Tuesday, December 14, 2010

DIY Cuddle Cases for smartphones

December holds alot of plane rides for us this year. It is always challenging to fly with kids but from my experience the more prepared I am, the smoother it goes. Its even more difficult now that my toddler son wants to be mobile and explore. One of the greatest kid travel tips I was ever given was to always bring new toys and books aboard. This works like a charm. The newness of the toys helps compete with the cool factor of the airplane. We begin our move to Alaska in a couple days and I was scrambling to think of something new that would capture his attention and that was small enough to bring with us. My son loves my iphone, and I have to admit with all the awesome children's apps and their favorite movies at a touch, I can understand why. Anyway, I was just telling my husband how I wish I could find a childproof case because my son would love to watch his favorite movies on the phone but his little fingers are always accidentally turning it off, pausing, rewinding, etc. I started thinking how I could rig such a device myself and that's how I came up with the idea to embed a smartphone case in a plush toy! My son would have something fun and eyecatching to hold (versus the phone's touchscreen) and the plush case would protect my phone from the inevitable bumps and falls. Brilliant, right?  This project is sooooo easy it takes about 15-20 minutes to complete and you probably have all the supplies on-hand.

Supplies:  a plush toy, a 5x7" scrap of fabric, and clear plastic sheet protector (for school binders).

Find a plush toy that you dont mind cutting into. Don't pick a favorite or a lovie, but just a fun, lap sized toy. I used this monster plush toy I bought at Target last Halloween. It's bright and fun and has lots of arms for my son to hold on to.
Next, you need to trace the outline of your phone on paper and cut it out to use as a template to cut the window out of the belly of the plush toy.
Now, you need to cut a rectangular shape (approx. 5"x7") out of a fabric of your choice (this fabric will show when the phone is not inserted) Also, cut the same size rectangular shape out of a clear plastic sheet protector. Once you have both shapes, sew 3 sides with an 1" seam allowance (leaving one end open like a pocket. You can see what I mean in this photo...

Now cut a slit in the plush toy about a 1.5" to the right of the window. Make it long enough to slip your phone through sideways. On the fabric/plastic insert, cut off about an inch of the plastic sheet on the open end, leaving the back fabric intact. Stuff the fabric into the hole in the plush toy.

Line the open end of the plastic with the left edge of the slit we made next to the hole, and stitch the fur and the plastic together.

Next, stitch the back fabric to the the fur on the other side of the slit. Continue and stitch the window edge to the plastic as well.
To finish the project, about a half inch out, follow around the closed edges of the window (skipping the right side where it needs to stay open to insert the device) with a basic stitch just to secure the back fabric to the fur so the insert doesnt slip around.
I hope this tutorial really shows how easy this is. If not, just blame in on the author because it really is fast and simple!
I wanted to take it a step further and make one of these Cuddle Cases out a plush train. My son is obsessed with "choo-choo's" ever since we took him on the Santa Train around Mt Rainier. Well, I didnt happen to have a plush train on-hand so I whipped one up using some scrap fabric I had. Here's a shot of the train Cuddle Case...

I think he is going to love it! I havent shown my son either one of his Cuddle Cases yet because I want the first time he sees them to be when we are on the plane. I cant wait to see his reaction! A Cuddle Case would make a great gift if you are still looking to scratch someone off your list.
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