Friday, January 11, 2013

DIY Gothic Rhinstone Phone Case

   I've been seeing a lot of really awesome phone cases lately from flat Iphone cases adorned with beautiful artwork or cleverly designed textual messages to the super built up Kawaii cases covered in bright neon colors or cool pastels with the cutest baubles and cabochons one could possibly find. There are even some awesome edgy cases with crosses made out of studs... but despite my seemingly endless searching I could not find what I was looking for. A phone case that was gothic verging on gaudy. The heavily accessorized Kawaii feel with a darker color palette and embellishments a tad more "serious" and sophisticated than Hello Kitty and skulls with bows. I'm picky what can I say.

   So I decided to experiment with the basic rubber case I had, and now that I finally have a finished product worth sharing I thought I would tell my readers what did and did not work for me. I already owned a lot of the add-ons as I am the opposite of gentle when it comes to jewelry, so much of what you see it broken off parts and pieces from my own collection over the years (the mini dice, black clover and some miscellaneous beads including the awesome netted one). The cross and flowers I got at my local JoAnn fabrics and the rhinestones were purchased on Amazon along with the skull bead and some of the other supplies I will list below.

What You'll Need:

  1. Rubber phone case to fit your phone
  2. Assorted decorations of your choice (make sure rhinestones are basic flat-back without any adhesive already on them I recommend an assortment of sizes of 5mm, 3mm and a few even smaller like the ones found in nail decorating kits)
  3. E-6000 adhesive 
  4. Wax rhinestone picker pencil (do not skip this item, it will safeguard your sanity, I promise)
  5. Toothpicks
  6. work surface to protect whatever table you're working on (I cut a large piece of cardboard and used a Starbucks bottle cap for glue)

 Simple But Time Consuming Steps:

  1. Clean case
  2. Decide in advance roughly where you want your larger baubles
  3. Apply the biggest pieces first (Based on size you may prefer some decorations to be added on top of the layer of rhinestones to add height and some directly on the phone, now is the time to apply all that will go directly on to the phone case) by applying small dabs of glue to the contact points between the decoration and the case, then affix in desired location. 
  4. Lay out rhinestones face up (flat-back down on work surface just like it would be on the finished product).
  5. From there it is best to begin with all openings for camera, ventilation and sound (that are on the flat back surface of the phone, leave edges/sides for the end) to ensure that you don't wind up with an awkward empty space where a rhinestone won't fit.
  6. Apply a thin layer of glue in very small sections, it gets hard/non tacky quickly (not dry)
  7. Pick up Rhinestones by touching the tip of your wax pencil to the center/top of the "stone" and lifting very carefully, hovering over the glue until you have the right placement and quickly touching down. The pencil has enough grab to hold small rhinestones until something stronger like the glue makes contact, and then it lets go easily (if you're careful not to touch the pencil tip to the glue that is)
  8. firm the rhinestone or slightly adjustment placement with toothpick. 
  9. Repeat all over until covered (again leaving sides until back is finished)
  10. Add any smaller decorations you had set aside earlier on top of the layer of rhinestones in the same method as used for the initial larger decorations.
  11. Apply contrasting color rhinestones to the surface of any buttons on the side if your case includes them, being careful to avoid the flexible dip between the "button" surface and the rest of the phone case (which could make the buttons very difficult, if not impossible to use properly)
  12. Fill in sides
  13. Let dry before use

Helpful Tips / Lessons I Learned:

  1.  Separate rhinestones by size/shape. I found this saved me a lot of frustration.
  2. Tacky glue doesn't work. Hot glue doesn't work. Pretty much every glue I had didn't work. E-6000 is your best bet.
  3. Clear rhinestones with foil back seem to be damaged by this glue. Not sure what to recommend in this case. Maybe a higher quality rhinestone? Opaque ones seem fine.
  4. Glue comes out fast. Hold tube tip facing up once you've got the amount you need and are ready to close it up (which you should do in between each section) and ensure that you keep removing the glue that will inevitably seep out until the flow stops before putting the lid back on or the lid could become glued shut. Using this glue takes practice but you will get in a rhythm (especially when the tube is emptied a bit) I promise. Keep trying.
  5. Apply glue directly to phone case and spread with toothpick. I started by squeezing glue into the bottle cap and transferring it to the case with a toothpick. I wasted a lot of glue and toothpicks due to it's fast hardening time. You may still need to begin this way to avoid getting too much on the phone case if it's a new tube of glue since so much comes out at once in the beginning. Practice, practice, practice. 
  6. Work in a well ventilated room. It gets fumy.
  7. Wear a mask if you feel at all light headed or headachy. Take breaks when you need to. Open the windows. Light a candle for the smell. Go for a walk outside. Don't rush the process.
  8. If you seem to be accidentally touching the glue too much wear gloves. Seriously it's some heavy duty stuff. I may be paranoid, but I prefer not to take any chances.
  9. Respect the 24 hour dry time. It may seem ready, but a day without a case isn't going to kill you, don't let all your hard work go to waste!

ENJOY!! (and maybe even share some photos of your finished case in the comments when you're done!)

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