Today’s post comes from Shira Z. Carmel, a musician, teacher and designer based in Jerusalem, Israel. I met Shira a couple of weeks ago and was very impressed with her custom phone case. When she told me she did it herself, I should have known how. Shira was kind enough to repeat the process and photograph every step.

This process works with any phone — in fact, it works with any plastic surface. If you want to design your own cell phone case for a totally unique handmade look, read on.

What you need

design your own cell phone case

To do this you need to get:

  • Plastic phone case.
  • «Napkin for glue», which you can easily purchase at any store. I have a «Mod Podge» that costs about $4.
  • A nice patterned napkin or a cool picture on it (fancy patterned fabrics work too).
  • A pair of scissors.
  • Additionally: brush.

create your own phone case

This is the case I bought (it was only $7). It comes in two parts — we will be using the hard plastic (pink) part.


The first step is to peel off the top layer (of three) of the napkin so that you are left with a very thin piece of patterned fabric:

create your own phone case

Next, we need to find a pattern we like on the napkin that matches the size of the surface we want to cover:

create your own phone case

Actually, I like this one better! Keep in mind that white wipes become translucent in this process.

create a phone case

Now cut the napkin to size to make it easier to handle:


Then, cover the surface with a good, even layer of adhesive. You can use your fingers (fun!) or a (clean) brush:

create a phone case

Now we come to the most important part of the process. Carefully and quickly stick the napkin onto the adhesive surface. Start with the part that matters most to you first and make sure it’s in place:


Do not insert the napkin into place immediately. The most common problem with this process is the appearance of tiny bubbles or wrinkles on the surface, so be careful, stick with it a little bit and smooth things out as you go. If the napkin stat is torn, don’t panic: just straighten it back into place; it will look good in the end. And here, as you can see, there are bubbles and cracks on the surface, but we’re going to take a look by hand, so it doesn’t really matter:


Then apply a good, even layer of glue to the tissue paper (top layer). The first layer should not be dry, but you must be careful not to tear the tissue. This is a good time to start using the brush (be sure to wash it well afterwards):


After the first coating, your custom case should look like this:


Make sure you also glue the sides so that the doily doesn’t fall out or tear:


Now let everything dry for a while and then apply another layer of glue.

After the second layer, carefully cut off any extra pieces of tissue paper so that you end up with just what you need:


Now carefully clean the lens hole, as well as any other holes:


Apply a layer of glue to the sides of the holes you just cleaned to prevent the tissue from starting to fray from there:


At this point, I decided that the front of the case seemed a little boring to me, so I cut out a beautiful flower from a napkin and applied it individually using the same technique (initial layer of glue, then glued it on, then the top two layers) ):


If you also apply the pattern to the front of the case, you need to get creative on how to leave it to dry:


All that’s left now is to let your design dry completely and completely. Give him time — go have a cup of tea or even come back for the night and continue tomorrow.

Finally, it’s time to put things in order:


And here’s what it looks like:


The edges are a little frayed, but it really depends on how delicate (and happy) you are. You can compare with the edges of this other design I made:

design your own cell phone case

With enough practice and patience, you can achieve a truly great level of finish.

Makes a great gift

Do you have friends or family who appreciate handmade gifts? This is an inexpensive and fun way to show your love. And if you create your own cell phone case like this one, don’t forget to share some photos in the comment section below!

Once again, I would like to thank Shira for taking the time to share this exacting detail technique.

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