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A unique and practical gift idea you can make at home: personalized smartphone stands.

By Curt_Anderson
December 6, 2021 9:02 pm
Category: How-to

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I exchange Christmas gifts annually with five running buddies. We had been keeping our gifts within a ten dollar range but that price limit has been creeping upwards over the years. None of us are religious, but three of my friends were raised Jewish so these are really Christmas/Hanukkah gifts.

I figured this was a good year to make handmade gifts. There is the supply chain issues for one thing. For another reason it's been getting harder and harder to come up with unique but practical gift ideas.

My idea was smartphone stands. I have a limited collection of tools So I came up with a simple design that I could make with the tools that I own. My design required a saw (I have old chop saw which I picked up at a yard sale), a power drill and vibrating sander. I also used a two-inch hole saw (see third image below) and a round rasping tool which are both power drill attachments.

The wood for the project was thin oak boards (2.5" x .25" x 4'), half inch round oak dowel rods and one inch square dowels (probably pine). The material cost was $4.40 per unit.

The tricky part of the project was the accuracy required. So I made jig so I could align the holes exactly. If you look at the images below you can see that the round dowels needed to fit perfectly into the square dowels but they also needed slide freely through the oak boards. So I drilled through the boards into the square dowels using a brad point drill which makes it possible to center when you are holding the drill by hand. If I had a drill press it would be easier to keep things aligned. Using the round rasp I enlarged the holes slightly in the oak boards. I also used the hole saw to make feet in boards.

I happen to have some polyurethane for floors leftover from a previous project which I used to coat the stands.

To personalize the gifts I made two-inch holes through the oak boards to make a cameo-sized frame for photos of my friends. I made pocket sleeves to hold the photos out of some old plastic essay covers from my kids' school days. I glued the pockets to the back side of the boards.

If you look at the images below you can get a good idea of how I made these smartphone stands. Since the legs slide through the holes, the angle of the phone is adjustable. Incidentally, the stands are stable and well-balanced regardless of the phone's angle.

As I said the cost of the wood for each stand was $4.40. I used quite a bit of sandpaper. Have to admit that I spent a good deal of time on the stands. I am a believer in measuring twice and cutting once. Since I took my time on these so I don't want to calculate my labor costs. Fortunately I have a lot of time for projects like this and I enjoy it. Since the design is my own, I couldn't really find anything exactly like them on Amazon or anywhere else. I found some simple and nonadjustable wooden smartphone stands for as little as $10 although $20 and up was the more usual cost.


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Comments on "A unique and practical gift idea you can make at home: personalized smartphone stands.":

  1. by Donna on December 7, 2021 7:15 am
    Way cool! I hope they appreciate your work.


  2. by islander on December 8, 2021 4:02 pm

    What a great idea! Messing around in my little woodworking shop is one of my hobbies!


  3. by Curt_Anderson on December 8, 2021 4:42 pm
    I've given away four of these smartphone holders so far. They are a hit with my friends.

    Islander, if you are woodworker, I bet you could improve on my design. I am function before form designer, so I tend toward the utilitarian.

    I don't have anything that would qualify as a woodworking shop, but I have a shed with a decent collection of tools that I use as a handyman on my own house and couple of rentals that we own.


  4. by georges on December 8, 2021 7:56 pm
    They look pretty great!


  5. by islander on December 9, 2021 5:50 am

    Curt, I too favor function over form. Not that I donít appreciate form, I absolutely do, but if I have to sacrifice one for the other Iíll always lean toward function over form. My wife, however, keeps things a little more balanced which is probably a good thing. If I lived alone who knows what the house might look like !! LoL 



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