Make a (NFC-enhanced) Slip Case for Your Phone




Introduction: Make a (NFC-enhanced) Slip Case for Your Phone

About: Technologist & Educator.

Have an Android phone with NFC capabilities? Make a multi-functional carrying case that automatically puts your ringer on silent, turns it up loud, or creates a Wi-Fi hotspot!

Watch IMG_0433.MOV below for an overview of what it'll look like and what it does.

If you don't have an Android (boo-urns!) then you can still use part of this guide (what you're looking at now) to make a case for ANY phone -- sans NFC tags.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials.

To make the paper sizing template:
* Blank sheet of paper
* Ruler
* Pencil
* Scissors
* Scotch tape or glue

To make the outer part of the case:
* Felt (or some other fabric for the outer part of the case)
* Thread to match felt
* Sewing pins
* Sewing machine (recommend but not required)

To make the inner part of the case:
* Foam sheet

To do the NFC stuff:
* 4 NFC stickers (the anti-metal kind):
* Radio frequency blocking fabric:
* Marker
* Hand sewing needle

And, of course, you'll need a phone. (An Android device with NFC support is required to complete the entire project.)

Step 2: Make a Paper Sizing Template Using Your Phone and a Blank Piece of Paper.

Make a cutting template out of paper. Grab your phone, a blank piece of paper, a ruler, and a pencil/pen.

Watch IMG_0357.MOV for an introduction. Click through the photos for notes. And watch IMG_0372.MOV for a look at the finished template.

Step 3: Cut Out the Outer Fabric Using the Template. Fold and Pin.

Use the template to cut out the outer layer fabric. I used grey felt here.

Watch IMG_0377.MOV for an intro. And IMG_0379.MOV for the folding/pinning part.

If your fabric has a "right" and a "wrong" way, make sure that you fold the fabric with the right way facing each other because you're going to be sewing the sides and then flipping it inside out.

Step 4: Cut Out Some Thin Foam for the Inside of the Case.

Moving onto the inside layer, cut out the foam but exclude the hem and inseam allowances.

IMG_0391.MOV answers the unasked question, "Why foam?"

IMG_0395.MOV shows how the cut foam will be placed in the outer layer with your phone. Double-check how well your phone and the foam fits into your outer case and re-pin for snugness if necessary.

Step 5: Sew Up the Sides of the Outer Layer.

Head over to the sewing machine. If you don't have a sewing machine you could do this by hand.

Sew the inseam but start your stitch 1cm down from the top to allow for the hem to be folded down.

IMG_0405.MOV is a video version of the photo.

When you're done sewing, trim off the excess fabric in the inseam but don't get in too close to the stitch -- make sure there's a little bit of breathing room.

Step 6: Flip Fabric Inside Out and Re-insert Foam.

Flip the fabric right-side out and put the foam back in.

Then re-insert your phone. Ta da! It fits!

Step 7: Program the NFC Tags.

These are "anti-metal NFC stickers" purchased from

Because they are going to be placed onto a special radio frequency (RF) blocking fabric, we need the extra isolation that the anti-metal NFC tag offers.

Download an app called "NFC Task Launcher" also by Tagstand from Google Play (aka Android Market, It lets you save tasks to your NFC sticker so when it's scanned, it just does it automagically!

Watch IMG_0290.MOV on how to make an NFC tag for those times you need to be very quiet like during class, a meeting, or at the movies.

Watch IMG_0292.MOV on how to make an NFC tag for those times you have a hard time hearing your phone like at a party, or when your phone is at the bottom of your purse.

Repeat for "default" but use settings for how you typically would like to hear your phone ring/vibrate, outside of the case. Say you sit down at a cafe and want to see your screen; pull it out and rest it on top.

Watch IMG_0302.MOV on how to make a 4th tag for turning on a wifi hotspot, or leave this tag for another day.

Step 8: Special Sauce: Radio Frequency (RF) Blocking Fabric

Watch IMG_0414.MOV so I can introduce you to this cool fabric that blocks radio waves. But only the radio waves of NFC chips. Science FTW!

I got this fabric from

Step 9: Place the Tags Onto the RF Blocking Fabric.

Cut out 2 small squares of this fabric.

Take your "quiet" NFC tag and peel off the sticker backing and place it onto one piece of fabric. Put "loud" onto the other.

Stick the 2 other tags to the other side of the fabric pieces.

Watch IMG_0418.MOV for how everything so far will fit together.

Step 10: Sew the RF Fabric + Tags Onto the Foam.

Take the foam out of the felt and sew the loud/wifi patch to the foam. It's important that the loud side is facing inwards!!

Repeat for the silence/default patch and make sure "silence" is facing inwards.

No one is going to see the stitching so it's okay if you're a bit sloppy. :) Just make sure it's in there securely.

When you're done, put it back into the outer felt layer.

Watch IMG_0423.MOV to see it 90% assembled and the case in action!

This is a also a good time to mark the sides of the case with icons or decals so you know which side is which!

Step 11: Last Step! Clean Up the Opening Hem.

You can now fold the felt over the foam and hand sew to make a clean hem.

But I kind of liked this grey and black layering so I ended up evening the felt up with the foam by cutting off the excess, then hand stitched with purple thread.

Yay! Sexy and functional.

Hope you enjoyed my first Instructables!

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    So what you're doing is having NFC tags at different angles in the case. So if I want it to vibrate I turn my phone one way. If I want it loud it turn it another way. Right?

    This is a neat concept.

    I don't know how to sew but luckily I bought my girlfriend a sewing machine for Christmas and she's forever complaining about having nothing to do with it, now I have an idea for her.

    I like my cases to be a little more rigid, would thick card stock or eve cardboard get in the way of the NFC tags? I don't even know that I'm going to use the tags, but if I do it'll be good to know.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    NFC works through quite a lot of inert materials (fabric, plastic, even single pane glass!) so the more important thing is to make sure you keep it under 1cm thin. NFC is suppose to work up to 10cm away but those are marketed "ideal" situations.

    The foam sheets I used are actually quite rigid (while adding protection from stray finger presses); even more so than card stock. Plus, if card stock got bent, it would quickly lose it's rigidness.

    You could look into a stiff leather or a leather-like material.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    What I don't get is how this operates. I can't watch the video at the moment. Is it loud when you put it in the case one way, silent if you flip it around, and then default or wifi depending on which side of the outside of the case you put it on?

    I love this idea. I've wanted a way to tell my Samsung Replenish to be silent whenever it's in my pocket ever since I got it. My Blackberry had a reed switch so when it was in the case with a little magnet, it knew it should shut up.

    If this phone was NFC-enabled, I could put a tag in the case for silent, one in my car for speaker/loud, one on my bedside table...

    Dang. Now I want a new phone.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    You are exactly right in how you think it operates.

    I first thought of this project a while back because my phone *always* makes its way to the very bottom of my purse and I can never hear it ring!

    NFC support came along in Android and I said, "Ah ha! The answer to my woes!"