Introduction: DIY Paper Smartphone Holder

About: Love for LEDs, woodworking and miniature scale amusement rides.

Home office is a thing that has gained momentum lately because of the coronavirus outbreak. Many schools and companies, for example, started to advise their students and employees to carry out the necessary activities without leaving home. Speaking for myself, a graduate student in Journalism, I had to adapt to remote classes and meetings via the Internet.

Only something surprised me halfway. I don't have a webcam and I use a desktop computer!

I knew that at some point my face would need to make an appear in one of these activities, so I went ahead and created a paper holder for my cell phone. This support simulates the position of a conventional webcam (at the top of the computer screen) and has a tilt adjustment, which allows me to better frame the limits of the scene I want to display to my meeting colleagues.

The following instructable will introduce you to a practical way to assemble a personalized holder for your device. It won't take you more than an afternoon to complete the project, but it will all depend on your intimacy with the use of utility knives, cardboard and instant glue.

With that being said, let's get to work!



- Triplex cardstock paper (mine is 1 millimeter thick, you can use some other type of cardboard if you can't get the triplex, the important thing is that it needs to be thin but firm and resistant);

- CA glue (you can use hot glue, or even white glue, but both have negative aspects, such as poor appearance and slow drying);

- Lollipop stick;

- Toothpick;

- Rubber band.


- Utility knife (I used a box knife one);

- Ruler;

- Pencil;

- Cutting mat (optional, will do a great job saving the surface you'll be working on);

- Caliper (optional, I had one, so I used it to get more accurate measurements from my phone, use it if you have it, it will make the job much easier).

Step 1: Measuring the Phone

This is one of the most important steps, since it will determine the construction quality of the final product!

If you usually use a protective case, take into account the size of the device plus the case, as well as any other accessories (such as popsockets).

The fundamental dimensions are: Width, Height and Thickness. Measure them and write it down.

Step 2: Sketching

Knowing the dimensions of the device, we will model a box that will house the phone. The fitting system will work in a similar way to a matchbox, with the support playing the role of the outer box and the cell phone being the drawer that houses the sticks.

Use the ruler to get the measurements. If possible, use the caliper to get more accurate measurements!

Take into account the position of the connection ports (USB and headphones, for example), the location of the buttons and the speakers, microphones and cameras.

At the back it is important to add some ventilation openings, so that the device does not explode during any task that ends up overheating it.

On the sides, keep it simple. Make two long strips that are the same thickness as the phone (plus case or other accessories if needed).

On the front, take the time to draw the screen's profile and ensure that no speakers, buttons or cameras are covered.

Step 3: Marking the Parts

Using the previous dimensions and sketches, make the markings with the ruler and pencil on the cardboard for later cuts.

Do not forget to consider the thickness of the cardboard when measuring and marking. We want a gap that allows the cell phone to pass but does not let it hang loose inside.

Step 4: Cutting the Pieces

With the cardboard sheets marked, use the utility knife to break them into individual pieces.

Be calm and careful, you don't want the parts to come out crooked or badly cut, but you also want to keep your fingers and hands intact at the end of the process!

Step 5: Assembling the Phone Holder

After making all the cuts, it's time to assemble the support.

Follow your drawings so you don't miss the position of each piece. Keep your hand steady when gluing the parts and be careful with the cyanoacrylate glue, so you dont end up gluing your hands together!

Step 6: The Hinge System

Now that we have the drawer for the smartphone, let's create the adjustable base that will allow the device to be tilted.

Divide the lollipop stick (properly cleaned) into four equal pieces. Each pair of pieces will result in a hinge.

Choose a toothpick that fits inside the lollipop stick, but allow a free of resistance movement. Chop the toothpick into two to use it as the hinge core.

Glue each piece of toothpick to a piece of lollipop stick. The result should look like the photos.

The other piece of lollipop stick must be attached to the piece of toothpick left out, but it must NOT be glued.

Step 7: The Holder’s Base

We will build the base that will hold the cell phone drawer and will house the hinge system.

Using the ruler and pencil, mark two strips equal to twice the thickness of the box holding the phone and the same length as the box. Draw a guide line that divides the width in two.

Cut the strips.

Step 8: Gluing the Hinge to the Base

On the strips you just cut, position the hinges so that they are aligned with the guide line marked earlier.

Glue a piece of cardboard to lift the hinge and prevent the moving part from coming into contact with the fixed part.

Cut four triangles that will be used to hold the other side of the hinge on the other strip of the base. It must be large enough to keep the two straps and hinges apart. Glue them to the two parts of the hinges that are free. Then, stick to the second strip of the base.

Step 9: Adding the Rubber Band

The rubber band will play the role of maintaining the tilt position of the phone fixed during use, so use a new and resistant elastic so that it does not burst.

Cut the band into two pieces. Cut four openings at the bottom of the cardboard, two for each side where the rubber band will be glued. Follow the reference of the photos.

Place the two pieces of rubber band in the gaps and glue them with the CA glue.

Pass the band to the other side, making it touch the moving base of the support.

Tension the bands so that they maintain the position of the movable cardboard strip and glue the elastics to the remaining gaps on the other side. Cut off the excess rubber.

Step 10: Putting the Pieces Together

This is the last step!

Cut two thin strips of cardboard (5 to 8 millimeters) with a length equivalent to the width of the strips of the holder (twice the size of the box that holds the cell phone).

Position them on the movable part of the tilting base so that they do not interfere with the movement of the rubber bands, but so that they are close and parallel to the bands. Glue the two strips to the base.

Position the box that holds the smartphone on top of the two cardboard strips you just glued, so that it is aligned with the center of the base in a lengthwise direction. Mark with a pencil the final position of the box and glue it on the strips.

Step 11: Done!

You shall now enjoy! The support can be placed on any flat surface and the tilt can be adjusted according to the need.

If necessary, you can stick your support on the computer screen, or use cardboard to make these locks that hold the base. In this way it is possible to use the support on the screen and off of it as well.

Use your imagination!

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