DIY Book-like IPad Case (Dodo / Moleskin Style)




About: I rather like "to make" than "to consume". I've been programming for iOs for a while just to see if I can. I love making cases and pouches for my gadgets, but currently it seems I'm running out of projects. ...

I stumbled over the following instructable for a moleskin iPad case (credits here for the maker of the case which inspired me to make my own case):

Also, I found the Dodo-case for iPad on the internet and thought, I could combine both in a DIY book style iPad case for the iPad I purchased 2 weeks ago.

I have used the iPad for 2 weeks and the DIY case for 1 week now, and both just works perfect.

If you like this instructable, leave me a note. I would love to get some feedback.

Like always, this instructable requires to work with tools, so don't hurt yourself.
If you get hurt during the process of making a DIY case according to my instructable, I'm not liable for any damage to yourself or your device for which you create the case.

Take care and have fun "making".

Thanks for the comments and warm words so far. 

I had another idea which would be easy to add here. I bought a silicon case last weekend just for at home because I like the slim design of the iPad. But I thought it would be awesome if the iPad could go into the case including the silicon case. This way, you could use it without the "book" at home and just insert it into the "book" for on the go :-)

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Step 1: Supplies

Supplies in the picture shown are (left to right, top to bottom):
- photo magnets (I didn't use those, see additional notes at the end)
- L-shaped wooden profiles (for the frame for the iPad)
- foam tape (for supporting the iPad in the frame)
- red fake suede self-adhesive foil / film
- black fake crocodile leather foil / film
- card board (this was some kind of a corrugated card board box of a shirt I bought)

- files
- saw
- miter saw
- sandpaper
- scissors
- knife (scalpel, cutter)
- steel ruler or any other ruler with a steel edge for cutting
- clamps (binder clips in my case)
- wood glue
- strong all purpose glue (pattex in my case)

Step 2: Build the IPad Frame

Take the iPads dimensions. Exact dimensions according to the internet are 242.8 mm (9.56 in) (height), 189.7 mm (7.47 in) (width), 13.4 mm (0.53 in) (depth). For the width I rounded to 243 mm and for the height to 190 mm. The profile height of about 15 mm was just about right.

Go from here and add 2 times the thickness of the foam tape for the width and heigt. Consider how much you want the foam to squeeze your iPad. In my case, the foam was 3.2 mm thick. I wanted the foam to press 0.2 mm on each side, so this left 2x3mm to be added in width and height.

1. Cut the L-shaped profile according to your "foam-calculation" on the miter saw (I just used a cheap miter with a little handsaw for about $5). Make sure that you measure the width (top and bottom part of the frame) and the height (left and right part of the frame) inside the L-shape where your iPad will be placed later in the frame. The outside dimensions of the ipad + 2 times the foam thickness will be your inside dimensions of the frame.

2. Glue the frame parts together with wood glue. I used some of the L-shaped profile and a rubber band to support the frame while the glue was drying (see the additional images). Wait until the glue has tried and the frame is stable enough for further processing. I waited for approximately 1 hr before continuing. The glue doesn't reach its final strength at that time, but it was enough to make the cut-outs.

3. Use the hand saw, files and sandpaper to make the cut outs for iPad-operation. As you can see, I didn't add cutouts for the headphone and microphone (I just don't use those).

To get the dimensions for the cut-outs:
- place your iPad within the frame.
- Stick some of the foam-tape (without sticking it to the frame, so leave on the protective foil of the tape) between your iPad and the frame on all sides of the frame.
- Stick it in places where you don't need to mark the cut-outs.
- Eyeball the cut-outs and mark them with a pencil.
- Start working out the cut-outs. Once in a while, place the iPad inside the frame to ensure your cut-outs are in the correct position and have the correct dimension.  

Create some kind of an extraction port where you can stick your fingers in to extract the iPad from the frame (see comment in the picture on the left side of the frame). If you have a tight fit of your iPad within the frame, you'll have problems getting it out of the case later.

4. Round of the right top and bottom edge (skip this if you don't like the look, but I liked the rounded edge a lot).

5. Tape the bottom side of the frame to prevent any varnish to get there. The bottom side will be glued into the "book"-cover, so it has to be clean. I used natural oil based varnish, so this would have caused problems for glueing. If you use something like car paint, it may be ok to also paint the bottom of the frame.

Step 3: Cut the Book Cover Parts

For the book cover parts, you'll need a cutting mat, a cutter, a steel ruler (or any other ruler having a steel edge), a pencil and of course the corrugated card board.

1. Place the finished iPad frame as a template on your card board and trace the outline of the frame to the cardboard (see additional images also for some more hints).

To get to the final dimensions of your front and back side of the book cover, add whatever dimension you like around the outline of the frame. In my case, I used about 1-2cm (so the covers will be a around 1-2cm wider and higher than the frame).
Don't forget, the spine of the "book" will be flat to the frame. So don't add the 1-2cm here.

