Introduction: Custom Laptop & Tablet Sleeve

About: I am Brandon, a college student who loves making! I hope to eventually turn my passion into my career by innovating new technologies to fuel the maker movement in America, and bringing large scale manufacturin…

In this Instructable I will show you how you can create your very own laptop sleeves, from padded paper envelopes. I actually used multiple different sized envelopes so I could make one for my laptop and one for an iPad. The bubble wrap lining on the inside provides protection for your electronic devices, while the paper outside provides an awesome canvas to draw and paint on. I had tried around 8 different designs on this project, and below I will be showing you my 3 favorite!

Materials & Tools:

  • Packaging Envelope(s)
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Spray Paint
  • Pens & Permanent Markers
  • Paper
  • Xacto

Step 1: Graffiti Style

This is no doubt one of my favorite sleeves, and I love the way it turned out. I have never tried graffiti work or anything like this before, so I was really inspired by the freestyle work by an artist who goes by @ChadCantColor. I knew I wanted a simple black and white theme, and I stumbled across some neat designs he had and really thought they were cool. I basically just browsed the internet looking for some different graffiti-type styles for inspiration, and ended up creating this!

I first spray painted the sleeve in semi gloss white, and applied quite a few coats until all of the yellow beneath was covered up. I then took a Sharpie, and spent hours drawing different little quotes and designs on the iPad sleeve until I was content. My tip to you on this one would be to test out some styles on the envelope before you apply the base coat, then you can spray over it and cover it all up. It was a great way to get a bit of a style going and discover what works and what doesn’t.

Step 2: Stencil

The next one was actually created using a custom stencil made with just a sheet of paper and an Xacto knife. The first thing I did was spray paint the whole envelope black, with a matte black spray paint. Next, I created a simple design in Powerpoint, then printed it out and cut it with an Xacto to make my stencil. I laid the stencil down on the envelope, and masked off everything I wanted to keep black, then lightly misted the stencil from quite far away until it was sufficiently coated. By leaving some height while spraying, the paper stencil isn’t blown around as much from the aerosol in the can, resulting in a much cleaner stencil beneath. I removed all of the masking and stencil, then created a misted/splattered effect on the black background with white. I did this by only lightly pushing down the cap of the spray can, causing a bit of paint to pool at the tip of the nozzle, so the resulting effect are much larger drips rather than a fine mist. If you have never tried this before I would definitely encourage you to test it and practice a little before you potentially ruin your project.

Step 3: Splatter Paint

The last one was a simple splatter paint effect, which also turned out great. I applied a base coat of semi gloss white across the envelope, then splatter painted with acrylic paints. I used a one inch chip brush, dipped it in the paint, then simply splattered it on the sleeve. One little technique I would say is you definitely want to make sure to spread out the splatters and the colors, so the whole sleeve has an even dispersal of paint. Other than that my only tip would be to lay down ample newspaper to cover the ground of wherever you are working.

Step 4: Final Thoughts

Overall I am super happy with the final products, and love being able to upcycle envelopes I would have thrown out into stylish laptop and tablet sleeves. This is a project that anyone should be able to do, as all you really neat is some paint and markers at the bare minimum. There are endless possibilities with way to design these and make them personal to you. I encourage you to start looking for things most people would consider trash, and turn them into something functional and beautiful.
Thank you,