DIY phone case tutorial: customising your phone, your way!

I’ve been using an official BlackBerry nappa leather sleeve for my new Priv (my own review of the phone here) since I started using it, but there’s something about putting my own touch to my phone cases that I like. When new BlackBerry devices come out, it seems it takes much longer for cases to be designed compared to, say, Samsung Galaxy phones and iPhones. I previously customised a case for my Z10 with a Hello Kitty Batman vinyl sticker (see it here) so I decided to do the same with my Priv.

Vinyl stickers of Hello Kitty as Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street

Although the nappa leather sleeve is meant to protect my new phone, the idea of dropping my phone on the floor when taking it out of its sleeve is entirely too real a concept for me to risk not having added protection for my Priv. I already applied a ScreenKnight screen protector (bought here) to the screen, but I prefer having a hard protective case for the phone as well.

I wanted to find a partner for my Hello Kitty Batman case that I did for my Z10, but the Joker sticker (seen here) doesn’t seem as nice in white. I kept searching around until I found one that I liked and would have enough sticker to cover the BlackBerry logo on the back. I only chose to do this so it didn’t appear through the design of the sticker, but you don’t need to cover the logo if you didn’t want to.

It’s really simple, but some might be daunted by the thought of making your own case, so I decided to post this tutorial to show how quick and easy it really is to design your own case.

DIY customised smartphone case

Your smartphone
Clear hard case made for your smartphone (I bought one for my Priv here)
Vinyl stickers of choice (make sure they don’t exceed the height and width of the back cover. I purchased a 3 inch tall sticker here)
Washable marker or Tippex

1. Before you start buying stickers for your smartphone case, make sure you know the dimensions of your phone and how much space you’ll be able to cover on the case. For example, the Priv measures 147mm x 77.2mm x 9.4mm but with the camera, a 5 inch (12.5cm) tall sticker might be cutting it a bit close. The 3 inch sticker worked best for me as Freddy’s hat neatly covers the BlackBerry logo.

2. Now, attach the case to your phone and measure how far down you want the sticker to go.

3. Check the placement with your sticker next to the case to make sure it will fit.

4. Once you’ve got an idea of where you want your sticker to go, mark the outside of the case with your marker/Tippex so you can check the placement of your sticker.

5. Using the flat edge of a credit card or screen protector squeegy/application card, apply pressure to the clear side of the vinyl sticker to ensure all parts of the sticker are well stuck onto the application film. I made 4 dots on the 4 corners for where my sticker will be.

6. Make sure the inside surface of the phone case is clear of lint or any fibres – otherwise this will show up through the sticker when applied.

7. Now, peel off the backing (blue/opaque) side and apply your sticker to the inside of your phone case within the area you’ve marked. If stuck to the outside of the case, the sticker will eventually peel off easily when scratched or rubbed against other surfaces. By applying the sticker to the inside, as you’ll not likely be removing your phone case often, your sticker will be safe from peeling or scratches.

8. Now using the flat edge of your card, again apply pressure to the clear application film to make sure the sticker is now well stuck onto the case.

9. Peel the application film from a corner and keep this flat, close to the sticker so reduce pulling on the vinyl sticker upwards from the case.

10. Now quickly rub your finger over the sticker to make sure there are no raised areas and the sticker is stuck on well. That’s your phone case ready to be used!

This is the part where you can be as creative as you like! I only bought one sticker for the case, but you can use various different stickers to make a motif or build a design of your own to cover the entire surface of the case if you like. I wanted the focus to be on Hello Kitty dressed up, so I didn’t want to detract from that by adding on another sticker.

My Batman Z10 (left) with my Freddy Krueger Priv

Hope this gives you some inspiration to design your own phone case if you’re stuck for ideas or the phone cases available on the market aren’t your style and you feel like making one of your own!

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