Introduction: Recycle a Book Into an IPad Stealth Case

Picture of Recycle a Book Into an IPad Stealth Case

Sometimes you don't want everyone to know you are carrying around your iPad.  No one will notice that you are carrying a book, especially if it is a 1970s ex-library copy of "New Zealand in Colour."  With a hobby knife, a paper clip, and a bit of patience, you will be able to recycle the very thing you are replacing into a case for its replacement.  That could have been said simpler but you get the idea.

Step 1: Find the Right Sized Book

Picture of Find the Right Sized Book

Take your iPad to a second-hand book shop or thrift store and find a book that  is the right size.  I found the best size was when you set the iPad on the pages of the book, there is about 20mm (3/4") to 25mm (1") all around it.  Too small is a problem because the paper won't be strong enough to hold the iPad in and too big is fine, if you like carrying alot of size and weight you don't need.  The perfect thickness is when the pages of the closed book are the same or slightly thicker than the iPad.  I also chose a book with lots of photos because the pages were thicker which meant stronger and less to cut.

On second thought, why not breath new life into that old Masters thesis as a personalized iPad case?  You're probably not going to read it again are you?

Step 2: Draw and Cut and Cut and Cut...

Picture of Draw and Cut and Cut and Cut...

OK, this is the part that gets a bit boring but you don't have to do it in one sitting (as I foolishly did).  Set the iPad face down on the first page and trace around it.  I used a pen because a pencil might mark the edge of the iPad.  After tracing, carefully cut out the first page.  Once cut, you can either trace the shape on the next page or use the hole as a guide.  It might make it easier to cut the curves with a fine xacto-type blade but after a few pages I switched  a heavier stanley blade for everything except the corners.

Another thing to remember is that as you cut more pages, you tend to open the book (as in the photo), and the spine of the book will flatten.  When this happens, the position of the holes will change so when you are cutting, make sure the spine is as it will be when the book is closed.

Keep cutting out pages until your iPad sits in the hole and is flush with the first page.  My book was about the right thickness so I cut all the pages.

Step 3: Tidy Up the Edges

Picture of Tidy Up the Edges

No matter how accurately you cut the pages, they won't look perfect.  Don't worry, get out your trusty Dremel-like tool and go around the edges with the tiny drum sander bit.  I found that the sanded edges tended to spread and made the whole lot slightly thicker at the sanded edge.  If this is going to bother you, you could clamp the paper down while you are sanding it.  It didn't so I didn't.

Again, make sure you do this with the spine upright so your sanded paper "walls" will be vertical.

Keep trimming until your iPad fits nicely into the space.  It may not be able to go all the way into the hole because it gets caught on the buttons, so when you get close, go to the next step and after the spaces for the buttons are made, you can do another trim.

Step 4: Make Room for the Buttons

Picture of Make Room for the Buttons

Now if you have an iPad 2, you can skip this step because the iPad 2 buttons are on the curves so they don't stick out the side.  Mine is an iPad 1 so I had to use the same drum sander tool to make small indentations where the volume/mute and the power button stick out on the side.

Step 5: Insert the Remote Power Button

Picture of Insert the Remote Power Button

OK, so your iPad is happily in your new book-case but you can't turn the power off.  No worries!  Simply put a paper clip in the right place so the end lines up with the power button and voila!  Remote power button.

Step 6: Add a Security Strap

Picture of Add a Security Strap

You might be nervous that your new book-case will fly open and drop your iPad onto the concrete.  Never fear.  You can add a special Security Strap.  All you need is enough elastic to wrap around the end of the book.  Sew the elastic into a loop, then staple the loop to the back of the book.  The staples are only for positioning and it doesn't take much force to keep the book closed.  I put the old Library cover back on and it hid the back of the elastic and the staples but if they bother you, you can always attack them with a sharpy or vivid (felt pen).

