McGuyver’s iPhone Holsterby Victor
I’m here to tell you how to make your own (moderately) safe, reliable iPhone carrying case (complete with belt loop) out of nothing but a milk jug and some brass brads… Oh, you’ll need scissors or a knife—although one of those “hobbyist” knives is preferred. To strap it all in, you'll need a rubber band -- preferably one a couple of inches long, like a #9 (yes, rubber bands have numbers).
The final result:
Full gallery here.
Believe it or not, this thing really works. Some key points:
- It doesn’t scratch your iPhone -— at all! Properly constructed, the brass brads have no chance of touching your iPhone, and the only surface it comes into contact with is milk jug plastic. This plastic is quite soft, and doesn’t seem to scuff. The plastic in milk jugs, particularly the diffuse white kind, is very tough but pliable.
- I tried it on while playing with my kids, and it is very light.
- It's sort of like recycling and has to be less wasteful than a leather or metal iPhone case.
- Pretty secure too, but don’t go running with it (I held mine in place when I had to run).
- I like holster-style cases! If you're handy, you can make one of these in less than an hour.
You’ll need this:
The white pieces of paper were used as a template (two letter-size sheets). Because of the dimensions, I couldn’t fit these on one sheet of letter paper. No, you don't need an old iPod -- this just happens to be a handy template. Note that the newest iPod touches are a little light and slim for this case, but they do fit.
I cut out those patterns on the milk jug
Your results may vary depending on the actual shape of your, uh, jugs. However, I think the divots on the side actually help keep the iPod stable in the case. However, the paper version was flat, so I’m sure that would work as well.
By now you may be wondering why a milk jug? I was inspired by the book iPod and iTunes hacks, years ago, where the author makes an iPod case out of cardboard. That’s pretty cool, but not having seen the tutorial, I’ll have to say a little chinzy. I mean, you paid a lot for this machine, why not use more exotic and durable materials?
And since we were about to throw out a milk jug, inspiration hit… So I made one for the iPod. Now, with the addition of a rubber band, looped into the loop that goes on your belt, this case works on the iPhone.
I’ve added some pics of the jug, and how it’ll be cut. Personally, I made sure the circular indentations on the side were only used on the large flat regions of the case. This provides a little resistance, keeping you iPhone in place. Just don’t go turning cartwheels.
OK, place the templates on the milk jug and start cutting. I also use the strap on the swoopy part (with the notches cut in it) as the part where my milk jug gets textured on the bottom. That made a nice separation.
However you want to, do it. Of course, those among you who are handier and freer with their time will find that other materials will suffice. A mere modification to the pattern depending on the structural integrity will make the difference.
Back to it. You’ve got your pieces cut out now, yes? Well, be careful of sharp edges. Milk jugs are normally quite docile and nice, but being overzealous with the scissors will result in snagged sweaters and cut fingers. Trim any sharp edges, and this includes corners. Probably best is to use a craft or hobbyists knife (like X-acto), but I couldn’t find mine. If you’re really skilled use your Leatherman.
Now you’ve got 3 pieces. A big rectangle, that wine glass shaped piece, and a smaller, thinner rectangle. The smallest piece is the belt/lanyard loop, so put that away for now.
The big rectangle is what goes around the other piece.
Here’s the hard part! Take the wine glass, and bend the “base” around to the “back” of the “glass.” You’re going to attach the strappy ends to each other. This makes the bottom cradle for the iPhone. I’ve put lots of pics up for you to see the assembly. Hopefully someday I’ll have the tutorial video up…
Anyway, be aware that the straps should almost seem like they’re going to come off. At this point, I got myself confused. The paper version seemed to easy, and the milk plastic is tougher. But trust me, it’ll look like a little pair of underwear in the back, and like a bent sheet of plastic from the front…
Ignore the word “belt loop” it’s merely a ruse!
So you’re going to pull the straps around. See how, when fastened, the brad can’t touch the iPhone? It’s protected by the large portion of the plastic (the part wine would go in if this were a glass of wine).
With that, it’s downhill. Now use some tape or paperclips or both to fasten temporarily. When I did it, I went ahead and put the brad through. They come out easily enough if you don’t bend them too much.
To punch holes, just use a knife point to puncture a tiny slit. That’s all you really need to get the brad through, since it’s so thin anyway. Yeah, if you’re cool you could whip out your Bedazzler, but don’t permanently fasten it yet!!!
Anyway, you put these together. If you want to trim the ends of the loop a little before fastening, go ahead. Too much loop will result in a bent loop when you put the outer sleeve on. There’s some give with this material, but you can only push it so far. My sling is bowed out at the bottom because I cut my straps (at the bottom) too long. It’s a pain to redo it, so I’ll just wait until we finish another gallon milk.
Alrighty, you’re going to overlap the big rectangles short ends together and form a slip-sleeve around this wine glass shaped piece, and fasten together where you fastened the other straps. This is the “back” of the case.
Again use the knife to cut slits. There is a top brad for stability, and a bottom one which goes through the other pieces straps too. Notice that the iPhone could still slip through the case at this point. The upper assemblies are not connected, and you could pull the “glass” part of the wine glass shape out through the bottom.
Well, we fix that by one final time cutting a wider slit. Here’s where you put that belt loop strap. Thread it through and put a brad on the side that’ll be facing your hip. Bend your ends around the strap so nobody gets hurt. On the first try my loop didn’t go through the innermost piece of plastic. This is key, as otherwise that piece could slip out! Also, the first time I slipped the ends of the brad under it’s little brassy head. The second time I got artsy and bent it around to look cool.
Last step: loop the rubberband around the belt loop so you've basically attached it (see the gallery). You can then use the rubber band as a security strap, keeping the iPhone in place. It isn't foolproof (what is?), but it does the trick.
That’s it! Another nice thing about all this is that you can make adjustments on your own. They don’t build cars out of milk jugs because it’s not the most precise material. Enjoy!
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