D.I.Y. - Panasonic LX5 Camera Rubber Grip Replacement

♫ Macklemore - Glorious (ft. Skylar Grey)

My trusty Panasonic Lumix LX5 has been with me for about 7 years now, and as you can imagine, it's been through a lot. It's a battle-scarred warrior that has seen its fair share of vacation scenery (although these days I rely a lot more on my phone to take photos when travelling), events, selfies, and product shots. Understandably, wear and tear happens, especially on the softer parts.

Which brings me to this spontaneous Sunday DIY project, because I couldn't stand taking photos with my fingers and nails coming into contact with the sticky, rubbery mess that its front rubber grip had become. Some parts had flaked off, exposing the black plastic plate underneath, while the remaining had become soft and sticky, attracting dust, fingerprints, and nail marks. Lovely - NOT.

This particular Sunday, when taking it out to snap some photos, I simply couldn't bear it any longer, and decided to put my half-formed camera makeover plan into action. My brother told me to search online for a replacement part, but after a quick search, no way was I going to waste $25 (approx RM107) for a piece of rubber. 😠

Source: eBay
I had a roll of pretty Japanese-print fabric sticker from Daiso lying around in my room for a while, so I already had a vague plan on how to do it - just waiting for the right time to execute. Today would be that day.

In the photo above are the basic items you'd need for such an activity, but further on during the process I realised I needed a few extra things. What I used for this DIY:
  • Scissors
  • Fabric sticker from Daiso
  • Strong adhesive/glue
  • Optional: Cuticle pusher - to scrape off the excess rubber 
  • Optional: Wet wipes - to clean up the rubber residue
  • Optional: Clear nail polish - to seal the fabric edges

It was actually pretty easy to scrape off most the rubber grip, which came off in large chunks. However, there was a layer of it that remained on the black plastic base plate below (kinda like when you try to remove a price tag and there's a layer stuck to the surface), so after scraping some more with the cuticle pusher, I simply used a wet wipe to wipe off the excess. Surprisingly, it came off easily!

All cleaned up!
After the base plate was clean, it was time to measure and cut the fabric sticker to fit. No complicated measurements or even a ruler was used; I simply agak-agak (estimate) placed the sheet over the section(s), folded along the lines, and cut bit by bit. Of course, it helped that I had a whole roll of the sticker so I wasn't worried, lol.

The power of guesstimation lol
Once I was happy that the sticker was a good fit - and before I stuck it on - I had to make sure it would stick firmly to the base, otherwise it would soon peel off with constant handling of the camera. This is where the strong adhesive comes in. Give the section a good coat of glue - only on the black plastic parts - and wait for it to semi-dry to a tacky finish.

Finally, the moment of truth! Peel the backing off the cut fabric sticker, and carefully stick it on. Use the cuticle pusher to adjust the edges of the fabric sticker if needed. Once done, I recommend you apply some clear nail polish to the edges to prevent it from fraying (it is fabric, after all).

I have to admit, I was really amazed by the result. It made my battered old camera look brand new again, not to mention unique, and the fabric's texture was a good replacement for the rubber, as it wasn't slippery at all. The downside is that it would get dirty easily, but for now, I'm really pleased that this DIY turned out well. 😍

What do you think? Would you do this, or something similar, for your old items? Share with me your DIY tips!

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