Step 7: Charge/Sync Through the Pages

Picture of Charge/Sync Through the Pages

If you want to charge your iPad, simply lift enough pages to fit the cable into the dock connector and you are away!


timothydiaz (author)2014-01-21

I agree with you. Really this blog is very informative. <a href="">Watertight Cases</a>

drilldogg (author)2012-09-17

Kiaora, I will view all people carrying this book around as a disciple of this excellent pre-quel to the iBook from Godzone.

ddebets (author)2011-09-16

For the iPad 2 you can add magnets to the bookcover, this will put the iPad in sleep, when you close the book. Same method as the smart cover :)

gallo1993 (author)ddebets2012-03-03

How so if you please

knota (author)gallo19932012-03-28

All you would have to do is find where the magnets have to go and then cut and place them into the cover. It shouldn't be too hard.

peggyzoewong (author)2011-12-13

Hi, I just re-discovered Instructables. I was browsing and saw this. Great to see up-cycled projects. I did something similar back in Sept 2010. Just wanna share with you.
Now that I am a user here also, I hope to be able to share some projects here too. ;)

tewharau (author)peggyzoewong2011-12-14

Very cool. Did you sell many?

peggyzoewong (author)tewharau2011-12-14

I didn't sell these ... I'm still using it though. You sell yours?

startrees (author)2011-11-24

I liked this it was pretty easy I didn't glue the pages or anything but it still worked out well. I added a "sidebar" or a little extra space for my smart cover, great instruct able thanks!

tewharau (author)startrees2011-11-24

Great! Can you post a pic or two? Cheers.

flosco (author)2011-06-05

Awesome! a New Zealand touch. Am a bit gutted about the book though. Will need to find my own copy to make all the paper things I was thinking of, with the retro tourist photos that are cut out. Love it!

rug (author)flosco2011-10-23

its great to see new Zealanders on this site, i thought i was alone :(

tewharau (author)rug2011-10-23

What are you doing on the inter-webs when the final of the Rugby World Cup is on. That's one of the most stressful games I've ever watched.

rug (author)tewharau2011-10-23

i know, it was a really intense game, but we won in the end so yaaayyyy :D

tewharau (author)flosco2011-06-05

I still have the photos if you want them, with nice rounded corners. Postage might be more than they are worth... Twitter: @tewharaunz.

flosco (author)tewharau2011-06-05

Ha, cool. I would.
Am in New Zealand so would be happy to pay ya for the postage. Hey, did you just have another Earthquake? A 5.5?
I'm not on Twitter. Are you on Facebook?

tewharau (author)flosco2011-06-05

Did feel it - look at comment below!

Send me a private message on Instructables with your address and I'll send the photos.

craztheking (author)2011-10-01

started cutting up a book and realized my desktop dosent fit
XD haha

ducktape.mac (author)2011-09-13

I like it!!! Giving new meaning to iBook!!

inowits (author)2011-09-07

Great Idea and make the things organic. Use reCycle and save nature

FrozenIce (author)2011-09-01

might do it with my ipod touch :) thx

Callum Snowden (author)2011-06-04

Instead of an iPad, a bookPad...

finton (author)Callum Snowden2011-08-05

Or use a bigger book to hide your Notebook laptop running Windows Notepad on one side (i.e. Chapter One) and your iPad on the other (Chapter Two) and you'd have a "bookNotebookNotepadPad".

Actually... fitting one's tablet and smartphone into the same book might not be such a silly idea. Hidden in a boring book in the bookshelf, no thief would ever find them. I'll have to try it whenever I get both/either device (currently have laptop and iPAQ HW6965).

TALKTALKER (author)2011-07-18


finton (author)TALKTALKER2011-08-05

Dude, you also have your Caps Lock on. Unless you're warning us of danger, you don't need to "SHOUT"! Cheers.

Zachintosh (author)2011-07-27

I'm sitting here reading this, and I respect you for cutting out all the pages with a knife. However, wouldn't it be a lot faster and easier if you use a Dremel rotary tool with a cutting disk on? That just makes a ton more sense to me.

tewharau (author)Zachintosh2011-07-27

So how would you handle the corners? Cheers.

TALKTALKER (author)2011-07-18


tewharau (author)TALKTALKER2011-07-18

This instructable works for an iPad 2 as well.

Ninzerbean (author)2011-06-22

I used a picture book so the pages were kinda heavier than a regular book. I glued the cut pages together with PVA glue and had no wrinkles. I also did not have to use the dremel to smooth out the corners. Thanks ever so!

tewharau (author)Ninzerbean2011-07-18

Looks great!

instructable doggie (author)2011-07-02

Teacher : What are you doing?
Me : "Reading."

