I've had some old bike tube laying around for ages that I wanted to use for something creative, but I couldn't figure out what. After some fail attempts with a purse and beach shoes, I realized how simple a construction smartphone flipcovers usually are. Why not make one of those?
Technically a flipcover is just like the hardback of a book, without the pages and a phone case (in fact, if I were able to find one in the right dimentions, I would love to make a flipcover from a beautiful book one day! Already made one for my tablet).
I made this one with bike tube, but I think thin leather would be just as nice! Or denim fabric, or whatever you like!
Here is the materials I used:
- Bike tube (you can use leather, fabric, or whatever you like!)
- Thin cardboard (I used the cardboard from a catfood menu box)
- Felt, or some similar soft but sturdy cloth
- Magnets (strong, but not too strong.. Is that vague enough for you?)
- Glue (not sure what works best, as this also depends on your fabric. I ended up using superglue, although I think there are probably a better option)
- Needle and thread (as I don't think you should rely on the glue alone)
- Phone case for whatever model you own
- An old flipcover case for reference
Step 1: Trace the Cardboard
Use either the old flipcover or your phone case to trace on your cardboard. If you want to be able to bend part of the backside of the flipcover (to make it be able to stand in landscape), be aware which way the cardboard grooves goes. They should be vertical!
If you don't have an old flipcover, use the phone case to trace from, but cut it 1-2mm wider than the actual trace. Make two of these cardboard pieces.
On one piece of the two, place the case on top and trace the camera hole.
Step 2: Glue
Cut out pieces of bike tube (or whatever material you use) to somewhat match the flipcovers size, but with a minimum of 2cm extra width around the cover template. This is where an old flipcover will come in handy, and use for reference. Remember that you need a little room for the backside of the cover, so they should be a little wider than the two cardboard pieces together.
Gently slit a few markings criss cross on both cardboard and tube. This will help the glue get a better grip on both surfaces.
Magnet closing mechanism:
If you use a regular bike tube, you need two pieces as they are not wide enough on their own, and need to overlap. In between the overlap, place a semi-strong magnet on the left side (opposite of the side where your case will be, ca. ½-1cm from the edge), or something very magnetic. In the picture I used a paperclip, this proved not to be strong enough. Its a fine line between having a strong closing mechanism, and not damaging the phone. I ended up cutting a hole in the top layer overlap, and placed a regular magnet.
Using the old cover for reference, place the cardboard on the tube in the right position, and glue it together. Start by gluing the left side first. If you don't have an old cover, place your right side cardboard piece on the tube, then the case on top, and the other cardboard piece on top. Wrap the tube around to get an estimate of how much room you need between the two cardboard pieces to have a wide enough backside, so the cover can close without any trouble.
Step 3: More Magnets
Before you glue the right side, you need to make the other side of the closing mechanism.(remember to check that the right side is facing the right way according to where the camera hole would be, with the case on top) Cut a strip (ca. 4cm, or just twice the width of what you want your final strip to be) of bike tube from your leftover tube, and fold it into a thinner strip. Place a magnet inside the strip (test to see if it attracts well with the other magnet through two layers of bike tube) and glue them together.
Once the glue has set, you can cut out one layer of tube at the strips folding points, to make it fold easier once folded over the cover, to be able to close with the other magnet. You might want to test this by placing the case inside the unfinished cover to see how wide it is when closed, and depending on where you want the strip attached, where you placed the other magnet, you can determine where to make your folding points.
Now glue this strip inside the overlap on the right side of the flipcover. You might want to enforce the strip with a few stitches of string, to make sure it holds.
Place everything under press while the glue sets. If you have small clamps, you can use these on smaller edges.
Once the glue is set, remember to cut out the tube in the camera hole.
Step 4: Fold
Trim the excessive tube if needed, but leave 2cm edge around the entire cover. Cut small triangles on all corners to be able to fold the excessive tube around the cardboard.
Glue all the tube edges to the cardboard, and put it under press until the glue sets. Use small clamps on the corners.
Step 5: Lining
Use your unfinished flipcover to trace on a piece of felt, or other thick fabric you want for lining. Cut the piece a few mm smaller than your trace, to fit the inside of your cover. It just needs to be enough to cover up the folded up edges of the bike tube.
Place your case inside the cover with the fabric to test how much room everything takes up together, and see if it folds the way it should. Trim if necessary.
Criss cross light markings in the cardboard like last time, to create a surface for the glue to get a grip on. Glue the lining on the cardboard pieces, and leave the middle unglued! Use a thick pencil in the middle to make sure it folds well.
Use fabric- or universal glue, not superglue for this! Superglue will soak the felt and leave ugly white spots. (speaking from experience :( )
Step 6: Cut a Pocket, and Sew
If you want, cut out an extra piece of fabric for a pocket. It needs to be slightly smaller in width than the cardboard , but obviously same height as the rest of the lining. Secure with needles in all corners, and start sewing the edge of the entire cover (start with the pocket end to make sure it stays in place once you finish the rest).
I marked a few dots around the edges to make sure all stitches had an even gap and length.
Cut out the camera hole.
Step 7: Glue on the Phone Case
If you want to be able bend the cover, in order to make it stand horizontal, only glue the right half the side of the phone case.
Place it so it fits with the camera hole, and put it under press until the glue has set. And you're done!