2. Once you have cut out the front and back, place the frame between them to measure how high the spine must be (see 4th additional image) and mark the height with the pencil.

3. Cut out the spine and place all parts with a little spacing between front-spine-back on the table. Now you can use some clear tape to fix the parts together. You can add the frame within your cover to give it a test run and see whether or not the parts will work together like a real book.

Step 4: Wrap the Book Cover With Lining

I used self adhesive lining. It's unfortunately not as sticky as I thought, so right at the spine I have some "bubbleing" when I open the "book" and fold back the front cover. So you may consider using additional glue to prevent this.

1. Use the book cover parts as a template for the outer lining.

2. Add approximately 2cm for folding the lining over the rim of the cover parts. This will give sufficient gluing surface so that the lining stays in place.

3. Cut the corners of the lining according to the additional images (also see the comments there).

4. Take off the protective film of the lining and carefully place the cover parts on the adhesive side of the lining.
To make sure to not have bubbles in the lining, turn over  the cover and use a "soft" edge ruler or your hand to smooth out all bubbles.
Be careful not to get any debris on the outsides of the lining. Otherwise it probably won't stick as good later.

5. Stretch the excess lining over the book cover edges gluing them to the inside of the book cover. For more information, check the detail images.

Step 5: Add Foam Padding to the Frame

To give the iPad a good fit within the frame, glue some foam padding inside the frame. This will protect and hold your iPad in place.

1. Cut the height of the foam tape to match the frame height. If you have to do this step, face the cutting edge down inside the frame, so you'll have a nice edge at the top.

2. Tape the foam tape to the frame. Check your iPad's fit.

Step 6: Attaching the Book-strap

You can skip this step if you feel you don't need an extra strap to keep your iPad-book closed. I initially planned to use some magnet and a little back to front strap to do this, but it was Sunday, the stores were closed and the magnets I had were to weak to get through the lining. So I decided to go with the mole skin rubberband.

1. Depending on where your frame is placed inside the book, mark where you want to put the holes for the rubberband. Pictured below you can see that I placed the holes for the rubberband 4cm from each side of the corner. You'll have to do this on the top and bottom of the backside of the "book".

2. Mark the width of the rubberband (in this case approximately 1cm).

3. Use a screwdriver and hammer to get a nice slot through the case (from the outside, putting some scap wood under the case to make sure to get a nice slot without damaging the cardboard too much).

4. Put some rubberband through the holes.

5. Add the frame inside the cover and adjust the length of the rubberband accordingly. You don't need the rubberband to provide too much tension, but you want your book to stay closed.

6. Check again where the rubberband has to be glued inside the cover and ensure this doesn't interfere with the frame.

7. Glue the rubberband into place. I used some "real" and heavy books to apply enough pressure to get a strong bond of the rubberband to the cover.

Step 7: Putting All Parts Together

1. Cut the inside liner so that you'll see about 2-5mm of the outside liner once it is glued into place (the visible outside liner on the inside must be according to the excess outside liner taped to the inside of the cardboard). The dimension depends only on your liking. You can use the cover as template again, this time subtracting the desired dimension (compared to the outside linging).

2. Attach the inside liner to the cover. This step must really be carried out carefully. Any misplacement of the inner liner will instantly be visible (because you have parallel lines from the inner liner to the outside edges of the case). Again, like with the outside lining, ensure to remove all bubbles. This time being extra careful because of the suede surface.

3. Place the frame top down on the left side of the inside of the cover. Make sure the backside of the frame lines up with the spine.
BE CAREFUL: All steps following take this first image as base. If you glue the frame to the wrong side of the cover, the strap will be upside down giving an awkward look.

4. Add some glue to the frame (picture 4). I checked how my glue bonds to the cardboard and to the inner liner first to make sure I'll get a strong enough bond (see the first 2 additional images).

5. Close the back of the cover. Make sure the frame doesn't move, otherwise it will be misplaced (picture 4).

6. Turn over the whole thing leaving the "book" open (picture 5).

7. Put some real heavy books on the frame untill the glue is dry.

Step 8: Finished IPad Book-case

Now your Book-Case for your iPad is finished.

Wait until all solvents (from the glue and the lining) have evaporated to ensure this won't damage your iPad.

Place your iPad in your book and have fun.
It's pretty sturdy and I like toting around my iPad in it.
I'll probably add some fake seams (white permanent marker) around the edges. I did this before with a Zen-mp3 player case. After 3 years of usage, the fake seam is still there.

If you like this instructable, leave me a note. I would love to get some feedback.

Take care and have fun "making".

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    52 Discussions


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the nice comment of such an old entry. I'd never had thought people still follow the link to this one. Reminds me that I really have to post something new.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hello, I am very interested in making this, for the Nexus 7. I am thinking about modifying this in that I might try and find an old book that is the correct size, and use its spine and cover, removing the pages, etc, and then cover that cover.

