Introduction: IPad Notebook Safe

Picture of IPad Notebook Safe

Here's a clever way to hang on to your shiny new iPad: a carrying case that converts into an easel stand and disguises itself as a common notebook.  It protects, displays, and hides your iPad, all in one convenient package!

This project came about quite organically.  I started on a completely different path before I ended up with this one.  The idea was to make something like a book safe, that looked just like a notebook from the outside, but secretly held your precious cargo on the inside.  Additionally, when opened, the notebook could act as an easel, and provide you with an easy way to display your iPad on a tabletop for watching videos or giving presentations.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
This project used:
  • One hard cover spiral bound notebook with the pages cut out.  (You know they'll be turned into something awesome in their own time!)
  • Two layers of foam core - I used one white and one black, but you could just use black (it makes for a nicer frame for the eyes)
  • One or two sheets of black paper or thin fabric to cover the insides of the notebook
  • A few pieces of adhesive velcro
  • Grosgrain or other ribbon, length = long enough to wrap around the iPad and hold it securely inside + 5" to adhere to inside cover
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Ruler
  • Hobby Knife
  • Epilog Laser Cutter, if you happen to have one laying around, which I did (not necessary though!)
I've added a diagram that I hope explains the assembly process, 
Check it out before you move forward with the project.  

Step 2: Cutting the Frame

Picture of Cutting the Frame

The first step, which I neglected to get a picture of, is to glue the two pieces of foam core together, stacked one on top of the other.  Spray adhesive makes this super easy.  Just follow the directions on the can!

Because I was using the Epilog laser cutter, I needed to do a few different tests to find out what setting I'd need to cut through the two layers of foam core at once, without setting anything on fire.

I did my samples and recorded the settings, as you can see below.  I only cut out the inner part of the frame, because the laser melts the foam inside.  Since I wanted the outside edges to look like notebook paper, I used a hobby knife to cut those.

Since I had enough foam core to play with, I cut out two frames (each two thicknesses).  This gave me some wiggle room to screw one up completely if needed.  Which I did.

Hey, here's a handy file for you to download so you can cut your own!

Step 3: Velcro

Picture of Velcro

At the top edge of the frame, I wanted to place some velcro.  This came to me in-process, so it might be a bit tricky at first to understand.  I knew I'd have a strap (the grosgrain ribbon) with velcro on it to span the distance between the covers when it was being used as a stand.  Therefor, I wanted a place to stick the velcro strap to when the notebook was closed.

Wrapping the velcro all the way around the frame before gluing made it the most secure.  But it was also quite lumpy!  So I cut away some of the foam core so that the velcro would lay flush with the face of the frame.   That's what's going on in the pictures below.

Not pictured (refer to the diagram or subsequent pictures for clarification):
Take your length of grosgrain and adhere velcro to one end of it.  Use adhesive or tape to secure the grosgrain to the inside of one of the covers of the notebook.  In the next step, you will cover this with fabric or paper.

Finally, add a square of velro the front cover of the book near the outside edge.  This will hold the grosgrain velcro strap in place while the book is open, and allow it to act as an easel.

Step 4: Assemble

Picture of Assemble

Glue it all together!

Because I did a crummy job of photo-documenting this step, I've included this handy diagram of what went on.  I hope it helps!

One sheet of black paper or fabric goes on the side with the grosgrain velcro strap on it to cover and strengthen that bit.

One sheet of black paper or fabric goes on the inside of the other cover if you've managed to muck it up like I did.  If yours is still pristine, feel free to skip this part.

The frame you've cut gets adhered to the side with the grosgrain velcro strap, on top of the fabric or paper, with the little velcro tab we put on the frame on the side of the notebook with the spiral.

Finally, I decided to glue another strap on to the outside to keep the notebook closed.  This strap gets glued to the back, with another piece of velcro on it that will attach to the piece on the front.   It's only a couple inches long, and its only purpose is to hold the book closed.

Step 5: Finis!

Picture of Finis!
There you have it!  Your iPad is now ready to be safely nestled into its new home, with no passer-bys suspecting a thing!  Open the notebook, flip it around, secure the strap to the cover with the velcro, and you're ready to rock.

