Ethno-Look Laptop Hard Cover




About: So many things to learn and make, so little time! I like things that are cool, useful, efficient, well crafted.
Make a fun-looking removable hard cover for your laptop. It protects the lid and makes your laptop unique!

You can personalize some softwares with "skins", so why not the hardware (literally)?

Gluing fabric on the lid would be much easier, but not easily removable. This cover has to be hard because it is removable. Why is it removable?
  • because the laptop belongs to my company, so I should not do potentially irreversible things to it (so, installing Linux is fine!), and
  • I might need to remove it occasionally, e.g. for some meetings  (it's what I thought in the first place. In fact I never had to, so far. Icebreaker).

Credits: inspiration from the furry laptop.


Step 1: Study Your Laptop's Body

Every laptop model is different. This project may not even be doable on some models. On mine, the lid is very flat and edgy, so it makes it easier.

Study your laptop very carefully.
  • Imagine where the cover could get a grip on the lid.
  • The lid hinges are a critical place, you may have to shape/cut the cover very carefully, in order to let the lid open/close smoothly.
  • Some lids have very rounded edges and corners, making this project difficult, to impossible.
  • Locate particularities. In my case, the top surface has two angles, one of which is almost unnoticeable.
Aesthetically it is better to cover the lid sides too.

Step 2: Needed Stuff

Tools and glues:
  • Cutting mat
  • Metal ruler
  • Cutter
  • Pencil
  • Clamps
  • Contact adhesive and spatula
  • Plastic adhesive
  • Masking tape
  • Hot air gun
  • Plastic plate:
    • I used 4mm thick, medium hard, black PVC plate that I already had
    • pick a plastic color that will not show through dependant on the fabric (comment by gmjhowe)
  • Square-sectioned electrical conduit, to make the sides
  • Synthetic fabric with e.g. cow skin pattern
  • Decorative item: e.g. swiss flag patch

Step 3: Make the Sides

The electrical conduit was chosen so that its inner size corresponds to the lid thickness.

Experiment how the cross-section must be rectified, using a small piece of conduit.

Then rectify the cross-section. I used a vise and some scrap wood to help cutting.

Then cut it to length, and tape it to the laptop.

Step 4: Cut the Plate to Size

Make sure that the sides remain taped on the lid, because their presence matters for a proper sizing of the plastic plate.

Lay the laptop lid down on the plastic plate, and mark the boundary on the plate. Take the various angles, lid hinges, etc. into account.

I sticked masking tape on the plate, because the pencil marks are better visible on tape than on the black plate.

Think twice several times.

When sure, cut the plastic plate.

Step 5: Bend the Plate

With the hot air gun, bend the plastic plate.

I used a vise and some scrap wood to get an even bend (and not burn my hand).

Repeat progressively until it fits.

Step 6: Glue the Sides to the Plate

Tighten the sides on the lid as follows:
  1. one large layer of masking tape directly on the lid, to protect it against the glue
  2. then, the sides
  3. then, few small pieces of tape to hold the sides
Spread a thin layer of plastic glue on the top part of the sides.

Adjust the plastic plate, then tape it firmly.

Let the adhesive cure. Then remove all tapes.

Now the cover should fit (and snap) to the lid!

Step 7: Prepare the Fabric

I chose to apply some wood primer to the inner side of the fabric, so that the contact glue will later not pass through. It will also help make clean and precise cuts into the fabric.

It has to be done very sparsely, so that the primer does not pass through.

Instead of wood primer, fabric stiffener might work too.

Step 8: Add the Patch

Make a cut for the chosen patch. Work inner sides up.

Step 9: Glue the Fabric to the Cover

Detach the cover from the lid --you don't want contact glue on the laptop!

Apply contact adhesive to the cover (top and side surfaces), as well as the inner side of the fabric. Let stand for required time (15').

Adjust the parts together and press firmly.

Make necessary cuts in the angles (think twice before). Glue the sides. In the angles, where the fabric overlaps on itself, I used small drops of epoxy.

Clamp and let cure.

Cut out excess fabric.

Step 10: Have Fun With the Finished Product!

Snap the cover on the laptop, and admire your work!

Step 11: Yes, It Is Removable!

(I could make more covers, with other designs, but I'm working on a new instructable ;-)



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    30 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Clever and I have all the stuff at home. Thank you. Will make mine as soon as possible.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    very handsome, like it, can't help buying one for my laptop!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This is what I am looking for a hard cover for my laptop. But I got one question is it possible that my laptop will not getting moist from the inside? A little confused of what may happens.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I think it's a reference to the Swiss flag. It's the same colors and shape. If it is, then it's not a plus sign, but an equal-armed cross.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Adore this idea! Thanks so much for sharing this instructable. :) One question: where would one get the 4mm plastic sheet? Thanks again!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    nice lappy! i have that same exact one. i see you have ubuntu installed. Linux Mint is a more laptop friendly alternative to ubuntu. nice ible tho.

    1 reply

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Recently got my Eeepc, so looking to customise it. The gloss black is a pain for finger prints, think I will try something like this using leather! I noticed a bit from the picture, that perhaps a white plastic would have suited your fabric more! Might be worth adding a note about picking a plastic colour that will not show through dependant on the material! Great project either way!

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the feedback. Updated step 2. For years, the whole industry struggled to eliminate reflections and finger prints, make smaller, faster, cheaper devices, increase battery autonomy, etc. Now we have gloss everywhere, huge telephones, cases and screens catching finger prints and scratches, more power and memory needed for the same functions, the need to recharge almost every day, prices not really sinking (except for memories and HDD capacity)... And people scream for more of the same trendy gadget, to be different, like everybody. Fashion over common sense... This company with the fruit has a big something to do with that. Fortunately, here in the Instructables community, we customize things!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I agree, why this sudden need for glossy stuff? The only glossy thing I am ok with is the screen covering my iMac, A piece of glass is allowed to be glossy, and it does not get touched. But the bezel on my new eeepc is gloss black, so is the lid, and the trackpad area. All the places I touch the most! Customising is where its at, like you said, its about people going 'Cool! where did you buy that?' then 'What you MADE that?' after you explain it is DIY.


    8 years ago on Introduction

     Great idea! Not only will this allow me to hide the ugly "Asus" logo on the back of my Eee, and protect the shiny case, but also give me an elegant way to add LED's to the top edge to illuminate the keyboard in the dark rather than using a clip on light!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    3 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Reminds me of some IBM/Lenovo Thinkpads, with the little lid led lit.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

     Yup. Some of the last generation IBM Thinkpads (I do not know if Lenovo carried on with this) And a couple of HP/Compaq tablets... Great for working in the evening/dark without having to have extra usb cables and such hanging out of the back of your computer and big ugly stuff clipped onto the side of the screen!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    My HP EliteBook 6930p has one of the little LED lights at the top of the screen that pops out. It's a nice concept and it does work (certainly much better than nothing) But it's a bit dim and I think the angle is slightly off as well. If you made your own you could obviously try to avoid these faults...


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice instructable, it's got me thinking for sure. Love to make one for mine with a fake ARC Reactor from Iron Man in the center that lights up based on CPU activity. Time to get to the drawing board!