    Question to anyone in america, Where would I find L-shaped profiles? Home depot? or like MIchaels? I have access to my school's wood shop, so making them from scratch wouldn't be out of the question, but an unnecessary step if I can make them.

    Also, where do you think I would place the magnets for making a Portenzo Intellistand feature? And where would I get magnets, you think? From the strong refrigerator magnets?

    Thanks for this tutorial, it's great!

    2 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I thoght about using an old book, too. But It never crossed my mind that I could just rip out all pages (duh!). And only cutting out the portion of the pages to accomodate my iPad seemed too tedious.

    For the L shaped profiles I would start looking for the modling section at a local home depot, lowe's or such. I doubt Michaels has profiles that are big enough.

    I like the stand feature. Maybe, instead of using magnets, you could try to make a groove in the cover where the edge of the frame just can slip in. I have the feeling that magnets could get too bulky and disturb the overall look.

    Make sure to let me know if you mad one ;-)


    6 years ago on Introduction

    A little tip for friends in the US... I was having trouble finding the L-shaped wooden profiles. Seems pretty self explanatory but no one at the hardware stores knew what I was talking about. After digging around on my own I found most of them are labelled as "outside corner moulding". Hope that helps some people.

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    I've been interested in making my own iPad case and I have read many instructable/DIY posts about making one. I've been running through all of these different ideas in my head and one of the things that I was thinking about doing (if I ever actually get around to making one) is buying a cheap plastic snap-in style iPad holder and then just affixing it permanently inside of whatever I decide to use as the outer cover. It may take some of the DIY out of the process, but all of the holes/cutouts would be in the perfect places, and it should hold and let go of the iPad with no problems. In my area (Ohio) I have seen these cases at places like Five Below (everything costs less than $5), Marshall's, Big Lots, etc., and also online. Just a thought.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    sugru dot com, it's a self curing silicone rubber. it's awesome. you could wrap the tablet up in Cling Wrap, then place it in the frame w/ the Sugru in the corner, forming a mold for where you want it to go.

    then, the next day, take it out... somehow.

    do you have problems taking your ipad out of the case?

    (for some reason i can't just "reply" to your comment, I have to start a whole new one...)

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Getting my iPad out is no problem using the foam at the sides. The foam holds the iPad well (I can even turn it upside down, carefully), but the iPad can be removed very easy, too.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I thought i replied to this. oh well. yeah, i think i'll try and make the L shaped brackets. ever thought to try and use Sugru in the corners of the frame? similar to what Portenzo uses?

    also, i wonder if they hide the magnets in the frame, like in a cut-out.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I couldn't track down sugru here in Germany although I wanted to try it for some project. But I don't even recall what it was. For the magnets I would definitely go with cut outs and then cover them so they're not visible any more.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Firstly I'd like to congratulate you on a great iPad case and thank you for the instructions. I'm definitely goiing to try and make this. Do you know if it will work with the current dimensions if I wanted to use the iPad smart cover as well as the book style case? Thanks

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I have a iPad2 also and tried putting it in the bookcase. With the 2nd gereation being thinner, the iPad sits deeper than the 1st generation. Due to the hinges of the smartcover, the frame will be too small. But you can easily measure the outside dimensions of the iPad and smartcover and accomodate the build accordingly. But if you make a bookstyle case, you kind of defeat the purpose of the smartcover. I would suggest making a bookcover and add a magnet to the book cover so you have the instant on effect just like with the smartcover. I tried a magnet once, held it to the side of the iPad's front, and viola, the iPad really turns on and off.
    I hope I could help. If you decide making an iPad2 case it would be awesome if you would post some pics.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    What exactly is 15mm L-profile? Is that a trim of sorts? I browsed through the local Lowes and couldn't find anything that matched. I sorted through all of their trim and I even asked after 15mm L-profile. The local Ace Hardware didn't seem to have any either.

    Anyone have a suggestion on where to get the wood for this project?

    Mike, where did you get your L-profiles?

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Hi ktvalverde, I bought ny L-profiles at a close by OBI home improvement store in Germany. So basically you're looking for a trim profile that is L-shaped and both "legs" of the L is 15 mm in length. The 15 mm is about 19/32 of an inch. I hope this helps.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    How much did it cost you to make this? Also did you have any materials left over? I am trying to make about 5 or 10 of these for gifts.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I think, considering materials I had to buy (the self adhesive leather stuff, the l-shaped profiles), I think it was about 15 bucks (I used card board and glue I had lying around at home, so there were no extra costs for these).
    And I think I could have made about 2-3 of the cases (except for the profiles, but they were really cheap).
    I think about max. 30 bucks should at least get to you up to somewhere between 5 and 10 pieces.

    Thanks for the great instructions. I made an ipad case according to the instructions and it turned out great. I'm going to make matching cases for my phone and ebook reader.

    1 reply