Introduction: DIY Macbook Air Padded Vinyl Envelope Sleeve for Less Than $10.00

Picture of DIY Macbook Air Padded Vinyl Envelope Sleeve for Less Than $10.00

While you may have dropped anywhere from $1800 to $3200 for a MacBook Air, you may still balk at a $30-$100 sleeve for it. I decided to take a literal approach and try to use a regular retail envelope to house my MacBook Air in safety whilst still maintaing the imagery of the Jobs keynote presentation.
The main reaction I have received from this sleeve is 'Huh? what's so special about a plain manilla envelope.... oh wow COOL!'...
If you pick just the right color of vinyl for the sleeve, then you will have a sleeve that is visually basically indistinguishable from a plain, manilla shipping envelope while offering your MBA a good measure of protection from drops and bumps and a good measure of safety by obscurity.

Step 1: Materials List

Picture of Materials List

1 Scotch # 7974 Bubble Mailer Size 4 (9.5in x 13.5in)
I bought a 6 pack at Target for around $5.00.
Spray Adhesive (Krylon 7010 was used by me but others may work)
Elmer's Contact Cement
4 Sqft of automotive/uphostery vinyl in a color matching the envelope (@ 10.00/yd enough for 4-5 envelopes)
Cutting Knife (better a upholstery knife/carton knife than a Xacto)
Heavy books (enough to cover full surface area of envelope with considerable overlap
2 Red buttons
1 ft Red waxed cotton cord ( purchased 12 ft at michaels for .99)
Thread (the heavier the better)
1 Heavy gauge needle (thick enough to punch through but thin enough to fit through the holes in the buttons with 4-5 threads inside)

Step 2: Cutting

Picture of Cutting

Cut two 14 x 10 pieces from the vinyl. Cut one 10x3 in. strip from the vinyl. no need to be too precise as you will be trimming down all the pieces.

Step 3: Longer Side

Picture of Longer Side

Spray adhesive on longer side (the side with the flap) of the envelope.
Align and place vinyl on flap side of envelope
Press firmly on full surface area with hands, making sure there are no bubbles/wrinkles etc.... Take special care of edges as these are recessed from the surface of the envelope
Place books on top of paper side of envelope whilst envelope rests on a solid smooth surface
Wait 10 minutes

Step 4: Short Side of Envelope

Picture of Short Side of Envelope

Spray adhesive on short (Back) side of envelope
Align vinyl to the top of THIS side (you will be folding the bottom over so leave about 1' at the bottom for this
Press firmly on full surface area with hands, making sure there are no bubbles/wrinkles etc.... Take special care of edges as these are recessed from the surface of the envelope
Place books on top of the side that already has vinyl on it and rest on a solid smooth surface
Wait 10 minutes

Step 5: Bottom Flap

Picture of Bottom Flap

Make sure bottom flap (the vinyl that hangs from the bottom of the short end of the envelope that you placed in step 2) is cut straight and perpendicular to the bottom of the envelope.
Spread rubber cement liberally on the inner part of the flap
Fold flap over and clean up any smudges of the rubber cement before it sets
Place book on top of bottom flap, wait recommended amount for it to set.

Step 6: Top Flap

Picture of Top Flap

Remove waxed paper strip that says "TO REMOVE ADHESIVE REMOVE LINER" on the inside of the flap lid
Put the contact cement on the paper flap, take care not to get any on the bubble wrap
Place vinyl flap on the paper flap
Place book on top of flap, wait recommended amount for it to set

Step 7: Triming

Picture of Triming

Trim all edges as close to the original paper envelope as possible

Step 8: Sewing

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Sew the buttons at the appropriate places
Wrap waxed cord around top button and leave enough (about 6in.) so you can wrap around lower button

Step 9: Music!

Picture of Music!

Download New Soul by Yael Naïm from iTunes:
Play on loop while you slide you MBA in and out of your new case!


GorillazMiko (author)2008-02-20
Awesome Instructable.
I have always loved this and the commercials, even the parody's are hilarious (obviously).
Nice job.
+1 rating.