Haha that's funny!

cincymikeb (author)2011-06-17

Love it ,did it
a few couple comments,
I used a glue stick to glue pages together individually just 3 sides say 1" wide along perimeter.
this made the pages a littl rippley but not bad . make sure you smooth them out . close book often so pages are lined up .
i cut with exacto knife then the drum sander which worked great .
2 problems
I made a small half circle cut out in the center by the binding with the drum sander to aid in removing the i pad .
this worked great but this area was not glued so when sanding it bulged this area making it thicker . should have possibly cut out with knife first or glued along binding .
also i ran out of glue sticks using white liquid (elmerrs ) seemed more ripply in that part .
Next project the magnet .

tewharau (author)cincymikeb2011-06-17

Sounds Excellent. Do you have photos you can post?

I like the idea of the half circle to get the iPad out. I might add that to mine.

You can get rid of the bulging with (small) taps from a (small) hammer, then clean up any uneven-ness with the sander.

Did the glue would make the whole thing thicker? I originally thought about doing some glueing, but mine worked without (probably because of the thicker photo paper).

Thanks for the comment.. Magnet progress photos?

If you write a new Instructable, I'm happy to put a link from here to it.

stubbsonic (author)2011-06-14

A few suggestions:

1. I don't know if the rounded corners to the opening are especially necessary-- but I guess they don't add too much difficulty.

2. To keep the pages stacked properly during cutting, perhaps a person could use some combination of ratchet claps and some metal with a straight edge.

3. A sharp blade will make short work of the cutting. The depth of the cut could be restricted either by inserting some barrier below the bottom page of the cut.

4. I suppose if a person wanted to keep their iPad plugged in while in the book, that would require some additional engineering to accommodate the plug-- (perhaps that was addressed already).

tdrama (author)2011-06-10

i'm going to make one for my iPod nano will probably find one of those small notebooks or a novel that is about 2 and 1/2 inches by 4 inches !

It will be awesome !!

Thnx a lot for this idea

BOMB_CRAZY (author)2011-06-05

nice! Im Going To Try This With My Ipod 4G

Zanaji (author)BOMB_CRAZY2011-06-09

I have a nook color that needs something just like this :) Time to go book shopping.

bryandhispup (author)BOMB_CRAZY2011-06-05

My thoughts exactly for my Androd Phone!

frq (author)2011-06-05

If you have a iPad 2, you can also insert a magnet in the cover, so it will turn off when the cover is closed. Just check for the right position puting the magnet over the iPad (it is 2 or 3 inches below the top right corner).

tewharau (author)frq2011-06-05

Awesome idea. I don't have an iPad 2 but it sounds like you should write an instruct able about it!

frq (author)tewharau2011-06-07

I bought an iPad 2, and I really liked your instructable. I think I'll make one with the magnets, if you don't mind.


tewharau (author)frq2011-06-08

Please do, & post photos!

Apple37 (author)2011-06-08

Apple captures world

BtheBike (author)2011-06-08

that is very slick .

SBUX (author)2011-06-05

umm wouldnt this over heat the ipad?

jsgraham (author)SBUX2011-06-06

Not really. My iPad is in a similar case from Griffin and it stays nice and cool. It's not a very sturdy case, and the design isn't all that great. So I've had to do some mods to it to make it user friendly. Like the tabs on the back that turn the front cover into a stand. They're cheaply made, and easily worn out. So I added some velcro strips to the back to keep the front cover from slipping out. Also, I've used velcro on the front to keep the cover closed. It makes a nice ripping noise when I open it in class. My professors aren't to keen on the idea though. ;)

tewharau (author)SBUX2011-06-05

My iPad doesn't get very warm, but I probably don't do anything that pushes the CPU very hard. Anyone else have heat issues?

vwluvrs (author)2011-06-06

Possible alternative, is to glue the pages together in the "closed" position, and then using a band saw or a scroll saw, cut your opening. Then the books pages are rigid, so drilling for plugs and adapters may not be an issue...
You could also then drill and insert small yet powerful magnets in the "edge" to keep the cover closed.....

About This Instructable




Bio: In my free time, I like building and repairing almost anything especially with found or recycled materials.
More by tewharau:iPhone Window Pocket (or is it a Shorts-shaped Case)Unlock Carhartt's Secret iPhone PocketEasy Fix for Horizontal iPhone Pocket Syndrome
Add instructable to: