Introduction: Phone Case Made Out of Popsicle Sticks

Picture of Phone Case Made Out of Popsicle Sticks

yep, it's a phone case with working buttons and a flippity flap, made out of popsicle sticks and glue. it's about 90% popsicle sticks because the "core", if you will, of the panels on the front and back is folder board, there's cushioning inside made out of foam rubber (or linso), and the hinge is made out of canvas. everything else is made out of popsicle sticks.

this idea is more of an improvement on an original idea than anything else. before this i made a phone case out of cardboard, which was great but the paint job didn't look very presentable. so i made it again but with popsicle sticks for more durability and aesthetic value.

i know it looks like a casket, LOL. i intentionally made it to be bulky because i know that there's a smaller possibility that my gadgets will get lost if they're in a bulky case. my ipod is exactly the same way; its rubber case makes it look twice as thick. my phone is pretty slim but under a layer of foam rubber, two layers of popsicle sticks and very thick flippity flap, it's the size of a goddamned purse. IT'S NOT KIDDING AROUND AND IT MEANS BUSINESS. if you want it slim, feel free to make a few tweaks if you can manage to make it slimmer.

in theory, this can be made for most smartphones but it will definitely be easier to make for phones with straight edges like iphones, nokias or sony xperias. if you've got a curvy samsung galaxy though... i wish you the best of luck!

ALSO, this is the first time i'm ever worked with popsicle sticks since kindergarten so if any of the steps look utterly ridiculous, do tell me!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials


>>> popsicle sticks and/or tongue depressors

i used 2 sets, actually. i was looking for tongue depressors because i knew they were wider but i couldn't find any. instead i found a set of wide "popsicle sticks" under the art attack brand. yes it's a brand. it sells basic household and carpentry stuff under different names (like, pipe cleaners as "fuzzy wire" and cut dowel rods as "colored sticks". i guess tongue depressors are now "popsicle sticks" in art attack. it's amazing.)

the other set is regular-sized 1cm popsicle sticks.

>>> folders

>>> double sided tissue tape

>>> masking tape

>>> foam rubber

>>> canvas

(if you want to make the flippity flap)

>>> white glue

>>> cyanoacrylate superglue

you won't use this much since the sticks and superglue are NOT friends, but it will come in handy


>>> binder clips

>>> sandpaper

>>> a wooden box

this is where you'll clamp some of the parts so it has to be an open-top box, smaller than your phone, the angles should be perfect right angles and the panels should be thin enough to clip on with your binder clips. if you have a proper clamp though, CONGRATULATIONS!

>>> a craft cutter

>>> a ruler (and a caliper, if you have one)

>>> a triangle

>>> push pins

Step 2: Measuring and Planning

Picture of Measuring and Planning

so lay down your phone on a flat surface and measure the length, width and thickness of your phone. it was easy for me since my phone is very boxy. please take into account other bumps like buttons or a camera lens that sticks out, etc. leave allowances for them.

then, start to plan your design. it should be quite easy since we're just making a little glorified box. however, you should take into account things like if you're going to conceal the edges, you have to make a 1.5 mm allowance for the popsicle sticks. it's pretty much just a game with allowances and combined thicknesses. i drew my plan out while working to keep track.

Step 3: Making the Back Panel

Picture of Making the Back Panel

so my back panel's size is basically the size of my phone body + buttons on the side + 1 mm allowance on each edge to accomodate the padding.

i first made a little sheet by sticking on some popsicle sticks to the folder board with some double-sided tape. a good 25% of the popsicle sticks in a pack will have wonky edges, so try to avoid those when making sheets like this. after the sheet is done, cut out the back panel. fill the gaps between the sticks with white glue and let it dry under some weight to make sure it dries flat. make sure it's protected by some plastic so it doesn't stick to your weight. after it's dry (like after 2 hours), take it out and cut out holes for the camera and speakers.

it's hard to cut holes, but what i did was, after i drew on the hole to be cut, i drove a push pin into the corners of the hole until it came through. the little holes help with stopping the cutter from going past its mark, and they tell you where the hole will be on the other side so you can start cutting from there too.

