No-Kill / No-Sew (fake!) Book Cover for Tablets and EReaders




Introduction: No-Kill / No-Sew (fake!) Book Cover for Tablets and EReaders

About: I teach computer science and I do graphic design for printed bags, clothing, housewares, and much more. (, and

Last year I showed you all how to make a swell ebook cover out of the pelt of a dead book.  

However, there are apparently many people who, while they no longer buy actual physical books, still have strong emotional attachments to them.  These sensitive souls were repelled by my casual destruction of a cheap hardback.  People, I heard your cries. So I am returning to you now with a new 'ible that will show you how to make a no-sew ebook cover out of a totally fake hardback book.  

No books were harmed in the making of this ebook cover. 

Also I've added a pocket option.  And I replaced the velcro with an easy elastic solution that looks good, and is kinder to the case of your gadget.

Best of all, there's no sewing, welding, weaving, sawing, hammering, or fancy-smancy techniques or materials.  Its dead easy. 

Lets get started.

Step 1: Materials Assemble!

Probably you have a lot of these items around your house.  You're a maker, right? Anyway, just get them all together.

  • Cardboard* - I used a piece of a box, but you may substitute chipboard, foamboard, or even cereal boxes, if you glue a couple layers together to make them stiffer.
  • Fabric* - I'm using some plain tan twill.  But you may get more creative and pick out something with a print.
  • Craft felt* - 1 9x12 piece is enough for a typical 7" reader
  • Hair elastics - you need four
  • Duct Tape - mine is brown, but you can go crazy with patterns and colors with this stuff.
  • Glue - I've had success with ordinary wood glue.
  • Cover Art / Decorations - Channel your inner book publisher.  Put together some artwork for the cover of your first work.  I give you lots of ideas in step 3, but you can use my design**, if you want.  
  • Box Cutter
  • Straight Edge
  • Scissors
  • Punch tool (optional)
* We'll figure out how much you need in the next step.

** I'm not claiming that this my original artwork, just an assemblage of found images and altered text.  If you use it, you shouldn't claim that it is your original work either.

Step 2: Measure Measure Cut Cut

"What was sundered and undone, shall be whole - the two made one."  Yeah, I totally quoted The Dark Crystal there.

So these are the sundering steps.  Later will be the making-whole part. (unless I can't find the gelfling) 
  1. Cut front and back boards.  Put your gadget on the cardboard and trace it.  Then trace another line out 1/4" all the way around. This will be your pattern.
  2. Cut the spine.  Cut another piece of cardboard the same length as the front and back piece, but about 1/2" wide.  
  3. Mark the back board.  Figure out where the elastic can cross the front of your ereader without covering any buttons or ports.  Check the power, volume, audio and sync. Mark these points on the piece of cardboard that you'll use for the back cover.
  4. Cut the cover fabric.  Iron your fabric.  Lay the cardboard pieces out on the fabric, leaving 1/4" space between the covers and the spine.  Trace around the cardboard, and then make another line 1" outside that.  Cut out the large rectangle.

Step 3: The Cover That Your Book Will Be Judged By

Everyone knows that the only way to judge a book is by its cover.  Even people who say "Don't judge a book by its cover", are out there right now judging. Books. By their cover.  So this is your big chance to design the book cover that you will be judged by.

Here are some ideas.

Design Ideas
  • Your own book title*
  • Scanned book cover - like, Fahrenheit 451, I Robot, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes
  • Tarot Cards
  • Iconic paintings / posters / photography - Mona Lisa, the Scream, Pink Floyd's The Wall, X-files, Ansel Adams
  • Botanical Prints
  • Audubon Prints
  • Diagrams / Charts - anatomy, biology, chemistry, geography, algebra, calculus
  • Postcards
  • Maps
  • Doodle Art
  • Tribal Designs

Application Ideas
  • Fabric Transfers 
  • Fabric Paint
  • Markers
  • Paper mache' **
  • Rick-rack and ribbon
  • Scrapbooking
* My design is based on the idea that the Greek Goddess Athena's was the patroness of wisdom, art and technology, and she is often depicted with an owl.  Athena would definitely approve of ereaders.  I can't understand why anyone hasn't produced an Athena model ereader yet.   Get busy on that, willya?  And then send me royalties.

** This is a really nice 3-dimensional cover.

Step 4: What Has It Got in Its Pocketses?

This is a completely optional step.  If you skip this, you will still have an awesome (fake) book cover for your ereader.  You just won't have sly pockets on the back.

And why not?  Adding these pockets is a big lazy cheat.  There's no sewing involved.  Its all done (lamely) with duct tape, and finished later.
  1. Cut out the pocketses. Each one should be approximately half the width of the fabric.  Don't make them too deep or you will lose stuff at the bottom.
  2. Finish the top edge of the pocketses. That's basically a folded over strip of duct tape.  Yeah, I'm kind of embarrassed about how lazy that is.  But hey, you wanted a no-sew project, right?
  3. Attach the bottom edge of the upper pocket.  More duct tape.  More shame.
  4. Lay the other pocket on top, so that covers the lameness of the bottom edge of the upper pocket.  Don't attach it.  Just leave it loosely on top.
Moving on...

Step 5: Elastic Power!

Using the marks that you made earlier, cut slots in your backboard and insert your elastic hair ties into them.  

You want the slots to be far enough apart so that the elastic stretches, and also captures the corners of your gadget.

Step 6: What Has a Light Side and a Dark Side...

... and holds the universe together?  It's DUCT TAPE!  (or The Force, if you are a Jedi Knight)
  1. Lay the cover face down, with the front on the left and the back on the right.  
  2. Make sure that your pocketses are still lined up.
  3. Finger press the fabric cover around the cardboard.
  4. Using ample amounts of glue attach the boards to the fabric cover.  Use duct tape to help hold the glued flaps.  It doesnt have to be pretty because your felt lining will hide all of this.
    • Be careful that you don't cover up the elastics.  
  5. Use your prettiest duct tape to "reinforce" the corners and spine of your cover.  

Step 7: The Sixth or Seventh Cut Is the Deepest

You are very close to being done.  Just a couple more details.
  1. Cut the felt to size.  Lay your cover on the felt and cut it out to be just a bit smaller than the cover.
  2. Cut slits in the felt for the elastic.  (see the photo)
  3. Glue the felt to the inside of the cover.  Make sure that there isnt a visible space around the slits and that the felt is glued all the way to the edge of the cover.
Put your tablet/ ereader in the elastics. 

Looks cool, doesn't it?  

Close the book, turn it face-down and let the glue dry.

Step 8: You've Published Your First Book!

So now, look how cool this cover is.

You've got a neat personalized cover that makes you look traditional, as well as clever and creative.

Your tablet / ereader is nice and secure in its elastic grippers.

And you (might) even have stealth pockets to keep your business cards or ear buds in.

Aren't you smart?

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    6 Discussions


    7 years ago on Step 8

    I love it. I'm going to have to make a few of these. I know some people who need protection for their tablets!

    Awesome! I am one of those people that hates to see hard cover books torn apart. This is a very nice alternative :)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    And its so easy too! Everyone needs to make their own book. :-)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is cool! Definitely making these! thanks for sharing--and love The Hobbit reference...we're reading that right now! :)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Cool. Post a picture when you're finished. :-)