Introduction: $2.50 IPhone Bumper Case

About: Hi, I'm Rich Olson ( I sell cloud chambers for viewing radiation, make robots and dev software. If you need something prototyped - I might be able to help.
I just got my iPhone 4.

When I picked it up the first time - I cringed.  It's very pretty - but with a glass screen and a glass back - it seems leaving the house without a case is a recipe for disaster.

Apple is of course sending me a free case - but I won't get it for another 2-4 weeks.

So - I came up with a simple homemade "bumper-style" case design.  

It's not beautiful - but it definitely offers decent protection for cheap!

This project should also offer relief to those affected by the "Antennagate" / "Grip of Death" reception issue.

I made this case for my iPhone 4 - but there's not reason they should work for any iPhone and even other smartphones.

Step 1: What You'll Need

This project requires:

An iPhone (or any other smart phone)

3M Temflex 2155 Rubber Splicing Tape
    -Is a "fusing" tape. It doesn't actually have adhesive - but bonds with itself!
   -Available at Lowes hardware for about $2.50 in the electrical section
   -Other "splicing" or "fusing" tape may also work

Silver Sharpie (optional)


Utility Knife

Step 2: Cut the Tape

Cut about 2-3 feet of the splicing tape with the scissors and remove the plastic liner.

Cut a longer length of tape for a thicker case (vice versa if you want a thinner one).

Step 3: Start Wrapping

Hold one end of the tape tightly against the phone with one hand.

Stretch the tape around the perimeter of the phone with the other.

Pull the tape tightly - it should stretch to about 150% its original length.

When you make it all the way around the phone - overlap the tape - it should bond with itself!

Step 4: Continue Wrapping

Continue wrapping the tape around the phone - you should make it around about 3 times.

Push the end of the tape firmly against the phone so it sticks.

If you're not satisfied with the thickness - you can cut / apply another piece of tape.

Step 5: Mark Where to Cut Holes

Use the silver sharpie to mark where you'll need to cut holes in the case.

For an iPhone - you'll need holes for:
-Power button
-Headphone jack
-Volume controls / vibrate (single hole)
-Charge connector / bottom speakers (single hole)

If you don't have a silver sharpie - you can use the knife to mark where to cut.

(It's not advised to try actually cutting the holes while the case is on the phone.  You may cut through and damage your device.)

Step 6: Remove the Case

Gently peel the case off the phone.

Step 7: Cut the Holes

Use the utility knife to cut out the needed openings.

(Be careful - that blade's sharp!)

Try to cut the holes no bigger than actually needed.  Their size will expand when you put the case back on the phone.

If you cut them too small (or large) - you'll be able to address that later.

Step 8: Add "Safety Strips" (Optional)

Want to protect your iPhone even a bit better than a bumper case would?

Then add these "Safety Strips" (tm)!

- Cut an additional segment of tape about 8 inches long
- Cut that strip lengthwise into thirds
- Wrap the first segment around the base of the phone - between the "home" button and the bottom of the screen
- Wrap the second segment above the top of the screen and below the phone speaker
- Do whatever you like with the third segment.

Step 9: Put the Case Back On

Stretch the case back onto the phone.

Try to line up the openings as close as possible to their intended positions.

Step 10: Use Scissors to Trim / Enlarge Holes

Use the scissors to enlarge holes where needed, or trim up any excess tape.

Step 11: Touch Up

If you cut any of the openings too large - or left any exposed areas - you can touch them up by adding additional splicing tape.

Cut a few inch segment of tape - then cut it again length-wise - so it's half its original width.

Stretch the tape tightly over the section you'd like to touch up.

Step 12: Admire Your New IPhone Case!

Does anyone not think this looks better than brushed stainless steel?