Cushioned Duct Tape Laptop Sleeve




About: I am an artist, educator, tinkerer, and repurposer, err, recycler.

What is it about duct tape?
Here is my entry for a padded laptop sleeve that recycles a sheet of foam packing material and uses about a half a roll of duct tape. The project only took about 2 hours and the end result is a pretty sturdy cushioned sleeve perfect for your eeepc or any other laptop you want to protect.

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Step 1: Materials List

The materials you'll need are:
Duct tape
Metal ruler
Marking tool
Cutting knife ( I recommend a snap-off blade knife)
Sheet of foam packing material (I recycled mine from a package I received)
Masking tape
Laptop computer

Step 2: Sizing the Cushion Liner

The first thing I did was to put my computer in its original sleeve and place it on the foam packing.
I cut the packing approximately the width of the original case, maybe slightly wider. Since I was recycling the foam I did not cut away from the length. In fact if I were to do this again, I would use a longer piece of foam to create a longer flap.
Save any excess you may have. The strip I cut away was used later to pad the sides of the bag.

Step 3: Laying Down the First Tape Layer

This takes some patience but is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Using a large cutting mat with a grid on it is most helpful. These mats are available at sewing and fabric stores (cheaper) and art supply stores (expensive). I got mine at a fabric store.

I measured the foam and decided to make this base layer of tape about 2 inches wider on each of the long sides and about 4 inches longer either end. The tape has to be laid out sticky side up and I just use a piece of masking tape to hold the ends down.

I overlapped each strip about 1/4 inch.

Step 4: The Next Layer

Center the foam piece on top of the base layer of tape.
The next layer of tape sandwiches the foam in between. This second layer of tape should be laid out in rows with about 1/4 overlap and they should run perpendicular to the first layer.

I completely overlapped the sides of the first layer but stopped at either end at the edge of the foam.

Step 5: Sizing and Trimming

I trimmed the edges and used the original PC laptop sleeve to help with the final fold-over. This is when I realized i should have used a longer piece of foam cushioning.

Then I made a final trim to the top and bottom edges and then then folded them down.

Step 6: Building the Side Panels

Turn the main body of the bag with the exterior facing up and secure it with a couple pieces of masking tape.

The side panels are composed of 2 strips of duct tape on the exterior side, overlapping again by about 1/4 inch. Then turn the whole thing over and place one strip of tape down the middle.

Step 7: Joining the Side Panels to the Main Body

There are lots of photographs for this step and I think this step is more easily explained through the images.
I cut the side panels at an angle to main body and then stuck them to the main body. I reinforced the joints and created a channel that I could insert a piece of padding. I then laid a layer of tape from one side to the other making sure I had enough tape overlapping on either end to fold inside the bag. I made sure that this piece of tape was a continuous strip.

For the first step, crease the exposed edge of the tape on the side panel keeping the sticky side up, and then join it to the main body of the bag where the cushioned edge starts. Do this on both sides and you'll end up with what looks like an opened lidded box. At this stage, reinforce each seam on the inside of the sleeve with a strip of duct tape folded in half along its length.

Then crease the other exposed edge of the side panel and join it to the front of the sleeve. Do this for both sides. Reinforcing these seams is a bit harder but if you use a ruler to hold the tape, it can make this step a little easier. If you end up with a few wrinkles, no one will see them anyway.

Then attach a long strip of tape around the the sides to reinforce everything and neaten up the sides. You may have to apply a few pieces here and there to clean up everything.

Step 8: Final Steps

Finally, cover the exposed side edges of the flap as well as any exposed edges o of the side panels with strips of tape. I even laid down a new strip of black tape to make it look a little cleaner.

As a finishing touch, I added snaps to the flap. I did this only because I thought the flap was a little too short. Snaps are available at sewing notions stores and I used heavy duty snaps suitable for denim, etc. To install snaps follow the instructions included in the package. I also put a piece of tape over the back of each fastener (inside the bag) to protect my laptop from being scratched.

When I make my next sleeve I'll make sure it has a longer flap and I'll post photos to this instructable.

Thanks for looking.

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    16 Discussions


    5 years ago

    I made mine with a strap


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I didn't see it anywhere and perhaps this is somewhere in these instructions and I just missed it but about how many rolls or what total length of duct tape would you recommend for this? It doesn't look like much my guess is a single roll or so would be enough but I wanted to double check.

    I was actually planning on doing this once I got my lap top working. Now I know how to do it! :D

    I made a messenger bag using this pattern and ran the tape for the shoulder strap down sides of the sleeve and around the bottom. No guarantees that it would work for you - but you could try it.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    lol i was just looking at this and the colors remind me of michael jackson thriller..... :)

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, impressive! I like the black stripe too - it adds a good touch other than just red. I might try this method with the foam between the tape layers for some other things too. Keep up the good work


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the suggestion. I agree and I'll try to make that step more clear. Please check back.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Great work. The use of duct tape works pretty well in this instructable. I think i might make one for my macbook, its good to have that extra layer! Just a quick suggestion, Step 7 is the most complicated step, and has the least explanation, i know the pictures show it mostly, but i suggest splitting it into two steps, as to show it more clearly, maybe with a few more comments explaining how you went about it.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    nice! although this isn't really a padded duct tape sleeve, its a duct tape cover for a padded sleeve. maybe get much thicker foam and use the laptop as reference for the dimensions instead of the case, that way it will be a real duct tape padded sleeve. but the end product looks really clean and nice