There are already many duct-tape briefcases on this site so why another one:
1) No office supplies were pilfered in the making of this instructable – not even a paper clip.
2) The handle is unique to this project and applicable to other projects.
Materials bought for this project:
1) Duct Tape
2) Closure of some sort – I chose heavy duty Velcro
Materials scrounged for this project:
1) Paper ream wrapper (isn't that a great phase? “ream-wrapper”)
2) A few feet of thin cord – two long shoe laces will do
3) Thin cardboard – a discarded coffee maker box from the break room and a file folder box
4) Chopstick or bamboo skewer (from the cafeteria)
2) Large plastic straw (from cafeteria)
3) Your Swiss Army Knife or Multi-Tool
4) Mug and plate from the lunchroom to trace small and large curves
Take your time and think the project through before you start so you're not designing or problem solving on the fly. Take one lunch hour to gather materials and assemble the next day. I'm lucky to work in an environment where I can shut myself in a storage area and not be disturbed (or bother others) when I get involved in a minor construction project like this one.
Step 1: Find a Ream of Paper in the Paper Wrapper
When it's time to feed the printer or copier in the office, take the sealed ream of paper to your secret laboratory for deconstruction. The part you want is the wrapper but DON'T take the paper out yet.
Start by duct-taping three of four sides with duct tape, being sure to overlap the edges. After the sides are taped, put a layer of tape on the front and back. You don't have to be neat or cover every square inch yet. This layer is a foundation.
Step 2: Foundation Tape
Decide which is the back and which is the front. Cut a piece of thin cardboard to cover the bottom and (most of) the back of your case. Tape it into position with two or three short pieces of tape. This is for reinforcement and stiffening.
Step 3: Cardboard Flap
Trace around the ream on a large piece of thin cardboard. This will become the closure flap. Use the mug you borrowed from the lunch room to trace curves on the two corners that will become the loose end of the flap. When you cut out the flap, you'll have a piece of cardboard about 8.5” X 11” with square corners at one end and curves at the other.
Neatly cover one side with duct tape (the outside) then flip it, fold over the loose ends of the tape, and cover the send side (the inside).
Step 4: Cover With Tape and Remove the Paper Ream
Tape the end of the flap to the back of the case about three or four inches from the top (the untaped ream wrapper side).
Now the fun:
Beginning from the bottom. Take strips of tape and wrap them around the case. Start each piece at the middle of the case back around and return to the same spot. You'll overlap each piece about a quarter inch over the one below it.
Finish taping by running one continuous piece of tape from the middle of the inside of the flap, around the outside of the flap, down the back (covering the tape ends) and up the middle of the front of the case.
Undo the untaped side of the ream wrapper, remove the ream of paper and put it in the printer or wherever. Cut off the untaped wrapper.
Using the plate you borrowed from the lunch room, trace a curve about two inches down on the front of the case and cut that curve. It will make it easier to get at your papers.
Finally – attach your closure device (I used Velcro) to the inside of the flap and the top center of the case.
Step 5: THE HANDLE
So far, this -ible has been pretty standard fare. Here comes that part that I think is unique to the duct-tape briefcase genre.
Start by making a loop of cord about three inches longer than the width of your palm. A few inches of our favorite tape hold everything together. Put an extra piece around the center to build up the diameter there and start creating a tapered shape.
Step 6: THE Handle II
Lay two inches of the remaining cord along the center of the loop. Wrap the cord over itself from a point a bit more than an inch from the end of the loop toward the center. Wrap in tight.
When you reach the middle, place the straw along the unwrapped section of the handle and wrap the cord LOOSELY over the straw.
Now thread the loose end of the cord into the straw and - slowly – pull the straw and cord out of the middle of the handle.
Now, tighten each of the wraps of cord and pull the straw out the middle of the wrapped handle. This is called a whip finish. If all has gone well, your handle will have a tapered shape with two inch-long loops hanging out of its ends. If not – take it apart and start again. Take your time and it will look and feel right.
Finish the handle by wrapping it (NEATLY) with duct tape. (Do as I say - not as I do)
Step 7: Attach the Handle
To attach the handle to the case:
Punch two holes in the flap with the awl of your Swiss Army Knife or Multi-Tool. Remember to keep it symmetric.
Enlarge the holes with the scissors. Make them big enough so the loops at the ends of the handle can be threaded through.
After you push the handle loops through the holes in the case, lock them in place by threading the chopstick or skewer through both of the loops. Keep everything in place by taping down the chopstick so it doesn't move.
Step 8: FINISHED
There's your new manuscript case. Appreciate it's tape-y goodness.
Now go write a book so you have something to carry in it.