The Custom Guitar Hero Faceplate Project

I found time earlier than I thought I would, so here’s how I made my Wii Guitar Hero faceplates.  I’m sure there are other ways, but this is how I did it…

Here’s what you’ll need:

1. a Guitar Hero guitar (duh)

2. Tracing Paper: Available in most craft or sewing stores; I bought mine in Wal-Mart in the fabric/craft section

3. Sharpies: The amount of colors you’ll need will depend on how many colors your art has.

4. Artwork: Plenty of websites to search and print art from if you can’t draw; any good quality artwork will do.

5. Tape, scissors, and a pencil

Step 1: Remove the faceplate

Be sure to read the directions and remove the faceplate correctly and carefully.

Step 2: Cut your artwork out and place it on the faceplate until you like the location

It helps to have a lamp to shine behind the artwork and faceplate so you can see where all the holes and such are located.

Step 4: Cut a piece of tracing paper that fits behind the artwork and then tape it and the artwork down to the faceplate in the place you selected

Be sure to tape everything down securely; you don’t want anything moving while you work with it.

Step 5: Trace the art with a pencil FIRMLY

The harder you press with your pencil the better the transfer will be from the tracing paper.

Step 6: Remove the art and tracing paper, then check the marking lines

It may be hard to see here, but it actually shows up quit nicely if you pressed hard while tracing.  The great thing about using the tracing paper is if the artwork isn’t right you can simply wipe the marking off and start over again. Be sure your happy with the artwork before you move to the next step as it becomes permanent from this point on!

Step 7: Trace the outline in the correct color Sharpie

This may be the most nerve racking part for most people, just take your time and you should be fine.  Remember, your artwork can be as simple as you want it to be; don’t choose something that is out of your “artistic range”.

Step 8: Fill in the rest of your colors and replace the faceplate on the guitar.

You like how full color makes the art look so different?  Actually, what really happened was that the colors from the first Mario started to bleed and mix and I wasn’t happy with the finished results.  Not one to give up, I made a quick trip to the store and picked up a can of spray paint made especially for plastic.  I covered the faceplate in a coat of really nice red, retraced my steps with an easier piece of art and came up with this.  I actually like it better than the first attempt, mainly due to its simple design and the idea of having a red guitar.

Here’s the finished guitar put back together again and I like how it turned out.  The white of the Wii Mote my be a bit stark in contrast when I reinstall it, but I think it will be okay.

And here’s both my finished guitars once again, ready for my co-op party on Friday.

So, it’s as simple as that; if I can do it, anyone can.  And just because I know someone will ask, the total project costs as much as you spend on markers and paint, between $5 and $10 and the tracing paper comes in a package of plenty for under $2.  And the whole thing, again depending on how complicated your art is, can take anywhere from 1/2 and hour to and hour to complete.

UPDATE: After a few weeks, the Spider-Man art began to smear due to the shiny plastic on the original faceplate.  After the fact, I would highly recommend painting the faceplate with a coat of the spray paint – even if it’s white paint – to give you a surface that will alow for a longer lasting piece of artwork.  My Mario guitar hasn’t faded at all, and I could still paint over it and do a different design if I wanted.  You could also cover your faceplate with a clear coat product to protect it after you finish painting it, but it may make it very hard to repaint for future designs.

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22 Comments on “The Custom Guitar Hero Faceplate Project”

  1. Billy Says:

    Whoa man, you’re pretty talented. That looks really good. There is no way I could do that and have it come out that good. No unless they have a stick figure picture to trace.

  2. Hilary Says:

    I recommend Crayola Window Clingers – you can trace any design you want, but they are peel and stick and won’t fall off. Perfect for the guitar hero faceplate.

  3. Mamal Says:

    Are sharpies the only markers that can be used? Or can any permanent marker work?

    I also assume washable markers cant be used either. Or can they?

  4. Rich Says:

    window clingers eh? im lookin it up and a help topic on crayolas site says the paint that comes with the kit can be used on plastic wrap in case you happen to run out of the paper. if thats the case, i wonder wht kind of paint it is… i cant find the kit sold anywhere


  5. […] You can read the rest of this blog post by going to the original source, here […]


  6. Great Idea! I know what I’m doing tonight.

  7. Poncho Says:

    Don’t you mean like carbon paper instead of tracing paper?


  8. […] Custom Faceplate for Guitar Hero Filed under Guitar Hero by admin […]

  9. Charles Says:

    Awesome. The Spider-Man faceplate looks incredible.

  10. Nintendo309 Says:

    NICE! I tried it, but kinda messed up (‘n’) so today, i went and got a can of white spray paint!!! Woot! I’ll show you the results later

  11. Angry Edison Says:

    Those are some sweet drawings. Great art work.

    Just a thought that if you want to use the same technique without having it be permanent you can use clear contact paper. Just draw your markers on the contact paper and make what is essentially a huge sticker. Then later you can take it off and make another drawing without needing a new faceplate.

    That’s what I’ve been doing and it works pretty well. It’s a great way to show off your art without worrying about not being able to mess up.

    Check out some examples here —- http://www.angryedison.com

  12. JOE Says:

    I LOVE THIS SITE!

  13. Gabrielle Says:

    haha i had the same idea…i did 2 of them so far and have 3 more set up that i’m gonna get payed for i think…but i use things ive drawn…well things that iv’e drawn off of other pictures at least and i do mostly black and white but will be experimenting with color soon…and i did the same thing with the pencil transfer on the guitar…great minds think alike i suppose…lol…i gotta find time to do it after i get out of school but still its really fun…looking forward to doing more and i will hopefully have a website soon…hey people you will have to check it out when i get it up…ill have to post the site…and if you like my stuff ill be taking orders i think and there will be pics of ones ive done previously…ok i talk too much…bye! =)

  14. Gabrielle Says:

    and naw you cant use washable markers…they wont stick…and im sure you could use any kind of permanent parkers as long as they are actually permanent but i find that sharpies work the best so far…i dont trust any other permanent markers…theyre not the same =)

  15. dillweed Says:

    I tried this and couldnt get the pencil marks to go through
    ne help?


  16. […] Spray paint. I still have this great red paint left over from the Guitar Hero project, and it’s even made special for plastic.  You can find it in the paint section at most large […]

  17. Christina Says:

    So when you transfer the design do you use tracing paper or carbon paper? I can’t imagine how tracing paper would work….Carbon paper perhaps better?

    • shuanfu Says:

      I use a marking paper you can find in most fabric/craft departments. Carbon paper would just smudge and leave a mess….

  18. konrad Says:

    Hey those designs are really cool, I especially like the Spiderman one (maybe because I was a comic geek when i was a kid!). You did a good job explaining the process too step-by-step.

    I’ve started a blog dedicated to the pimping out of the Guitar Hero Faceplate, I’ll have to mention you up there if ya don’t mind?

  19. ryan lindop Says:

    can you do a animated bumblebee to animated wasp

  20. shuanfu Says:

    the Wii version of the Guitar Hero III guitars were white-that’s the ones I used


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