Getting an iPhone was an event. I circled hearts and stars around the date on my calendar when I could pick up my trade-in and begin my new life as a Modern Woman in a Technological World! Eh, that’s a stretch. Technology, schmechnology. I was really just excited about getting an obscenely bejeweled pink Hello Kitty case, but the novelty faded when the jewels started popping off.

I switched to one of those cheapo clear plastic cases for the sake of simplicity and thrift. My genius light bulb lit up as I realized an exciting possibility: I could stick washi tape, photo cut-outs, confetti bits, and other beautiful pieces of crap to the back of my phone and seal them in with the case! For under $2, I had an interchangeable blank canvas that I could make into a roving scrapbook. These cases pop off easily, so the possibilities are endless. Plus, my phone doesn’t weigh six pounds anymore! We all win here.

What you’ll need:


  • A clear plastic case. You can buy clear cases at many mobile provider stores and Apple stores, but I’ve had great luck finding these on Amazon and eBay for mere pennies! Just search for “iPhone clear plastic case.” They sometimes come with a snap-on front piece, which is totally optional for this DIY.


  • Your choice of washi tape, which you can find at fancy craft stores, Japanese stationary stores, and Etsy—search “washi” under “Supplies;” origami paper; sequins; photos; magazine cut-outs; printed-out pictures, or whatever other relatively flat fun bits your heart desires!
  • A printer (optional)
  • A pencil (optional)
  • Scissors or an X-acto knife (optional)

How to do it:

ONE IDEA: Washi Tape!


Washi tape is cute Japanese adhesive paper that comes off without leaving sticky marks, so you can put it right on your phone. That’s nice, but what else makes it so special? PATTERNS. It comes in hundreds of thousands of millions of different patterns. Here’s how:


Just cover whatever area of the back of your phone with the tape! I like racin’ stripes, because my iPhone and I, we live life in the fast lane. Super kawaii, right?

TWO IDEA: Memory Box!

This case can be a little scrapbook of your good times. I printed out tiny images that remind me of a super fun road trip I took with my friends recently. One is an Instagram of us looking fly, one is an image of my favorite record, one’s a picture of my dream van. Pick whatever looks dope to you!

Step One:


Cut your images to the right size. My iPhone 4S measures approximately 2” wide by 4” tall, so I made each image somewhere between 1”-2” wide.

Step Two:


If your case has a front piece, put it on your phone, then flip it over so the back is facing you.

Step Three:


Gingerly arrange photos in a mélange of your liking on the back of your phone. If the little papers are moving around, feel free to use a little washi tape (I advise against transparent tape, it will leave marks) to secure them down. I didn’t here, because I’m the iPhone case collage sensei.

Step Four:


With the grace of an angel whispering into the ear of a newborn baby, slowly snap your case into place without disrupting your masterful arrangement.

Step Five:



THREE IDEA: Party Case!

Party Case is made from any sparkly, confetti-y tidbits that you have lying around. I found this piece of heart-shaped sequin under my bed sheets the other night, so I’m gonna throw that in there. I also love these sparkly origami strips I bought in Japantown, so I’m going to cut a bunch of those up for a confetti effect.

Step One:


Cut up your bits, sprinkle your sparkles…and remember: Only start arranging your sparkles ’n’ bits after you’ve put the FRONT of your phone cover on, and flipped it over to the back.

Step Two:


And snap! Party in a case.

FOUR IDEA: One Big Photo!

Want one image to be your case, from a magazine, photo, wrapping paper, or print-out? It’s easy, baby—let me show you how!

Step One:


Trace your actual phone—not the case, because the image will be too big—around the image with a pencil.

Step Two:


Trace a hole for the camera.


Use scissors or an X-acto knife to cut out the image and camera hole.


Snap it all in, and this burger is well-done AND rare (cue sizzle noise). ♦