is open until February 8th!

If you’ve ever wondered how to paint your Xbox One controller or create a custom Xbox One controller, you’ve come to the right place.

While painting an Xbox One controller is not that difficult, learning how to properly paint the controller so the finish looks professional and last for years to come, is a little bit more difficult.

We’ll walk you through the ins and outs of prepping, painting, and properly finishing your Xbox One.

Let’s start with a few supplies you’ll need to get the job done.

What You Need

*Before getting started you’ll want to put down the canvas drop cloth, put your nitrile gloves on, and make sure you’re in a well ventiliated area.

Step 1: Clean Controller with Soap and Water

The first part of this tutorial on how to paint your Xbox One controller is pretty straight forward: wash your controller.

You’ll want to wash your controller with hot water and dish soap (recommended) in order to remove any large imperfections, dirt, oil, and other contaminents.

Why is washing your controller important? Throughout this tutorial, you’ll realize that the painting step is actually the least important: it’s the cleaning, prep, and finish.

If you prep your controller properly, it guarantees the paint will go on, and stay on, for a long time.

If you don’t prep your controller properly, the paint will come off as soon as your hands get hot and/or sweaty – we don’t want that to happen.

Step 2: Scuff Your Controller

Scuffing Scotch Brite Xbox One Controller

The next step in properly prepping your Xbox One controller is to scuff the surface of the controller with a final finish or Scotch-Brite pad.

The purpose of the scuff pad is to remove any of the previous finish on the controller and prep the plastic so we can start painting.

Before scuffing your controller, you may want to put nitrile gloves on to prevent any dust, debris, oil, or other contaminents on the controller.

Like I said before, the better the prep, the better the finish.

If the controller feels rough to the touch, you’re doing it right.

Next, we’ll do one more round of cleaning before applying plastic adhesion promoter.

Step 3: Clean Controller with Alcohol Pad or Rubbing Alcohol

As part of a final clean, you’ll want to take an alcohol pad or a paper towel and rubbing alcohol to do a final once-over on the controller.

This is important as to remove any dust, oil, debris, or other contaminents that may have got on to the controller during the previous step.

Next, we’ll break out the spray paint cans.

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Step 4: Apply Plastic Adhesion Promoter

Plastic Adhesion Promoter How to Paint Xbox One Controller

If you were able to get your hands on a can of plastic adhesion promoter (we recommend it, but it’s not 100% necessary), the next step is to apply it to the clean controller.

In short, controlled bursts, while holding the can 8-10 inches away from the surface, start to apply the plastic adhesion promoter.

Less is more when it comes to spray paint – use controlled bursts, and err on the side of caution – you dont’ want to overdo it.

Once you’ve finished covering the entire controller, let it sit for about 10-15 minutes, or until the controller appears to be dry.

Next, we’ll apply the primer.

Step 5: Apply Plastic Primer

After applying the plastic adhesion promoter and letting the controller sit for 10-15 minutes, the next thing we’ll be doing is applying the plastic primer.

The primer serves two purposes:

  • Helps cover old paint
  • Helps prep the controller for paint

I recommend white primer as it gives you a variety of options for covering up old paint as well as making it easy for any color of new paint to go on.

Much like the plastic adhesion promoter, apply the plastic primer in short, controlled bursts.

Keep it limited to one layer, and make sure all areas of the controller are covered (you don’t have to do the inside).

After you apply the primer, let it sit for 10-15 minutes, or until the controller appears to be dry.

Now, we actually get to paint the controller!

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Step 6: Apply Plastic Paint

After applying the plastic primer and letting the controller sit for 10-15 minutes, the next thing we’ll be doing is applying the plastic paint.

You can pretty much pick any type of paint, or paint color that you want. However, I recommend plastic paint, just to be safe.

Just like the previous 2 steps, apply the paint in short, controlled bursts.

Keep it limited to one layer, and make sure all areas of the controller are covered (you don’t have to do the inside).

After you apply the plastic paint, let it sit for 25-30 minutes, or until the controller appears to be dry.

Last but not least, we’ll apply a clear enamel (or clear coat) to make sure the paint is protected, and finish lasts a long time.

Step 7: Apply Clear Enamel or Clear Coat

The final step in properly and professionally painting your Xbox One controller is to apply a clear enamel – better known as a clear coat.

I would recommend buying a specific automotive clear coat, or going to your local AutoZone, Napa, etc. to purchase.

Clear coats are what make automotive paint shiny, extra durable, and long lasting.

You’ll still want to use short, controlled bursts to cover all areas of the controller. However, you’ll want to apply 3-4 thin layers, and wait about 5 minutes inbetween each layer.

It’s important to note: You need to apply a second, third, and fourth coat within 5 minutes of each other, or wait 24 hours for the enamel to completely dry.

The enamel will take 5-7 days to completely harden. Although you can use it before this, I would recommend waiting so you have the best possible finish.

You Painted your Xbox One controller!

Custom Painted Xbox One Controller

Congratulations! You painted your very own custom Xbox One controller.

Although it can seem overwhelming at first, a little planning, proper cleaning and prep, and the right tools will help you get a professional looking custom Xbox One controller in just a few hours.

Now that you know how to properly paint your Xbox One controller, don’t be afraid to try it out on other things! Headsets, consoles, etc. – the opportunities are endless!

Have any ideas for cool gaming accessories you painted? What about pictures of your own custom painted Xbox One controller?

Drop a comment in the comments below – we would love to hear from you!

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You can also find this guide on YouTube: