Flattening Warped Veneer and Pimping Your Phone




Link in case video don't show up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJXxRo-36n0

Veneer is a really fun material to work with, regardless if you're doing marquetry or using it for other kinds of crafting. However, often enough you'll find veneer that you intend to use being bubbly, curved, warped or otherwise deformed. Don't fret, the veneer isn't beyond rescue, watch the video above to learn how to get it back into shape.




Flat wood boards, plywood, MDF or chipboard works great



Let's get started!

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Step 1: Gather Your Tools/materials

For this you're going to need two very simple things, a couple of slabs of flat wood such as plywood, MDF or chipboard, and water.

Step 2: Wet That Veneer!

Take the two slabs and wet one side down so it's evenly covered. It shouldn't be dripping, but at least have an even moist coverage.

Place the piece of veneer on top and moisten that as well.

Finally place the other slab on top.

Step 3: Clamp That Veneer!

Clamp the veneer wood sandwich together.

When in doubt, use all the clamps!

Now wait over night to allow the whole thing to dry. This is why it's important that you don't use a sealed wood, or something covered in plastic or melamine, as that will not absorb the moisture and thus not allow the veneer to dry.

Step 4: Remove Clamps, Extract That Veneer!

And there you have it, your veneer should be as flat, or even flatter, than the day it was bought.

Step 5: Use That Veneer!

If you want an idea what to use that veneer for, why not stick it in a laser cutter and cut out a simple shape? Varnish it with some nice polyurethane clearcoat, apply some double sided stickytape to the back and stick it to your phone.

Way to class up the place!

Thanks for watching and reading this video and instructable. If you want to see more be sure to follow me here on instructables and subscribe on YouTube!

Have a nice one!



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    12 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Ironing it with a steam iron also usually works. Just keep the heat moderate.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I have a simple phone with a curved back, I am going to try this on my phone, it is a great idea. I love the ingenuity and original thinking.

    So awesome


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I have a laser cutter and wood veneer. What kind of double sided sticky tape did you get. I can only find really thick double sided tape. were did you get it? thanks much...Rise on!

    1 reply

    It's a double sided sticky tape used to hold down material when doing milling operations, and as such it's not cheap. I think it's around $70 a roll. However, if you look specifically for "adhesive transfer tape" you will probably have better luck. Basically, it doesn't have a plastic strip which carries the adhesive, it only has a paper backing which you strip off, leaving only the adhesive on the material you want to stick. It means very thin applications, and very strong adhesion. I can find such tapes at most regular hardware stores around here.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    eBay! -- Look for veneer offcuts packs, you will find that one person's offcut/trash is big enough for your job. If you are not fussed about exact wood types, you can get bundles of mixed veneer wood offcuts for very cheap.

    Otherwise -- Hobbies/Hobby style craft companies have "marquetry" veneer sheets (a few inches square) for doing small stuff. Furniture usually uses huge sheets -- you probably don't want that.

    Either get pre-glued or plain and glue it yourself.

    Part of a work-in-progress ... all from veneer offcuts (the backing sheet is a lower grade splintery veneer, stained black and used to hold together the 23? pieces in front!)


    Veneer is real wood, even micro thin veneer will still exhibit shrinking/ swelling depending on the environment. It is best to apply a backer to the piece if it is virgin veneer before mounting it to a surface, especially one that is inert like a plastic phone case. Using newspaper between the cauls (the wood pieces) will greatly aid in wicking off excess moisture, and the rejuvenation may take several changes of the paper over a few days before it becomes pliable once again. Yes, that burl veneer does add much to the phone, nice work.

    2 replies

    I was considering using newspaper, but I was worried that it might stain the wood. Glad to hear that it would work as well though. Cheers!

    I've had it on my phone now for some months (this video was recorded last fall) but I haven't experienced any problems with it. I think it's largely because the double sided sticky tape I used is a bit pliable in itself, and thus allows for some movement of the wood.


    I think I would concur with your theory, sometimes the established rules of veneering can be ignored without penalty.,For years now I have only single- sided veneer projects, where tradition says both surfaces must be veneered for "balance", and never a problem.

    I basically just measured my phone and drew it out from that. I may have the file kicking around somewhere, but there are also many you can download online. Though, unfortunately, if you have a phone that has a curved back (which is most phones after all) applying veneer may not be such an easy thing.