Introduction: Make an IPad Mini Book With Storage Compartment

I suppose I'm old enough to simply like the feel of a good book in my hand.  But I also love reading on my iPad mini and decided to make a hollow book to hold it.  This project applies some common bandsaw box techniques to hollowing books.  All the cuts are made using a bandsaw, however a scrollsaw could be used as well.  It's a fun project! 

List of materials:
  • A hardback book
  • Glues - Elmer's glue, superglue, kid's push-up stick glue.  You don't need all 3 but I found it easier to use different types in different places.
  • Glue brush
  • Wax paper
  • Rubberband or masking tape
  • Rare earth magnet and a 1/4" bolt washer (optional)
  • Straightedge, pencil, ruler
  • Exacto knife
  • Bandsaw or scrollsaw
  • 3/16 bandsaw blade
  • A nail or staple gun
  • Shellac
  • Flocking kit including mini-flocker, adhesive & flocking felt

Step 1: Grab a Book & Add a Magnet

The selection of your book is a personal one and the options are virtually limitless.  Ideally it should be a hard cover book to protect your iPad screen and provide longer service.  I chose a thicker book because I wanted storage for my glasses, ear buds, cords, etc.  This book also fit nicely in my hand and is a comfortable size to carry.  WIthout the covers, the pages measure about an inch.  (This is not thick enough to store the white plug end for charging your iPad which is about an inch square.  If you want to include the plug you'll need a 1.25-1.5" book.)  

To fasten the book shut you can bury a magnet and metal washer prior to doing any gluing.  On the corner of the cover, peel back the liner and mark the location for the washer.  Make sure this will not interfere with your cut line as your magnet will be in the same spot within the books pages.  The center of the washer is roughly 1/2" from both edges.  Use an exacto knife to cut into the cardboard cover and glue the washer in place and then the liner.  

For the rare earth magnet, start cutting your holes on approximately the 8th page.  A 1/8x1/2" magnet is enough.  Since the pages are smaller than the cover, the center of the magnet is 3/8" from both edges.  In my case, the book was so close to the size of the iPad that the magnet is quite close to the edge.  As long as the magnet is not in the way of the saw blade the magnet can be placed anywhere.  With the magnet in place, glue the corners of 3-4 pages over the top of the magnet to secure.  The sides of the book will be glued in the next step.

Step 2: Planning the Inside and Gluing the Outside

Next you will need to lay out your design and decide which pages will be cut.  I like to leave 3-4 pages at the front of the book and would typically start after the table of contents.  You will need at least one page to glue down at the end to cover up cut marks, glue and other signs of construction.  Consider where the buttons are on your device and which ones you use most to make allowances in those areas.  The on/off button in the upper right needs to be accessible IMO so I cut a 1/2" radius circle around it.  This recessed area allows for easily lifting the iPad out of the book to remove it or to adjust the volume.  

To protect the outside cover and to keep from gluing the entire book into a block, wrap wax paper around the front and back covers.  You can secure the wax paper with either a rubberband or tape (or apparently both in my case).  

With the covers protected, mix up a bit of Elmer's white glue and water at roughly 2/3 glue & 1/3 water.  You are trying to get runny glue and the mix isn't critical.  Simply brush the glue mix on the outside of your book's pages with a brush.  I soak it pretty well by going over it a couple times.  When you are finished, close the book and stack some weight on top of it to prevent wrinkly pages.  Let the book dry for a couple hours or ideally overnight.

Step 3: Nail the Book Together

Before you head to the bandsaw it's a good time to decide on what the storage portion of your iPad book will look like.  Once again, it can be anything you like.  I choose to simply put a couple shoulders on the sides for my iPad to rest on.  If you plan a similar uniform design, it is easier to draw it now while the book is intact and square.  

In retrospect, I would combine the right shoulder with the button access circle in the upper right corner.  It would have been simpler to glue a single piece and look more finished.  Check out pics of another book at the end of this instructable to see what I mean. 

To keep the pages together once you have cut them out, nail or staple them together with a power gun.  I use 6-8 crown staples which penetrate about 3/4 of the book's thickness.  Nail the front and the back to make a solid block.  

Step 4: Bandsaw Time!

Begin your cut close to the book spine.  Wander over to the straight line after the rounded corner.  It will look better if the rounded corner is uninterrupted.  A longer entry cut also provides a greater surface for gluing your book back together.  Simply follow your marked line and cut out the center.  

Step 5: Glue the Book Body

Before finishing the interior, glue the book pages back together along your entry cut with Elmer's, wood or super glue.  Any glue which works with paper is fine.  At the same time, remove the wax paper from the back cover and glue it to the pages.  A kid's glue stick is ideal for this as there is little mess and it bonds well.  Once again set your book aside to dry with some added weight on top of it.  

Step 6: Make the Inside Shoulders

Make another batch of runny glue for the outside of the nailed block of pages.  Saturate the outside edges and set it aside to dry with weight on top of it.  

When it is dried you can return to your saw and cut the shoulders you marked previously.  Next you'll need to remove pages from the top of the shoulders until they are the ideal height for your iPad.  Go slow and if you take off too many pages just glue them back on.  When you are happy with the fit of your iPad glue the inside edges of your shoulders with runny glue.

When your previous gluing has dried it's time to glue the shoulders inside your book box and also glue the interior walls together.  Apply Elmer's or wood glue to the bottom and outside surfaces of your shoulders and put them in place.  In my case, I also glued the circular pieces in the round cutout.  With runny glue, coat the inside walls of the box and let it dry.

Step 7: Finishing the Interior

What makes this iPad book look cool is the interior finish and it couldn't be easier.  The first step is to seal all interior surfaces with Shellac or a sanding sealer.  This is important for getting the felt adhesive to adhere.  A couple coats is a good idea.

Next it's time to flock the inside.  Flocking is very easy and has many applications.  Essentially the idea is to paint on the adhesive and then flood the interior with felt flocking.  There are many different colors of flocking to choose from including red, green, blue, black, etc.  The tall yellow can is called a "mini-flocker" and has holes in one end.  Fill the lower half with flocking and then as you push the halves together - flocking shoots out the holes on the end.  It makes it very easy to apply an even coat to all surfaces.  Have everything ready to go when you start applying adhesive as it sets up in 10-15 minutes.  Let the flocking cure for 12-24 hours before you remove any excess.

In the pictures you can see that I applied purple painters tape to the surface in hopes of keeping the top page clean.  It didn't work.  The blue adhesive seeped under it anyway.  In the next step you'll see how to fix this problem.

Step 8: Cover Your Trail

I did this step twice.  Once before flocking (pic) and once after flocking.  I thought cutting the page might damage the flocking but it wasn't noticeable.  Do this step after flocking unless you can keep the adhesive off the top page while flocking.

This step covers your entry cut line and glue messes.  I used my trusty kid's glue stick for this step.  Glue the page in place and let it dry before cutting the center out with an Exacto knife.  And your done!

Step 9: Find a Quiet Spot and Surf!

This is a fun and easy project.  I've been using my iPad book for several weeks and really like it.  It's very light, easy to carry and comfortable to use.  My son wanted a bigger book for his iPad so we used a Thesaurus.  The interior turned out very nice.

Make one, you'll love it!

Craft Contest

Participated in the
Craft Contest

Epilog Challenge V

Participated in the
Epilog Challenge V