Make Your Own Custom IPhone Back Glass

[Jake von Slatt] is at it again; putting his own artistic spin on ordinary items. This time around it’s the glass on the back of an iPhone. It kept breaking and after a few replacements he wanted to try to replace the glass with a piece of etched brass. But part way through that experiment, he figured out how to use toner transfer to develop these stunning custom iPhone glass back plates.

The first step is to source the correct replacement back for your phone. These are made of two parts, the glass and a plastic backer. By carefully heating and wedging the two parts with some popsicle sticks he was able to separate the pieces. Next, he cleans and buffs the glass, preparing it for the artwork he is about to apply. Toner transfer paper, just like that used for PCB resist, is used to print and adhere a design to the underside of the glass. From there he hand paints over the black outline to achieve the results seen above.

It takes time and patience, but shouldn’t be any harder than etching a circuit board.

18 thoughts on “Make Your Own Custom IPhone Back Glass

  1. “.. but shouldn’t be any harder than etching a circuit board.”

    Love it! I have no trouble fabbing a PCB in my kitchen sink but I wish I possessed a hundredth the skill and patience necessary to pull that off.

    1. Wait a minute… the call box and the lady aren’t hand painted at all. That’s a color toner print.

      Still, it’s a nice effect, and it’s good to know toner transfer still apparently works well with CMY toner. I might have to invest in a color laser printer.

  2. Now the big question is…
    Can they get this level of detail on silicone rubber cases? iPhones are fragile as it is.
    Maybe they could even use clear silicone and make 3D cases (:
    Or an object encased in the silicone, for example a four leaf clover, rfid coil or solar cell.

    Maybe apple could just make a rugged version with no glass… but persuading apple to do anything for the benefit of the consumer over pure profit might well be a bit too much to ask.
    haha I may well actually eat s hat if apple goes even slightly open source of their own free will.
    (and yes the hat eating will go on youtube)

  3. I’d say that the really big question is “Does the cell phone antenna, GPS antenna, and Bluetooth antenna still function as designed when next to an added slab of copper?”

    1. He’s not using copper. He mentions that on the site. He is using toner transfer onto the back of the replacement glass backs and then highlighting some of the colours by hand on the back of the glass. Very clever and well done and definitely art!

      Seeing Brunel and the steampunk design next to each other make me think of this:

  4. @crjeea: You’ve got something worthy of being run with:} I’d however consider going a step farther- molded sorbothane into the structure of an armoring case that has your elements of charge/RFID coils or PV cells. Molded in art gives a whole additional, pun intentional – dimension- to the ideas.

    RE: the OH.. It’s to me- certainly an Original Hack as it combines modding the inside of that glass with making CYMK toner transfer get another artsy application.

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