Phone with pizza case.
Joe Fedewa / How-To Geek

It’s easy to customize your phone with new wallpaper, but what about the outside of your phone? That’s the part other people see, so why not give it the same personal touch? There are many ways to do it.

Make Your Phone Your Own

As personal as smartphones have become, it’s rare that I see someone with a truly unique-looking device. It’s common to see laptops and water bottles covered in stickers, but then a boring black phone in a plain case next to it. Why don’t we give the same attention to these devices that are always with us?

Let’s dive into some of the options you have when it comes to customizing the outside of your phone.

RELATED: How to Change Wallpapers in Dark and Light Mode on Android


Pizza sticker on phone.
Joe Fedewa / How-To Geek

Let’s start simple. As you can see from my laptop in the photo at the top of this page, I like stickers. I see people put stickers on lots of different things, but not so much on phones. I’m not sure why that is. Stickers are perfect for phones.

Maybe you don’t want to put stickers directly on your device. That’s cool, I get it, but you don’t have to do it like that. I recommend getting some sort of case-–a clear plastic one if you want the color of your phone to be visible.

Now you can plaster as many stickers as you want on the case and it can be easily removed. In fact, you could even get a few cases and customize them all a bit differently, then rotate between them. It’s a simple, cheap way to add some personal flair to your phone.

Cases & Skins

Galaxy S21 skin.

Okay, this one probably seems obvious, but hang on. Many people are already using cases on their phones—maybe even the majority of people. How many of these cases are basic black, white, or clear, though?

At the very least, you should be using a case that reflects your favorite color (add some stickers and now you’re talking). A solid color case is only scratching the surface, though. There are plenty of different designs and patterns to choose from for a lot of phones. You just have to look.

If you’re not a case person, you can achieve the same thing with skins. A “skin” is essentially just a sticker that covers your entire phone. They come in a variety of solid colors, textures, and patterns. This is a great way to personalize without adding the extra bulk of a case.

RELATED: These dbrand Skins Have My Gadgets Looking Fresher Than Fresh

Custom Cases & Skins

Custom Pixel 3 case.
Joe Fedewa / How-To Geek

Here’s where you can get really crazy. There are a few services out there that will allow you to create fully custom skins and cases. You can choose from a library of colors, images, and patterns, or upload your own.

SkinIt is perhaps the most well-known of these services, it has cases and skins. Somewhere you may not think to look is Etsy. There are a surprising number of shops that will print custom cases for you. That’s where I got my pizza case and the Talkboy case featured in the photo above.

Painted phone case.
Joe Fedewa / How-To Geek

If you want to get really creative, paint is always an option. Maybe you have a very specific color that you want to match. The common thought would be to paint the outside of a case, but it actually works a lot better to paint the inside of a clear case. That’s what I did with the case in the photo above.

The moral of the story here is you don’t have to settle for colors and patterns that accessory makers choose. You can get pretty much whatever you want if you do a little work.

Don’t Be Afraid to Change It Up

I think most people that use a case on their phone typically just have one case. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that—I typically just use one case, too. However, why not treat your case like your shoes or watch band?

Taking a date out to a fancy dinner? Time for a leather case. Going on a camping trip? Grab some extra protection. Watching a sporting event with your friends? Show some team spirit. Your phone is essentially an accessory, so why not treat it as such?

Look, I’m not going to knock anyone for not caring that much about how their phone looks. You do you. I just think we should have a little more fun with the gadget we keep on ourselves nearly 24/7.

Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
Read Full Bio »