Step 4: Making the Side Panels

Picture of Making the Side Panels

the side panels are 2 layers thick and have consistent widths. i first cut strips of the appropriate widths and trim them to the right lengths. it might be annoying to cut the sticks down one by one, so i made a little jig to help me. then, cut out the holes for the buttons, the earphone jack, the charger outlet, and the microphone. use the push pin to mark your corners and cut the holes out. do this for all the layers. after that, i glued the layers together with white glue. they weren't flat so the binder clips help them get into shape while drying.

Step 5: Gluing the Side Panels Together

Picture of Gluing the Side Panels Together

this is a bit tricky. i used white glue to bond the edges together, and i clamped them with binder clips to the sides of the box while they dried so they come out with perfect right angles and strong joints. ideally, you wait for one joint to dry completely before you work on another one, but since i'm an impatient brat i just used masking tape to hold 2 of the side panels in place while the other 2 panels were clamped on properly to the box. it turned out beautifully when i woke up the next morning.

Step 6: ​gluing the Back Panel to the Side Panels

Picture of ​gluing the Back Panel to the Side Panels

so slip in the back panel inside the side panel frame, lay this setup on a flat surface, put some glue on the edges and corners, and let it dry. the back panel really wasn't flat at all so i put some weight on it while it bonded to the side panel frame. i made sure that my weight was covered with sellotape so the glue won't stick to it.

after it's dry, fill in the gaps with white glue and sand until you're happy

Step 7: Attaching the Padding

Picture of Attaching the Padding

cover the inside of the side panels with appropriately-sized padding. the padding i used is 1mm-thick black foam board. i assume you can also use double-sided tape as padding (the one with foam) as long as one side is covered. make sure that the padding will cover the holes for the buttons, but will leave the holes for everything else open. i stuck them on with double-sided tape.

Step 8: Covering the Edges

Picture of Covering the Edges

i concealed the edges with a layer of popsicle stick. the side panels + the padding turned out to be 5 mm thick all in all, so i cut that out and glued it on the the tops of the side panels. i used some masking tape to hold them down since not all of them were flat

Step 9: Making the Buttons

Picture of Making the Buttons

the bottoms of the buttons are actually attached to the padding itself so they will bounce back when you press them. the buttons also don't lose any of their sensitivity. so make a couple of buttons for the volume and the power. make sure they're thicker than the side panels so they stick out, and that they have a lot of allowance. carefully stick them on to the padding with superglue, and avoid the edges of the hole.

check the rest of your case. if there are still gaps or dents, fill them with glue and sand until everything is nice and smooth and perfect.

if you want your phone case to be open, you're done! move on to the next steps if you want a flippity flap.

Step 10: Impregnating the Canvas for the Hinge

Picture of Impregnating the Canvas for the Hinge

take a piece of canvas and brush unadulterated white glue all over the surface. let it dry, then repeat the process. this piece of canvas here is impregnated with 6 layers of glue (3 in front, 3 at the back). this will make sure that when you cut it, the threads of the canvas never come apart when you cut it and use it as a hinge.

Step 11: Make the Flap Panel

Picture of Make the Flap Panel

the canvas is actually sandwiched between two layers of popsicle sticks, then i concealed the edges.

first, cut the canvas out. you would like some allowance to stick one side to the flap panel. the other side will be stuck to the side of the main phone case, covering the entire side BUT avoiding the volume buttons.

i made the flap panel the same way i made the back panel: sticking popsicle sticks to some folder board, then cutting it out. however, after i cut it out, i trimmed some allowance off the folder board layer. it peeled off easily since it was just the tape holding it together. this is to make space for the canvas in the sandwich.

glue the canvas to the popsicle sticks with white glue, and stick on another layer of sticks with double-sided tape to complete your sandwich. fill in the gaps with glue, and, like the back panel, let it dry under some weight to make sure everything's nice and flat. conceal the edges if you have to with a layer of popsicle sticks, much like the way we concealed the edges for the main phone case.

