DIY Wooden IPad Case




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. ...

Introductory words (skip if you want):

After being featured with my iPad DODO / moleskin bookstyle case which I initially made for "on the go", I thought that due to the shape and design of the iPad it would be cool to just have a silicone skin for it for home-usage (I didn't want to go without a skin as I'm pretty afraid to dent or scratch the iPad's aluminum back). But with all the dust collecting on the iPad's screen I wanted some kind of a case where I could just slip it in so it's protected from dust and the occasional "bump" on the living room side table.

So I came up with a pretty easy, straight forward wooden box. I love the woods texture and looks. Making this case took up somewhat around an afternoon (if all steps are carried out in one day and if you just use basic tools like I did).

Alternatives to the design could include different colored wood types stacked together, an opening in the top cover so that the case could also be used as a picture frame.....

Just let your imagination run wild :-)

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


Step 1: Tools and Supplies

Basic tools (Like stated in the introduction):

- Pencil
- Band saw (I used this one at work to get straight cuts for the front and back of the case)
- Hand saw with a miter jigg
- Files
- Sandpaper
- Scissors
- Knife (scalpel, cutter)
- Steel ruler or any other ruler with a steel edge for cutting
- Clamps

Supplies (You should be able to get most of it at your local home improvement store):

- Thin sheets of wood for the front and back (The kind of wood kids use with a hack saw)
- Rectangular wooden strip (The height should be about 2cm depending on how much thickness your silicone case adds to the iPad. I didn't care too much about thickness, I just picked what seemed ok in terms of the proportion to the height.)
- Fake suede lining (not shown)
- Strong all purpose glue
- Wood glue

Step 2: Measurements

Like stated in the previous step, choose the wooden strip for the framing of the iPad so that the height of the strip is a little higher than the iPad plus the silicone case.

Instead of measuring everything with rulers and calipers, I just used my iPad in its silicone case (I grew accustomed to the measurement style which they often used on HGTV).

- First lay the iPad on one of the thin wooden sheets (which will become the front or back of the case).
- Place the wooden strip beside it (flush to the outside of the wooden sheet) to mark where you have to cut off the sheet (in my case, I accidentally bought sheets that had just the right depth, so I have no picture for this one)
- Place the wooden strip below the iPad (flush to the outside of the wooden sheet) and positon the iPad so that there is a little space between the silicone case and the strip (similar spacing like you can see on the side with the volume rocker).
- Place the wooden strip above the iPad and mark one side of the sheet (the second mark will be made by measuring so that you end up with 90 degree angles).
- Measure the distance of the first mark, transfer the dimension to the left side of the sheet and draw a straight line using a ruler.
- When cutting off the excess wood of your sheet, remember to cut on the outside(s) of your lines as there is only a little space later between the frame and your iPad in its silicone case.

Step 3: Cut the Frame Parts

To cut the frame parts, use the front and back of the case to get the proper dimensions for the length of each strip (either by measuring or by just using the front/back as a template).

Use the hand saw with the miter jigg so you get proper angles when gluing the parts together later.
You could also omit the miter cuts, but I think it looks better this way.

After cutting the parts, put them onto the front/back sheet to check if the size came out like intented before proceeding.
I usually "test fit" stuff in an early stage when working with "basic tools". In case of my miter jigg, I had to clamp down the jigg to a table and then handhold the strip and cut the miter.
Also getting the miter right was somewhat of a challenge as with such a jigg it isn't that easy to get a straight cut.

Step 4: Extraction Cut Out

To make it easier to get the iPad out of it's case, create an extraction cut out.
The cut out has to be big enough so you can grab the iPad with your thumb and index finger and extract it from the wooden case. Still, it shouldn't be too big as to expose a large amount of the iPad so that it is still properly protected.

-Mark the middle of the front or back sheets length.
- Extend the mark all the way to the border of the sheet (make sure it is perpendicular to the border).
- Place a transluscent plastic tumbler on the mark so that the tumblers injection point (the little dot in the center of the tumblers bottom) lines up with your mark. Where exactly you position the tumbler depends on how big you want your cut out to be.
- Mark the outline of the tumbler on the wooden sheet.
- Attach the front to the back sheet with some clear tape. This way you have to only file away the cut out once and you ensure that the cut out of the front and back are the same size.
- Clamp the taped parts to a table (or like in my case, to the railing of your balcony or whatever is available) and file out (or use a hack saw) the cut out.