  • In my next incarnation of this project, I will use acrylic in place of foam core, as the foam core broke down quickly.
  • I will also add clear elastic along the sides to help secure the iPad inside.
  • Finally, I will try to find a non-spiral notebook to use,  as the spiral tended to snag in a frustrating way.


Bobby T (author)2015-10-08

Extremely stylish ! Excellent tutorial, thanks !

boristherussian (author)2010-06-24

This is a great idea, Scooch. I do not personally own an iPad, but this looks awesome!

try it for what ever device you have, just have to find the right size notebook . It's should be fun I'm going to give it a try . Happy crafting.

pellepeloton (author)2010-12-26

Sounds like a good idea but as an electronics technician who has repaired faulty electronics, I can see one possible flaw.

Did you take care of the ventilation on the bottom? This case may insulate the bottom of the iPad if the ventilation holes are blocked?

Electronics does not like about overheating. Electrolytic capacitors are the first ones to fail.
So keeping the ventilation holes open on the bottom by having enough clearance and allowing the hot air to escape is important. I have not seen iPad so I do not know where are the ventilation holes or if it has a fan so I can not tell how it should be done?

I see lot of people having their laptops in their laps or using them in a couch with ventilation holes blocked, not good in the long run.
I am typing this in my couch but I have a plastic grille, for drying dishes in kitchen, under my laptop to keep the ventilation working.

DustyBoots (author)pellepeloton2012-04-16

I'm a little late to the game but, yeah, those are definitely speaker vents, not ventilation vents. :)

Great instructable, smoocharoo! My current case is beginning to dismantle itself. This is a great idea for a replacement.

23BABYGIRL (author)DustyBoots2015-09-08

you are so right about these ventilation wholes, I bought a fancy iPad case and didn't understand why it would get so hot in the case. The wholes are for the sound. Might have to consider making this diy case and possibly drilling in some wholes or possibly some wedges for ventilation. Good ideas guys!

Thanks .

stvangel (author)pellepeloton2011-01-02

The iPad doesn't have ventilation holes, it's pretty much a sealed unit. The only real openings it has is a speaker grill, headphone jack, and ( for lack of a better phrase ) iPod connector. There is no airflow through the device. The case itself radiates any heat away, and I've never noticed any heat problems. Most cases totally wrap the iDevices anyway except for the connector and button cut-outs.

The only problems you might have with it is playing video while it's all closed up. But then there's not much point in that in the first place.

Oscelot (author)pellepeloton2010-12-27

Ipads generally run pretty cool actually. they don't have quite the same innards as something like a lappy, andno, no fan.

amandachandler08 (author)2013-05-12

Great idea its really smart but if i found the right size of notebook then do you think i could make one for a kindle fire?

Lindie (author)2010-12-26

Great idea!

ronnybonny (author)2010-12-26

I need ff plugin "I would not buy iPad"

JoeAconite (author)2010-06-22

Now we add a "Don't Panic" to the cover and create a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

saucyrossy (author)JoeAconite2010-09-22

It really needs to be done. Just thought I'd mention to fellow hitchhiker's fans: I actually found a case with "don't panic" printed in large, friendly letters on the cover. Bout time someone did this. Check it out:

lockpick (author)2010-06-23

This really nice. By far the best I pad case yet. One thing I don't get is why is it called a safe?

scoochmaroo (author)lockpick2010-06-23

Safe because when it's closed, it looks like a normal notebook, and no one would suspect there's an iPad in it. Like a book safe that you hide stuff in.

lockpick (author)scoochmaroo2010-07-06

Now I get it. Anyway to add a physical lock?

Javin007 (author)lockpick2010-07-07

I thought about that too, at first. But the fact is, once someone has it in their possession, a lock would do you little good. They could just as easily clip the wire bindings and open it that way. If it's more of a "keep honest people honest" type of thing, you could probably pretty easily create a small wire loop on one end of the "book cover" and have it go through a hole on the other side of the "book cover" then slip a padlock through the loop.

lockpick (author)Javin0072010-07-07

good point

mrfixitrick (author)2010-06-22

Cool Instructable!

