Smartphone Wood Veneer Case





Introduction: Smartphone Wood Veneer Case

About: Mostly, I study chemistry but sometimes I work wood. Also, the game.

Hi everyone!
I'm here again with another wood phone case project, this time for a Oneplus One (Yep, for the android fans out here, it's this phone that you can't buy because you're not hipster enough. Deal with it.) I just got in the mail a couple days ago as a replacement for my much too old Samsung who rebooted when I called my girlfriend, which was annoying. Anyway, I bought it with a flip leather case and didn't really liked the looks of it so I decided to change it to a material I like much more : wood! The company that made this phone supposedly sells wood cases but they were not available at the time and have since been cancelled.

This was my first ever work with veneer and I'm very happy with how it turned out minus a couple little accidents.

The whole project took me around two hours of work and I am not a seasoned woodworker.

Alright, let's get to it!

Step 1: Tools and Materials

For this project to succeed, in addition to basic braining skills such as thinking, we will need :

Materials :

Wood veneer of your favorite kind (size depending on the size of your phone, you need a slightly larger piece) I used "Tinéo" (don't know the english name) because it had a very nice color split

Linseed oil

A case with a back you can peel off such as this one for my phone.

Tools :

Exacto knife, or any sharp knife with a relatively small tip

Precise metal ruler (as always, so useful for every tiny thing you have to do!)

Sandpaper (120, 220, 400)


Dremel tool (optional)

Things that I never knew whether to put under tools or materials :

Transparent tape

Cotton cloth



I bought a sample of 50 different wood species veneers for 30 bucks off French ebay and will have enough veneer for my next 50 projects I think.
The veneer pictured here is the one I used for practicing because I didn't like its looks, I ended up using a much prettier one once I know how to cut everything.

Total cost of the project is around the price of the case (15 bucks), plus the price of your phone if you don't remove it from the case when superglueing :)

Let's proceed to the making!

Step 2: Skin Your Prey

This is undoubtedly the boring step of the process :

I started by peeling off the leather and that was easy but I wanted to use all the depth I could find to put my veneer in place. Peeling was easy.So I started trying to remove the glue. If, unlike me, you are not OCD, do not remove the glue. Seriously don't, it's 45 minutes of your life that are not coming back anytime soon.

Once it's clean and homogeneous, we can move on!

Step 3: Shaping

Time to start shaping your wood to the contours of the place you are going to put it in : I simply outlined the shape on a piece of paper and then taped it to the veneer and then taped everything to a thicker piece of wood so as to cut out the shapes without breaking the veneer.

You should leave one or two extra millimeters on each side so as to be able to cope with a minor deviation from your original design.

Then I sanded the corners and the edges to make them respectively rounder and thinner : I found out that, for sanding veneer, it is a good idea to put it on a block of wood and only let a couple millimeters stick out so as not to apply too much leverage on the wood and not break it.

Step 4: Let's Take a Break

We should contemplate the Dude abiding for a minute

Rest your weary hands. Suck on that blood from when you planted this sharp exacto knife in your sadly-not-made-out-of-kevlar finger.

Listen to this, you've earned it.

Breathe. Shall we go back to work?

Step 5: Super-glueing and Sanding

And this is the fun slash technical part :

I applied superglue in a thin even layer on the back of the case and put the veneer on, make sure that you are flush with all the lines but be careful : the glues sets reaaaaally fast. Next time (that is, if I were you) I would use a less fast-setting glue because I messed up a very tiny bit but it annoyed me and I wish I would have had more time to adjust.

Once the glue has set, it's the part I like most about any project : sanding and finshing (Well after designing. And drawing I guess. I still enjoy it! :) )

I started with a very quick 120 to remove extra glue on the sides and wood chunks, then 220 and then 400, then moisturized the wood with a damp cloth to make the VTIBNAS (Very Tiny Invisible But Nonetheless Annoying Splinters) poke out and used some more 400 until you reach babybutt smooth.

Step 6: Finishing!

I finished it with linseed oil : I applied a generous first coat, let it sit for 10 minutes, wiped the excess with a clean cotton cloth, then let it dry for an hour in a hot spot next to a radiator. Second coat was very light and dried in 15 minutes. I then smoothed it by rubbing it with a clean cotton cloth until I couldn't feel the paintbrush strokes under my fingers anymore.

