Picture of Ethno-Look Laptop Hard Cover
Make a fun-looking removable hard cover for your laptop. It protects the lid and makes your laptop unique!

You can personalize some softwares with "skins", so why not the hardware (literally)?

Gluing fabric on the lid would be much easier, but not easily removable. This cover has to be hard because it is removable. Why is it removable?
  • because the laptop belongs to my company, so I should not do potentially irreversible things to it (so, installing Linux is fine!), and
  • I might need to remove it occasionally, e.g. for some meetings  (it's what I thought in the first place. In fact I never had to, so far. Icebreaker).

Credits: inspiration from the furry laptop.
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Step 1: Study Your Laptop's Body

Picture of Study Your Laptop's Body
Every laptop model is different. This project may not even be doable on some models. On mine, the lid is very flat and edgy, so it makes it easier.

Study your laptop very carefully.
  • Imagine where the cover could get a grip on the lid.
  • The lid hinges are a critical place, you may have to shape/cut the cover very carefully, in order to let the lid open/close smoothly.
  • Some lids have very rounded edges and corners, making this project difficult, to impossible.
  • Locate particularities. In my case, the top surface has two angles, one of which is almost unnoticeable.
Aesthetically it is better to cover the lid sides too.

Step 2: Needed Stuff

Picture of Needed Stuff
Tools and glues:
  • Cutting mat
  • Metal ruler
  • Cutter
  • Pencil
  • Clamps
  • Contact adhesive and spatula
  • Plastic adhesive
  • Masking tape
  • Hot air gun
  • Plastic plate:
    • I used 4mm thick, medium hard, black PVC plate that I already had
    • pick a plastic color that will not show through dependant on the fabric (comment by gmjhowe)
  • Square-sectioned electrical conduit, to make the sides
  • Synthetic fabric with e.g. cow skin pattern
  • Decorative item: e.g. swiss flag patch
spanda52 years ago
very handsome, like it, can't help buying one for my laptop!
rhyannes2 years ago
This is awesome.
Patrick744 years ago
This is what I am looking for a hard cover for my laptop. But I got one question is it possible that my laptop will not getting moist from the inside? A little confused of what may happens.
agis684 years ago
save me some good milk!..nice job
Looks cool but why that plus sign.
I think it's a reference to the Swiss flag. It's the same colors and shape. If it is, then it's not a plus sign, but an equal-armed cross.
delanaot4 years ago
Adore this idea! Thanks so much for sharing this instructable. :) One question: where would one get the 4mm plastic sheet? Thanks again!
tudordewolf4 years ago
very impressive
ron24704 years ago
nice lappy! i have that same exact one. i see you have ubuntu installed. Linux Mint is a more laptop friendly alternative to ubuntu. nice ible tho.
laxap (author)  ron24704 years ago
I must remember to try Mint!
venjiang4 years ago
It's cool.
gmjhowe4 years ago
Recently got my Eeepc, so looking to customise it. The gloss black is a pain for finger prints, think I will try something like this using leather! I noticed a bit from the picture, that perhaps a white plastic would have suited your fabric more! Might be worth adding a note about picking a plastic colour that will not show through dependant on the material! Great project either way!
laxap (author)  gmjhowe4 years ago
Thanks for the feedback. Updated step 2. For years, the whole industry struggled to eliminate reflections and finger prints, make smaller, faster, cheaper devices, increase battery autonomy, etc. Now we have gloss everywhere, huge telephones, cases and screens catching finger prints and scratches, more power and memory needed for the same functions, the need to recharge almost every day, prices not really sinking (except for memories and HDD capacity)... And people scream for more of the same trendy gadget, to be different, like everybody. Fashion over common sense... This company with the fruit has a big something to do with that. Fortunately, here in the Instructables community, we customize things!
gmjhowe laxap4 years ago
I agree, why this sudden need for glossy stuff? The only glossy thing I am ok with is the screen covering my iMac, A piece of glass is allowed to be glossy, and it does not get touched. But the bezel on my new eeepc is gloss black, so is the lid, and the trackpad area. All the places I touch the most! Customising is where its at, like you said, its about people going 'Cool! where did you buy that?' then 'What you MADE that?' after you explain it is DIY.
 thanks for the great project i put it on my acer aspire one!
bpfh4 years ago
 Great idea! Not only will this allow me to hide the ugly "Asus" logo on the back of my Eee, and protect the shiny case, but also give me an elegant way to add LED's to the top edge to illuminate the keyboard in the dark rather than using a clip on light!

Thanks for the inspiration!
laxap (author)  bpfh4 years ago
Reminds me of some IBM/Lenovo Thinkpads, with the little lid led lit.
bpfh laxap4 years ago
 Yup. Some of the last generation IBM Thinkpads (I do not know if Lenovo carried on with this) And a couple of HP/Compaq tablets... Great for working in the evening/dark without having to have extra usb cables and such hanging out of the back of your computer and big ugly stuff clipped onto the side of the screen!
macmaniac bpfh4 years ago
My HP EliteBook 6930p has one of the little LED lights at the top of the screen that pops out. It's a nice concept and it does work (certainly much better than nothing) But it's a bit dim and I think the angle is slightly off as well. If you made your own you could obviously try to avoid these faults...
Very nice instructable, it's got me thinking for sure. Love to make one for mine with a fake ARC Reactor from Iron Man in the center that lights up based on CPU activity. Time to get to the drawing board!
laxap (author)  CallMeJeremy4 years ago
You could use a Griffin PowerMate (and make it way thinner)...
kcls4 years ago
Cool! You could probably make this a lot thinner by putting the fabric on the plastic plate, and then using fabric stiffener. When it is dry, remove it from the plastic plate, and you have only fabric, not fabric and plastic. Nice work!
laxap (author)  kcls4 years ago
Fabric stiffener: good idea if your primary objective is thinness. But the frame should then be more rigid to bear the tension needed for the cover to snap and stay on lid. It's a tambourine cover ;-)
bertus52x114 years ago
Very nice!
(What is electrical conduit?)
Electrical conduit is just a pipe through which electrical wires and small sized cables run. pvc conduits are just like pvc pipes with different diameters depending on your requirements, and GI conduits (galvanized iron) are metallic pipes. a special type is flexible conduit, available in pvc or metal depending on the use :)
[AV3NG3R]4 years ago
Nice Instructable, but how is this even remotely "ethno"?
laxap (author)  [AV3NG3R]4 years ago
This kind of design (fake cow skin, Swiss flag, bells) is the ethno style that is very popular in tourists gift shops here. What's your definition of ethno?
Dr.Paj4 years ago
For a mac book, you could even cover the inside with a thin sheet of hard plastic and then cut out a shape in the middle (heart / logo / animal ) where the glowing apple is so your shape shines through the fabric instead of the apple. You may even be able to experiment with different translucent plastics to see which spreads the light the best so that you can make shapes larger than the apple on the back.

Just a thought for any mac book users looking here. Looking good, maybe make the next one leather. Moving from fur to skin.
ChrysN4 years ago
laxap (author)  ChrysN4 years ago