Many of us have phone cases not just for the protection, but also for the cosmetics. Since most people have their phone with them at all times, it is something you can personalize and make your own. Your phone is the perfect representation of you as a person. Not only does your social media activity, contact list, and text messages say a lot about who you are, the outside of your phone can also represent your personality–with the right phone case.
But phone cases can get incredibly expensive if you buy them online or at your local cell phone store. So, if you want to change yours out regularly, that can be hard on the budget. Luckily, you can make your own phone case for very little money, and that makes protecting and personalizing your phone a cheap and easy project.
Here are 12 different ideas for a DIY phone case that you can put your own spin on, making your phone the perfect personalized fashion accessory.
1. Washi Tape
If you like to change out your cell phone cover every other week, using washi tape to create a modern-looking phone case is an affordable idea that you can use in multiple different ways. Washi tape is a mix between Japanese-style paper and masking tape that is low tack, so it easy to remove or reposition once you decide to change things up. It comes in multiple patterns and colors, giving you a ton of design options.
You can go with geometric details with different colors in a bold pattern, stripes, or diagonals–whatever design you like–and you can find washi tape at your local craft store.
Fun With Washi author Jessica Okui has a unique 3-color herringbone design that requires a clear cell phone cover, three types of washi tape, scissors, and a craft knife. It only takes a few minutes and a few dollars, and you will end up with an affordable custom case that suits your taste.
2. Paint Chips
Another extremely cheap DIY phone case idea is to you use paint chips from your local hardware or home store. Simply pick up some different paint chips for free, buy a clear phone case for just a few dollars on Amazon, then grab a pair of scissors and x-acto knife.
At Plaster and Disaster, they suggest tracing the outline of your phone on the back of the paint chip, then cut out the shape that you traced. Next, you trim as needed and make a hole for the camera. Your phone ends up looking like a colorful paint chip, and you can change it as often as you change your mind.
It is incredibly cute and inexpensive, and you can even match your phone with every outfit.
3. Print Your Favorite Graphics
If you can’t find anything around the house or in a store with the perfect pattern for your phone, try printing a pattern from the internet. There are graphic designers who have sites with free patterns and graphics that they have perfectly scaled for phone cases.
At Lovely Indeed, there are different designs for different seasons, and you can easily print them to use with your clear phone case. This DIY phone case takes just a few minutes and is another option that you can change easily and often. Plus, you don’t have to make your own patterns and designs because that is already done for you.
4. Map Covers
We may not actually use paper maps anymore thanks to GPS, but there is still a fun way to repurpose ones you might still have laying around the house or in your glove box. Using a portion of a map as a phone case is an interesting coupling of nostalgia with modern technology, making this DIY phone case option rather innovative.
In the Journeys blog on Maps, they point out that you can use an old map or print one out, then simply cut the portion you want to use to the size of your clear phone case. Don’t forget to make a hole for the camera.
This an extremely affordable phone case idea that you can change often, and you could also easily use this idea for your tablet, too.
5. Nail Polish
You can use your favorite color nail polish in a few different ways when it comes to making a personalized phone case. You can simply paint the polish onto a clear case in a striped pattern. As A Beautiful Mess points out, you can use whatever color combination you like, just make sure to use enough coats for the specific color you choose and seal it with Triple Thick Glaze.
But, it looks even cooler to use nail polish for a marbleized look. Spruce Crafts says this method is easy and doesn’t make a huge mess. Simply drop some nail polish into a bowl of water and swirl to get the marble effect. Then, when the marbling has the look you want, dip your clear case. They also recommend using three different shades of polish to get the best results.
Another unique option is to use fabric for a DIY phone case. You can get scraps for nothing at a fabric store, or you can buy a small piece of a design or pattern that really captures your attention. Then, trace out your phone case on the fabric before cutting. Depending on the fabric, you may have to lightly glue it to plain craft paper, so it will fit in your clear phone case properly without wrinkling or moving.
This is also an inexpensive way to represent your favorite sports team or pop culture icon since there are fabrics you can buy with team logos and famous faces.
If you love glitz and glamour, adding glitter or a glitter effect to a clear phone case is the perfect way to show off your flashy style, without spending a lot of cash. Persia Lou recommends using glitter vinyl in a clear phone case to show off your phone, especially if you bought a smartphone with a color like rose gold and you don’t want to cover it up.
Another option is to use Mod Podge and glitter and add it to a clear phone case in the spots you choose. You can cover the entire thing, or just cover a corner. Just don’t make the glitter layer too thick, or it will look lumpy instead of smooth.
If you are the crafty type who likes to sew, it is possible you have a few buttons lying around the house. Or you can find various buttons at a craft or sewing shop for mere pennies. Either way, using buttons for a phone case is a fun idea for a DIY project, and all you will need in addition to a clear case and buttons is a bit of glue and sealer.
At Living Well Spending Less, they recommend this as a project for kids because it is so easy, and you can avoid a mess. First, take out your buttons and arrange them on the case to make sure you have enough for your design. Then, start carefully adding glue and buttons before letting it dry for at least 24 hours.
9. Craft Paper
If you are a scrapbooker, this is a perfect option for you. By simply using a clear phone case and a piece of craft paper from your stash, you can make the perfect phone case for any occasion. If you don’t have craft paper lying around, you could also use old wrapping paper, tissue paper, or greeting cards.
Just like with other projects on this list, simply trace your phone case on the back of the paper and cut it out before placing it in your clear case. Again, don’t forget to make the hole for the camera.
At The Things She Makes blog, there is a great example for personalizing your phone even more by adding a word or phrase with nail polish before adding the paper. It takes a little more skill, but is still inexpensive, and gives your phone case an extra personal touch.
10. Pressed Flowers
One of the few DIY phone cases that doesn’t use a clear case, this idea with pressed flowers goes with an opaque white case to make the petals pop. If you love floral designs, this is a cool option that gives your case a little texture and a ton of personality by mixing nature and technology.
The directions on the Etsy blog for this project require a few different supplies like parchment paper, markers, and plastic cups, but the final result will be a beautiful, embellished phone case that will truly be one of a kind.
11. Stickers and Tattoos
One of the easiest projects on the list, all you need are a few stickers or tattoos to place on your clear phone case. Then, simply secure them with a clear, varnish spray. You can arrange the stickers however you like, but unlike washi tape, they are not easy to remove. However, if you have a stash of inexpensive clear cases, you can put different stickers on each one, and change them out when you feel like it.
12. Bohemian Tapestry
While the other DIY ideas on our list keep with the hard, blunt edges of a classic phone case, this one changes it up a bit and softens the look of your phone while making it more comfortable to hold. According to Always Rooney, you will need thick tapestry fabric or ribbon, an inexpensive case, embroidery thread, E6000 glue, a needle, and pen & paper.
This also requires a bit of sewing, but the end result is a personalized, homemade tapestry phone cover that is truly unique.
When buying a clear phone case, make sure it is the right one for your phone. Then, all it takes is a few inexpensive items and a little bit of time to make your own phone case that reflects your own personal taste. You don’t have to spend a fortune, and when you use any of these DIY phone cases, their attractiveness and versatility will cause everyone to ask you where you got it.