From the old wooden box phones that were all the rage back in the early 1900s to teeny, tiny little things that double up as cameras today, phones have come a long way. I remember, as a child watching a local program called “Nommer Asseblief” about the life and times of a close-knit Afrikaans farming community. Everyone had a wooden box phone installed in their homes, and chaos and mayhem would ensue when the local busybody would listen in on other people’s conversations. It made for a great storyline and got me thinking about how I could possibly marry today’s technology with Alexander Graham Bell’s original creation. And that’s how I came up with the idea of making this vintage phone charging station.
It’s the perfect way to clear the clutter and power up your devices at the same time. Of all the repurposed tutorials we’ve shared, I think this one uses the weirdest mix of common household items and salvaged bits. Out-of-the-box thinking at its best.
Best of all, the charging station hardly cost me a thing. I just had to buy two call bells and shelf support loops.
That gorgeous metal label at the bottom came in a pack of 6 and was too big to use on our linen book covers.
From start to finish, the charging station only took a few hours to put together. Right, before I share how I made the vintage phone charging station using recycled bits, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!
Oh, and I’ll also share a few more telephone craft and decor ideas towards the bottom of the post.
What you need
For the wooden ringer box frame
- Wood to make a small box with a lid (12” x 9.2” x 3.3”)
- 2 x hinges and screws
- Wood stain
- Pegboard MDF for the backing
- Wood stain
- Drill and wood drill bits
- Jigsaw or handsaw
If you have a wooden box with a lid that’s big enough, feel free to use that instead.
This one was easy. We have loads of old fishing reels that the kids left behind when they moved to Canada. You only need the windy handle thingy.
I used a tea strainer for my mouthpiece. One of those plastic or metal drain guards will work too. See what you have stashed away in your cupboards.
Earpiece and Handset
This one had me scratching my head, but I finally decided to use a spare pool light casing and craft foam. A small plastic bowl or cup will work too. Or if you have a toy phone lying around, see if you can repurpose bits from that to make the earpiece. You’ll also need:
- A hook for hanging the earpiece
- Broomstick or small spindle
- Metal rivets and loops (A loop shelf support kit works great)
- Electrical cord
- 2 x Call bells
- Black and gold spray paint
- Wooden skewer
- Wood glue
How to make a vintage phone charging station
Since the vintage charging station is made from found, scavenged, and repurposed bits, your found bits may not be the same as mine 😀 No worries; the basic principle remains the same. You need a rectangular box with a lid that’s big enough to hold a cell phone or three. Everything else (mouthpiece, earpiece, crank, and bells) is just there to make the look like an old phone.
Prepping and painting the bits and pieces
My repurposed bits came in an assortment of different colors, which didn’t quite fit the antique look I was going for. But as they say in the classics, there’s nothing a little spray paint can’t fix.
Depending on what you’re using, you may need to unscrew, uncouple, or mask off some of the bits before painting. I pulled the call bells apart to make it easier to paint the tops gold and the bottoms black.
I also drilled two small holes on either side of the bells so I could screw them onto the box frame later.
If you already have a small spindle and a wooden box that’s big enough, making the vintage phone charging station is pretty simple. Since I had to start from scratch, I’ll quickly share how I made the box and prepped the broken broomstick for the phone handle.
Making the wooden ringer box
My vintage phone charging station measures 305 mm x 235 mm x 85 mm (12” x 9 2/8” x 3 3/8″). To make the wooden ringer box, I cut the following pieces from a pine board that’s 21 mm (1/2″) wide:
- 2 x sides – 305 mm x 85 mm (12″ x 3 3/8″)
- A top and a bottom – 214 mm x 85 mm (8″ x 3 3/8″)
- 1 x lid – 305 mm x 235 mm (12″ x 9 2/8″)
- 1 x Peg Board MDF Backing board – 305 mm x 235 mm (12″ x 9 2/8″)
Use a spade bit to drill a hole in the bottom piece that’s big enough to fit the charging cables through.
Drill a hole on the right-hand side to fit the
handle windy thingy from the fishing reel.
Just eyeball where it should go. Mine is sort of at the halfway mark.
Glue and screw the sides, top, bottom, and backing board together to form a box frame.
Drill a small hole in the bottom of the box frame for the electrical cord to slip into.
Glue and screw the top, bottom, sides, and back together to make box frame.
Turning a broomstick into a phone handle
I would have loved to use a small spindle to make the phone handle for my charging station, but here in my neck of the woods, spindles are as scarce as hen’s teeth. So I used a broken broom handle instead. Cut the broom handle, so it’s about 160 mm (6 3/8″“). If you want to be fancy, you can use a router to shape the ends.
Drill a hole in the top and bottom center of the modified broomstick.
We’ll be putting a loop in the top hole and the electrical cord in the bottom hole. If you’re lucky enough to have some small spindles lying around, trim them to size before drilling the top and bottom holes.
Drill a small hole in the modified broomstick so you can attach the earpiece later.
Distress and stain the wooden box frame, lid, and broomstick in a color of your choice. I used a wash of Midnight Black Unicorn SPiT and then added a warm, rich brown glaze over the top.
Once the stain or paint dries, glue and screw the mouthpiece to the modified broomstick.
Right, that’s most of the prep work done. Let’s put this thing together.
Putting the vintage phone charging station together
Use a hole saw to make a hole in the bottom center half of the lid. The hole needs to be big enough to fit the tea strainer inside. Glue the strainer in place.
Screw the call bells onto the lid. I just eyeballed where they should go. Mine is about 40 mm (1.5”) above the tea strainer mouthpiece.
Add a pretty metal label if you have one.
Insert a rivet into the small hole at the bottom of the ringer box frame and the bottom and top holes in the broomstick handle. Insert a metal loop into the top of the broomstick handle.
Cut a piece of electric cord and glue one end into the broomstick phone handle and the other end into the rivet in the wooden ringer box.
Glue the fishing reel in place on the right-hand side of the ringer box frame and use small hinges to attach the lid.
Finish off the earpiece by cutting a craft foam circle and punching a few small holes in the center. Glue the foam circle on the earpiece.
Screw a small ornate hook on the left-hand side of the ringer box towards the top to hang the phone earpiece.
Cut a skewer to the width of the inside of the vintage phone charger and glue it in place. The skewer will prevent the mobile phones from accidentally falling out while they’re charging. And that’s it; you can hang her up and enjoy.
Now, if you want to power up, all you need to do is pop you’re phone inside and connect the charger.
When you close the lid, no one will even know they’re there.
I’d love to know what you think. Would you make a vintage charging station from repurposed stuff?
If you like the idea of creating making a vintage phone charging station, don’t forget to pin it for later.
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More Phone Crafts and Decor Ideas
I promised to share a few more phone craft and decor ideas, so here goes. If Steampunk decor is more your style, then this handy phone-styled keyholder, made by Anita, is a must-see.
Sara from Birdz of a Feather always comes up with the cutest crochet patterns, and these Grinch phone covers are one of my favorites. I love how his little hat flops over his eye.
Oh, and if you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered. Disclosure: Clicking on the links below means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry, it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us make more amazing crafts to share with you 😉
Or if you prefer to buy rather than DIY, these beauties may appeal.
And as always, wishing you a wonderful, crafty week filled with lots of love. Thank you for popping in for a visit.