If you’re looking for a fun teen gift for a friend or just if you want to add some sparkle to your own phone case, try adding a few rhinestones to a clear cellphone case. The great thing is that you can create this using jewelry you already own, or beading from your craft collection instead of going out and buying new pieces for the design. Challenging yourself to find old jewelry you already own can save you a ton of money; because depending on where you purchase your supplies, this case can get pricey. But I’ll show you how to make this cellphone case for a friend (or keep for yourself). So pull out all of your rhinestones, beads and crafty embellishments, pop in a movie and let’s get started.
For this DIY, you’ll need:
- A clear, hard plastic cellphone case – I bought mind from eBay for less than $5.
- E-6000 industrial strength glue
- Pick Me Up tool – Retails for about $6. This is optional, but it is VERY handy for picking up those small rhinestones. If you don’t have the tool, tweezers will work.
- Nail filer (Optional)
- Toothpicks – (Optional)
- Swarovski Crystal Rhinestones – Can be purchased from your local craft store; however, MUCH cheaper if found on eBay. Plastic ones can be used if you have them as well (crystal rhinestones sparkle so much brighter, though!) Purchase them in various sizes- ss20, ss12, ss9 are some examples of sizing and what I have used in this tutorial.
- Other embellishments – Anything you like! Hearts, pearls, pendants, resin flowers, beads, brooches, etc.
First you’ll need to prep your case before gluing anything down. Sand the back of the case; and, if you want to add rhinestones to the sides as well, sand that as well with the nail file with a course grit file. Sand it roughly, to remove all the smooth surface and shine from the case. A rougher back makes a great base for the glue to stick. It will hold up much longer if you do this step, rather than not.
Now that you have a good base for your phone case, you can start laying out your design pieces. Before gluing, you want to lay out the larger pieces first to get an idea of how you want it to look. The larger pieces make up the bulk of the design and the smaller pieces will fill in the gaps at the end. As you’re playing around with the placement keep those design elements in mind- balance being one of the most important. Having a larger piece at the top and not much at the bottom, will make the case look “top heavy.” Or putting everything solely on one side may also look imbalanced. Of course you can design it however you like, those are just some basic design elements to keep in mind. Once you have placed the larger pieces the where you like, put a bead of glue at the back and secure them down.
Now start filling in the case for a more complete look. I like to start around the edges. This will ensure that you have clean edges and it won’t appear that some of the rhinestones are falling off the edge. Run a bit of glue down the edge of the case. How much? If it’s spilling off the edge, you probably applied way to much. A small amount goes a really long way. Use the “Pick Me Up” tool to grab a rhinestone and place it along the glue line. It has a tacky side, for picking up crystals, and a pointy end, for adjusting the placement once it’s down. You can try picking placing the rhinestones with your hand, but placing it in the exact spot can be a hassle. If you don’t have this tool, tweezers also work pretty well.
Place the rhinestones all around the edge of the case, making a clean line. Even go around the camera holes. You may have to apply smaller rhinestones around the camera hole. Now all that’s next is filling in the rest of the case.
Glue around the inner parts of the case and fill it in with rhinestones. Before you know it, you’ll be finished! Change up the colors if you like, add smaller pearls, beads and other pieces that stand out to you. Place rhinestones on the sides of the case if you like. I typically don’t because I found that the rhinestones on the sides tend to fall off. Let the glue cure (dry) before you attach it to your phone. Let it sit for about two hours or fully cure overnight. It may have a subtle glue odor, but it’s shouldn’t been too strong and unbearable.
Caring for your case:
Purchase a fabric sleeve in which you can keep your case. Try not to throw it in your purse. Unfortunately, after a few times of purse abuse, the rhinestones will fall off. Protect it and think of it as a piece of jewelry and it will last a very long time. If any of the rhinestones do fall off, attach it back with the E-6000 glue or nail glue if you’ve ran out.
And that’s it! What a pretty case to give as a gift to a friend that is sure to turn a few heads!