Warlrosity (author)GorillazMiko2010-03-09

Hee Hee

gamer (author)GorillazMiko2008-02-21

haha, nice parodie... "thin as hell" ;p -gamer

lcohen (author)GorillazMiko2008-02-20


lcohen (author)2008-03-31

FWIW Left the MBA in my car in this envelope, someone broke into it today, and took the GPS, my cell charger, spare chage but left the MBA!

caterpillar-y (author)2008-02-22

I'd like to make something similar but I've seen Mac on Air posted they are sold somewhere. Anybody knows?

lcohen (author)caterpillar-y2008-02-22

Yeah Ive seen the product but
1) it's 29.99+S+H
2) It's only padded in felt (mine is padded with the bubble wrap, I think it offers more protection and
3) This goes much more with the maker ethos of DIY... but they do have a fun product...

lcohen (author)2008-02-20

Anyone got a good geeky idea for housing the power supply, ethernet adapter and superdrive? I have thought of compartmentalizing an envelope to house all of this, thus having two envelopes for my MBA but there is something missing.... any good ideas?

acaz93 (author)lcohen2008-02-20

You Could use an ATX Power supply housing , it's neat and it has nice ventilation , though , you'll need an usb hub and a couple of zipties

lcohen (author)acaz932008-02-20

but luggin that thing around kinda makes the whole air premise mute!

acaz93 (author)lcohen2008-02-21

You're right . :)

lcohen (author)2008-02-20

Am thinking of making another one of these (remember I bought a 6 pack still have 2 left plust a LOT of vinyl). I am considering rare earth magnet clasps in between the seams on the edges and in the middle, I don't really like how the top flap is so loose... I know I could reinforce it (Wire, cardboard, carbon fiber etc) but that just does not sit well...

Yellow84 (author)lcohen2008-02-21

I wouldn't use magnets...not to good for you expensive mac book. Nice instructable but how much can the mac book air do? Game wise? Is it fast?

lcohen (author)Yellow842008-02-21

I don't play games so don't know about that, it certainly is fast enough for regular apps. I would not do video editing on it... And a lot of cases use magnets, even the MBA has a magnetic closure and the wickedly strong rare earth magnets of the power conector.

LinuxH4x0r (author)2008-02-20

Cool! I need a case for my new MacBook (got it monday)

lcohen (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-02-20

White? Black? Pro? Air?

LinuxH4x0r (author)lcohen2008-02-21

The basic ($999 after $100 student discount) white one.

acaz93 (author)2008-02-20

Original , Nice Idea ,
But You Know What , I Prefer the Leopard's Start music Exodus Honey

lcohen (author)acaz932008-02-20

Yeah but it does not match the commercial.. ;)

acaz93 (author)lcohen2008-02-20
YES it doed :)

lcohen (author)acaz932008-02-20


acaz93 (author)lcohen2008-02-20

But , But , But It Matches The OS intro Lolz..

de-evolution (author)2008-02-20

nice and I was wondering how you like your macbook air.

lcohen (author)de-evolution2008-02-20

I love it! It's perfect for me... it can really go with me anywhere... can barely feel it's there and at the same time it's useful as a full computer. Have been carrying a vulcan flipstart for a couple of months and this by far blows it away, if you are not going to do any heavy stuff on it it's awesome as a second computer. Plus, with Back to My mac and/or an external USB drive you can have everything you need with you at all times..

de-evolution (author)lcohen2008-02-20

does the external cd drive cause any problems

lcohen (author)de-evolution2008-02-20

how so? It works perfect for installing apps and watching movies... does not fit into the case though... that's my next instuctable...

lcohen (author)2008-02-20

Can anyone figure out how to get an image trasfered on to the vinyl? I tried the laserjet printed on to photopaper with an iron trick and came up with nothing but burnt vinyl.. Am thinking about t-shirt transfer paper but that just does not seem to be a good choice... any ideas short of silk screening this beauty? I want to actually put the interoffice envelope grid on it for the sake of complete geekyness (I don't know if I will punch the holes through though..)

inquisitive (author)2008-02-20

Very cute! and Linux-you lucky duck! I love my Macbook I got last August, but can't help having a touch of Air Lust!

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