DIY IPad Case

Introduction: DIY IPad Case

About: Electrical Engineer | Woodworker | Robot Builder | Maker | Fixer

Since the moment I laid hands on my iPad the first thing that came to mind was protection. I had picked up an inexpensive case that was really just meant to keep the back of it clean and scratch free. if i was going to use it out side of my home, at school or the library, i needed a better way to protect the screen and provide easy portability. I started my search to find the perfect case. I needed it to cover the entire device and be sturdy enough that I would trust putting it in my backpack and not getting crushed by books. this search lasted for a while with no luck. all the cases that i had found were ether not sturdy enough and didn't cover the entire iPad or they were way out of my price range (remember i just dropped $500 on the iPad. i wasn't about to drop another $100 dollars on a case that was good but not great). I put aside the idea of buying an iPad case and instead I started to make plans for one that I could build myself (isn't that what most Do-it-yourselfers do in the end anyway: save money and make it their self). As I started to plan out the initial design for the case i had to keep a few key constraints in mind. i didn't want to end up spending more building the case myself than I could spend on some of the ones that i had found. The materials needed to be sturdy. i wasn't about to make "Yet Another Duct Tape iPad Case". Another great thing about making the case my self was that I was able to customize it in any way i wanted.      

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Step 1: The Scavenger Hunt: Gathering Your Materials

Here is the list of materials that you will need to build this case: 
  • 1" 3-ring binder (the one i used had a little bit of a texture to it. I thought that it would add a better feel to the case)
  • Vinyl tape or electrical tape
  • Glue: ether hot glue, tack glue, super glue, gorilla glue... you get the point.
  • Glue stick 
  • Button magnets about 1/4" diameter or magnetic strip
  • Metal strip that the magnets can stick to
Here are the tools you will need to build this case:
  • Some way of cutting the cardboard. Box knife, exacto knife, laser cutter, etc
  • Drill and bit same size as the magnets that you are using
  • Straight edge   

Step 2: Cut Up That Binder!!!

From the 3-ring binder you will acquire the covering and the cardboard for the case. To get these materials, carefully cut around the edges of the binder at the seems. You should now have two pieces of cardboard and four pieces of vinyl covering. The next thing to do is cut up the cardboard to the dimmentions in the picture below. These dimensions may vary according the what generation iPad you are using. This one is designed around the first generation iPad  the method that i used to cut the cardboard was to mark dimensions and cut using an exacto knife and a straight edge. If you have access to a CNC or a laser cutter this would make this step go a lot faster.     

Step 3: Dry Fit

Before you do any gluing or taping, dry fit all the pieces and make sure everything fits together and there are no gaps. Check to see if the iPad fits in the case. You would not want to put this whole thing together and find out that your iPad does not fit do you? Get in the habit of checking this every once and a while throughout the assembly of the case. 

Step 4: Base Assembly

Start with the base piece and build up the sides. Be patient and check your work. You do not want to glue it down and find out that it is just a little off. "Measure twice cut once" 

Step 5: Top and Side Lamination

While the glue for the base is setting up, start working on the top and sides of the case. First start withe the clasp piece. Drill holes evenly spaced for the magnets to fit into. see picture below for an illustration. Tape this pice with vinyl tape long ways all the way around. the next thing to do is to laminate the top cover. Using the glue stick, glue around the edges of the piece and make an X through the center (see picture below). Lay the vinyl covering so that there is about 3/8" to 1/2" boarder around the piece leaving about 1 1/2" at one end. the side with the glue should be in contact with the vinyl and facing down. Apply hot glue to the sides of the cardboard and fold up the vinyl around the edges. Trim as needed. Repeat this process to the other side but do not fold over the extra vinyl just trim it flush to the edge. 

Step 6: Lamination the Base

Laminating the base is almost the same as the top but there are more edges to deal with. The easiest way is to start with the back side and fold the extra vinyl over and then do the inside, working from one side to the other. when you are finished, tape the edges around the bas of the case.   

Step 7: The Hinge: Connecting the Top to the Bottom

The hinge is the piece that holds the whole case together. It is also the piece that is constantly being bent back and forth. It needs to be strong. It is hard to explain this step but follow the pictures and you should be fine.  

Step 8: Attaching the Clasp

This step is basically the same as the hinge joint but only one side. The only thing that you have to be concerned about is that the hinge is flexible enough that will close and stay closed easily.  

Step 9: Finishing, Modifications, and Adapting

This Instructible is not meant to be followed exactly as it is written. This case can be modified in any way to fit your needs. This case is meant for an iPad 1 but the dimensions can be modified to fit the iPad 2 and other tablets.   

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    3 Discussions


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    No, not at that time. Anyway, the link you provided showed cases for $55. That was not in my price range. This case was "cheap" only in terms of cost. If I wanted a horrible iPad case that cost nothing I could have just used a shopping bag, but I wanted something that looked good and would be sturdy.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I happened to be very lucky to have a sturdy plastic box (from a set of lancet type of knive + holders, bought a year or so ago at Lidl) which is a perfect fit for my Arnova 8 tablet + space for my reading glasses). Only had to dremel away the protruding tips of the hinge screws