A Relevant Rotary Phone


I think rotary phones are charming and fun.  Unfortunately, there just doesn’t seem to be much use for them in the modern world of tiny, powerful, pocket-sized computers that not only make calls, but also start your car, stream music, and give you blow-by-blow directions to anywhere. I thought the rotary phone would be gone from my life completely, until a few very specific events happened which inspired a rare DIY project.

First fortuitous event: My husband, knowing how much I love old school phones, bought me this Bluetooth Retro Handset from ThinkGeek. It was the black one.

Second fortuitous event: After my grandfather passed away, my mother rescued one of my grandparents’ old 1980s telephones from the basement of their house. It was seafoam green: my favorite.

To make these pieces turn into something modern and useful, but maintain old-school style, I started by throwing the original handset away and gutting the phone. It looked something like this:

Then CJ and I went to Home Depot to purchase spray paint, brushes, and sponges.  The next day, we took it outside!

We taped the ear and mouth holes to protect them from the paint, as well as the mini USB port on the handset and the mechanical part of the rotary. We then placed all pieces the phone on a large piece of cardboard and sprayed the heck out of it. We used the sponges and brushes to touch up the detailing.

Once we had it painted a fabulous shade of teal, I decided it needed to have red numbers. I spent several days searching Etsy, Amazon, and Michael’s websites for red number stickers, but searching online for this proved useless as most listings did not include the size of the stickers. I eventually found red number stickers at my local JoAnn’s Fabrics.

As you can see, the bluetooth headset is “plugged in” to the phone base. Really, we just gutted the phone base and ran an extension power cable from the wall to the inside of the phone so we could plug in the charger. When I want to use the phone, I just unplug the charger and walk around the house – cord-free!

What do you think of our new useful decoration?

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