There are two factors in my life that lead to my DIY projects. First and foremost, I’m cheap. Hey, I don’t hide it. Second, my father is a carpenter, and I grew up building things all my life, often out of things that weren’t designed to be what they ended up as. For reference, see the solid core door that is currently in my kitchen as a rolling counter.

Having kids in this day and age generally (though not necessarily) means that you will have small eyeballs watching screens. Phones do not come with kickstands built into them. I know, I don’t get it either. But anyway, when you are consuming content, you don’t always want to hold your phone, so I got a little creative.

Here are three DIY phone holders that may help out when you’re in a pinch.

The easy way

One of my more inspired moments came while dining – and I’m using the term loosely – at a local Subway. I was on my way home from work, and didn’t have any kind of phone holder on me. But when I bought my drink, I was given a try for holding it. Out of curiosity, I wondered if I could make it work. Sure enough, I flipped the darn thing over, and voila – phone holder!

Of course, not all hacks will be as easily found, so for the more industrious out there, here are two designs that require a modicum of skill, and maybe a tool or two.

Let’s build it

For our first real project, get yourself some wire. This can be any kind of wire from a discarded coat hanger to my personal favorite, 14 gauge solid core electrical wire. Most of the time this will be coated, preventing scratches. A spool of wire like that costs about $30 on Amazon, but I’m sure you can find it for less in your local hardware store. Or use a coat hanger, as previously mentioned.

Start with about 14-18 inches (35 – 45 cm) of wire. Bend it in half, but don’t kink it just yet. Once you have your center point, measure about one inch (2.5 cm) in either direction from the center. Make two – 90-degree bends in the same direction. You’ll now have a three-sided rectangle with one end open. From each bend, measure about ½ inch (1.25 cm) and bend the wire 90 degrees, perpendicular to the bend before that. The next bend comes about ¾ inch after that – this time to about 45 degrees in the same direction on both sides. From the side, you now have a sort of Nike swoosh – just do it. Finally, about half way up the swoosh, bend back down about 90 degrees. If you want to prevent scratching the table, you can make two tiny 180-degree bends at the very end of the wire to make little circles like the letter “U”.

Step by step

That’s it! Depending on your initial length of wire, this phone holder will hold a phone in both landscape and portrait, if your design is symmetrical enough. You should feel free to adjust some of the measurements, if for example you want a shorter hook on the front to keep the phone from sliding forward. You can also make this design a little bigger to hold tablets, but I would suggest thicker wire in that case – 12 gauge or even 10 gauge. Also, please note – this only works with solid core electrical wiring. Stranded electrical wire will not work.

Got wood?

But let’s say you’re feeling a bit craftier. Next, is a design my father and I came up with. Start with any 1×6 piece of wood (for best results, we recommend oak). The board can be any length longer than four inches (10.16 cm). Using a router or router table, use a ½ inch shaft, ¾ inch 14-degree dovetail router bit and a depth of about 3/8”. Route a channel right down the center of the board.

Then, switch to a four-inch hole saw. A hole saw is basically a circular saw you attach to a drill press. Use the hole saw to cut out your phone stand. At this point, you’re basically done – it’d be functional, if ugly. My father doesn’t do ugly, so he used a ¼ inch router bit to trim the edge, and he used the drill hole from the hole saw to install a rare earth magnet in the base of the phone holder. After adding a layer of felt on the bottom, you had a way to store the phone holders – on the fridge! Add some stain of paint for good measure, and you have a pretty phone holder that also doubles as a drink coaster.

Sorry, no step-by-step photos for this one, but here are some of the finished product:

Give it a go!

Either one of these will give you a good way to hold your phone in landscape or portrait, and at a decent viewing angle for movie of book consumption. But that’s not the only way to go. Just the other day, I was at my wife’s school, helping her set up. I used what was available and built a contraption out of a ruler, and a few binder clips. Basically, all you need is something to lean the phone on, and something to prevent the bottom from slipping. In the past, I have also used a rubber jar opener and a book. The sky is the limit.

So, now it’s your turn! What do you use to prop up your devices for reading? Did you pick up something from Amazon, or have your own DIY juices been flowing. Share some images in the comments… I’d love to see what you’ve come up with!

Adam Doud
Adam has 4+ years of experience as a content creator for sites including Pocketnow and Booredatwork, and is a welcome addition to Team AA.