Did you just get a smartphone upgrade? Congratulations! But before you sell your old phone or dump it in the darkest corner of your old junk drawer, consider putting it to good use by repurposing it. Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry because here are nine awesome DIY projects made with old phones to get you inspired.
1. Make a smartwatch out of an old cell phone
Always wanted a smartwatch but not ready to afford one? Make one out of your old cell phone and save yourself the high costs. Get a perfboard, bluetooth module, Arduino Uno, resistors, USB charging board, Li-ion battery, vibration motor, slide and momentary switches, and soldering equipment. Then assemble everything as shown in this video.
2. DIY old phone to security camera
Instead of throwing away your old smartphone, build it into a security camera and keep an eye on your home or office from anywhere. The best part is that this project doesn’t have to be manual. Just download an app like IP Webcam, generate an IP address, enter it into your laptop or computer, and your DIY security camera is ready.
All you have to do now is place it where you want to monitor it and get it going. You can do so much with an app like this, from motion detection and data logging to customizing the user interface and enhancing night vision.
3. Make a power bank with old phone
Even your new smartphone gets nothing. And if that’s the case while you’re on the go, a power bank makes all the difference since you don’t have to hunt for outlets or sit around waiting for it to charge.
Another excellent DIY project using an old phone is to turn it into a power bank. Remove the back frame of your old phone, create a charging socket, connect and assemble a power bank circuit as shown in this step-by-step guide to create a fully functional power bank. Note that you can even use a damaged phone for this project.
4. Make a music player out of an old phone
Now that you have a new smartphone, it means your old phone can be stripped of previously downloaded apps to make room for your favorite music. You can even add a microSD card to create more space for your all-time favorites.
By turning your old phone into a dedicated music player, you can download as many playlists as you want and skip using data to stream music. You also don’t have to worry about draining the battery life of your current smartphone. Watch this easy to follow video tutorial to turn your old phone into a music player.
5. LED projector from old phone
Turn your home movie nights into a theater-like experience by converting your old phone into a projector. In addition to your old phone, all you need is an LED chip and the lens of an old camera. If you don’t own a lens, you can quickly get an affordable set from sites like Amazon or eBay.
After completing the project, remember to keep the phone’s brightness at maximum for better clarity.
6. Old Phone to Action Camera
Action cams like the GoPro will cost an arm and a leg, but a do-it-yourself camera will cost you little to nothing. If your old phone’s camera is in good condition, gently glue a wide-angle (fisheye) lens to the center of the camera lens and your DIY action camera is done.
You can either stick Velcro on the back of the phone and strap it to your chest during the bike ride, or attach it to your car phone mount and use it as an action dashcam/GPS device.
Check out these other DIY projects that can instantly upgrade your car.
7. Night vision camera from old phone
Another excellent way to get the most out of an old phone with an excellent camera is to turn it into a night vision camera. The process is also quite simple.
Just disassemble your phone, take out the camera, carefully remove or break the IR filter, then reassemble everything as before. Removing the filter allows IR light to reach the camera sensor for better night vision.
8. Turn old phone batteries into power banks
Fancy wireless power banks? Turns out all you need is your old phone’s battery, a 5v converter, a Li-ion charging and protection board, Arduino, a paper clip, a switch and some screws to make one.
For your work tools, all you need is wire cutters, a soldering iron, a hot glue gun, and a drill. The process is quite simple as illustrated in the step-by-step video tutorial above.
9. Vintage Telephone Wall Art
Now that you’ve turned your old phone’s battery into a power bank, what do you do with its case? Turn it into vintage wall art. When done right, it will complement your decor while making a good icebreaker when guests come over. First create a frame, stick the phone in it, and then put it up as wall art wherever you like, at home or in the office.
If you have several old phones laying around you can make a slightly larger frame to accommodate them all and create an incredibly unique yet technical work of art for your space.
Reuse your old phone
When upgrading, most people throw their old phone in the trash, put it in their growing collection of old gadgets, give it away for recycling, or if it still works, give it to a kid or friend who needs one.
But as shown in the nine awesome DIY projects here made using old phones, you don’t have to do any of the above. You can easily turn yours into something valuable, whether it’s still working or completely broken. Also, you can use any phone, from Android to iPhone. You can even use a burner phone for some of the projects listed above.