Step 1: Materials You'll Need
Cardboard - I used a shipping box from a tv. It is a nice thickness and lots of room to cut from.
Pencil - for marking templates
Razor blade knife - for cutting cardboard
Shipping tape - the clear wide tape used for taping up cardboard boxes
Liquid tape - this is black liquid found near the electrical tape in the hardware store.
I had all of this laying around the house - materials price $0
Step 2: Make the Templates
Lay the iPad on the cardboard face up, mark the locations of the bottons, you'll need this for knowing where to cut for access to the switches so you don't need to remove the iPad to use it.
The framing layer is the most important. There are 4 layers total, from the cover (1), frame (2), seat (3), and back (4).
The frame needs to be set with approximately 1 inch around the iPad. Also, cut the cardboard so that the edge of the box is on the left side and cut to that about one cardboard thickness is sticking up (see photo). This edge provides a nice lip for connecting the cover so it lays flat AND folds behind.
Flip the iPad over in the same location and trace around the body - getting along the edges and those round corners (for a snug fit).
Step 3: Cut Out the Frame
Keep the remaining cardboard, this is a template for cutting the cover, seat, and back.
Step 4: Frame and Seat
Place the frame pieces on the seat just to check, then remove and brush on the liquid tape on the seat. Make sure the cardboard is covered and then place the frame pieces on the seat. Press down and let dry.
If you are not familiar with liquid tape, it is great stuff. It is easy to use, bonds permanently, and when it dries, where exposed leaves an irregular and rubbery surface - great for later when we want the iPad to fit snuggly and stick in the case.
Step 5: Cover and Back
Place the cover snuggly against the lip on the frame. Use the shipping tape to secure the cover against the lip of the fame and also around to the back. I use overlapping length-wise strips, then a few short cross strips from back to front, then a few length-wise again. This should make a nice binding that allows you to open the front.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
After case has completely dried, cut a space for the earphone jacket. I also added a small square of velcro on the edge of the frame and cover to keep the case closed securely.
Now you have a low profile iPad case that doesn't draw attention to it. Get it dirty, rough it up. The case actually provides a lot of protection physically as well as from opportunity theft :-)
This case works great for me. I thought it would only be a travel case, but I've ended up using it everywhere! I was thinking about some modifications, like making the case a little longer and having an integrated earbud holder inside, however I like the small footprint of the current case. Access to the ports is great, I don't have to remove the iPad from the case at all.