My laptop has been disintegrating the past few months, and I just got a new one. My husband got it all set up and then surprised me with a laptop skin of the gorgeous cover art (by Violeta Dabija) from my newest book, A LEAF CAN BE…. I shared pix on Facebook and got a lot of questions about how he did this, so I said I’d share a blog post about it.
Randy used Skinit.com to custom create this. He said he looked at GelaSkins, too, but with Skinit, he could just choose the model laptop I have (you can make skins for iPods, phones, tablets, laptops, etc., plus car decals, wall decals–just about everything!) and they have a template for it. That way the skin is precisely the right size with little holes for the manufacturer’s raised logo and any other obstructions that might be on your particular device. Very cool.
So, he described how he did it, and I also went to the Skinit site and created another project for practice. Here are the basic steps:
Decide what image you want to use. Randy needed a horizontally-oriented image because a laptop is horizontal. If you are doing a skin for an iPhone or something, then vertical might be better. Randy decided to use the art from LEAF because he knows how much I adore it. The cover itself is square, but Randy could see that he’d be able to take a horizontal slice of it and have it still be wonderful.
Use hi-res art, if possible. The impact of your image will be demolished if it’s fuzzy and/or pixelated. If you’re using an image from your book/cover, ask the artist for permission and request a hi-res file. I have permission from all my illustrators to use book images for promotional materials. And what cool promotion this is! I’ve only taken my laptop out in public a couple times so far, but in both instances, people have commented on the skin and I’ve told them about A LEAF CAN BE…
Once you have your hi-res image, go to Skinit.com. First, select your device. Click on Laptop skins. Then Sort by Brand. Find your brand–mine was HP. Then scroll through the choices and find your exact model. So whatever it is you want to make a skin for, pick it from the choices. Then click on Create Your Own (it was in the left sidebar for me).
Next, click on Images. Navigate to find the image on your computer that you want to use, and choose it. Then use the really simple on-screen tools at Skinit to size your image and figure out which portion will look best on your skin. It’s so nice not to have to figure out dimensions and create the image in an image editing program like Photoshop (ahem, Facebook headers, I’m glaring at you). You just do it right there on the Skinit website. Just play around with it and try not to cut any major characters in half:>) To the right of the tool you’ll see a window that shows exactly how your skin would look. And during this process, Skinit will tell you if your image is not hi-res enough to print beautifully.
Next, click on Text. I’ve used LEAF cover art for some other promotional materials, like postcards and notecards, sometimes with and sometimes without the actual title and text from the cover. Randy decided against using any text because it looked too much like an ad. He wanted to make me something beautiful and striking, and he did. (I smile every time I look at it.) If you don’t use any title text, I recommend adding a small copyright symbol and the artist’s name along one edge of the image. I always have to go to Word to create the text I want so I can make a copyright symbol, which I only know how to do by using Insert>Symbol in Word. Then copy your text into the Text tool and choose your font, color, size, etc. Drag and drop to move it to exactly where you want it on the skin. NOTE: Do not use the forward and back buttons on your browser during the skin creation process or you’ll lose everything you’ve done so far (though the program does Auto-Save and I was able to get mine back–after my minor heart attack).
When you think you’re happy, click on Preview. If you’re still happy, then you Add to Cart and you’re all set to go.
Oh, one more thing. Once you have it completely ready, open a new browser Tab or Window and search on “skinit.com coupons.” Type in the coupon code (you can often find 20% off at retailmenot.com and then check out. It’s that easy.
Randy ordered it (not quite $35 shipped after coupon) on a Thursday and it came on Monday, all glossy and gorgeous!
Do you remember getting Barbie motor homes or GI Joe tanks when you were a kid, and the plastic casing was there but you peeled off stickers to create the windshield, doors, decorations or camouflage, etc.? That’s what this was like. It came on a big sheet. Peeling it off and applying it was a little bit of trial-and-error, but you can pull it off and reposition it. After having it on for a week, the few tiny bubbles have worked themselves out and it looks like it’s actually printed directly on my laptop.
It’s just the coolest thing! I’m pondering doing something similar for my iPhone. I’m clumsy and must use a case, but I’m wondering about a printed case. I don’t know whether there is such a thing in my price range, but I might just have to go investigate:>)
Anyway, if you’re interested, give it a try. I’d love to hear about it/see pictures if any of you give this a try.