Stop Cracks on a Broken Phone Screen for Under $5

About: We're just two dudes who make stuff. Sometimes it's with a CNC, sometimes it's DIY projects for the home. Other times, we cook great food!

Important note: This fix is meant to get you through until you change providers, get a free upgrade, etc.

I hate my current cell phone provider and am planning to switch in 2-3 months when what happens? I drop my phone and crack the screen. It wasn't an awful crack but with chunks of glass missing, I know I will be picking glass out of my finger in no time.

A used phone of like make and model is $250-$350. Getting a generation or two older phone is still over $100. I don't want to pay that when I'm switching. Since my current phone is worthless, I decided to try to make it limp through the next few months for as cheap as possible.

Goals:

  • Spend as little as possible
  • Phone life extended 3-6 months
  • Remain in "working" condition.

I tested two phones. The first is a Galaxy S8+ (corner chips), the second is a Galaxy S6 Active (full face crack).

(It should go without saying but your will probably void your warranty if you do this. Do this at your own risk because I'm not going to be responsible for your damaged phone)

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Step 1: Step 1: Gather Your Materials and Clean Your Phone

You will need:

  • LOCA Glue or Super Glue (the thinnest possible that you can find)
  • Streak-free wipes (I used 91% isopropyl alcohol and paper towel. It worked well enough but I had to buff the streaks out and it didn't come out perfectly)
  • A broken phone

Wipe down your phone with the wipes or paper towel and alcohol. Polish it clean with a microfiber cloth or paper towel. This is a very important step. If you don't remove all the residues and dust, the evaporating vapor from the glue will stick to the particles and or leave a haze that you will have to clean up.

LOCA glue probably provides better results but I couldn't find my tube so I used super glue.The super glue worked well enough the I feel confident recommending it if that's what you have on hand and don't mind some ridges and fogging.

Step 2: Apply Glue

I opted to put my phone back in its case because there was a nasty crack on the back where dirt had worked its way between the case and phone, eventually causing a crack. This may help with the overall process as it will give the glue something to bond to other than just itself and the glass. It may also cause the glue to come off faster due to the flexing of the case (I don't really know what the end effect, if any will be).

Put a thin layer of glue over the cracks and holes. As it dries, it will fill the cracks and holes leaving ridges. Check your phone every 20-30 minutes and apply more glue to get it fairly level. I did three applications.

DO NOT GLUE YOUR BUTTONS, SPEAKER, OR MICROPHONE. If you glue your buttons, you will have to use acetone or something to free them up. Likewise for anything thing else that you inadvertently glue. Just be careful and don't glue things you don't want glued.

RESIST THE URGE TO TOUCH IT!!!!

I couldn't and I ended up with a couple noticeable finger prints in my finish.

I also decided to try an old phone that was really cracked for illustration purposes. I didn't clean it at all, I just slapped one layer of glue on it. The finish is less than stellar (lots of fogging and ridges).

Step 3: Let It Dry

Since you aren't bonding anything to the glue it will take a long time to dry. I let mine sit for 12 hours and it seems to be dry.

After about two days or normal to me use (which is heavier than your average office worker) it seems to holding up well. There isn't any evidence of the glue coming off yet but I plan to update this instructable in a month or two.

My other test of my really broken phone came out fairly well. There's lots of fogging on the outer edges (I didn't clean it at all) and the cracks are still noticable. However, the screen still works and bits of glass aren't coming out so I'll chalk it up as a success given my original goals.

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