Step 5: Pre-finishing Touches

Some parts are hard to sand once all parts are assembled. So here's some pre-finishing touches you probably want to add.

I wanted all edges of my case to be well rounded. 

- File a nice radius to the inside of the top and bottom part of the frame parts from step 3. This will make inserting the iPad into the case easier.
- Round off the edges of the wooden sheets which will make up the front and back of the case (the side where the extraction cut out is).
Don't round all edges of the front and back sheet. If you round them all, there'll be a visible gap between the front/back and the frame once everything is assembled.

Step 6: Gluing the Frame

To glue the frame you can use wood glue (well, this one was obvious, wasn't it?).

Put some glue on the miter cuts and put all three parts together.
Make sure you have the angles right.

I just put a little glue (you don't need much) and then test-fitted the frame on the front/back sheet to see if it'll fit. If it doesn't and the glue is still wet, you can take the frame apart again and adjust the parts.

Once the front and back get glued to the frame, minor adjustments can still be made.

Step 7: Adding the Fake Suede Lining

To make the case a little nicer and to protect the silicone case from rubbing over the wooden surface, I added some fake suede lining. The lining is actually a little wider than the inside dimension of the case frame. This way the lining extends all the way to the frame without leaving visible gaps. But be careful not to extend it too far. If the lining extends too far, the frame will be glued to the lining instead to the wooden front and back sheet, which could decrease the stability of the gluing bond. It will also leave a little visible gap between the frame and the front and back sheet.

- Use the front or back sheet as a template and trace the outline of the case to the back of the lining.
- Draw a recessed line on the side where the extraction cut out is located. I set back the line about 2-3 mm from the outline.
- Use the frame to trace the inside dimensions of the case. Postion the frame so that it aligns with the outline of the case.
- Draw a recessed line for the frame sides so that the fake suede extends under the frame later. I tried to get it to a maximum of 1-2 mm from the inside traces of the frame.
- Use the steel ruler and the knife to cut the straight parts of the lining.
- Use the scissors to cut out the extraction cut out.
- Put the frame on the inside of the front and back sheet to trace the inside dimensions of the case onto the sheets. This will help you align the fake suede when gluing it onto the front and back of the case.
- Glue the lining onto the front and back sheet using the traces of the frame to position the lining. Ensure that you don't get air bubbles. To remove any bubbles, you can use a ruler with a rounded edge and swipe it from the center of the lining to the outside of the front/back sheet.. 
As I learned from my previous project, the self adhesive film of my fake suede didn't stick too good on card board and most likely not on wood. So I used some strong all purpose glue to attach the lining to the wooden front and back. If you're not sure whether or not the glue could damage the lining (my lining is mostly from some kind of plastic), use a little scrap lining to try out.

Step 8: Final Assembly

- Place the back of the case on a table (or any stable surface).
- Put some strong all purpose glue on one side of the frame
- Put the frame with the glued side on the back of the case aligning the outside of the frame to the outside of the back. And press the parts firmly together.
- Add some glue on top of the frame.
- Place the front of the case onto the frame, aligning the outside of the front with the frame.
- Add some weight. You want to add quite some weight because the suede lining extends a little under the frame. By adding the weight the lining gets compressed and the glue can bond the wooden parts without leaving a gap.

To ensure that the bond is as durable as possible, let the glue dry thoroughly.

Step 9: Finishing Touches

Once you assembled all parts, you can add some finishing touches. I rounded off all corners of the case using files and sanded the whole outside of the case. To better emphasize the wood grain/texture, I finished off my case using bio-varnish (some sort of hard wax). The pictures show the case without varnish.

