I’m not frugal or thrifty, I’m cheap. My food comes only in yellow and black packaging. My Dad would say that I was “so cheap, he’d skin a fart for the grease.” I will stop in the middle of crossing the road to pick up a penny, and we don’t even use them in Canada anymore. So when I wanted a holder for my Samsung Whizzbang Z 28 and our office budget didn’t really cover that, I got to thinking. I thought, “time for office arts and crafts!”
Off to the dollar store. Or if you’re from the earlier part of the last century, off to the five and dime! For my little craft, you probably won’t need to get anything other than what’s in your office, but if you do I want to make sure you can get it as cheap as possible.
Here’s a list of items you might use for one of the variations below:
- X-Acto Knife (or any really sharp knife)
- Bandages (if you’re clumsy)
- Eye protection (if you’re really clumsy)
- Coffee Cup (paper or styrofoam, preferably clean)
- Sticky Notes (my flexible straightedge)
- Ruler or straightedge (a real one)
- Duct tape (you knew that was going to be in there)
- Smartphone or iPhone
Phone Stand Number One
This is the absolute fastest and possibly most efficient and adaptable design. Yes it’s cheap, but even better…it’s lazy.
Granted, it’s not very pretty, but for one sheet of scrap paper and 2 seconds of fussing, you can set up your phone to watch a little Hulu or Netflix while you’re waiting for your kids to finish bagpipe practice. Nobody waits inside that class.
Really, that’s all you do is scrunch up the paper and fuss a bit with it so you can rest your phone on it without it falling off.
Phone Stand Number Two
I had this idea when I was walking through the dollar store and saw some cheap paper coffee cups. If I cut that cup just right, I’d have a really steady, fairly durable phone holder. The first cup that I cut up, I just kind of eye-balled the measurements and angles an it worked – sort of.
The problem is there just isn’t enough of a groove for the phone to sit in and stay safely. Any motion or a bump of the cable and the phone falls off. My prototyping system has an immediate feedback loop though so I was able to make another iteration of the product in about another 5 minutes. Mental note: using a sticky note to draw a straight line on a curved object works pretty well!
This one worked about 95% right. If you have a coffee cup and a knife handy, you can do this in seconds. The one thing that I didn’t plan for was the height of the bend in the USB cable, if I wanted to set the phone up vertically. But you could easily do that with a taller cup. I still use this one today.
Phone Stand Number Three
This is the engineered paper craft smartphone or iPhone stand. I have certain criteria that I want to meet with this phone stand:
- Ideally made of one piece of paper
- Can hold the phone steadily in either the landscape or portrait position
- Allows for the connection of either the USB or power cable to the phone for continuous use
- Can be collapsed for easy carry in a briefcase or pocket
- Can be easily replicated
- Must look dead sexy
With the final version, I tested and refined the design further yet. Now, I am ready to put this into production. I am ready to make a pedestal worthy of the Android based Samsung Galaxy S III. It shall be hewn of foamboard and gilt with zebra-patterned duct tape.
First I did the layout using a steel ruler and a pen. I would have used a pencil if I had one in my office. Apparently it got wet, grew legs and walked away. Or I misplaced it.
The red lines show what I had drawn to get the over-all shape. The distance from the bottom of the foam board to the bottom of the cradle part is a few millimeters higher than the end of the USB cord is when gently bent. This should allow me to set my phone vertically in the stand.
On each side there are rectangles. A diagonal line was drawn through each rectangle, as shown by the dashed yellow line. I extend the lines of the backrest portion down to the diagonal lines. The resulting green triangle on the top is what I cut out to make the stand cradle a device. I made it probably longer than it needs to be, but now I can cradle a tablet in there as well.
Once I got those parts cut out, I scored the center line of the board, where the dashed red line is, but just on the back. This allows the stand to fold inward, but keeps the strength of the boards surface. If you should happen to mess this step up a little, don’t panic, we have duct tape.
Let’s move on to the reinforcing the stand with duct tape. There are so many varieties out there now, that I’m sure you’ll find one to your liking. The dollar store happened to have zebra print so I went with that. The one thing that you have to be careful of when putting the duct tape on, is the score mark on the back of the stand. You need to make sure the duct tape gets down into that crevice, and doesn’t just go across it. If it doesn’t go into the crevice, your stand won’t fold and unfold properly. It would be like having a book whose spine was rigid and didn’t bend.
In the end, we have a nifty little stand that cost about 2 dollars to make. It’s stylish, it works, it’s portable, and we had fun doing it! See, it fits right into the back pocket of my jeans. Of course, I’ll end up sitting on it and that would curve it, but it might still work. Maybe it’s best to just put it in my coat pocket.
What more do you want? Oh there’s so much more you could do – bedazzle it, tape pictures on to it, make one out of aluminum or sheet metal, make a little carrying case for the holder and phone. So much you could do!
Yes, you can make a smartphone holder out of paper. It just takes a little thought and ingenuity, a lot of measuring, and maybe a few tries until you get what you want. Take these ideas, use them as is, or tweak them further. If I had the time, I would consider making one out of papier mache. Really that’s just cutting up paper into strips and dipping them in glue and sculpting them into a form. A lot messier and time consuming and the end result is not as portable. It may end up prettier though because you could sculpt it like anything, as long as it has the nice cradle to hold the phone. Maybe a hand, or a giant head where the phone sets in the mouth. Who knows?
Do you have any wild and wonderful ideas for smartphone cases? Have you made a more effective one than this? Let us know what you think in the comments below!