Build Project: Upcycle Gift cards into Phone Stands

I believe a Makerspace should be able to run on a shoestring budget. Upcycling – reusing (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original – is a good source of makerspace events. The challenge of finding the perfect upcycle project is extremely fun and rewarding too. One of our best upcycle projects is to upcycle gift cards into cell phone stands.

We can’t take the credit for this entire project. The project is published on by Jason Fitzpatrick, and the instructional video from Lifehacker is included at the bottom. We did, however, make some modifications to the original instructions (and we also took some nice photos of our students at our event), which are listed as follows.



  • We created a template for students to use so that they know where to place their cuts and how deep to cut. We had students use felt markers and rulers to mark where they would cut. This way, students didn’t spend too much time focused on measuring and more time focused on molding and forming the stands.
  • We used candles instead of a butane lighter (which was what was demoed in the video). The candle worked just as well. However, students did need to hold the section of the card they wanted to bend directly over the candle AND the candle had to be completely still. To make sure the candle was still, we made sure there wasn’t a draft in the work area.
  • We used plastic gift cards. Although most gift cards are plastic, we made the mistake of using gift cards from Whole Foods – which are made of recycled, paper products – which did not bend (instead, they charred).


Time commitment: 10 minutes

Materials: gift cards, matches, candles, template, scissors, felt markers, rulers


Here’s the original instructional video:

By Jason Fitzpatrick at (“Use a lighter to to bend an old credit card or loyalty card into a custom phone stand”)

Posted on April 7, 2017 in Projects

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About the Author

Kent is one of the creators of the Rebels Makerspace, a design and science educator, and Science Department head at Burnaby South Secondary.
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