With its vibrant red and blue Joy-Cons, the Nintendo Switch has a distinctive design straight out the box. But since it’s such a popular console, you may want to customize your Nintendo Switch in order to stand out from the crowd while playing your favorite games.
There are lots of different options when it comes to personalizing your Switch. Whether you want to apply a vinyl skin to your Joy-Cons or commission a one-of-a-kind paint job, in this article we’ll explain the various ways to customize your Nintendo Switch.
1. Apply Vinyl Skins or Decals
One of the simplest and most affordable ways to customize your Nintendo Switch is to buy vinyl skins or decals. Skins are available in a wide range of colors, designs, and even textures—with matte, glossy, and patterned options available.
You can buy skins to fit the Joy-Cons, the console itself, the dock, and the controller accessories that come with your Nintendo Switch. These stickers fit precisely around the ports, sensors, and buttons on your Switch. That means they can be fiddly to apply correctly.
You also need to be careful that the skin you buy won’t damage your Switch.
When the Nintendo Switch first came out, one of the most popular skin manufacturers, dbrand, warned against using vinyl skins on the Switch because the sticky residue caused damage to the console. Since then, dbrand has worked alongside 3M to develop Nintendo Switch skins that are 100 percent safe to use.
But not all manufacturers have been so vigilant.
A full set of Nintendo Switch skins typically costs between $20 and $35. Make sure you buy skins that guarantee residue-free or safe removal. These are available from dbrand, DecalGirl, and StickyBunny.
2. Use a Snap-On Cover
Snap-on covers, made from hard plastic, are easier to apply and offer more protection than vinyl skins. At the same time, snap-on covers are even more affordable and come in a huge range of different designs and colors.
Most snap-on covers are only available for the Joy-Cons and the rear of the Nintendo Switch console. However, if you look hard enough it’s also possible to find snap-on covers for the dock.
Unfortunately, snap-on covers come with their own set of downsides.
First, since they make your Switch thicker, there’s a chance it won’t slide into the dock with the cover on. Of course, this isn’t a problem if you only use your Switch in handheld mode or if you’re using a snap-on cover to customize a Nintendo Switch Lite.
Second, dirt and grit could find its way between the snap-on cover and your Switch. This causes scratches as the cover presses the dirt against the console. It’s exactly the same with hard plastic phone cases, which is why the best cases are soft on the inside.
3. Mix and Match Your Joy-Cons
The Nintendo Switch comes with iconic blue and red Joy-Cons, unless you purchased the gray model. Since the standard controller combination is so recognizable, all you need to do to customize your Switch is mix up the colors.
This customization option involves buying at least one extra set of Joy-Cons (unless you find a willing partner to trade with). But having an extra set of controllers is no bad thing when there are so many great multiplayer games on the Nintendo Switch .
Nintendo offers Joy-Cons in a range of different colors making it easy to buy multiple sets, then mix and match for a truly unique combination. You can also buy third-party Joy-Cons with a much lower price tag. Although the quality of these controllers is more variable.
You can get a new set of Joy-Cons from Nintendo for $80 or buy a third-party set for around $45.
4. Replace Your Joy-Con Shells or Buttons
If you’re comfortable with electronics, you might want to consider customizing your Nintendo Switch by replacing the Joy-Con shells. The shell is the hard plastic casing on your Joy-Con. A good Joy-Con shell replacement gives your console a new design without compromising its professional finish.
Of course, replacing the Joy-Con shells is a risky procedure. It involves revealing the delicate electronics inside, carefully handling ribbon cables, removing the batteries, and keeping track of numerous small screws.
There’s a real chance you could irreparably damage your Joy-Cons by attempting to replace the shells. Therefore, you shouldn’t try it unless you feel confident in your abilities.
What’s more, even if your shell replacement is successful, it will void any remaining warranty with Nintendo. If something goes wrong with your controllers down the line (such as the infamous Joy-Con drift) Nintendo will be under no obligation to fix it.
Joy-Con shells are available on Amazon for around $25 and often include all the tools you need for the job. By replacing the shells, you can change the color, introduce a traditional D-pad, or even mimic the design of classic consoles, like the SNES.
If you like the sound of that, take a look at our rundown of the best Nintendo Switch controllers to find other ways to use retro-style controllers with your Switch.
5. Give Your Switch a Custom Paint Job
Possibly the only way to make your Nintendo Switch truly unique is to give it a custom paint job. This could involve removing the shell and spray painting it yourself. Or hiring a professional artist to adorn your Switch with a custom design.
Once again, removing the shell or painting it without taking it apart is likely to void any warranty you have with Nintendo. That means Nintendo won’t repair your device if something else goes wrong, even if the paint job has nothing to do with it.
If you want to go ahead and paint your Switch anyway, the best place to find an artist—unless you already know one—is on Etsy. Make sure whoever you hire for the job has painted Switch consoles before, with good reviews from their customers, so that you can be confident they know what they’re doing.
If you want to paint your Joy-Cons yourself, it’s best to dismantle them first to avoid getting any paint on the electronics. You’ll need to use three different cans of spray paint: a primer, a main color, and a top coat. Be certain to keep the paint in a thin layer and allow plenty of time for it to dry before putting your Joy-Cons back together.
Tweak the Nintendo Switch UI for More Customization
Customizing the look and feel of your Nintendo Switch console is a great start, but to go all the way you should customize the user interface as well. This involves changing the theme and game layout on the Home screen.
Nintendo doesn’t offer a lot of options in the way of Home screen customization. However, our article detailing how to customize the Nintendo Switch user interface will show you what is possible.
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