How to Make Your Own Screen Protector (for Less Than a Nickel!)

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About: I'm just your ordinary next door neighbor who just so happens to spend free time at the golf course, in her kitchen, traveling around the world, among many other activities. Mood: Excited to post new Instruc...

So here's the story: you buy an expensive touchscreen phone or a iPod touch and do everything you can to protect it so you decide to visit an electronic store to buy a screen protector. Turns out the phone's not the only thing that's expensive; the little piece of plastic to protect your phone just cost you another $20.

A scratch-free phone: not as priceless as you think

However, there is alternative way: make your own screen protector (with no soapy water or mess)! And to make just one will probably cost you less than a nickel!


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Step 1: Materials

Here's the secret and cheap "ingredient" to the screen protector...
  • Vinyl Covering (buy the thinnest kind you can find- I bought mine at Wal-Mart in the fabric department for $1.50 for a whole yard)**
You will also need:
  • Scissors/Craft Knife
  • Ruler
  • Cardboard
  • Pen
  • Cloth
**I have received many questions about the vinyl covering hopefully this can help you out:

1. Does it have adhesive on one side?

  • No, it doesn't have adhesive. The reason I wanted to make my screen protector this way is because it doesn't have any leftover residue because there isn't any "sticky side." The vinyl does stick to most electronics but results do vary.

2.  Where can I get vinyl covering?

  • Like what I said above, I got my vinyl covering at the fabric department in Wal-Mart. However this was a while ago and some Wal-Marts have closed their fabric departments. Craft and fabric stores should sell this also.

3.  Is this like cling wrap or lamination plastic?

  • Vinyl covering isn't like cling wrap or lamination plastic at all. I wouldn't recommend using plastics with adhesives in case of damage to your phone. I haven't tried cling wrap but I does seem like it would crinkle and have a lot of ridges and bubbles.

4. Does the vinyl interfere with how the touch screen reacts?

  • I used it on my iPod touch and had no problems with it at all. I don't think it will affect the screen reacts as long as you use a thin enough vinyl. Mine wasn't too thin and it worked great!

5.  Does the vinyl damage my screen?

  • I have used my screen protector for about 2 years and haven't had any problems with it damaging my screen. In fact, personally I think its better than the adhesive ones that might leave a residue.

6.  Does the vinyl have a lot of glare?

  • I think it should be fine for glare. I admit it does have a little but nothing to worry about. I haven't noticed any issues with it so it should be fine for most electronics.

Hope this helps out and leave a comment if you have any questions/suggestions/or anything else. :)

Step 2: Measuring

First you will need to measure the length and width of the area with the ruler you will cover with the screen protector. Draw the outline of the phone on the piece of cardboard to use as a stencil (using the measurements).

Step 3: Cut

Place the vinyl covering on top of the cardboard and make sure the edges of the vinyl covering are lined up with the stencil. Cut along the lines of the stencil with the scissors or knife.

Step 4: Apply

Wipe off any dust on the newly cut piece using the cloth and make sure to do the same to you phone. Line up the screen protector on the phone and place it gently from one end to the other (to avoid air bubbles). Cut excess material from the edges and use to the cloth to smooth it down.

Congratulations, you have now made your cheap and easy screen protector!

**Results may vary depending on how you apply it. Also it might not be as durable as store bought ones but they will last.

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    97 Discussions

    None
    jen7714

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Since I have been receiving so many questions about the covering, I added a little section under the materials list to answer some questions. Please view that first. More questions are definitely welcome! :)

    -Jen

    None
    RachelN54

    Question 8 months ago

    Does anyone know the actual thickness of 4 gauge vinyl? Measurement of the cut-to-fit universal screen protector I was looking at is . 01 I believe.

    None
    RachelN54

    Question 8 months ago on Introduction

    Is this vinyl self healing? Is that a common property of this material that is just played up by these big companies, I'm wondering.

    None
    tony_jldubdukes

    Reply 1 year ago

    Everything on earth is surrounded by air pressure of 14.7 pounds per square inch as the air above us has weight. When you apply the vinyl to phone you squeeze out all the air between the phone and the vinyl and thus you have 14.7 psi. pushing on the outside which keeps the vinyl on.

    None
    CapnTacdubdukes

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    If you want to get scientific and technical with it, it has to do with the electrons attracting each other on the surface of the phone and the vinyl cover.

    None
    jen7714dubdukes

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 4

    The vinyl just naturally stays on. Maybe something to do with the two surfaces but it definitely stays on, without adhesive.

    None
    annestarlie

    2 years ago

    How could I make my own phone screen protector, but it has to be self-disinfecting. It would be able to remove 99% of bacteria by itself. Please help!

    None
    jen7714ipod1234

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I didn't want to risk any adhesives on my IPod and I have heard that tape also leaves air bubbles.

    None
    StoobieMelojen7714

    Reply 3 years ago

    Gorilla Clear Repair Tape doesn't leave bubbles. I put it on my phone, iPod, Fuze, and camera. The adhesive is really strong, but still removes cleanly (test it out on your vinyl sheeting). Though I doubt you'll ever need to take it off your iPod. Unfortunately, it is only 1.88" wide. So it can't cover a tablet seamlessly.

    2015-Clear-Repair-Tape.png
    None
    RobM116

    3 years ago

    The material you want to use is PPF or TPU. Its used to protect cars paint. The glue won't leave any residue and the material is super strong. I know companies like zagg, ghost armor, roboshields, and body guards use this material.

    None
    Mygirl_182

    3 years ago

    I am using plastic wrap because my screen got smashed and it works ok for now lol

    I have been using this probably ever since before this instructable has been uploaded. I bought a screen protector for my Samsung Galaxy Centura at Wal-Mart for about $10. They come in a pack of two. I can say that this screen protector is just as good, if not better than the one I bought at Wal-Mart. The one on my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is still in use.

    The glare is almost non-existent when you compare it to a non-protected phone. I do have to say that every screen protector I have used does reduce picture quality slightly.

    Using clear packaging also works. It looks better than the clear vinyl to start, but after a few days it don't look quite as nice as the vinyl. Glare with packaging tape is also like a non-protected phone.

    If you don't want glare, just be sure when you buy a normal screen protector that it is a matte finish.

    Overall you're better off to use the clear vinyl. It's more work, but if you do it right it looks good!

    None
    svlee77

    4 years ago

    Is this brand name Fablon in the uk?

    None
    TDolce

    4 years ago on Introduction

    I want to try this on my 12" Motion Tablet in hopes it will add a little friction and tactile feeling to remove the stupid writing on glass effect that I have with my current protector. Do you think it will achieve this?

    None
    lkmpbi

    4 years ago on Introduction

    I am looking for a screen protector/privacy screen for my surface pro 3. Do you have any ideas? Will this or some other vinyl offer this ability to provide privacy as well as screen protection? Any information is appreciated.

    I think some people don't like thick cases, it hard to control the pad or phones, only need the screen protector will be ok. We are OEM service for iphone6 screen protector manufacture, contact us at: koden@szfrd.com

    1 reply

    I think some people don't like thick cases, it hard to control the pad or phones, only need the screen protector will be ok. We are OEM service for iphone6 screen protector manufacture, contact us at: koden@szfrd.com