Pearly phone case tutorial - should we do a challenge?


Well-known member
Jun 22, 2013
I love seeing what all of you come up with when you get your creative juices flowing, so here's a tutorial explaining how I made my pearl phone cases! Deferring to the usual challenge organizers (pattye?), but this might make a fun challenge?

DIY Pearl phone case

- Hard-shelled phone case (the flexible ones work as well, but you get better adhesion with hard cases. You also want one that is flat on the back all the way to the edges, rather than rounded, as that will keep your edges neater)
- Acrylic paint, if you want to do a design in addition to the pearls (I used heavy body acrylic paint because it doesn't run at all)
- Your applicator of choice for the paint (you can use a brush, I used a henna cone - there are tons of videos online showing how to roll a henna cone)
- Tiny freshwater pearls, drilled or undrilled (I used 2-3mm pearls for some size variation)
- Glue - I used 2-part epoxy for one case and hypo cement for another case, and they seemed to work equally well.
- Casting or doming resin
- Sandpaper, a coarse nail file, or a Dremel/rotary tool with a fairly coarse bit for roughing up surfaces

1) Rough up the back of your case thoroughly using the file, sandpaper, etc. You want to give it a bit of "tooth" for the paint and resin to adhere to, so you don't have to destroy it, just get it nice and rough. Give it a rinse to remove all sanding debris (I like to scrub with a nail brush).

2) Apply your design using acrylic paint. The sky's the limit, you can do whatever you like! I stuck with gold paint for my cases because I love how it looks with white pearls, but you can go nuts. Just be sure to plan your design around the camera hole and any other openings in the phone case. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly so it doesn't bleed into the resin at the next step - I left mine overnight.

3) Now, if you want to be extra thorough, you can use a tiny ball burr the size of your pearls to make small divots in your design wherever you'd like the pearls to sit. This isn't really necessary, but it helps get them lined up properly and gives a tiny bit more surface area for them to adhere to. Brush away all the residue.

4) Glue your pearls wherever you'd like them. If your pearls are drilled, make sure the drill holes are down! Let the glue dry thoroughly.

5) Mix up your resin, and carefully apply it to the surface of the case in small batches. You don't want it to cover the pearls, just surround them well so they're firmly attached and don't stick too far out past the surface. I used enough resin to go almost halfway up my pearls so they're well-gripped. Use a coffee stirrer and toothpick to pull the resin into any spaces between pearls, to make sure it surrounds every pearl without covering them. Also spread it to the edges of the case all the way around, so you get a nice, smooth edge. Inspect the resin carefully to make sure you get smooth coverage. If you use a doming resin, it might pull away from parts of the case surface and leave bald spots (this is why you need to rough up the case before beginning, as it keeps the resin from doing that as much). If that happens you can just add more resin. This is where it's better to have a case with an edge around the back - the first case I tried this on was sort of rounded at the edges, and the resin would drip toward the front of the case. You can always clean it up, but it's more work.

6) Once your resin application is smooth and covers the case entirely, let it cure per the package instructions. I added a second coat once my first coat had cured, just to make sure my pearls didn't go anywhere and to get it extra glossy. Let it cure again.

That's it! It's pretty simple. You just need to allow sufficient time for the layers of resin to cure properly so your work doesn't go to waste. I've also seen tutorials online for phone cases with dried flowers (instead of the acrylic painting step, you use a glue like Mod Podge to stick your dried flowers to the case, dry it, then add resin on top) - that could be gorgeous with pearls. Have fun, and please post what you make!
Love your pearly phone cases and great idea for a challenge!
I'm too time poor at the moment but look forward to seeing what those creative juices come up with!