DIY iPhone 4 Bumper Idea + Template

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I finally joined the ranks of the many iPhone carrying mamas this week. After constantly reaching for my husband’s iPhone, “borrowing” it during travels, and having him phone me while I’m out to tell me I received a work email that needs attention, I figured it was high time I got my own. Call me a brainwashed consumer, fine, but ask me what the weather is going to be, directions to the nearest coffee shop, or which apps are best for entertaining toddlers, and I’ll be able to show you with the touch of a button.

Brand spankin’ new out of the box, the new iPhone 4 is a pretty sight – shiny, hefty and fingerprint-free. But that doesn’t last – at least for me. Not only is the iPhone shared by my toddler, but just three days after I got it, I forgot and left it on my lap after a phone call in the car. When I got out of the car, it dropped off my lap and onto the pavement, chipping tragically in 3 places. Very sad indeed.

So, I got to thinking – how can I make an inexpensive, temporary bumper to protect my new investment while waiting the 4-6 weeks for the free case from Apple to arrive in the mail? A quick search pulled up this idea, but I don’t own one of those rubber “Live Strong” bracelets. Next I tried modifying this free template from case-mate, originally designed for the iPhone 3Gs. It didn’t fit. Then, I remembered a sheet of adhesive craft foam I picked up at the craft store (was it Michaels?) for about $1. Perfect!

How to make your own iPhone 4 bumper:

1. Cut a strip of adhesive or “sticky back” craft foam 12mm wide (.47 inch) using a ruler and an X-Acto knife. Although the iPhone 4 is only 9.3mm (0.37 inch) thick, this gives about a 1mm (0.04 inch) overhang on both the face and the back of the iPhone to act as a buffer during impact.

Ideally, you’d be able to cut just one strip about 345mm (13.58 inches) long to wrap completely around the perimeter, but since my foam sheet was letter-sized, I had to do it in two pieces.

2. Cut out holes within your strip: approx. 47mm x 5 mm (1.85″ x 0.196″) for the speakers and dock connector, 30mm x 5mm (1.18″ x 0.196″) for the volume and ring/vibrate controls, and 7mm x 5mm (0.275″ x 0.196″) for the headphone jack (7mm x 5mm). I left the on/off switch covered, which doesn’t affect it’s usage.

3. Carefully remove the backing and apply it to the sides of the iPhone, keeping about a 1mm overhang on each edge (centering the foam on the steel antenna band as neatly as possible) . If you need to, join two separate pieces to completely cover the perimeter, slightly pulling on the foam to stretch it only if you need to bridge the gap where the pieces join.

And there you have it, a cheap and easy DIY alternative to the more expensive bumpers for sale. Even better, craft foam sheets come in a rainbow of colors (I just happened to only have black and white on hand). While possibly not ideal, it is working great so far (with no dropped calls).

Not sure where to cut out all the appropriate holes? Try this free bumper template.

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8 thoughts on “DIY iPhone 4 Bumper Idea + Template

  1. Impressive, Emily!
    I got a droid a few weeks ago. I would have loved an iphone, but my whole family is on verizon. Someday, someday! But they are fun, huh?

  2. NICE! I too joined the i-phone family! They are a fun toy and Ava is loving all the kid friendly apps. I am hoping for a peaceful dinner out in the near future!

  3. Cool! I’m going to get one too, now that my upgrade has kicked in. Although I’m waiting for an answer about whether or not I can stick with my $30 dollar unlimited or not some say yes and no. Did u go through the Apple Store? Congratulations!!!

  4. Were u able to get phone insurance that cover the drop?

  5. Awesome Information, thanks for the great Post. I will come back soon . Also great information about the iphone : iphone4 cases

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