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Can You Use Acrylic Paint on a Controller?

Do you want to add a custom design to your gaming controller? Acrylic paint is extremely versatile, so it’s only natural to wonder if you can indeed use it on your controller.

Most gamers would love to have their very own personalized gaming controller (if they don’t already) and in this article we go over everything you need to know to make that happen.

So, can you use acrylic paint on a gaming controller? Absolutely! You can definitely use acrylic paint on pretty much all your controllers. You just need to take the proper steps in order to protect your controller in the process.

Let’s read on!

Can You Paint an Xbox Controller With Acrylic Paint?

Absolutely! In fact, a lot of people do it. It is a quick way to add a custom design to your Xbox controller without having to buy a regular color one at the store. For the acrylic paint itself, I recommend Arteza acrylic paints. They have tons of colors to choose from, and some are made just for specific surfaces!

Later on, we will tell you exactly how you can paint your Xbox controller with acrylic paint. As long as you have access to paint, it’ll be easier than you think.

Can You Paint a Playstation Controller With Acrylic Paint?

Just like the Xbox controller, you shouldn’t have any issues painting the Playstation controller. In fact, you will probably have an easier time painting a Playstation controller as you do not have to worry about painting around a battery compartment cover.

We have seen plenty of people that have painted that compartment cover shut on the Xbox controller, which is annoying as it now means that you cannot replace your batteries!

For regular and detail paintbrushes, check out this article. It’ll point you in the right direction for which type of brush you should get.

Can You Paint a Wii Controller With Acrylic Paint?

Yes you can, however, you are going to need to be a lot more careful painting a Wii controller than either a Playstation or Xbox controller. 

This is all down to the sensor at the top of the Wii controller. Obviously, one of the main selling points of the Wii controller is the fact that it has motion controls. In order for those motion controls to work, the Wii controller needs to have unhindered access to the sensor bar that sits on top of the TV.

If you get even the smallest amount of paint on the top of the controller, then it will stop working completely. This means that if you do paint your Wii controller, then you will want to ensure that you do not paint anywhere near the top of it. It probably won’t end up looking as good, but at least you will still get to keep a controller that works.

If you do get acrylic paint on the sensor of the Wii controller, then make sure that you wipe it off as quickly as possible. If you let it dry, then the problem becomes tougher to deal with!

Other than this, you have to remember that a Wii controller is actually tougher to take apart than either the Xbox or Playstation controller. This means that you will have to find some way to shield the buttons when you are painting the controller. If you do not do that then, once again, you will have ended up with a controller that is completely ruined. 

How to Paint Gaming Controllers With Acrylic Paint 

As we mentioned above, you can paint your Xbox controller, Playstation controller, and even your Wii remote. In this section, we go over all the necessary steps in order for you to get started.

There are many types of acrylic paint to use, but for this project you will need a paint that will stick to plastic. You can also paint your controller with acrylic paint pens. They’re just like acrylic paint, except in comes in a pen. This one here from Arteza is my top pick.

For regular acrylic paint that works on plastic, this Crafts 4 ALL set is highly recommend in the art field. It’s specifically made to stick to plastic.

You can also use acrylic spray paint, but that will cover most of the controller. If you want to paint designs or even different color blocks, regular acrylic paint is the way to go. If you do choose to use a spray paint, I recommend this Evolve Elite set. It comes with 12 vibrant colors and dries with a matte finish.

Now that we covered the type of acrylic paint you will need, here are the steps to paint your controllers.

Take the Controller Apart

The first step is to take the controller apart. If you have a Playstation controller or Xbox controller, just undo the screws and you should be fine.

With a Wii controller, you can’t really do this. Well, you can. It just is trickier to put together.

If you have a Wii controller, you may want to cut off small pieces of paper and place them into the gaps around the button. This should stop most paint leaking into the controller but, of course, you will have to be very, very careful. Covering the openings with tape also works.

The whole purpose of taking the controller apart is to ensure that you do not get paint into the electronics which will ruin the controller.

Clean the Controller

Unless your controller is brand-new, chances are that it is going to have grease on it. This means that you will need to clean it off, otherwise, you are just painting that grease onto the controller and it isn’t going to be a good look.

You can use a degreaser for this step. If you don’t have a degreaser handy, you can wipe your controller down with an alcohol wipe or pad, then gently dry it with a cloth.

Sand the Controller 

You will need 1000-grit sandpaper for this. It needs to be fine, and you need to be sanding ‘wet’. The idea is to rough up the surface a little bit. This makes the acrylic paint stick a little bit easier. If you paint your controller without sanding it, the paint might not stick well since it will be slippery.

Apply a Primer

Since your control will most likely be dark, you need a primer for the acrylic paint to stick to and to show its vibrant colors. You can skip this step, but it’s recommended that you always prime the surface you will be painting on. It makes it easier for the acrylic paint to stick to, and because the primer dries white, you have a clear surface to paint on.

This primer is my top pick. Just make sure it fully dries before you apply the acrylic paint.

Cover Open Areas

If you are planning on having a different design on the controller, then mask off areas that you do not want to paint. You can use masking tape for this. Any painters tape like this one should work.

Paint the Controller

You can now use your acrylic paint to paint the controller. Try to have the paint as thin as possible while maintaining an even coat. This will ensure that it doesn’t feel too bad when you hold it in your hands. 

Once you have an even coat, leave the controller to dry for at least 30 minutes. You can then decide if it needs a second coat. Acrylic paint dries pretty quickly, so make sure you don’t walk away from your project.

If you are painting an additional pattern onto the controller, then wait for everything to dry, grab your detail paintbrush, and paint those details on. The wait another 15-20 minutes for it to fully dry. You can also speed up the process with a handheld heat gun. Just make sure you step back and gently dry it.

Sealing Your Controller

You can finish up by adding a matte or glossy clear coat to the controller. This will not only give you a brilliant finish, but it will help to prevent the acrylic paint from chipping away as you use your controller. With anything acrylic paint, it’s always recommend to seal your paint.

For a glossy finish, this spray is my top pick. If you prefer a matte finish, this one here works great!

Reassemble the Controller

Now that everything is done, you can reassemble the controller. It is now ready to use! Remember, you should not be painting the buttons on your controller. It will ruin them. Make sure everything snaps back in place and looks good.

Final Thoughts

Painting your gaming controller is a great way to add a touch of personality to it. Whether you’re painting an Xbox, a Playstation or a Wii controller, make sure to follow all my recommend steps to ensure your project goes smoothly.

Don’t forget to check out my other articles for all your acrylic painting Q&A’s. Happy painting!

Acrylic Art World

Annick's passion has been painting with acrylics since her youth. She has a lot of experience with all sorts of projects, from simple acrylic painting to advanced techniques like acrylic pouring.

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