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No-Sew Book Cover for your eReader or Tablet

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Picture of No-Sew Book Cover for your eReader or Tablet
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Ereaders, like the Nook and Kindle, have revolutionized the gentle art of reading, sure.  But at what cost?  Can you really feel enlightened and ennobled reading Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations" holding an antiseptic piece of glass and plastic?  Don't you miss the feeling of holding an open book in your hand when you're reading?

In this instructable, I will show you how to create a cool book cover for your eReader or small tablet.   The cover is secure enough to hold your eReader in a natural vertical reading position and it will also protect it from bumps and scratches in your purse or backpack.  As a bonus, all of the buttons and ports are still accessible, so you can put your gadget right on the charger, without taking it out of its case.

Lets get started.

 
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Step 1: Pick the perfect book

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This is the most important and time consuming part of the project.  Seriously.  I spent 15 minutes making the cover, and two days picking out the book.

Here are things to look for. 

1. Right size.  Pick a book that is just slightly larger than your gadget. In all dimensions.  So, just a little longer, wider and thicker.

2. Cheap.  Don't spend big bucks on an first edition "Bicentennial Man" by Isaac Asimov or "I Am Legend" by Richard Matheson.  Get a cheap hardback book that you won't feel bad cutting up.

3. Cover in good condition. Its okay if it looks a little dirty or used, but find one with a solid cover that's not torn or broken.

4. Good title. Decide what sort of image you want to convey.  My local used book store had dozens of Hardy Boys books that were the perfect size and condition, but I just couldn't picture myself sitting at the airport (appearing to be) reading one.

I found this cheap book club edition of "Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius that was just perfect.  (I have a bunch of these cheaply bound classics actually.  "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens was a first runner-up candidate.) 

Step 2: Assemble your tools and materials

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In addition to the book, you'll need these materials.

1. craft felt.  enough to cover the cover.
2. velcro, with an adhesive back.  I used the dots style.
3. elastic.  enough to go around the length of the book.
4. glue.  I love fabric-tac for just about everything.  Ordinary craft glue may not secure the elastic well.

You'll need these tools.

1. scissors. to cut the felt and elastic.
2. hole punch.  big enough to go through heavy cardboard and felt.
3. needle nose pliers (optional)

Step 3: Desecrate a book

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It is surprisingly easy to take the pages out of a book.  You will wonder how on earth books hold together at all.

1. Open the front cover of the book and score the paper where the lining meets the first sheet.

2. Do the same on the back cover.

3. The pages should just lift out intact like a naked thing.  

Take a moment to reflect on the transient nature of existence.  With two strokes of a blade you completely just killed that book.   What else are you capable of?

Step 4: Further mutilations

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Using your hole punch, make two holes through the back cover of the book

Cut your felt to size and glue it to the inside of the cover.  Make sure that it is really well attached.  Cover the paper with glue and  tuck the felt into all of the creases.

Use the hole punch again, to now punch a hole through the felt too, so that the holes go all the way through.

You're almost done!

Step 5: Finishing the Cover

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Thread the elastic through the holes in the cover as shown.  You may need the pliers to pull it through (I did).

Wrap the elastic around the book and pull it tight.  You want it to be a little stretched when your ereader is inside the cover.

Use the craft glue to attach the ends of the elastic on the inside of the back cover.  

Let it dry for about 10 minutes before going onto the next step.

Step 6: Contemplate philosophy (for 10 minutes)

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While you are waiting for the glue to dry, look at those pages you cut out of the book.  

Who was Marcus Aurelius anyway? And what was he going on about now? 

...
Okay, moving on.

Step 7: Open Cover, Insert Book

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Use just the "sticky" side of the velcro and put a few pieces on the back side of your tablet or reader.  As you can see, I only used three tabs and that was plenty.

Center your tablet and seat it gently onto the felt of the inside back cover.  Be careful.  The velcro really sticks to the felt and if you have to move the tablet, there will be a fuzzy mess.

