How to Make an iPhone Case from Upcycled Materials

I may own an iPhone, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still a hippie at heart. I am! I love my pretty piece of uber-advanced modern technology, but I’m still all about reducing, reusing, and recycling. So when it came to keeping my iPhone safe, I couldn’t help but think of ways that I might “upcycle” something old. Here are a few ideas I found for protecting your iPhone in easy, sustainable style.

Juice box iPhone case and photo by Randomly Ross/Flickr

1. Juice box: Wow! This amazing crafter creates iPod and iPhone cases out of used mini juice boxes. Think you can make something similar?

2. Raid your dresser: Before you drop off your next donation bag at the thrift shop, consider turning old clothing into a new iPhone “cozy”. Socks in fun patterns are already halfway there; you don’t even need a side seam. Just use the “tube” part, sew up the bottom, and add a button or zipper at the top.  A cardigan sleeve can be used the same way.

3. Raid any other fabric: And here I’m thinking upholstery, old pillows, blankets, denim, tweed, etc, because for this purpose, stiffer fabrics are better. Once you’ve got your material you can Google around for a pattern.

4. Don’t forget leather: Or for vegans like me, pleather or vinyl. An ugly old purse may be just a few snips and stitches away from a sleek, chic new case.

5. Make a book case: Get it? But seriously, you can use a small notebook or moleskin or other little book, make something similar to a secret compartment book safe. I really love the idea of carrying an iPhone in a book – an ode to low tech in a high tech world!

6. The lowest tech of all: Cardboard. Well why not? It’ll get the job done and it’s a great way to recycle the stuff. If you’re a “function over form” type of person, than go for it. If nothing else I guarantee it’ll be a great conversation piece.

7. Still pretty low tech: Duct tape. Now bear with me here – we’ve all seen the duct tape wallets by now, so we know you can do some pretty cool stuff with this industrial fixative. And nowadays, duct tape comes in all sorts of fun and fancy colors, and it's not just for HVAC contractors (actually, HVAC contractors don't even use duct tape to fix ducts, according to Phoenix HVAC contractor Hobaica Services). So I’m thinking, get creative and use up your old rolls of duct tape to create a badass, one of a kind phone caddy.

8. Bike tubing: These days there are a number of companies using spent bike tubing in cool, urban-inspired design. I’ve seen bags and wallets, furniture, jewelry, and more. So why not take a crack at a sleek black rubberized iPhone case?

9. An old neck tie: Making an iPhone case out of an old neck tie is maybe my favorite of the bunch, for its simplicity, practicality, and oh-so-adorable-ness. So versatile too, depending on the type of tie you use.

Obviously, there is no limit to what can be created, recreated, re-modeled, and re-imagined. Got any great ideas? Please let up know in the comments!

Sayward Rebhal writes for

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