Is it smooth ? If yes, and if you are making this too, then, like me, you are done-zo!

Congrats and share it if you made it!

If you liked this Instructable, you can check out my other ones and also vote for me in the Wood context. All I would need to be the happiest man on Earth would be for Mr. Offerman to read this project until the end and let me know that he did with a comment. Probably not going to happen though! :)

Thanks for reading and see you soon!


2 People Made This Project!


  • Water Contest

    Water Contest
  • Creative Misuse Contest

    Creative Misuse Contest
  • Oil Contest

    Oil Contest

48 Discussions


Reply 2 years ago

It looks very nice, great work !

Hi! I'm not that handy but I love the cover that you made. Is there any change that you'll sell one? If you do, pleas let me know cause I'd love to buy one :-)

1 reply

Hey, thanks for you kind words! I'm sorry but I can't really do this at the moment because of time and place constraints but if I ever start making some for that purpose I'll let you know

Awesome! I got the same phone just a couple weeks ago with the same case and like you I'm not too hapy with the case. The one Plus has such an amazing back-finishing, but with the case you never see it :/ I also love wood thouh so this would be quite nice to have. Did you remove the Front Flap completely? I'm trying to think of a good way to keep the front and aply veneer to that as well.

2 replies

I tried that with my first attempt with a wood case when I came up with the idea for using the flip case back in September. As I explain in my first posting, the flip case has a recess on the back to allow for the thickness of the veneer. I ended up scrapping the first design where I left the cover intact but you may like the end result more. Be careful of the case however as I have since had to scrap mine as a result of the plastic cracking (a common complain for the OnePlus One Flip Case).

Check out the images and steps I took here to build all three designs -

Hey, thanks!

Yeah the sandstone back finish is pretty dope and so it the phone (I love it). But I choose safety over nakedness ;) Also once it's wood the sandstone is less missed believe me!

What you could do is keep the leather "joint" by just cutting it a few mill inside the case and glue veneer on top of it then sand and then glue veneer directly on top of the leather of the flip part, and sand everything smooth. You'd end up with a veneer case with a leather foldable part. In my case I decided to remove the flip part because it was more of an annoyance and I bought a screen protector which I'll probably change in 6 months, for another 4 bucks. It's up to you !


I live in Paris, France. And I own a OnePlus One can you please make one wooden cover like this for me I would pay for it.


DIY freak, opinel and oneplus one user, you are my unknown brother!

DIY freak, opinel and oneplus one user, you are my unknown brother!

Hey thanks! I bought off French ebay but I guess you could find it in your country either at a woodworking shop or by looking a little bit online. In America for instance, something like this :

...and don't ever under-estimate your local builder supply scrap barrel. Here in Alaska, Spenard Builder Supply sells scrap wood and veneers for pennies! :) (sorry, just wanted to chime in here...)

Wow! That is amazing man! I would love to try it but I'm sure it will not have that cool finish of yours. Is there any chance I can buy one from you?

1 reply

Hey thanks for your comment! I think you should make your own it's so much more rewarding! The finishing step is actually quite easy, and you can start practicing on pieces of scrap wood, sanding them and then oiling to get a feel for it. There's a lot of websites with way more detailed instructions about oil finish (here for instance) that you could check out. And I'm around if you need advice!

If your phone has curved edges, (and a separate piece for the front) how would you do that with the veneer? I wouldn't mind not having it on the front, but for the back i'd like it. Is veneer bendable?

My phone is a slide open to get to a keyboard kind, hence the front piece.

3 replies

Hey so i'm not sure I understood everything in your question, but I can tell you that : veneer is only bendable to a certain extent, depending on the type of wood you use (poplar is very flexible, ebony not so much!) so what you could do is make very tiny stripes of veneer glued to a sheet of leather or fabric and use that as a bendable material, whereas still "woody". I thought of doing that to preserve the flip cover but have no idea how it would turn out. Try and tell me!

Hope this helped. Cheers,


thanks! if I can get my hands on the veneer and a blank case for my cell, I'll definitely try! :)

Okay! don't hesitate to send pictures if you want to talk about it, it'd be easier for me to see what you'll be doing