diy cheapo phone rest

January 22, 2013 - 5:54 pm

Wow it's been a while since my last post—I've been busy! The new year kicked off at full speed as I began by tabulating my goals for this year. And now it's already mid-January!

Anyway, this DIY is one of those I hate this system, but I'm too cheap to buy something to make it better and nothing out there looks good anyway kind of project.

I find the cell phone to be an annoying piece of personal property. It doesn't have a "place" on most desks, bedside tables, or anywhere really. It's this flat standalone object that just lies there like a dead fish. And when it's plugged into the charger, it now has an extra appendage that won't even let the phone stand up! Even worse...

Commercial phone rests don't look too appealing. There are some cool ideas for wood-made ones, but I don't want to spend that much effort into making one either. However, I was inspired by this Korean-made rest that looked like it was made out of a box. I think I glimpsed at the picture on Pinterest (sorry, I've lost the source since then). So I wanted to try something similar. Here's the result.

Make a phone rest / phone holder out of a milk carton, outfitted with a pencil holder and a cord keeper. It's easy enough to do by anyone, even kids. And it costs almost nothing but...a carton of milk.


  • A carton of milk - a quart for a long one, or a pint for a short one (Clover milk is delicious)
  • Paints
  • A jar for hold pens, if desired.


  • Scissors
  • X-Acto knife
  • Paintbrush

Step 1

Drink milk. Clean carton thoroughly.


Step 2

It's kind of hard to explain in words how to cut everything (cut here! cut dere!). So it's almost better to just refer to the photos.

Cut off glue tab at the top of the carton. Trim top as shown in photo below.

Decide where to place the opening of the phone rest. Cut a rectangle at the top of the rest that is wide enough to fit the phone. Leave some space towards the back of the topside uncut, as support, see photo.

With the top rectangle cut, cut a narrow strip down the center of the front side of the phone rest. Stop about a half-inch from the bottom and fold the strip back as support, and glue it in place onto the inside of the carton. Open the front opening some more by cutting it so your phone screen is exposed.

Cut a hole for the pencil case wide enough the fit the jar. I filled the jar with broken rice (not orzo as pictured) to help stand pens up in the jar. Smaller grains like broken rice or alphabet pasta work better than long orzo. Cut out a strip from the center of the box for the cord keeper as well. You can cut or punch a hole at each end where the cord will sit.

Now glue the top opening of the carton close. Paint the inside and outside in your desired colors. It will take a few layers as the carton material is slick and the printing is dark. I kind of like how mine isn't completely solid blue looking. It has some text showing through. Makes it look more "rustic" I guess. :)

Voila. Sure it's not chrome-plated and made out of shiny plastics, but this is quite fancy enough to last me a while. And I feel pretty good about the cost and energy required. I might make another for the bedroom too!

I added a plaque using a leftover veneer strip and some sticker letters.


awesome! I'd love this on my desk :)

Wanted one like this, thank you for idea.
I made one with this idea.


Wow, awesome! I'm so glad this was able to help someone else out too. :) Thanks for sharing!