if you’re anything like us, you’ve definitely got a few old phones stashed away somewhere in your home. Even if you take good care of your things, the fact of the matter is that technology wears out eventually, so anyone who uses their cell phone regularly probably understands what kind of wear and tear they go through and how quickly they can burn out no matter how careful you are. Just because an old phone isn’t necessarily working for its original intention, however, doesn’t actually man that you have to throw it out! Lately, we’ve been totally enamoured with the idea of upcycling our old phones into other things with the help of the trusty old Internet.
Just in case you’re as taken with the idea of repurposing your old telephones, no matter what kind they are, as we were if not more, here are 15 of the most unique and creative tutorials, ideas, and concepts that we’ve come across in our mission to reuse out old phones so far!
1. Old phone to action camera
Are you the kind of active person who has always wanted an action camera (like a GoPro) because you do lots of high speed sports and activities but you also know that they’re really expensive and you just can’t afford it right now? Then maybe you’d get along a little better making one of your own instead! It might sound rather intimidating to make a camera, but Victor Neamtu is here to show you just how simply it can actually be done using an old smartphone.
2. Old phone to security camera
Did we really get your attention when we started talking about ways to turn old smartphones into different types of cameras but you’re just not sure you have a use for an action camera like the one we talked about above? Then maybe you’d prefer to make yourself a home security camera instead! So long as you have a wifi connection, this tutorial from Ground Effect RC & Tech is exactly what you need to make it happen.
3. Old phone to night vision camera
Just in case you thought we were done presenting you with ways to turn your old smartphones into cameras, here’s yet another idea to keep you interested and make sure you have all kinds of options! Bokin DIY guides you step by step through the process of making certain adjustments in your old phone in order to transform it into a night vision camera. We think you’ll be impressed with how well this idea actually works.
4. Android phone to standalone music player
Have you actually long been an Android user but your last model finally became outdated, so now you’ve decided to try an iPhone but you’ve already got all your music synced to an app other than iTunes and it’s all gotten a little too confusing for you to manage or transfer? In that case, we’d definitely suggest taking a look at how Phandroid solved that precisely that problem by turning their old Android phone into a standalone music player.
5. Old phone to portable charger
Anyone who works or travels long days and also uses their phone a lot knows just how quickly phone batteries can die in a day. Of course, you could always carry your wall plug around with you to charge your phone throughout the day, but that means you’d have to sit by the plug for the duration of your phone charging, and busy people don’t often have time to stay still like that. That’s why portable external batteries are such a great idea! They’re also expensive, however, which is why we were so ecstatic to come by this tutorial from My Update Studio that teaches you how how to turn an old smartphone into a portable charger to keep your current phone’s battery nice and full for longer.
6. Old phone to smart watch
Have you actually always been interested in the way some pieces of classic technology can be easily turned into others because they share many similar elements or characteristics? Well, if you’ve got an older model of cellphone lying around, like the kind with a pixelated screen and buttons rather than a touch screen, then we think you’ll get a real kick out of the way Tinkernut made this awesome wristwatch that used to be a phone.
7. Old phone batteries into power banks
Were you intrigued by the idea of making an external phone battery because you’d definitely like to keep your phone charged for longer periods throughout the day no matter how much you use it, but you can’t stand carry your tangly phone cord around with you all day? In that case, we think you might actually prefer to make this individually charged power banks from old cell phone batteries instead! Carry them with you and pop them in when your other one dies. Get the full instructions on Instructables.
8. old phone to DIY smart phone projector
Do you have an old smartphone that actually totally still works but you got an upgrade so you took the SIM card out of it and you’ve been thinking of giving it to your kids so they can use it to play games on the wifi? In that case, we think we might have found a very cool option for you! Load a few movies onto the phones Netflix playlist and check out how Not On The High Street built a surprisingly simple screen projector that will blow the movie from the little phone screen up onto the wall!
9. DIY microscope using an old phone
Are you actually a total techie who adores building things from scratch using parts from different technology that you’ve stopping using and then upcycled? Then we have a feeling this amazing (and very fun to make) microscope that’s topped off with an old smartphone, fitted right into the space you see in the photo. Get the full instructions for making one of your own on Mates Lab!
10. Vintage phone wall art
Have you actually been scrolling through this entire post and wondering whether you might come across more ideas for making new things out of even older phones than you’ve seen so far, like your very first few original cellphones and maybe even your cordless home phones? Well, that time has finally come! Check out how Inspiration & Realisation reused theirs by making them into kitschy mounted wall art.
11. Rotary phone turned desk lamp
Now that we’ve started talking about older phones, have we really got your attention because you’ve actually found your family’s ancient rotary phone in the attic and you can’t help but wonder whether it can’t be turned into something awesome so that it’s vintage charm can be shown off better? Then we have a feeling you’ll get a huge kick out of this tutorial from Upcycle It for turning your rotary phone into a cool, old fashioned look desk lamp!
12. Old phone turned neckband sports timer
Are you the kind of active, sporty person we were talking about much earlier on our list, but you’re still not sure that turning your old phone into a GoPro style camera is quite the right project for you, even though you’re determined to reuse it? In that case, we’re certain you’ll find this simple stopwatch and timer neckband idea featured on Smart Stopwatch much preferable! This one can be done in under ten minutes.
13. DIY jumbo wooden cellphone
Have you actually been scrolling through this entire list and finding that you just can’t stop thinking about whether or not you could possibly take this whole idea one step further and just… make a whole cellphone yourself? Then we have a feeling you’re really going to adore this totally funky tutorial from Mad Science that actually teaches you how to do just that using a repurposed digital screen and some wood! The buttons really work and they’ll show you how and why.
14. Rotary phone succulent planter
Did we really catch your attention when we started talking about ways to repurpose old rotary style phones but you’ve already got a desk lamp, so that idea didn’t really keep your attention? Well, if you’d prefer something even more kitschy and unique than that, we’d like to direct your attention to this fantastic succulent planter idea outlined step by step on I Spy DIY! We actually made this for our desk at work and people complement it all the time. It just has a lot of quirky personality!
15. Home intercom from old corded house phones
We’ve already mentioned old house phones once, but the project we showed you didn’t really take advantage of how you can actually repurpose their function and the way they worked, even if you’re not really in need of a landline anymore. If that’s what you’re really interested in doing, we’d definitely suggest taking a look at how Instructables outlines the steps for using a series of corded home phones for making an intercom system right in your house! We certainly like the possibilities this idea brings because we get tired of shouting at the top of our lungs for the kids to come downstairs for dinner.
Do you know a fellow crafting or DIY enthusiast who loves to tinker and experiment with wiring and technology but who often hesitates because they feel like they could use some guidance? Are they also the kind of person with a small hoard of old and out of commission phones of all kinds? Share this post with them to help them repurpose those things instead of letting them clutter their space or go to waste!