Introduction: No-Sew Book Cover for Your EReader or Tablet

About: I teach computer science and I do graphic design for printed bags, clothing, housewares, and much more. (, and…

Ereaders, like the Nook and Kindle, have revolutionized the gentle art of reading, sure.  But at what cost?  Can you really feel enlightened and ennobled reading Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations" holding an antiseptic piece of glass and plastic?  Don't you miss the feeling of holding an open book in your hand when you're reading?

In this instructable, I will show you how to create a cool book cover for your eReader or small tablet.   The cover is secure enough to hold your eReader in a natural vertical reading position and it will also protect it from bumps and scratches in your purse or backpack.  As a bonus, all of the buttons and ports are still accessible, so you can put your gadget right on the charger, without taking it out of its case.

Lets get started.

Step 1: Pick the Perfect Book

This is the most important and time consuming part of the project.  Seriously.  I spent 15 minutes making the cover, and two days picking out the book.

Here are things to look for. 

1. Right size.  Pick a book that is just slightly larger than your gadget. In all dimensions.  So, just a little longer, wider and thicker.

2. Cheap.  Don't spend big bucks on an first edition "Bicentennial Man" by Isaac Asimov or "I Am Legend" by Richard Matheson.  Get a cheap hardback book that you won't feel bad cutting up.

3. Cover in good condition. Its okay if it looks a little dirty or used, but find one with a solid cover that's not torn or broken.

4. Good title. Decide what sort of image you want to convey.  My local used book store had dozens of Hardy Boys books that were the perfect size and condition, but I just couldn't picture myself sitting at the airport (appearing to be) reading one.

I found this cheap book club edition of "Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius that was just perfect.  (I have a bunch of these cheaply bound classics actually.  "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens was a first runner-up candidate.) 

Step 2: Assemble Your Tools and Materials

In addition to the book, you'll need these materials.

1. craft felt.  enough to cover the cover.
2. velcro, with an adhesive back.  I used the dots style.
3. elastic.  enough to go around the length of the book.
4. glue.  I love fabric-tac for just about everything.  Ordinary craft glue may not secure the elastic well.

You'll need these tools.

1. scissors. to cut the felt and elastic.
2. hole punch.  big enough to go through heavy cardboard and felt.
3. needle nose pliers (optional)

Step 3: Desecrate a Book

It is surprisingly easy to take the pages out of a book.  You will wonder how on earth books hold together at all.

1. Open the front cover of the book and score the paper where the lining meets the first sheet.

2. Do the same on the back cover.

3. The pages should just lift out intact like a naked thing.  

Take a moment to reflect on the transient nature of existence.  With two strokes of a blade you completely just killed that book.   What else are you capable of?

Step 4: Further Mutilations

Using your hole punch, make two holes through the back cover of the book

Cut your felt to size and glue it to the inside of the cover.  Make sure that it is really well attached.  Cover the paper with glue and  tuck the felt into all of the creases.

Use the hole punch again, to now punch a hole through the felt too, so that the holes go all the way through.

You're almost done!

Step 5: Finishing the Cover

Thread the elastic through the holes in the cover as shown.  You may need the pliers to pull it through (I did).

Wrap the elastic around the book and pull it tight.  You want it to be a little stretched when your ereader is inside the cover.

Use the craft glue to attach the ends of the elastic on the inside of the back cover.  

Let it dry for about 10 minutes before going onto the next step.

Step 6: Contemplate Philosophy (for 10 Minutes)

While you are waiting for the glue to dry, look at those pages you cut out of the book.  

Who was Marcus Aurelius anyway? And what was he going on about now? 

Okay, moving on.

Step 7: Open Cover, Insert Book

Use just the "sticky" side of the velcro and put a few pieces on the back side of your tablet or reader.  As you can see, I only used three tabs and that was plenty.

Center your tablet and seat it gently onto the felt of the inside back cover.  Be careful.  The velcro really sticks to the felt and if you have to move the tablet, there will be a fuzzy mess.

Time to admire your work!
  • Notice how the book cover can be folded back to make a nice little wedge for when its on your desk or lap.
  • Notice that the velcro does a great job of holding your tablet in the book, even when you hold it in the natural vertical position.
  • Notice that when the book is closed, you still have access to the buttons and connections.  You can plug in the charger without taking your gadget out of its cover!
  • Close the book and wrap the elastic around the front cover.  Hold it in your hand and do a little happy dance.  

Now take your book to the nearest coffee shop and wait for compliments and comments of approbation from strangers.