Cover your iPhone in DIY 8-bit goodness

Express yourself in 8-bit by giving your iPhone case a cool new look using fuse beads. An inventor in Scotland has made it easy.

Bit Bead Super Mario
Super Mario in fuse beads Bit Bead

Bit Bead is an innovative product to create personalized designs for your iPhone 5/5s case. Its inventor, Scottish design engineering student Ross McBride, has been into 8-bit art since he was a kid. "I've made everything from Space Invader coasters to Mario keyrings using fuse beads," he says. "Over a bowl of corn flakes my phone was sitting on the table next to a half-finished Megaman keyring and it suddenly came to me -- why not bring the two together?"

Bit Bead
The Bit Bead starter kit Bit Bead
For the uninitiated, fuse beads are small, cheap, and very popular plastic crafting beads that users line up on peg boards and then meld with a heated clothes iron, giving them a pixelated look.

So, using Bit Bead and a special case provided with the starter kit, you can create a case with graphics similar to those in early video games like Super Mario. Get bored with the case, and you can easily meld a whole new design to attach to it. There's even an Web app to help you build your creation.

McBride was interviewing for an internship last summer with design collective Filament PD and showed them his first Bit Bead prototype (which he describes as "essentially some Hama beads stuck onto the back of my iPhone"). They loved it, and since then, the Filament PD team has helped him take his proof of concept to reality with an impressive Kickstarter campaign.

Take a look at the campaign's video. It stars McBride, aka "the bead guy," and is a real hoot:

Eager to make your own personalized mini-masterpiece for your iPhone? You can preorder Bit Bead kits at Kickstarter.

About the author

Rusty Blazenhoff has been deeply involved in cyberculture for more than 20 years, and immersed in pop culture since getting her first copy of Dynamite magazine. She loves kitsch, quirky artifacts of Americana, and enjoying island life in Alameda, Calif., with her daughter. She makes a mean Fluffernutter.

 

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