How to add a custom shell to your Xbox controller

ExtremeRate Atomic Purple Xbox controller housing
(Image credit: Jennifer Young - Windows Central)

A custom Xbox controller certainly stands out and what you may not know is that it's really easy to build one yourself.

One of the most immediately obvious customizations is a new shell, and with some fairly cheap parts and tools and about 15 minutes to an hour of your time, you can transform the look of your controller. It entirely depends on if you want to simply fit a front plate, or change the entire shell of the controller.

Here's everything you need to know.

What you need

ExtremeRate Atomic Purple Xbox controller housing

eXtremeRate kits come with everything you need (Image credit: Jennifer Young - Windows Central)
  • Custom shell or faceplate (about $15-$22 depending on preference)
  • Plastic pry tool (about $5)
  • Torx T8 screwdriver (about $5)

It's handy to keep the tools mentioned above around as for any work you'll undertake on a controller you'll need them. Better still, most eXtremeRate faceplates and shell kits come with the tools you need so there is no need to buy separately unless the listing specifically states to do so. 

When it comes to getting a new shell, there are plenty out there to choose from. In some cases you'll perhaps just want a new faceplate, others may want a completely new housing which also includes the backplate, battery cover, and grips. Whichever specific bits you're replacing, taking apart your controller and installing them is the same.

How to add a custom shell to your Xbox controller

Note that this guide refers specifically to the standard Bluetooth Xbox controller that comes included with the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X.

  1. Remove the battery door.
  2. Remove the batteries from the controller.

Xbox Controller with battery pack and rear grips removed (Image credit: Jennifer Young - Windows Central)
  1. Use the plastic pry tool to detach the rear grips from the controller body. (Once you've separated them, pull firmly to remove them from the body.)

Use prying tool to remove back sides (Image credit: eXtremeRate)
  1. You now have five screws to remove as shown in the image with the T8 screwdriver. (The fifth is located beneath the battery label so you'll have to pierce it or remove it entirely.)

Remove these 5 screws first  (Image credit: eXtremeRate)
  1. Pull the backplate away from the controller body.
  1. Flip the controller around and pull the faceplate away from the controller body.

ExtremeRate Atomic Purple Xbox controller housing

Xbox controller with front plate removed (Image credit: Jennifer Young - Windows Central)
  1. Follow the steps above in reverse to reassemble, adding your new shell in place of the old parts.

Shiny new controller for less than $20, give it a try. (Image credit: eXtremeRate)

Now, you'll have a completely transformed controller that not only looks great but didn't cost a lot, either.

If you want to change the back of the controller too, like we did on this Atomic Purple fit then there are a few extra screws to remove, but the process is essentially the same.

You could also take the time to add some improved parts to the exterior of your controller, too, such as some quality grips or even some trigger stops if you're a fan of FPS games.

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at

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