DIY Custom Echo Skins: So Easy!

There are already some enterprising types looking to sell skins for the Echo: printed designs on very thin, often removable plastic or vinyl you can affix to your Echo to decorate it.

But why fork over $15 – $20 plus shipping when you can easily print up your own—especially since going the DIY route gives you limitless possibilities for designs, and you can download my free templates via the links I’m providing later in this post?

Here’s my own Echo, all dressed up with the DC Bombshells Wonder Woman artwork (copyright DC Comics – click or tap on image to view an enlarged version in a new tab or window):

…and here’s an image of the template I used to create it:

I just measured the blank surfaces on the Echo, drew the corresponding rectangles in a graphics editor program, then copied, pasted and resized the artwork I wanted for each part of the design in the rectangles. Print, trim, affix, and I was done!

You can do what I did, use a graphics or photo editor program to create your own digital skin version and print it out on removable sticker project paper or bright white paper using an inkjet printer, or cut out the template pieces and use them as stencils for cutting out the right size pieces from wrapping paper, scrapbooking paper, or even self-adhesive Con-tact paper (it’s removable and comes in lots of cool designs now).

Please read the instructions all the way through before attempting this project, there are some important notes provided along the way.

 

The Easy How-To

1. Download the blank template in your preferred format.

Click here to view/download the PDF version. Note that this one isn’t designed to be editable, it’s here for folks who just want a template with the right-sized shapes to use as stencils for cutting out the rectangles from existing paper. To download, click to open the PDF in a new tab or window, then use your browser’s menu tools to download a copy or print.

Click here to view/download a .png version of the template. This is the largest file, but it also offers the highest resolution image. To download, right-click and select ‘save file as’, ‘save link as’ or ‘save image as’ (the specific wording will vary with different browsers), then specify a location for the file on your hard drive.

Click here to view/download a .jpg version of the template. To download, right-click and select ‘save file as’, ‘save link as’ or ‘save image as’ (the specific wording will vary with different browsers), then specify a location for the file on your hard drive.

 

2. For a custom-designed skin:

a. Open the .jpg or .png template in your graphics editor program and paste your desired artwork, photos, text or designs into the rectangles. “Save As” under a different name than the original template file so you will still have the blank template to use again for a different design. Here’s what my skin looked like:

Important Note: In order to get easy and exact measurements, I erred a little on the conservative side with the main body rectangle and the rectangle you’ll use to cover the bottom-most part of the Echo’s chassis. The rectangle for the volume control ring is exactly the right height, but the other two are approximately 1/8″ shorter than the actual space available on the Echo. In my custom skin, I didn’t add the extra 1/8″.

Another Important Note: The rectangles do not wrap completely around the Echo, I left about a 1/8″ allowance of empty space at the back to accommodate the power cord and tiny white LED at the bottom. Then I made the others the same width just to be consistent. If you want yours to wrap completely around, add 1/8″ of width to the main body rectangle and the volume ring rectangle.

b. Print your design out onto your desired paper, using the highest possible quality settings. You can use bright white paper and attach the pieces at the back of your Echo with Scotch tape (it’s easily removable), or to get a true “skin”, print it out onto Avery Sticker Project Paper, which is an adhesive-backed inkjet paper that’s designed to create custom, removable stickers. It has a plain-paper finish, so don’t worry about shine.

c. Cut the printed rectangles out (be very careful to get the lines as straight as possible; you’ll get the best results using a paper cutter) and affix them to your Echo. If you’ve printed on regular paper you can use Scotch tape or small pieces of decorative tape in matching or attractively contrasting colors to attach the printed pieces at the back of the Echo.

 

3. For a skin cut out of existing, pre-printed paper:

a. Print out the PDF template, ideally on card stock, and cut the three rectangles out.

b. Lay the rectangles on top of the paper you want to use for your skin and trace around them onto the paper.

c. Cut the traced rectangles out of the paper (be very careful to get the lines as straight as possible; for paper, you’ll get the best results using a paper cutter) and affix them to your Echo. You can use Scotch tape or small pieces of decorative tape in matching or attractively contrasting colors to attach the printed pieces at the back of the Echo.

 

A Word About Copyrighted Images…
You’ll notice I’ve used a copyrighted image, borrowed from a poster I own, for my own Wonder Woman Echo skin.

I am not a lawyer, but as an author and app developer I’ve learned enough about copyright and trademark to know that it’s VERY illegal to use images trademarked or copyrighted by others for commercial purposes. That means it is not okay to use the techniques in this post to crank out a bunch of skins for resale. However, this white paper from the University of Michigan Law School is there to back me up when I say that using such images for personal purposes falls under the umbrella of “Fair Use”, and won’t get you hauled off in cuffs.

However, as I said I am not a lawyer and you shouldn’t take anything I say here as legal advice. If you have any qualms about copyright or trademark infringement, it’s best to stick with artwork and photos of your own, or for which you’ve obtained use permission from the copyright or trademark owner.

 

* * *

– – –

Ever since Amazon began selling it unlocked, the Amazon Fire Phone, 32GB (Unlocked GSM) has been enjoying a resurgence in popularity. It’s rated 4/5 stars across over 9,000 reviews, and since it supports most of the same functions as the newest Fire tablets, many people are buying one to use as a mini-Fire tablet. TODAY ONLY (8/19/15) it’s on sale for $159, and since it comes bundled with a free year of Amazon Prime (free one year extension for current Prime members), it’s like getting the device for just $60. That’s a bargain, whether you’re buying this to use as a smartphone or mini-tablet.

Tags: , , ,

Top