Own comments:
- I should have made a little cut out within the top and bottom part of the frame to accomodate for the iPads power switch. It never powered on unintentionally yet, but....
- I thought about adding a strap on the open side of the case so the iPad cannot fall out, but after holding some tan colored suede to the case I decided against it. It just looks better this way. And most "toy-owners" will be especially careful with their gadget anyways.

I hope you liked this instructable and I would be glad if you would leave a comment.



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    26 Discussions


    5 years ago



    6 years ago on Step 9

    Nice instructable. This could be usefull for a MacBook Air as well.
    I've made something similar for my iPod. I made it from walnut wood, and I did it in a different way. I will post an instructable once I have the step by step pictures.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Step 9

    Thank you for the pictures. I'm already curious about your instructable on this one. I recently bought a Motorola Razr HD and such a case could be just the high-quality case I've been looking for. I wanted to go for something rugged as a case, but it was already hard to even buy a flagship phone (no matter which brand I looked at), but getting accessories seems even harder.
    And having someone responding to one of my instructables directly from the "neighborhood" (I'm from Germany) is even nicer.
    Also, the notification about your reply reminded me that I still have to post a DIY about my daughters' new "furniture" ;-)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I thought about that and I think I actually mentioned it somewhere withing my instructable, but I could be wrong, too (it's been a while since I posted it).

    I did put on some suede leather as a stop just to see how it would look like, but I didn't like the looks. If I had wrapped the wood in fake leather or so, I guess it could have worked. But with just the wood (I just liked the looks of it so much), I decided against it.
    And even without, my silicone case is kind of rubber sticky when it's in the box and I use the case at home only. So there's not too much risk for the iPad falling out.
    But I agree that it's a good idea if you want to take the case for on the go.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    A nice dark brown or leather strap might work? Either way, it is a great idea!

    Mike73Blackdog Barker

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I did add some bio-varnish on the outside as I had the same thoughts. The pictures are taken before that step though. The varnish I used is some hard wax based stuff which enriches the texture of the wood a little and it's water and dirt repellend, too. Did you make one?

    Blackdog BarkerMike73

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    No I didn't make a box, I made the leather iPad case covered in leather and made from Walnut and Cherry wood.. I used 6 coats of Polyurethane.. I know not so earth friendly or green but it is nice and glossy..

    Mike73Blackdog Barker

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I've actually subscribed to you as I'm curious what your next instructable will be. Actually, your case inspired me to make mine :-) From the ecologic point of view: I didn't decide to go out to get me some bio varnish for the case. It was just still available at home. I had this left over from remodeling my kitchen (some sort of DIY IKEA and selfmade add ons). I used it on some counter stuff which comes in contact with food. So I wanted the least poisonous stuff :-)


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Wonderful! I think it would be neat if it were wrapped as a book or something, with the title being, "Everything you ever wanted to know about anything." Because, ya'know, its got the internets.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, it certainly got the internets. I just love surfing on the couch. One could say I'm a couch surfer. Well, yeah, having my DIY book-like case (check under my profile) which quite looks like a book, I didn't wrap this case in fake leather. I wanted a different look allthough I was initially tempted to wrap the front and back of the case. With a wrapped front and back, a securing strap over the opening would have looked ok, too. But for this simple design, a securing strap just didn't look good in my opinion.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice inst. Well done and a nice idea that could be used for many other uses.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea. I thought too that this could be used for any gadget. Don't forget to make any necessary cutouts to prevent accidential buttonpresses while the phone is within the box. My wife made a nice knitted sock for my phone.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    usually i just hate that people have to show off by posting mediocre instructables on a eg. "lego iphone 4 stand", but this clearly is not one of such instructables ! as much as i envy you for having an iPad, I can only say: Nice work ! Nice work indeed !

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for your comment. Sometimes I also do the "quick and dirty" stuff, which is ok in my opinion if you just quickly need something done. For me I just prefer to post the stuff I really am proud off (meaning that most of my quick and dirty stuff just is not pretty and good enough for posting). Allthough I like simple ideas if they are good, meaning things I never would have thought of :-)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, I thought so, too. But right now, the iPad was the ideal candidate in my case. I have nice cases for all of my other gadgets and putting my camera in a wooden box for "on the go" just seemed inadequate :-)