I got an iPad finally!
Actually I got it about a month ago, but the iPad itself wasn’t quite worth a whole post on the blog so I didn’t mention it earlier. But, what’s the first thing you do with a new iPad (besides downloading Words With Friends, Plants vs Zombies, and failing EPICLY at sticking the stupid screen protector on it)? You make a cover for it!
I knew exactly what sort of cover I wanted for my iPad: I wanted a cover like a hardcover book. I’ve seen tons of tutorials for cute little pouches for your tech, but I wanted to be able to protect the iPad and use it without having to remove it from the case.
I know you can find cases like that for purchase, but I figured it couldn’t be that hard to make a DIY iPad case, right?
And I was totally correct!
I made myself this awesome cover for my iPad in about two hours and it wasn’t too difficult. That 2 hours is “real people” time, not crafty people time… If you can crank out a dress from scratch in half an hour then this should take you maybe 20 minutes. If, like me, you aren’t a professional crafter, budget about 1.5 to 2 hours.
The original idea came from Brandon who wrote a post on The Modern Day Pirates about making a Moleskine iPad case, so a huge thanks to him for the brilliant idea!
His tutorial is easy to follow, but he does a much more professional job than I needed. He uses actual bookbinding techniques and supplies, and he covered the case in leather (like those fun little Moleskine notebooks).
I wanted my case covered in fabric, and I didn’t want to have to find actual Binder’s Board, so I took a few liberties with his tutorial and made it my own.
And my case works perfectly for me, so unless you’re looking for a real hardcover book “feel”, this tutorial should work just fine!
DIY iPad Cover
In order to do this yourself you need:
- an old 3-ring hardcover binder for the backing of the case
- fabric to cover the outside of the case
- fabric for the lining the inside
- Mod Podge
- craft glue
- at least 3 feet of 1/2″ elastic
- a piece of card stock paper, color doesn’t matter
- one 7/16″ grommet (usually in the fabric/upholstery section of your local craft store, not the paper crafts section)
- utility knife
- foam brush
- a flat head screwdriver or chisel
- a drill, or other hole-making device to make a hole for the camera
- a hammer
- a grommet tool (if you buy grommets they usually come with the tool you need)
- a pencil
- a ruler or tape measure
1. Remove the binder boards from your binder.
You’re going to use them to make the hard cover for your iPad. To remove the plastic-y cover of the binder I cut the bottom edge of the plastic off, and then made a Y cut up from the bottom. Then it was easy to just pull the board out.
Getting the board out from the back of the binder is a little different because (in most binders) the 3 ring contraption is attached to the back board. But it’s actually easier. Just use some super sturdy scissors or a utility knife to cut the entire metal 3 ring piece off of the binder by cutting through the plastic cover and the board itself, and then you can just pull the board out through the cut you’ve already made.
2. Cut the boards to size.
You need a front piece, a back piece, and a skinny piece for the spine. iPads are 9.5″ x 7.25″, so you’ll want your boards a little bigger. Cut out two 8″ x 10″ pieces for the front and back covers, and cut one 3/4″ x 10″ piece for the spine. I found the easiest way to cut the board was by making JM do it with a utility knife But a sturdy pair of scissors will work too.
If you want your corners rounded just trace the iPad corner onto the board and cut that as well. Make sure you only round the two outer corners on the front and back pieces.
3. Cut your fabric to size.
Lay your pieces out on the wrong side of the fabric, leaving about 1 millimeter of space between the boards so that your cover can fold properly. Cut your fabric down to size, leaving about an inch of extra room around all four edges. The edges of your fabric don’t have to be perfect; they will be covered up later by the lining.
4. Mod Podge the fabric onto your boards.
Brush a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the back of the boards and press them down onto the fabric, exactly the same way they were laid out before. You can use a ruler here to help line the board up straight and to make sure you leave that millimeter of space.
Quick note: make sure you’re using a thin layer of Mod Podge. You don’t want the Mod Podge leaking through the fabric because it will make the cover stick to your table while it’s drying.
To get the fabric to go smoothly over the rounded corners you’ll need to fold the fabric over in a few sections rather than just twice (once for each edge). Think of a folded paper fan…
5. Punch slits into the back for the elastic strap.
Once the Mod Podge is dry, turn the case over so the fabric side is up. On the back cover, mark approximately one inch in from the edges on both corners, then punch two slits through with your screwdriver or chisel. You want to punch from the fabric side inwards.
6. Thread your elastic strap into the cover and attach.
Cut a strip of elastic long enough to wrap entirely around the case from top to bottom. Thread both ends of the elastic through the slits, leaving about one inch of extra elastic on the inside.
