UPDATED AND RENEWED VERSION OF THIS GUIDE
Hello, everyone! I wanted to show you how you can refurbish your old Game Boy Advance to give it new life and a new start! We’re going to focus on the shell and buttons for now. This is what you’ll need:
- 1 Game Boy Advance
- Spray paint (colours of your choice)
- Clear coat spray
- Wet sandpaper (grit 600, 1000, 2000)
- Rubbing compound (optional)
- Wax polish (optional)
So I decided to use my old Game Boy and paint it white with black buttons. I used spray paint for cars, actually, which turned out to work great on hard plastic. Be careful in your choice of spray paint; not all spray paint types can be combined, and most often not. I would recommend using the same brand of paint for all the colours and the clear coat. If not, the paint may dissolve or try to separate from each other. Make sure you get all the sandpaper, as the different grit is used for different purposes. Also; WET sandpaper, not regular sandpaper. The rubbing compound and wax polish is optional; it depends on whether you want a shiny surface as your result, or if you prefer a matte finish.
STEP 1: DISASSEMBLING THE GAME BOY
What we need to do first is to disassemble the Game Boy. I’ve bought a set of screwdrivers designed for Game Boys, as they use special screws. It is not necessary, though, you can get them out with normal screwdrivers as well. There are 7 screws at the back (note the one under the battery compartment) that you have to remove. Try to keep the screws somewhere safe in the meantime.
After removing the back cover, you have to remove one screw from the motherboard so that you can remove that too. There’s only one screw here. When you are to remove the screen, you have to put the screwdriver in between the ribbon cable and the front cover, and gently push it upwards. This will not damage the screen as long as you do it slow and steady. It can be a bit tricky, as there is tape holding the screen in place.
If you don’t want this piece of metal to be painted too, you’ll have to remove this as well. Personally, I prefer to remove it.
STEP 2: SANDING – WET SANDPAPER, GRIT 600 AND 1000
We are now going to sand this with wet sandpaper. I decided to detach the front screen to avoid getting scratches all over, but you can also cover it up with masking tape. First you want to use grit 600 on all the parts in the picture. Make sure to use a sufficient amount of water! Before moving on to grit 1000, be aware of scratches in the plastic, as you will not be able to remove them later on. When it’s smooth enough, use grit 1000. The reason for using wet sandpaper before spray painting is that the spray paint will stick to the plastic better.
Note: You should still do this if you want a matte finish. This will make it easier to make an even coat of paint, which is important either way. Make sure that you have a matte paint, AND a matte clear coat spray in this case.
STEP 3: SPRAY PAINTING
Before applying spray paint, make sure that you wash all the parts properly. You do not want any dust in there, you’ll want it all smooth. If you want, you can use a plastic primer before applying the spray paint. I did not do that this time, as I didn’t have access to any. Also, try to find a hard surface you can use underneath. If you use paper of any kind it might stick to the Game Boy and leave unwanted marks that you can’t remove without having to redo some of the steps.
I usually apply 4-5 layers of coloured paint, depending on how well it is all covered. Be aware of all the sides, the corners and all the tiny spots where the paint is likely to be thinner. I turn all the parts around so that I can paint them from all angles. Depending on what kind of paint you have chosen to use, you have to wait 30 sec – 2 min between each layer.
When you’re happy with the paint job, it has to dry. As I sprayed it in the garage, it is too cold for the paint to dry properly. The paint has to dry in room temperature, or it will take more time than necessary. Let it dry for about 24 hours, more or less, depending on what kind of paint you’ve used. When it’s dry, it will be nice and smooth from the sanding you did earlier. Now it’s time to put on 3-4 layers of clear coat spray. Let the coat dry (yes, it is time consuming and a test to your patience, I know) for however long the brand requires. When it is nice and dry, it is time to sand it with wet sandpaper, grit 2000.
STEP 4: SANDING – WET SANDPAPER, GRIT 2000 (OPTIONAL)
Note: if you don’t want a shiny finish but rather a matte one, do not sand it or polish it! Then it’s basically finished at this point.
If you do want a shiny finish, make it as smooth as you possibly can. Don’t be too harsh on the material here. If you get coloured paint on the sandpaper, you know you have to be careful. You shouldn’t sand too much, or you’ll break through the clear coat. When you feel it is properly sanded and smooth enough, you can move on to the rubbing compound.
STEP 5: POLISHING (OPTIONAL)
Use a cloth of some sort to rub the Game Boy with the rubbing compound. It does take some time, but this should make it really shiny. When it’s shiny enough, you can use wax polish to make it even more shiny! How convenient.
STEP 6: ASSEMBLE THE GAME BOY
Now it’s time to assemble the Game Boy again, and you have the finished product! It does take some time and patience to do this, but it is definitely worth it. With this one, I changed the front screen as well since it was covered in scratches. It’s even more shiny than in the picture, it’s amazing. If there’s anything you want to know or if anything was unclear, write a comment below! Thank you for reading, and good luck with your own Game Boy!