Introduction: Kindle Fire Custom Hardback Book Cover
I wanted a cover to keep my Kindle Fire safe, but I couldn't find what I was looking for, , which was one that looked like a hardback book. So I made one. From a book.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
Free weights (for "clamping")
You'll need a book that is a little larger than the object you are making a case for. The kindle measures 7 1/2" x 4 3/4" x 7/16". The book I used measures 8 1/2" x 5 3/4" x 1". I considered many books, and spent some time looking at some old books trying to find one with a clever title, like Fahrenheit 451, or Catching Fire, but ultimately settled on a sketch book that had no title at all, just a clean black cover. It just felt a little more sophisticated.
For the foam, I was looking for both dense and firm. In the foam world, density is a measure of how big the cells of the foam are, and firmness is a measure of how hard it is to compress. I found a kick board that was being thrown out at a local pool and while it felt a little too rigid at first, after cutting it to size it was perfect. I also considered using wood and strategically placed Sugru, but the foam kick board proved easier for making adjustments.
Step 2: Cutting
Use your utility knife to cut the pages out of the book. Just a couple of gentle passes down the crease front and back were sufficient for mine. Be careful not to cut too hard or you could cut through the spine and leave an unsightly hole.
While you have your knife out, cut your foam to shape as well. I wanted access to the power button and headphone jack, and wanted to the leave the speakers clear as well so I opted for two foam cutouts that look like brackets, i.e. [ ], that will go full length along both sides of the Fire and just come around the corners on top and bottom by about 1/2".
The brackets themselves measure 1 1/4" wide by 8 1/4" tall overall, with a cutout on one side that measures 3/4" by 7 1/2". they are just under 3/4" thick.
I also measured and cut the felt to size. I wanted enough to cover the white paper that was on the inside cover of the sketchbook, roughly 8 3/8" by 5 1/2".
Step 3: Gluing
Before I glue down the first bracket of foam, I took a sharpie and colored all the "exposed" faces black to match the cover they are going into. This made the foam a little rough, like a sweater the pills, and left a texture not unlike velvet. This was totally unintentional, and not particularly desirable, but I certainly like the black better than the blue, so I'll live with it.
I used polyurethane glue to adhere the foam in the hope that as it foamed and expanded, it would work it's way into the foam of the kick board. I think it worked well. I used a thin bead of glue, then spread it with a razor blade to get coverage everywhere, but keep the glue layer thin. This really helped minimize any "foam out" from the glue joint.
With the glue spread thin, I misted it with water to activate the glue and carefully placed it on the edge of my cover. I then closed the book and leaned some free weights all along the edge to act as clamps and let it sit overnight.
Next day, I used the same process to glue the bracket along the spine side of the book cover.
Step 4: More Gluing
I used Aleene's tacky glue to glue down the felt. It is similar in appearance to normal white PVA glue, but much thicker. I put a fair amount down on the front inside cover, then used a razor blade to spread it around like I did with the foam.
Place the felt down and carefully push from the center to the edges to get it to lay flat without any puckers.
I used another book and the free weights again to clamp and let it sit overnight.
Step 5: Spacer Pads
I wanted to put a couple thin pads of foam under the Fire to give me just a little space I could get my fingers under when I wanted to take it out. So I cut out two small rectangles, marked some layout lines, and glued them down with weights for clamps.
Step 6: Final Thoughts
Overall I'm very happy with the results of my first attempt here. The Kindle is secure and well protected, I have access to all the buttons, jacks and speakers, and I can fold the cover back on itself to give a slight incline to it for desktop use.
A few of things I would consider if I built another. First, the spine seems somewhat weak and I think it could need reinforcing at some point in the future. I am thinking about using fiberglass cloth and rubber cement so that it is strong but retains the flexibility that I want. Second, it might be nice is to get a book that is a little larger than this one and add some cutout space in the foam for headphone or synch cable storage. Lastly, I would consider an elastic band to keep the book closed. just a couple of eyelets and some 1/8" black elastic band under the first foam bracket would do the trick nicely. Oh well...Live and Learn.
Post pics if you make one of your own!