AppleTell Gift Guide: How to create a custom NFL iPhone case

Sections: Features, Gift Guide, How-To, iDevice Accessories, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad

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There are two issues with being a fan of the Seattle Seahawks, especially out here in Ohio. The first issue is currently being addressed effectively enough by the team, under the on-field leadership of MVP candidate and future President of the United States, Russell Wilson. The second problem is the lack of decent merchandise. The NFL corporation—along with their accomplice, the Nike corporation—has a strangle hold on this, so if you’re not one of the six preferred teams, your merchandise options are limited.

A perfect example of this can be found in iPhone cases and skins. Over at SkinIt, if you look at their NFL licensed designs for iPhone 5, the Seahawks have 13 options, 7 of which have outdated colors or uniforms. The Steelers and Cowboys have 17 options. Some have even fewer than the Seahawks. So, what do you do when you want to represent your team but stick it to the man at the same time? You get creative.

On Black Friday, the folks at Slickwraps ran a 50% off special, and I decided to take advantage of it (they’re running a 35% off special at press time if you use the promo code HOLIDAY). They allow you to customize your skin on the site, selecting the colors piece by piece. They had blue, green and gray in their Carbon Series, so that’s what I went with, but they’re missing key colors for many teams, such as orange, yellow, and gold. If I wanted to make a custom skin for my hockey team, the Minnesota Wild, the red and green offered here would like more Christmasy than hockey-y. You may have better luck using Slickwraps’ Color Series, or even mix and match with the Metal Series where you can get a good gold and silver.

Seahawks Custom iPhone 5 case

Anyway, I placed the order and had the skins about a week later. It took longer than normal because of the Black Friday order volume, but Slickwraps made up for it by honoring a late request to change the home button piece to green (I inadvertently left it black when ordering), and by declaring “Go Hawks!” in the email telling they could do so. I can’t recall if I tipped them off or if they put that together from case colors I chose. Regardless, I believe they’re based in Kansas City, so I appreciate the nod to my team. Here’s hoping we see each other in February.

As you can tell from the photos here, the shades aren’t perfect for my Seahawks; the blue is too bright and the gray is too dark, but they get the message across.

Seahawks Custom iPhone 5 case

Applying the skins is pretty easy; they aren’t too floppy, and you have the ability to lift them up and reapply if you don’t get them right the first time. Be careful of the side pieces around the volume knobs, though, as it’s pretty thin on the edges and can tear when you lift it. My order came with two top-back pieces to accommodate the different flash of the iPhone 5 and 5s. It’s cool that they send both rather than rely on you to select the right model when ordering.

The fit is just about perfect, but there is one problem with them I planned to address anyway. Although the Carbon Series skins are not very thick, they are rigid, and you can definitely feel their edges when holding the phone.

Seahawks Custom iPhone 5 case

They may wear down with time, but I didn’t give mine the option, as I planned to put an aluminum bumper over them before I even placed the order—the beautiful Esoterism Embrace-5 aluminum bumper. I’ll reviewing that later this weekend, and I will say many wonderful things about it. One of those will praise its precise fit, which is so perfect I couldn’t fit it over the Slickwraps edge pieces! Well done, Esoterism, but it sadly meant I had to ditch the carbon pattern sides. No matter, the Embrace-5 covers the sides anyway, although the space gray aluminum bumper was a perfect match for the carbon gunmetal Slickwrap.

Seahawks Custom iPhone 5 case

Other than that incompatibility, I’m quite pleased with how it all came together. Despite the lack of our logo, it’s Seahawk enough to draw a reaction from my fellow 12s, yet no money went to finance that horrible NFL Rush Zone cartoon. The total cost for mine was nearly $115 ($24.95 for the Slickwrap, $89.00 for the Embrace-5), so it’s not cheap, but you can bring the price down by putting together different brands. It’s quite easy to set up a combination like this for your favorite teams, no matter the sport, and there’s still time to get your orders in for Christmas delivery.

Of course, if you’re putting together the Seahawks, like I did, it’ll be a welcome gift up through February 2nd, so you’ve got time.

Go Hawks!

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