I have to admit it — I’ve been using a VERY old phone for quite a while. My phone case was beginning to look quite a mess.
I think it’s a case of “I don’t pay attention because I see it every day.” But YUCK!
I knew I’d be getting a new phone soon, so I didn’t want to fork out lots of money for a phone case. I’m going to show you my very economical solution. Not only is it something you can use scraps for, but it will hold up well and you can change it out easily. You don’t even have to wait until your phone gets old like mine.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click the link and purchase something, I may receive a small commission. You pay the same price. This helps me to be able to keep my business going and provide more tutorials.
The phone case
I started with a clear phone case I got off Amazon for $5.
If you click that link, you’ll see it’s for an iPhone 6. I told you it was old! Here are a few links for other models:
Or just find something that’s clear.
My original thought was to see if I could use my Curio to etch on the case since it’s acrylic. However, I found it was too thick to clear the motor box and bar. But this solution is one that you can do with any machine and some vinyl scraps, so it’s better.
Because the case is clear, I was able to make any design I wanted. I chose my initial in a solid dark purple vinyl on top of printed vinyl. The printed vinyl is Mandala Blue from Sparkleberry, but you could use any vinyl. For my letter, I used SG Floral Font by Sophie Gallo from the Silhouette Design Store.
My phone model has a line at the top and bottom about 1/4″ from the edges. I put a simple rectangle of printed vinyl between those and to the side edges of the phone. I did that because it’s easy (no messing with trying to figure out the round corners) and I wanted it to lay flat.
If yours doesn’t have that, or has a camera lens or something on the back, then you can make your design different. It can match the shape of the phone, be a normal design on that metallic background, or whatever. There are plenty of places online to get templates for the different models. Or, you can use a PixScan mat to get the exact shape and dimensions. I show you how to do that in this post.
So here’s my vinyl on my phone.
Looks better already! If you need some tips on cutting vinyl, check out my beginner projects starting here.
You may be asking, “How durable is vinyl when I use my phone constantly?” Here’s the beauty of this solution — the clear case will actually protect the vinyl. I’ve had mine on for around 6 months and it still looks perfect. And believe me — I use my phone ALL DAY LONG.
I was also worried initially about the case itself getting scratched and looking a mess, but it’s actually still pretty tidy. Here’s how it looks on the phone.
Here’s the other thing I love about this project. If I get tired of the design, then all I have to do is take off the vinyl and put something else on. Brilliant! That means I can have a brand new phone case for pennies.
–What if you need your phone to look better NOW while you wait for your clear case to be delivered? You can use the same general idea — cover your old case with vinyl (so all the red parts on my old one), add a design on top, and cover the whole thing with a clear vinyl. I’m not sure quite how durable that would be, but it’s worth a shot for the short term.
–No patterned vinyl? You can just as easily do it with a patterned paper.
–I’ve also heard of folks who use fingernail polish on an old case — not a bad idea. Then you could add a design once it’s dry.
–And hey, if it’s getting beat up anyway, what’s the harm in spray painting it? Just remember to take the phone out first :). You can use vinyl as a stencil if you want to do that.