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13 ways to decorate your phone, inside and out

By Brit Morin, Special to CNN
updated 11:04 AM EDT, Thu September 19, 2013
Analog, meet digital. This custom <a href='http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/8333-Leese-Design-iPhone-4-4S-Cross-Stitch-Case' target='_blank'>cross-stitch case</a> from Purl Soho is perfect for crafters everywhere. Analog, meet digital. This custom cross-stitch case from Purl Soho is perfect for crafters everywhere.
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Decorate your smartphone
Decorate your smartphone
Decorate your smartphone
Decorate your smartphone
Decorate your smartphone
Decorate your smartphone
Decorate your smartphone
Decorate your smartphone
Decorate your smartphone
Decorate your smartphone
Decorate your smartphone
Decorate your smartphone
Decorate your smartphone
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The new colored iPhones are no reason to stop accessorizing
  • Custom iPhone cases don't have to stop at phones: They can be guitars
  • Decorate the inside of your iPhone as well with a custom wallpaper

(CNN) -- With the new iPhone 5S and 5C due out this week, smartphones are top of mind. And while many are oohing and aahing over the new vibrant color choices for Apple's coveted phone, sometimes a custom case is much more personal.

But customization isn't just for your case; turns out, there are all sorts of new accessories and apps that let you add personality (and sometimes even functionality) to your mobile device -- whether it's new or not-so-new.

Brit + Co.: 100 creative DIY wall art ideas to decorate your space

Cases

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What better way to combine your love for the analog and digital worlds than with this cross-stitch case? It comes blank with multiple colors of embroidery thread for you to stitch your own designs. (Cross-stitch newbies, don't worry -- it has simple patterns you can follow!) If you'd rather customize your case with photos, a company called Casetagram will let you turn your favorite Instagram pics into a personalized case. It offers case sizes for iPhones, iPads, Android phones, and even some BlackBerry devices.

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For a case that will really turn some heads, turn to a custom wooden version from JackBacks. These bespoke cases are made from materials like walnut and bamboo, CNC cut and then laser-engraved with any design of your choice. The company offers phone cases, Macbook covers, and even wooden sunglasses for you non-Apple users.

If you're an exercise fanatic, you'll want to check out Underfuse, a company that designs iron-on cases specifically so that you can attach your phone, keys and other essentials to your workout gear instead of having to hold them in your hand.

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Many phone cases are now doubling as functional objects as well. A clipboard case lets you keep scratch paper handy just in case you're not yet into taking virtual notes. If you're a handyman or handywoman, you'll appreciate the added bonus of this measuring tape case or the ReadyCase, which includes many of the capabilities of a Swiss army knife.

And finally, for those who might not be rushing to get one of the new gold iPhones but still want to show off a shiny metallic case, check out the Incase Chrome Slider Case.

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Accessories & Docks

Smartphone accessories are becoming much smarter, cooler, and better designed for today's digital lifestyle. For instance, the Areaware phone dock is made of solid wood (it also comes in a variety of bright colors) and is meant to resemble one of the original digital flip clocks that likely sat on your bedside table decades ago.

The modern woman will see the value in a new brand called Everpurse, which has a patent-pending design on a handbag with a smartphone charging pocket inside. Just drop your phone in and it will automatically start charging the battery. No cords required.

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One of the more progressive smartphone accessories may be the gTar, an iPhone-compatible electric guitar that actually teaches you how to play music. It's made out of solid basswood and works with hundreds of music apps, so that you can learn to create, compose and play all at once.

Wallpaper and Apps

If you're not up for a new case but still want to make your phone one-of-a-kind, try updating your wallpaper background with something meaningful. While a photo is the classic way to spruce things up, a custom quote or design is also great to throw into the mix. Here's a free downloadable design (get it for Android, iPad or iPhone 5) featuring Maya Angelou's famous quote, "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."

And if you're one of those people who is always forgetting what day it is, you might be interested in Red Stamp's calendar wallpaper. It updates every month and works for PCs, iPhones, iPads and Android devices.

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To browse even more ways to reinvent your phone -- from DIY ideas to innovative cases and accessories -- explore more ideas from Brit + Co.

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