Next, size your elastic strip by placing the iPad inside the case and closing it. Wrap the elastic around the front cover to hold it shut and pull the ends of the elastic until the cover is being held snugly closed. Hold the ends of the elastic in place, remove your iPad, and glue the ends down to the inside of the cover.
7. Cut four strips of elastic, size them to hold down the corners of the iPad, and attach them to the card stock.
Exact measurements don’t matter for this part. Take your strips of elastic and attach them to your piece of card stock (I used glue). It will end up looking like the picture below…
Again, exact measurements don’t matter, but I cut my card stock to about 8″ x 6″, and I cut four strips of elastic about 4″ to 5″ long each. Turn your iPad over on its screen and place the card stock in the middle of the back. Wrap a piece of elastic flat around one corner of the iPad, pull it slightly taut, and mark the ends of the elastic strip on the card stock.
Then remove the iPad and glue the ends of that piece of elastic down onto the card stock where they are marked. Wait until the glue is dry, loop the elastic you just glued down around one corner of the iPad, and then measure, mark etc. a piece of elastic for the next corner. Continue gluing elastic, looping it over a corner, and measuring and marking the next corners until all four are done.
8. Attach the card stock and elastic to your case.
Put your iPad into the card stock/elastic contraption and center it inside the cover. Leaving the card stock down against the board (in the exact place where you centered it), carefully remove the iPad and glue the card stock/elastic in place to the binder board.
I didn’t have the iPad in the card stock/elastic bit when I placed it and glued it. I just squared the edges of the card stock to the edges of the cover (as you can see below). As a result my iPad is a bit wonky in the case. Before you glue anything down just be sure that your iPad is square to the cover, not your card stock.
9. Line the left cover and spine by Mod Podging fabric onto the inside and folding the raw fabric under at the edges/corners.
Open up the cover, lay out your inside fabric, and cut it to size. Leave about a 1/2″ of extra fabric around all four edges. Again, you don’t need to be super precise with your cuts because the raw edges won’t show.
Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the entire left cover except for one inch around the edges and press your fabric down. Then, starting on one edge, fold the raw edge of the fabric under so that just a millimeter of your “outer” fabric shows and Mod Podge the last inch of fabric down onto your board.
For the corners, do them the same way you did the outer fabric corners. Fold the fabric around over itself a few times to make a round corner; the only difference is you are also folding the raw edge under at the same time. (Paper fan, remember?)
Once you have both left corners finished, work your way toward the right side of the case, Mod Podging and folding your lining fabric down at the edges. Mod Podge right over the spine and the gaps between the spine and covers just like normal; no special requirements here.
10. Cut slits in the fabric to pass the elastic loops through, then Mod Podge the rest of the lining down.
Lay your fabric over the card stock and elastic and mark with a pencil where your slits need to be. You want enough of your elastic loops poking through the fabric to hold the corners of your iPad down securely, but not so much that the iPad wiggles around (about 3-4″ of elastic, 1.5-2″ once it’s looped). Cut the slits with an exacto knife.
Then continue Mod Podging the lining onto the cover and folding the raw edges under. Poke the elastic loops through your slits when you reach that part of the case and Mod Podge the fabric down over the elastic ends and card stock.
Fold the last two corners of fabric under and you’re done lining the case!
11. Drill a hole in the case for the camera.
Wait for the Mod Podge to dry completely, then put your iPad in the case. Mark where the camera hole should be (estimating a little bit is okay, you can always make a bigger hole than you need to), then pull the iPad out of the cover and drill a hole.
I started with a pretty small hole exactly the size of the camera, but I found when I turned the camera on and looked through the lens that I could see the edges of the hole through the camera. I ended up making a hole about four times as big as the camera so that my pictures didn’t end up with bits of the case showing around the edges.
Then I attached a grommet to make it pretty looking and I was finished!
Besides being a great way to protect the iPad, the cover works great as a stand as well. You can fold it back completely to give the iPad a slight incline, which is great for typing.
Or you can stand the iPad up in the stand for watching movies!
Overall the cover is totally awesome and I love it! And even though this tutorial is godawful long (I mean really!) the whole project only took me about two hours and was reasonably simple to do!
You could also do this exact same project except size it for a Kindle or other e-reader if you want. You could also just use the first half of the tutorial (before the card stock and elastic bits) to make a fun cover for pretty much anything. Stick a pocket in your lining and just make yourself a nice folio or something.
Have you made a cover or case for any of your tech? I still need to make myself a cover for my camera strap cuz it’s itchy and gross… And a pouch for my lens cap or I’ll end up losing it one day…
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The materials section of this post contains affiliate links to the products I used for this project. Any purchases you make through those links help me to keep this blog running!