I'd suggest a polycarbonate (Lexan) shell instead of acrylic...a little more expensive, but it will be far stronger, and in fact basically bulletproof.

Acrylic can shatter, poly won't...See this movie...

scoochmaroo (author)mrfixitrick2010-06-22

Polycarb doesn't do well on our laser cutter, sadly. I could always check other shops. I've also considered using wood!

mrfixitrick (author)scoochmaroo2010-06-22

For cutting polycarbonate, you can use a regular carbide-tipped skil-saw blade, or hire out a water-jet cutter. Door-skin plywood or marine plywood would also work...but it won't be bulletproof ! ;)

You could use a regular xacto knife and cut a groove in the polycarbonate, then hold the groove on an edge and "break" the polycarbonate on the edge. It should give a nice, clean edge. This only works on polycarbonate sheets though.

Omnutia (author)2010-06-27

The problem with this is that, while it protects you from the opportunist iPad thief, you may end up: 1) With you or a friend throwing it out with other books. 2) Getting it filed among a bookshelf of other books (Best make the spine subtly distinctive.). 3) Someone throwing it at someone, thinking it is a book. Just a heads-up.

superhornt (author)2010-06-24

i will make a smaller one for my itouch

Data643 (author)superhornt2010-06-26

I thought about doing that as well, since the iPad case my dad and I made turned out so well.

Data643 (author)2010-06-26

Taking the term "notebook computer" to a whole new level. When my dad and I made this we added a smaller square frame at the bottom because the iPad was curved. This allowed the iPad to sit securely in the case. We also added indents for the power button and the audio jack so you could listen to a movie while the iPad was still in it's case. We also made the foam core four layers thick so that it would sit better in the case. I'm writing this comment from our iPad in it's new stylish DIY case!

Lindylu2u (author)2010-06-25

I just love this site. I never know what I'm going to see on here, and today your idea was really great. I don't even have one of those Ipad things but darn, if I did, I'd surely want one of these. You should patent this idea of yours. I bet you could get super rich off of your idea. Think of all the possibilities for different covers you could use. Younger customers might like their favorite sport team or school. Cool colors whatever floats one's boat, so to speak. I'm telling you, someone out there is gonna steal all your hard work and make a forture off of your idea. You should strike while the iron is hot. GOOD LUCK.

Mudbud (author)2010-06-24

This is awesome! wish I had an ipad... :/ Kind like.......

spcon (author)2010-06-24

Pretty cool. I think I want to scale this down for my iTouch now! :D

DJIO (author)2010-06-24

SUPER!!! I don't feel comfortable enough using the velcro tip from the inside while in easel position. Maybe some experiments with the velcro can make it grip on the outside. Congrats for the awesome idea and thanks sharing it. =)

pocketspy (author)2010-06-24

Wicked smart design. You could actually sell these to iPad customers.

jamwaffles (author)2010-06-24

I hate the iPad itself, but this is awesome! maybe when the WePAD comes out someone will make something like this, with Tux on the front to reflect the WePAD's openness :P

zascecs (author)2010-06-22

It seems as if you always come up with the best things...

scoochmaroo (author)zascecs2010-06-22

Aww, thanks!

zascecs (author)scoochmaroo2010-06-22

How do you come up with all this stuff...?

kenbob (author)2010-06-21

I love this.

nickodemus (author)2010-06-21

Sleek, stylish, and removable! :D

Nice work!

Superninjacamper941 (author)2010-06-21

You could use a large MoleSkin, I don't think they have spirals...

drdray (author)2010-06-21

Is there some part of the iPad packing material you could use instead of the foam core?

jktechwriter (author)2010-06-21

If you master the acrylic shell, I'd be willing to pay for a shell & shipping to make my own... no access to a laser cutter.

jktechwriter (author)2010-06-21

Really nice... I've yet to find anything on the store shelves that impresses me, but I do like your design... may try it this weekend... will let you know if my results are both successful and acceptable (to me). Great work...

About This Instructable




Bio: Former Living & Food editor here at Instructables, now running! Follow me @sousvidely
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