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Customize your Android phone for Thanksgiving

In this article, we'll take you step-by-step through the process of creating a new Thanksgiving theme for your phone. What follows is a quick and easy way to give your phone a modern, yet traditional look.

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Topic: Mobility
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1 of 14 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

Theme your Android phone

With just a few short days left until those of us in America celebrate seeing our families, clogging our travel and internal arteries, and eating way too much, we felt it would be appropriate to show you a quick and easy way to give your phone a modern, yet traditional look.

In this article, we'll take you step-by-step through the process of creating a new Thanksgiving theme for your phone. What's great is — if you run into that uncomfortable dead time during dinner that we've all experiences — you can now go ahead and give your relatives and friends some fun holiday-themed looks as well.

And for those of you Scrooges in the audience who might wonder how this relates to serious IT, remember that when your CFO comes to you and asks you how to make his or her phone "look like the holidays," you'll now have a simple set of steps that won't take more than five or ten minutes to accomplish.

Oh, and while we're at it, we should point out that this process is completely free and requires no fancy root or hacking experience. You just need to know how to download apps from the Google Play store. With that, let's get started...

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Download Themer from the Google Play store

The first app you'll need is called Themer, and it's a launcher replacement available on Google Play. Go ahead and download it from the link provided, and launch the app. It's worth noting that you can decide to run your launcher once, or ever time. It will be more fun if you tell Android to run it every time. If you ever want to switch back, there's a menu item in Themer's settings or you can always go back to Default Applications and set your default launcher back to the one you were previously using.

Themer is a fun launcher in that it comes with lots and lots of pre-designed themes. Unlike many of the other theme-based launchers, themer doesn't require you to futz with your widgets to match the look. You simply click a theme and themer does all the work.

What we're going to do is simple. We're going to find a theme, install it, find a new Thanksgiving-themed wallpaper, and we're done.

The first theme we're going to install is called "Budding". Hit the magnifying glass at the top of the screen and type in "Budding". It will ask you if you want to install. Go ahead and do so. It will also ask if you want to keep your existing icons. I recommend you say "No" to the next two questions. You can always go back to your previous launcher with all its settings, but what you want to do is get up and running with a new look as fast as possible.

Tap "Apply" and you're running a new theme.

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This is your new theme before you tweak it

And just like that, you're running a new theme. This one is pretty Thankgiving-y all on its own, but we want to give it more turkey, so let's go on to the next step.

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Download Flickr and look for a good image

If you don't already have the Flickr app installed, go to Google Play and install it. You don't have to use Flickr for your images, but this is a quick and easy way to find a tremendous number of cool images that you can play with on your personal phone.

You will need to sign into Flickr (I'm not thrilled with that, but I have a long library of Yahoo accounts, and I just picked one at random).

Once you're signed in, hit the search bar and type in "thanksgiving". You'll see a lot of images.

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Here's a nice turkey

I quite liked this picture by Don McCullough, so that's the one I'm using. I hit the Share button at the bottom of the screen (third from the right)...

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Save it to your phone

Go ahead and tap the Save button. I saved my images to my gallery app, but you can save it to any picture app you have, as long as you remember where you put it.

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Tap the Wallpaper button in Themer

Now let's switch back to Themer (if you set Themer as your default launcher, you can just hit the Home button). Hit the settings button on your phone and up will pop the menu shown above. Tap the Wallpaper button.

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Tap Change Wallpaper

I found selecting "Single Wallpaper" worked best. Choose that option, then click the "Change Wallpaper" button.

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Find and crop your image

You will now have to navigate to your picture. In my case, I had to choose my Gallery app, find the Flickr set, and navigate to this handsome fella. You'll want to move the crop rectangle to show just what you want to see on your home screen. I wanted to see all of his tail feathers, so I cropped it like you see above. Hit the Save button when you're satisfied.

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Apply the image to your theme

You'll be returned to this screen, now showing your cropped image as wallpaper. Just hit apply and you're done...

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Show off your handiwork

How cool is this? Just a few simple clicks and you've got a Thanksgiving-themed home screen.

But wait, there's more. Let's do this one more time, with a different theme and wallpaper. We'll make this one quick, with just a few screenshots, since you already know the steps. For the next few slides, I want to show you how to think about the design process.

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Here's another look to try out

Here's another theme from Themer. This one is called "Vintage Blue". As it comes "out of the box," it doesn't look at all like a Thanksgiving theme. But if you look a little deeper, you can see it has possibilities.

The blue burst pattern in the background is the wallpaper. We're going to replace that, so ignore it for now. What you want to look at are the elements above it, from the traditional-looking shield design, to the subtle "fancy restaurant" blue color, to the light brown that gives this all a traditional, family look.

When you're doing this process, look behind the look and you'll see some great possibilities. Let's now grab a picture that makes the whole screen come together...

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Find another picture you like

And while I have all the best wishes to live turkeys, nothing is better than a perfectly roasted bird. This is one I found on Flickr and saved to my gallery.

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Combine them for a Thanksgiving-themed home screen

And there you go. Cropping the bird to show all the juicy goodness, you can see how the theme suddenly brings out a traditional, yet modern look for your phone.

Feel free to try this process with any look you want. Find a good UI/widget combo in Themer, then swap the wallpaper and see how that changes the look. You can also load icon packs to go even further in customization, but frankly, I just like the nice home screen.

Now, let's all get something to eat.

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