Father Ted inspired phone cover

As you can see from some of the other posts, a lot of my builds are for presents. This one is no different. If you have read the series on the Father Ted inspired tape dispenser, you can guess that this build was for my brother who is a massive Father Ted fan.

He was looking at tedtees.com to choose a birthday present for himself from me, and he came across some phone covers. Unfortunately, they were only for the iPhone and he has a Samsung Galaxy S5 🙁 I looked elsewhere but nowhere else was doing anything like them for non-iPhone users. So I thought to myself, this would be a nice surprise for him if I can rig something up.

The first thing I looked for was a case that had a slot to allow you to insert your own graphics. No joy. So I looked for a clear cover with the idea that he could wedge in a printed piece of paper between it and the phone. As it was clear, the paper would be visible through the case. I found one on ebay, and even better, it had a neon green trim which is his favourite colour since he owned a Ninja.


When the cover arrived, I set about making the paper inserts. Luckily there was a blank insert already with the cover which gave me a good starting point. I scanned this in using some post-it notes to add contrast. I then imported this into Silhouette Studio and used the “Trace” tool to get a set of cutting paths. I then tidied up the automatically created paths as they were a little messy in parts due to the contrast not being sharp enough between the white insert and the yellow post-its. I guess I should have used a darker contrast medium. Once cleaned up I did a test cut which came out ok but the hole left for the camera wasn’t completely on centre. It didn’t help either that i didn’t have access to the phone itself. I was relying completely on the case to be accurate.

I did a couple of copies of the cutting paths on one page, and moved the camera hole around slightly on each one. This way, I had three more test pieces along with the original. After testing with these, one more tweak was made and now I had a reliable set of cutting paths. Next step was to add the imagery.


Screenshot of one of the sets of inserts as laid out in the Silhouette Studio software. I’ve shown just the base colours with the cutting paths in red (the red does not get printed). The registration marks can be seen in both of the top corners and in the and bottom left hand corner.


I used the images from the TedTees site for one or two and for inspiration for my own Ted themed inserts. As I had the cutting paths all laid out, it was pretty simple to run off a large batch of around 20 different inserts. Enough choice to keep my brother happy for a long time! Plus, with the studio files saved, any insert can be recreated easily so if they get lost or damaged, they can be replaced quickly and with little effort.


Silhouette Cameo

One of the tools I use quite a bit is the Silhouette Cameo, although mine is the previous non-touchscreen version. Its an automated cutter that will do vinyl, paper, acetate and card – imagine a printer but with a cutting blade instead of an ink head.


My model, now replaced by a touch screen version


Its controlled via USB (although it can also work from SD cards in a stand alone mode) and uses the Silhoutte Studio software to design your cutting files. The Cameo also has optical recognition built in so it can recognise registration markings that you have added to a print out. This allows you to use an existing image, add cutting paths for the blade to travel over, then print out the image on your medium of choice with registration markings in three of the corners of the page. The Cameo then scans these markings via the optical recognition camera to get the correct alignment and cuts along the paths you have laid out in software. This video does a good job of showing the entire “print and cut” method.

Like the majority of the vinyl cutters, the medium is held in place by a sticky cutting mat. The tackiness does decrease overtime with usage but it can be refreshed by using some spray adhesive. The supplied mat is a 12″ x 12″ but there are larger ones available as well as with different levels of stickiness. This is pretty good for the majority of work as it allows for A4 usage with ease (and A3 if you choose your alignment wisely).

The blade is replaceable but I have yet to need to do so after quite a bit of cutting. There are other replacement blades available from 3rd parties which are linked down below. The upside to these is that they are much cheaper but you do risk your warranty if you cause damage whilst using them.

Overall I think its a great tool and once you start using it, you can find all kinds of uses for it.



  • Software is pretty easy to use, especially if you have some desktop publishing skills
  • Print and cut feature is very useful
  • The import of other graphics formats and fonts means that you can cut an infinite number of designs rather than restricted to a limited few (or pay for more) like the Cricut Mini
  • Can do very detailed work down to 1mm wide
  • Once the design is finalised, it is very easy to churn them out


  • Tracing some images can be difficult and time consuming if the edges are not clearly defined
  • Can be loud to some
  • Official blades can be expensive
  • The print and cut alignment can sometimes take a few attempts or requires the material to be moved on the cutting mat
  • Occasionally it will get the alignment wrong which can be costly if you are using expensive/limited material although this was usually when I had plugged it in and out a few times


Links to discussons on alternative blade holders