Step 12: Attaching the Flippity Flap to the Case

Picture of Attaching the Flippity Flap to the Case

i attached the canvas to the case with white glue. to make sure that the adhesive stays on the lower half of the side panel only, i put some masking tape on the top half of the case and the canvas. so glue the two together, let it dry for a couple of hours, peel off the masking tape and you're done!

i wish i had some mahogany-tinted varnish with me because i really wanted it to match our wooden furniture (ha!) but alas, all i have is some clear varnish and it's now gooey because of air exposure. that's why i decided to leave it unfinished. i like the texture anyway. for future models i may experiment with kolrosing and other finishing techniques but for my first wood project i think this will do.


sarvesh7 (author)2014-06-18

awsome. i want to make one but i have lenovo A 850 but it has curved edges. can you tell me any trick or tip for it ?

danamrox (author)sarvesh72015-05-26

i can

emtsevilla (author)sarvesh72014-06-18

you can try experimenting with steaming or boiling the popsicle sticks to curve them. i checked your phone model out and it looks like the curves aren't that pronounced so it shouldn't be so hard :)) i haven't tried steaming or boiling though, ever, but based on these instructables i think it's perfectly doable

for steaming, check out this step here:

and this one, for boiling


BrainiacNewton (author)2015-09-21

awesome design works perfectly!

danamrox (author)2015-05-26


aiverson1 (author)2015-02-17

Very nice! I'm going to (try! lol) make one of these for my LG g3, I shall post pictures when I'm finished

SuperPollo made it! (author)2014-11-08

I used your tricks and tips, as well as your ible as inspiration, to make my very own tongue depressors case. I made it for my external hard drive, and I used foam sheets to fill the inside and make a tight fit for the hard drive. Thanks =D

emtsevilla (author)SuperPollo2014-12-13

sorry my reply is super late! just wanted you to know it looks fantastic... thank you for making it :)

nevadavic (author)2014-11-30

very well done!

mspencer8 (author)2014-09-19

I hope this will work for nokia xl... :D

bgoodwin12 (author)2014-09-01

Awesome Instructable you just lit a fire in my brain that can only be extinguished with tons of popsicle sticks and gallons of white glue.

emtsevilla (author)bgoodwin122014-09-08

awesome! i hope the fire didn't do too much damage to the rest of your brain? HAHAHA
(i love this comment lol)

TrollFaceTheMan (author)2014-07-26

XD I take it used Popsicle sticks arn't so great unless you want sticky buttons...

washing the sticks (in detergent and warm/hot water) works fine

Good to know, thanks.

or a smelly case for that matter! hahaha EWWWW

Very True XD

I❤️FredWeasley (author)2014-08-01

Can this work with an iPod Touch 4G?

cammers (author)2014-07-29

Congratulations on a well deserved win. Keep up the great work.

Winged Fist (author)2014-07-26

Well done! Very nice case, really well documented and great photos! You got my vote;-)

emtsevilla (author)Winged Fist2014-07-28

thank you for the nice comment and the vote! i appreciate it ❤❤❤

KiloVision (author)2014-07-21

Beautiful case, great Instructible. I could see making one of these and staining it or use woodburning to personalize it.

tomasina (author)2014-07-05

Great job!...i want to make a case for my phone from wood & copper...hadn't thought of popsicle sticks or tongue depressors, less weight.....thanks for the reminder....thumbs up!

emtsevilla (author)tomasina2014-07-08

thank you! i'm excited to see what you would come up with! try using small hinges too, like the ones for jewelry boxes, instead of canvas for the flap, i think it would work really well with your copper + popsicle stick case :)) i'm planning to do that for a second version TBH...

bbangadi (author)2014-07-06

its good . i want to make it for my sony xperia tipo st21i . can someone help me ????????

emtsevilla (author)bbangadi2014-07-08

HOLY SPAM! hahahaha. you posted the same comment 10 times in a row, bud. you may wanna consider deleting the other 9, you might get flagged or something!

anyway, i checked the phone model out and it seems like the curves are not too prominent, so it should be easy to work out a case design / layout for it. mr. sarvesh7 had a similar question, so i stuck my reply to his comment on top of this thread. in it i suggested STEAMING or BOILING the popsicle sticks to curve them according to the phone's contours. i provided links too. just visit this page again and you'll see my replies + links right on top. thank you!

snow ball (author)2014-06-29

wish i had the skills to do this! ( or the popsicles ) hahaha

amazing work and polished finish,

Siddharth Jain (author)2014-06-25

Great idea!
Voted! :D

thank you! i appreciate it!

obeh kok siang (author)2014-06-20

Nicely done.