Time to admire your work!
  • Notice how the book cover can be folded back to make a nice little wedge for when its on your desk or lap.
  • Notice that the velcro does a great job of holding your tablet in the book, even when you hold it in the natural vertical position.
  • Notice that when the book is closed, you still have access to the buttons and connections.  You can plug in the charger without taking your gadget out of its cover!
  • Close the book and wrap the elastic around the front cover.  Hold it in your hand and do a little happy dance.  

Now take your book to the nearest coffee shop and wait for compliments and comments of approbation from strangers. 


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Tommy.4 months ago

Great, tks

MarieMRanch6 months ago

I love this it is a great idea... Thank you so much for this cool idea.

I LOVE the witty conversational style of your (very clear) instructions! Brava!

Looking forward to making one of these myself. All the best!

redneckotaku11 months ago

What else would be cool is to create a custom book cover for it on www.notefashion.com

Bitsi (author)  redneckotaku11 months ago

Thanks for the link, but I didn't see an option for a book cover on that site. Just laptop skins. Did I miss something?

sdfgeoff1 year ago

Thanks so much for this ible. I left out the elastic strap, and instead of velcro just made some tight fitting slots. When the book is shut, it can't fall out. When it's open friction and gravity keep it in.

It's a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, so I may have to make some cutouts for the camera and a place to get the stylus out easier.


And this book was saved from being thrown out by our library, so I don't feel too bad at murdering it. (I also read it first)

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Bitsi (author)  sdfgeoff1 year ago

That looks really great. What did you use for the grippers? Is that silver tape?

sdfgeoff Bitsi1 year ago

So the grippers are made out of two strips of thick cardboard (It's an old lever-arch file/ring binder). They were 1cm wide and PVA glued into a right angle.

At this point I considered gluing them on and calling it done, but thought that they might not have enough friction to keep them in place, so I covered them in tape (the same 'tough tape,' which the plastic is relatively soft/grippy)

Few other comments:
- I reinforced the spine with a little tough tape to help hold it together when bent all the way back. (Tough tape is like duct tape but clear)
- I didn't felt the inside, because the material holding the tablet in (thick cardboard) provides a slight gap so it won't rub there. This left the place where I had removed the pages brown, while the rest of the cover was green. So I cut a strip of the cover from the first page and covered the spine with it.
- The power button was getting pushed when the book was shut so I glued a pad of paper in next to it so pressure would go on the tablet frame rather than the button.

The image shows all the points above, and is the tablet resting nearly vertically in landscape.

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THANK YOU!!! I have been looking around for iPad mini cases and came across iPad Book cases! This is by far the easiest to make and has got everyday tools. (Most of the others require budsaws and stuff) I can not thank you enough!
Templeton11 year ago

Excellent Instructable! Time to make some gifts for the family, so off I go to the thrift store to find some worthy books!

kmoore421 year ago
Recently brought a third gen kindle second hand just waiting for it in the post now, as I have access to more tools at my mums (I am still a beginner and she is a crafter so already has felt, a strong hole punch made for cutting through pretty much anything, etc) I will be doing this when I see her I think!
djs_specs made it!1 year ago

Thank you so much for this. I followed someone's suggestion about using the Command strips and while it ads a bit of extra bulk (they do sit out a bit more than velcro) it actually works better with the book I chose.

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Bitsi (author)  djs_specs1 year ago

Great! Looks terrific. :-)

dcmathis1 year ago

I just read this, and would like to thank you for your time. I'll be building one for my kobo aura HD, and am going to try building up a form between the back cover and the felt to fit the back of the reader, since it's not flat.

Thanks again!

You should have probably used a hot glue gun for the felt. Also its better to use a micro fiber cloth so you dont get scratches.
I am looking for something similar to make. I got one of those aluminum keyboards that double as a case, the only problem is when folded out. It is not that stable and if I need to shut down in a hurry, I have to clamshell it together again. Plus it is not the warmest on bare skinned laps.

This is how it "sits" no way to secure it so if you lean, it slides



This is how it closes. It protects, but is clumsy 
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karate56622 years ago
This turned out quite well

Things I learned:

Simple is better.

Felt combined with superglue can have nasty effects including copious amounts of smoke. Use the proper adhesives.

