Introduction: Homemade Laptop Sleeve for Broke Students

Protection from bumps and bruises, easy mobility, and extra cleanliness are all things offered by a laptop sleeve. There are millions of students enrolled in higher education and almost all of them have a laptop. With the fragility of laptops and the all too true stigma of broke college students, most people cannot afford to have their laptop fail on them during their college career, which is where a laptop sleeve can come in handy. The fact of the matter is, laptop sleeves start around $15 and can range all the way up to $100. We are here to show you how to make a laptop sleeve that costs $5 worth of glue and an extra towel. Our design offers all the things a laptop sleeve must provide with room for customization in features and design for a fraction of the price. This is a perfect way for students to protect their valuable laptops while not stretching the budget too far, all you need is a little bit of time and the willingness to sacrifice a towel.

Understandably, many would be concerned over protecting their laptop with a sleeve held together by gorilla glue, to alleviate those concerns I took a spare laptop and tested it out. For those who are concerned about the strength of the sleeve please refer to the video included.

Disclaimer: You will be working with Gorilla Glue which can have an incredibly overwhelming smell as well as find its way onto your hands. If this makes you uncomfortable, make sure you wear gloves and you are in a well ventilated room.

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Materials

The materials consist of:

  • The fabric you are using
    • A towel is recommended but a simple design change is to use a pillow case as the outer layer
  • Scissors
  • Gorilla Glue (blue tipped)
    • Regular super glue may work but gorilla glue is highly recommended
  • Ruler

A towel is the most recommended material since towels are typically made from a thicker fabric, this provides extra protection to the laptop. Also, towels are incredibly abundant in most cases, and typically people have a spare towel they can use to create this sleeve.

Scissors are needed to cut the material, especially if using a towel since it is a thicker material

Gorilla glue is a great alternative to sewing for those who lack DIY or arts and crafts skills. Gorilla glue or a stronger alternative is recommended however, if you are skilled in sewing, that can obviously be used in place of glue. Keep in mind, we used the gorilla glue that had a blue tip on it, this one of the stronger varieties Gorilla Glue has and it proved to be incredibly successful.

A ruler is needed to take measurements and ensure accuracy in the length and width of your laptop sleeve.

Step 2: Cut the Towel in Half

Cutting the towel in half creates a base for your sleeve, most laptops are small enough to fit within one half a towel with more than enough room.

Step 3: Measure the Length

Measure the length of your laptop, double it, and add an inch for spacing, make mark on the fabric you are using at the distance you measured, a permanent marker works best but a pen is also an option. In the picture you can faintly see a mark near the the top right of the laptop, if you do not have a ruler it is good to use this method as you mark the length, place your laptop on that mark and make another line, and then use your best judgement to mark another inch from that.

Step 4: Measure the Width

Lay your laptop on the towel, make a mark on the towel approximately 1 inch from the sides of the laptop on both ends, this is to ensure you will have more than enough room to slide your laptop into the sleeve after gluing. In the photo you can see all the marks we made for our measurements, your sleeve should look similar at this point.

Now that you have all your measurements marked out, it is time to cut! Cut along your horizontal measurements and also the most vertical measurement, use the ruler to assist in straighter cuts.

IMPORTANT: since you cut the towel in half you must repeat steps 3 and 4 on the second half of the cut towel, at the end of the step you should two towel halves cut to size, be sure to keep some of the fabric you cut as you will be needing it.

Step 5: Dampen the Area You Are Gluing

NOTE: In the next step you will be gluing the two pieces of cut towel together, this step is designed to provide tips to glue.

Gorilla glue works best if you lightly dampen the area that you are gluing, in this step you are preparing to glue the two halves of the fabric that you cut. Take your two pieces of cut towel and designate one of them as the bottom piece. Now, take a rag or even a scrap of the towel you are using and soak it in water, once you have done this apply the soaked rag or towel to the edges of the bottom towel. In the pictures above, the top towel is folded over only to provide an example for a dampened surface.

Another recommendation is to have a cup next to you to assist in dampening the gluing areas as you will be doing this frequently. In the pictures is an example of what a lightly dampened surface would resemble, careful to not pour large amounts of water directly onto the area you plan on gluing.

Step 6: Glue the Two Halves of the Towel Together

After you dampen the areas you are gluing, apply glue to the bottom towel and lay the other piece on top of it. One picture shows about the amount of glue you will need to use and the other picture shows the result of the two halves being glued together.

Step 7: Apply a Light Amount of Pressure

Gently press on the towel for approximately one to two minutes, for best results, place a text book or something of equivalent weight on the area you glued to get the most amount of hold.

Step 8: Fold the Sheet in Half

After both pieces of towels are glued together, you should have a rectangular sheet of fabric, you now want to fold that sheet of fabric in half along the length of the sheet (hamburger style). You now want to glue three sides of that rectangular sheet, leaving one side open to hold your laptop, before gluing refer to step 5 and after gluing refer to step 7 to ensure best results. The picture above is of what your sleeve will look like after this step.

Step 9: Cut Two Thin Strips From Leftover Fabric

You should still have some leftover fabric, take that leftover fabric and cut two thin pieces from it, around 8 to 10 inches long should be sufficient, however, you will have most likely have more than enough leftover towel to cut strips of varying sizes to find which is most comfortable for you.

Step 10: Glue Down the Two Strips to Create Handles

Take the two thin strips you created in step 8 down near the top end of the sleeve as shown in the photo. glue each end of the strip down to make an oval shaped handle designed for carrying. refer to step 5 before gluing and step 7 after gluing to ensure the best results. Repeat this process for both handles.

Step 11: Finished Product

Your finished product should look very similar to the picture posted above, if style is your concern I recommend wrapping the sleeve in a pillow case that has designs on it or simply painting the sleeve in a way you like. While Gorilla Glue recommends only 1 hour for their product to dry, to be on the safer end, let the glue dry for 12 - 24 hours. We believe that letting the glue sit for a longer period of time will result in a more stable hold, this is what we did and you can see how well it held up in the video at the top of the Instructable.

Thank you for taking the time to participate in our Instructable we hope you are satisfied with your product.