MaskMarvl (author)2014-06-20

I was gonna say "Great Job" but you already have enough of those already... ;)

emtsevilla (author)MaskMarvl2014-06-20

awww thank you for commenting anyway! they all mean a lot to me <3

charles clark (author)2014-06-20


13jork (author)2014-06-20

Nice Done! I hop you do more how to's! I think I gone build it!

charles clark (author)2014-06-19

Awesome but can you do it with a iPhone ?

emtsevilla (author)charles clark2014-06-19

i ~think~ you can :)) it's actually pretty ideal for this since the sides (minus the corners) are straight on an iphone. i think the process would still be the same, no bending or anything, but you have to REALLY sand the corners down to bring out the curves for the case as well. i was supposed to do that here but i guess i fell in love with the sharp edges :))

Alderin (author)2014-06-19

Nifty little project! Makes me think about doing the same for my phone. Though, my phone is a little bit longer than the average popsicle stick. I was also thinking about making the case extra thick and using sandpaper to give the case nice curves. I'd use epoxy instead of white glue for mine, since pockets are pretty high humidity for a water soluble glue. :-)

emtsevilla (author)Alderin2014-06-19

oh, mine is too long too! forgot to mention that. haha. anyway, what i did was i just attached two popsicle sticks together. the case is 2 layers all around so i just made sure that between the layers, the breaks are nowere near each other. i think you can see the breaks in step 4(?). anyway, i'm really interested in how the curves would turn out in your model. i bet it would look great and be ergonomic! and yeah, now i kinda regret using white glue, i can feel the case just sliming up when i touch it with wet hands. oh well! there's always a version 2.0 :))

Greasetattoo (author)2014-06-19

GREAT job, very creative!
Kudos to you!

thepaine (author)2014-06-19

Very nice concept. At first I thought, "we're making a phone case of popsicle sticks?" Then after seeing it, I was very impressed. I'm considering making a similar design from hardwood to get the beautiful finishes and highlights. One possible problem, though: after a while, won't the foam padding compress where the buttons are pressed? Maybe make a relatively-easily replaced section just for the buttons? Regardless, though, it's a great design. Well done.

emtsevilla (author)thepaine2014-06-19

you know what, i just recalled that before this, i actually made a cardboard version (lol) with the same sort of technique for the buttons. i got a good 2 months out of it and there's no sign of wear in the padding under the buttons. well that's good :)) anyway, thanks for the lovely comment and good luck with the hardwood version! i bet it'll turn out great!

emtsevilla (author)thepaine2014-06-19

i'm not sure, to be perfectly honest :)) although i must say i've worked with foam rubber before, it's really stubborn and hard to crease and mold, even with heat. it just flaps back into place even after storing it folded :)) i dunno how long would retain these properties though. also it's really prone to tearing, so that might be a bigger problem than being compressed. we'll see! :))

bricobart (author)2014-06-17

Seems a lot lighter than the steel casing I made last year ;) Creative job!

emtsevilla (author)bricobart2014-06-17

oooh i think i saw that one! the panzer thingy thing? yeah i liked it BTW :)) my phone case actually isn't that light (i really hoped it would be). it's actually heavier than my "the godfather" paperback (-___-) i can't even---

i like it heavy though :)) thanks for the nice comment :)

bricobart (author)emtsevilla2014-06-18

Yep, that panzer stuff! Too bad I broke my phone anyway and the new won't fit in it :(

Whatever, making custom phone cases is cool stuff! Looking forward to your next one ;)

gilri (author)2014-06-17

An idea for later versions, try using balsa wood, most commonly known for making model airplanes and gliders. Most hobie/craft stores carry it in different sizes, widths (up to 8 or 10 inches wide), lengths, and thickness.
With solid balsa wood panels, being a semi-soft wood, you can sand and sculpt it (if you have a curvy phone) by hand into practically any shape.

BigRed1973 (author)2014-06-17

I looked this over 62 ways from Sunday, and I still cannot believe how amazing this is!! Excellent job, if I did not know, I would not have guessed!!!

emtsevilla (author)BigRed19732014-06-17

awww thank you! :D

weatherlady (author)2014-06-17

This is my first day at this group and my first project to look at. My GOSH, this is amazing!! Fantastic job!

emtsevilla (author)weatherlady2014-06-17

welcome to instructables, i guess? :)) i've actually only been here a month myself. thank you for the compliment!

About This Instructable




Bio: hi! i'm @wagglefingers on twitter. || industrial design student || the first craft project i ever did was turning a pringles can into a pencil holder ... More »
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