9 Useful DIY Ways to Set Up a Tablet or Smartphone Car Mount
If you want to use satnav apps on your phone (e.g. Google Maps or Waze), you need to see the directions. Your phone or tablet need to be mounted on your car’s dashboard.
But dashboard mounts will set you back a few dollars. Some—such as those that stick to the windscreen—aren’t reliable. Meanwhile, it might take a few days for a car mount ordered online to arrive. So, what’s the solution?
Well, you could build you own. Here’s how to make car mobile phone holder at home with common materials.
Why Mount Your Phone or Tablet in Your Car?
Before we look at the various ways you can a DIY phone holder for your car, here’s why you should.
Primarily, holding a phone while driving is a big no-no. Whether you’re planning to use the phone for satnav or for music or simply calls, you shouldn’t hold it. While calls and music can usually be controlled via the in-car controls when synced over Bluetooth, satnav apps cannot.
So, a sensible mounting strategy is required. Being stopped by police or photographed using a phone as you drive will result in a fine or ban.
But why not just buy a phone mount? Well, you can, but it can be difficult to find one to suit your cars specific layout. With so many different car holder options available on Amazon alone, it might take several purchases to find the option that fits.
Building a DIY car phone mount is the smart option. In most cases, your chosen phone mount will be ready to use in minutes.
1. A Binder Clip DIY Car Phone Holder
Perhaps the easiest option to secure your smartphone in your car is to use a binder clip.
As demonstrated above, all you need is a binder clip, some rubber bands, and a wrench (or similar tool). Bend the handles of the binder clip into a claw shape and wrap the rubber bands around the claws.
Next, slot the binder clip onto your dashboard, then slide the phone between the bent handles. The rubber bands will secure the phone in place, while the binder clip grips the dashboard.
2. Make a DIY Phone Mount: Elastic Band and a Paperclip!
If you thought a binder clip was a low-tech smartphone mount solution for your car, check this out.
Simply thread a rubber band around one of the grilles of your car’s heater blower fans. The paperclip is used to pull the rubber band back through. All you need to do then is slot your phone through the loop formed by the band.
There is a shortcoming with this solution, however: the screen is partially obscured by the rubber band. So, it’s an adequate DIY phone mount for your car, but limited to calls and music, rather than Google Maps.
3. DIY Smartphone Mount With String and Two Paperclips
Sticking with the stationery theme, you can even mount your phone with a length of string and two paperclips! This DIY phone holder for cars requires the phone to have a “flip” cover. For the best results the cover should hinge along the long edge.
Simply measure the distance between your car’s heater blower fans and cut some string a little longer. Tie each end to each paperclip, then secure these in the fan grille. Open your phone’s flip cover and hook this over the string.
4. Mount Your Tablet in Your Car With Command Strips!
A solution so obvious we’re amazed we haven’t seen it sooner. Just attach Command mounting strips to your car’s dashboard and the back of your phone or tablet (or case). Be sure to follow the instructions for correct adhesion of the strips.
Attaching your device to the strips is simple—at a 45-degree angle to the mounting point, swing the tablet down. Push to attach. Reverse this step to detach.
5. Make a DIY Smartphone Mount for Your Car With a Selfie Stick
If you’re into DIY builds, this DIY phone mount might be more suitable. It relies on a selfie stick and a “koozie” drinks sleeve to secure the stick in your car’s drinks holder. With a plastic bottle, some putty, and a screw, the stick can be held firmly in place.
While it might take slightly longer than playing with bits of stationery, this cell phone holder is a straightforward build.
It’s worth noting that this build can be adapted for tablets.
(If you’re new to DIY, check our list of beginner DIY skills anyone can master.)
6. Mount Your Phone or Tablet Using Your Car’s CD Player
The CD drive on your car can support a mounted phone or tablet. All it needs is something designed to slot into the drive without damaging the motor and laser. Several paid solutions are available, but the build demonstrated above uses an old router stand.
Perfectly sized for the CD drive, the stand is inserted while the phone is held in place with rubber straps. This project can be adapted for tablets, specifically smaller 7-inch devices.
7. Magnetic DIY Phone Holder for Your Car
A solution that lets you easily attach and detach your phone, this project relies on magnets.
Using a compact magnetic disc in your phone’s case you can attach your device to an L-shaped mount. In this example the mount is metal, thin enough to sit between hardware on your car’s dashboard. An alternative mounting position might be required in your car.
The mount has four batteries glued to it, ready to hold your smartphone in place. The result is a DIY smartphone mount that lets you quickly connect and disconnect your phone as you get in and out of your car.
It’s likely this build is strong enough to handle the weight of a tablet, too.
8. Wooden DIY Smartphone Car Holder
Unleash the woodworker within by following the concept in this video. Designed for a central dashboard pop-open cupboard, this smartphone car holder is wooden. It’s basically a piece of wood with a groove cut into it for the phone.
All you do is open the cupboard and place the phone into the groove. Simple, effective, but potentially difficult and time-consuming to construct. However, if you’re looking for a simple woodworking project to develop your skills, this is a good place to start.
9. Ultimate Tablet Holder: iPad Car Dash
Mounting a phone or tablet in your car is the easy way to get an Android Auto or Apple CarPlay-like experience without buying a new vehicle.
But you can go one better than standard mounting with stationery, magnets, or wood. Build your Apple or Android tablet into your car’s dash.
This incredible project demonstrates exactly how to do that. It isn’t cheap (the audio amplifier will set you back around $150) but the results are stunning. By the end you’ll have a tablet mounted in your car where your entertainment system once sat.
Awesome DIY Phone and Tablet Car Mounts
As you will have noticed, these projects increase in difficulty. However, at least one of these solutions will work with your car or truck.
We’ve looked at nine different DIY ways to mount a phone in your car:
- A binder clip and rubber/elastic band
- A paperclip and rubber band
- Two paperclips and string
- Command strips
- A selfie stick and koozie
- Attach a mounting bracket to the CD player
- Attach your phone with magnets
- Build a wooden phone holder for your car
- Mount a tablet in the car’s dashboard
Now your car mount is sorted—what’s next? Well, possibly some in-car entertainment. Here’s how to connect your phone to your car audio system and stream music.