Bitsi (author)  karate56622 years ago
Well, that's hilarious.

It might make a difference if you used wool felt instead of craft felt (that is primarily recycled plastic bottles).

These days I am using ordinary white glue or wood glue for everything.
Lizzilla2 years ago
Love it! I would probably use the velcro command strips for easy removal in the future, just in case I need to do so.
I made one of these yesterday...it turned out very well!
jdiemz3 years ago
Nicely done. Though I won't lie, the thought of destroying a book gives me a definite stab of pain.
Kiteman jdiemz3 years ago
Agreed - much as I love my Kindle, I couldn't kill a real, live book and use it's skin for a cover...
Phoghat Kiteman3 years ago
As much as I love cows, I wouldn't wait a New York minute to kill one for a roast, some steaks and a few kilos of hamburger.
Like the Native Americans, I use all of the parts.
Kiteman Phoghat3 years ago
So, what was the "meat" of the book used for?
Phoghat Kiteman3 years ago
It was given a cardboard cover, and donated to a local school for teaching English as a second language
Bitsi (author)  jdiemz3 years ago
Same here. And that's really ironic, isnt it? Since we don't actually buy physical books anymore?

But go to your local used book store and you will find plenty of trashy old physical text books and romance novels for a $1 each. Or, you can do what I did and find a cheap book that is trying to look expensive.

:-)
Phoghat3 years ago
I saw your 'ible when you first published it and thought what a great idea it was. I looked on Etsy    http://www.etsy.com/search/handmade?search_submit=&q=tablet+cover+from+a+book&view_type=gallery&ship_to=US, and they were quite expensive. My wife (who is a quilter/seamstress/designer/genius saw your 'ible and what was available on Etsy, and made me one. It is great and costs a lot less than the $79 plus shipping. Can't find my camera right now, but later today I'll post some pictures of it.
So, as much as I liked your instructable, I was kinda sad.. When I saw the first pic, I was like, oh crap, I have some of that series of books, and it sucks that one's getting destroyed, albeit for a good cause.. Then, I saw that it was Meditations, and was really sad, because I would love to have that one in my set.. Marcus A. was the roman emperor/general in the beginning of the movie gladiator. He is considered one of the wisest and thoughtful leaders and generals throughout history.. you should get meditations and put it on your reader.. you may like it.. otherwise it's still an ironic ode to the evolution of reading technology.. :)
Just troll some goodwills, I've found that book six times now.
Bitsi (author)  DeliciousMystic3 years ago
Ha! Well, I still have the cut-out pages. Should I read them? Or send them to you?

:-)
HMice3 years ago
LOVE IT! Just wonderin' why not glue on the felt THEN do the holepunching.Wouldn't it be easier??
Bitsi (author)  HMice3 years ago
Hi --

As it turns out the felt is a lot harder to punch thru than the hardboard. The felt stretches around the punch. You can try to do it in one step. Maybe your hole puncher is more assertive than mine.

:-)
Bits
HMice Bitsi3 years ago
Ahhh....Ok!!!
jillgeezy3 years ago
Great project, thank you. Used a power drill instead of a hole punch. Glued the elastic ends to the inside back of the cover before putting on felt. Had trouble getting the elastic to adhere -- used a couple of different kinds of glue. Got it to hold eventually. Next time, might try sewing the elastic together by hand. Decorated the front cover with a stripe of grosgrain ribbon for color. All I could find was black and white elastic and my book cover is black, so wanted some color.
Here's mine. You guys might have seen these on Etsy -- beautiful but expensive.
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Second photo.
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Bitsi (author)  jillgeezy3 years ago
That looks very nice. How has it been working for you?
:-)
jillgeezy Bitsi3 years ago
Thank you. It's been holding up fine so far. I was worried that my Velcro that's stuck to the felt might come off, but so far, so good. Next time I might position the ribbon so it's not partially covered by the black elastic when closed. There are a million variations and color combinations to try. If I were organized, I'd collect device information for my friends and family and make these as gifts.
I meant, this style of project is on Etsy -- didn't mean mine. :)
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