Introduction: IPod Nano Sleeve

I wanted something simple for carrying my music player that would just keep my ear buds sorted out and protect the tiny little player from getting beat up in my pocket. This Instructable is really easy, and can be done with only a few tools.


2-3 oz veg-tannd leather (about six inches square, actual dimensions are 5-1/2 x 4-3/4 inches).

Some scraps of very thin leather (I had pig skin left over from another project, but any thin leather will do).

Contact cement

Thread and beeswax

Leather sewing needles

Sharp blade or scissors

Leather punches, hole punch, stitching punches

Stick-on Velcro closure

I have a lot of leather tools, but in a pinch, you could make this with just a sharp knife and an awl. For the leather, it only takes about a six-inch square piece, I used more to add a closure strap, but that could just be cut from scrap and stitched on. I think you could get enough leather from an old boot to make something like this. The thin, supple leather from the tongue of a boot would work where I used the pig skin.

Step 1: Draw Plans and Cut Out Parts

This was for a 7th generation iPod Nano, but the same concept would work for any iPod, you just have to design around what you need. I just laid the iPod on my graph paper and drew the outline and where the screen and control buttons are located.

I had enough leather to include a closing strap. I made this a few inches long, and just trimmed it to the right length later. I also used a corner-rounding punch to make a smooth transition from the strap to the cover.

The tabs allow you to coil the ear-bud cable around the iPod, and also act as "stops" to keep the iPod in place. In addition to the outer cover, there are only four parts: two hold-down straps, and two tabs. The hold down straps are cut long to make them easier to work with, you can trim them to length after they're sewn on. The pockets for holding the ear-buds will come in a later step. I made this sleeve a little long to allow room so the ear-buds don't press against the iPod when the cover is closed.


Outer cover

Two tabs

Two half-tabs for backing

Two tie-down straps

Two thin leather "pockets"

One cable hold-down strap

Step 2: Beef Up the Tabs

This step shows how I glued on the small pieces of leather backing that go under the tabs. This backing piece is important to keep the iPod from sliding out of the straps too easily, the extra thickness also adds space for coiling the cable under the tabs. The backing piece only extends about half the length of the tab.

Trim out spaces on the tab pieces so you can get to the control buttons and plug in the cables.

In the photos you can see that I had to cut off the first set of tabs because they were too short. Not a problem, if the first design doesn't work, I just cut off the parts and make new ones. Even if you have to make a new set of thread holes, the other ones will barely be noticeable after.

Note: in one of the photos you can see an early "prototype" where the cover piece wasn't wide enough. A prototype that doesn't work is not wasted effort, a failed prototype is one of the best ways to refine your design. You can anticipate a lot of things, but there is nothing like a working model to show where the problems are.

Step 3: Adding the Small Parts

Attach the tabs first, make sure you leave enough room at the edge to attach the hold-down straps. I just put the iPod on the leather and marked where the tabs need to be attached. Punch the holes for stitching through the tabs and the outer cover. Before attaching the tabs, and add a small hole above the top row of stitches to make a place to lock the cable. You also need to cut a slit from the hole to the outer edge.

Once you have the tabs sewn in place, it's time to sew on the tie down straps. This seems tricky, but it's really not, just get the first edge of the strap sewn on squarely, and then stretch it over the iPod to make a snug fit when you mark the thread holes. Don't be afraid of getting the straps too tight, they will stretch a little.

Note: the hole in the bottom hold-down strap, for the on-button is almost impossible to get in the exact position at this stage. Don't stress about it. Instead of making the right sized hole, and trying to get it lined up exactly, just make a smaller hole and try to get it "close" to the middle. Later, when the punch that I ordered arrives, I'll put a piece of plastic under the strap and cut the hole to the correct size. Having the little hole does help a great deal with lining things up and figuring out where the final hole has to be. Alternatively, you could just cut a hole "freehand" or use a piece of tubing to cut a half-inch diameter hole for the button.

The pictures I took that showed how to attach the little pockets for the ear-buds didn't come out, so I'm including pictures that I took when I was making the prototype for this project. Hope that's not too confusing. Cut the "pocket" pieces wider at the top than on the bottom. I just guessed at how much wider the top of the piece needed to be (about a half inch wider worked with this leather).

Since these photos are from the prototype, the actual pocket pieces are shorter than the pieces I cut for the final project. The final pocket pieces shown for this Instructable are an inch and a half tall. The strap for holding the cables (between the two pockets) is cut about a half inch wider than the width of the side piece to make room to slide the ear-buds under the strap. Glue the bottom edge of the pocket piece in place first, and then glue down each side, making the edges even with the edges of the cover piece. I used contact cement to hold these in place, and I intended to stitch them down, but I'm leaving them un-stitched for now, as the glue seems to be adequate on its own.

Step 4: Finishing Up and Adding Closure

Once the small parts are attached, you're basically done. I had to trim one of the tabs that stuck out past the edge of the cover, and rounded the corners with a corner punch.

Lastly, I cut the closure strap to length and added a piece of Velcro that came with adhesive. I had expected to sew these in place, but they're working fine without stitching.

If I make another one of these, I think I would add a "half-cover" piece, and sew the tabs and straps to that, then sew the entire piece to the outer cover, leaving the inside edge open for a pocket. That would avoid stitches showing on the outside, and provide room for storing a charging cable behind the iPod. I'd also make the second row of stitching on the tabs lower, to allow more room for the cable to lock into the locking slit.

Done. This should keep my iPod from getting tangled up in my pocket.

One final note: I chose to put the iPod on the left side. I think I might have preferred putting the music player on the other side. Time will tell.