The Shell Phone




Have you ever needed an inconspicuous place to store your change, cash, jewelry or anything else? If yes, then the shell phone is the solution. What is a shell phone? The shell phone is an old flip phone that has been converted into a small storage container. One advantage for using the shell phone is in the storage container’s appearance, which is guised to be an outdated flip phone. Placing items like cash or jewelry inside the shell phone, the phone can be used to trick thieves into not wanting to steal an unappealing old flip phone. Which is why I decided to create this instructable for the shell phone, which will show you how to take most old flip phones and convert the phone into an inconspicuous storage container.

Step 1: Matierials

If you have decided to create a shell phone than I recommend you try and use a thicker flip phone to increase the storage capacity of the shell phone. After deciding on which old flip phone your going to use I recommend finding information on how to disassemble your specific phone on either blogs or user manuals.

I have compiled a short list of links for common old flip phones and how they can be disassembled:







The old flip phone I chose to create this shell phone was a Motorola V551 and the tools that were needed are shown in picture and listed below:

- Torx T6 screwdriver

- Small flat head screwdriver

- Metal file

- Exacto knife or Box cutter

- Super glue

- Clamp

- Hacksaw

Difficulty level: Beginner

Time= ~Hour

Step 2: Disassembling Phone

First step is to unscrew and remove the antenna and slide off the battery cover. Then remove the battery and any sim cards and memory chips. Must save the battery cover and antenna. Users should safely discard the battery through a battery-recycling program.

Next unscrew the four screws on the back of the phone case as circled in the second picture. Save the four screws.

Use a small flathead screwdriver to unlatch the two clips holding the two parts of the phone, as shown in the third picture. Than remove the back section from the phone.

Than remove the metal backing from the back section of the phone. Using your thumb unhinge the metal section and remove the metal section from the plastic back section, as shown in the fourth picture.  You want to save the plastic back section but the metal section can be discarded.

The next step is to remove the circuit board and the plastic keypad. To remove the circuit board simply remove the board from the phone. The keypad will be just as easy and will easily lift off the phone. Don’t discard the circuit board or keypad. The fifth picture shows all the parts that need to be removed from the phone.

Step 3: Preparing Phone Pieces

Once the phone has been taken apart its time to start preparing the pieces of the phone that will be needed in creating the shell phone.

Take the plastic keypad and your box cutter or exacto knife and cut off the side buttons as labeled in the first picture. You can discard the plastic keypad now but must keep the side buttons removed from the plastic keypad.

The next step you need to take your box cutter or exacto knife and remove a circular chip on the back of the circuit board. Than you need to clamp the circuit board to the edge of a table with the power connector hanging over the table. Using the hacksaw cut off the power connector from the circuit board. These steps are shown in the second picture. Make sure to save the power connector piece and you can now safely discard of the circuit board.

The next step is to remove the thin plastic keypad holder strips. This is done by using your box cutter or exacto knife and cutting each spot where connected to the main plastic edge of the phone. This step can be shown in the third picture. The thin plastic keypad holder strips can be discarded.

Step 4: Assembly Preperation

After everything has been removed it is now time to prepare the phone to be assembled. It is now time to smooth down the inner edge of the phone. This can be done with a metal file that will remove the rough small edges to the inner phone case. This step can be shown in the first picture.

The next step is to take the three-keypad buttons that were removed from the keypad and glue them back on the phone. Take the super glue and put a small amount of glue around the edge of the button. Than place the plastic button in its designated hole on the side of the phone case. Step shown in the second picture. Repeat this for each of the three removed buttons. This step will help the outer phone keep its details and the contents of the phone from falling out of the case.

Very similar to the previous step, use the power connector which was previously removed from the circuit board.  Take the power connector and apply a small amount of super glue on one side. Than place the power connector on the bottom section of the outer plastic phone case as shown in the third picture. This step will also help the outer phone keep its details and the contents of the phone from falling out of the case.

Step 5: Assembling the Shell Phone

The last steps are to assemble the phone back together. Take plastic back part of the phone where the power connector was glued to and place it back on the back of the phone. Than screw the four screws back into the back of the phone this step shown on the first picture.

Than take the antenna and screw it back into the antenna hole on the top of the phone. Last is the blue plastic outer battery cover is slid back onto the back of the phone. These steps are shown in the second picture.

Now your finished! You have created your very own shell phone. The shell phone can be used to indiscreetly store your change, cash, jewelry and any other small items. Please leave me any comments or suggestions. 



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    27 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I use an iPhone 5 as a wallet


    3 years ago

    Every time I see a flip phone, I have the urge to flip it.

    Thank you! I was worried that this idea might have been a couple years too late and people would have thrown their old flip phones away already.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Same here... I spend less than $50/year on minutes with a pay-as-you-go plan, and have NO interest in spending at least that much per MONTH on a fancy multi-function "Smart" 'phone!
    In our area, you can donate old 'phones to a battered women's' shelter; as long as a 'phone has a charge, it can be used to call 911 (police/emergency) FREE. If a 'phone still works, that's what I'd recommend...


    5 years ago

    What the glue do you using?Sorry for bad english:)


    I like that idea! Maybe add a magnet into the top portion after removing the screen and stick it somewhere sneaky!


    6 years ago on Step 5

    I had a suggestion. You could alternately use a dremel or exacto knife to cut out the battery compartment, leaving it intact enough to still use the cover. The phone would then still have the keypad and look more authentic.


    6 years ago on Step 5

    add on the end of your instruction:
    Then fill the empty space with cotton. This way even If a thief will take it in hand hi can NOT hear or feel any UNUSUAL sound or movement inside the phone.

    I have bought outdated cell phones complete with chargers at second-hand stores. I usually use these to let my grandchildren play games on "real phones" (hence leaving my real cell phone alone!), but I have also disassembled them and used them for discreetly storing small items such as you describe. I have also traded good books, CDs, etc. for old cell phones whose owners had planned to use them for credit toward a new phone.

    I scrounge non-working electronics, outfit the grandkids or my students with eye protection and leather gloves when indicated, then remind them of safe tool use and let them take apart the electronics to see what is inside and whether they can repair them or combine parts to create something new. This always excites them; it also stimulates increased attention span, fine motor skills, social skills and cooperation, discovery, and creativity.

    Thank you for this great user-friendly 'ible!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Great Idea, I am going to have a look around now to see if I can find an old phone lying around somewhere :)

    2 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Make sure you don't accidentally steal someone else's coin flip phone - they may have already tried this instructable!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Cool post! I bet an old Motorola Razr could be converted into a business card case using these steps!

    1 reply