The Tome of Infinite Knowledge: a Book-styled Netbook Case From It's Own Box

After the downfall of Circuit City's Brick-and-mortar stores, I was able to pick up an Averatec buddy Netbook (a re badged MSI Wind). Wanting a decidedly steampunk case, and running low on funds, i decided to make one out of what was handy:

The box it came in
Brown faux leather fabric (local craft store, or even some big box stores)
Cheap cotton clothesline
2x sheets of white paper
Delicious, delicious White glue


Techniques Used:
Cutting straight lines
folding fabric
smacking things with a hammer
Glue use

This isn't so much a definitive guide how-to, it's closer to a how-i-did-it guide. Also, I'm going off memory for this guide, the creation of the original was almost mystical. After getting everything unboxed and working properly, we, like most college age people, got really bored. After an errant comment of "I should so make a hollowed out book for this to live in" Inspiration struck like a bag of bricks from low earth orbit. It took two nerds 40 Minutes to complete construction and overnight for the glue to dry.

Step 1: The Part Where Photographic Images Would Help a Lot, But Seem to Be on Break

Netbook boxes are like pie. After opening, you have a flakey topping of manuals, an ever so delicious netbook filling, and a filling enhancing but bland on it's own power supply crust. between the power supply and the netbook is a cardboard tray, that is what we're going to need. Depending on your manufacturer, the tray may be glued in. If so, carefully cut the tray out at the right-angle seams. The box should have a half inch or so "Crumple zone" around the netbook during shipping. Cutting in the crumple zone should release the tray, and leave most of the rest of the box intact. Now, you should be able to cut the remainder of the box so the long sides of the box fold out like a cross

I apologize for the paintbrush diagrams littering this article, i fail at documentation

Step 2: Trimming and Cutting

time for the hardish part. Take the netbook and put it back in the cardboard tray we cut out of the box. Now, place the tray and netbook on the cardboard cross. fold the cardboard cross over the top of the netbook and check the fit. Trim the edge that gets folded over completely off, this lets the back of the book get closer to the lid, and close lower. This step is going to take a while to get right.

I trimmed off one of the side edges off completely to allow access to the power jack and let the fan blow easier while in the book.

Step 3: Fabric

time for the fabric. I have some of this faux leather leftover from another project and thought it would be perfect. You could use any fabric you want , but for the Arcane feeling, i thought the leather was a good choice. The fabric i used was deceptively stretchy if you want a taunt cover material, you may have to pad the cross/lid to get your desired effect, or you could keep the two tabs left over form cutting the lid material, folding them over onto the top the applying the fabric. I was happy with the slack cover, so i just measured out 2 to 2 1/2 inches from the edge of the book and cut in nice straight lines.

Step 4: Attatching the Fabric: Electric Gluebaloo

With the fabric now cut to size, add some glue to the inside edge of the lid, fold over the fabricinto the glue, and add weight. If you want an even better hold, and have a sewing needle and good, strong, and complementary colored thread, you can sew through the cover and fabric for an even stronger hold. Remember to leave a little slack at the spine, so when it's fully closed it doesn't damage the fabric by pulling too taunt. Once the fabric is in place, measure a half inch off the cover of the book and trim some white paper to match. Cover the inside edge of the lid with white glue and attatch the paper. Once dried, the paper will help hold everything together and look more book-like

Step 5: Metal Corner Protectors, Double Duty

The metal corner pieces are from the local craft store, i think they're designed for decorative boxes I bent them over the edges then hammered them down. Besides looking good, they hold down the problematic corners. Crushing them flat with a hammer adds a lot o f strength to the corners, just be careful with the finish. I also discovered that if i trim off one of the "arms", i could get it flatter

Step 6: Rope?!

The clothesline is a cheap brand i bought to cover cables in a vintage lamp i was repairing. The outside is made of braided cord like you'd expect, but the inside, on the other hand, is a 2 inch ribbon of fabric folded in on itself. By carefully pulling the cloth out from the center, i had 10 feet of a gauze ribbon (that also looks a lot like paper) Measure the outside edge of the tray on the sides you'd see and add 4 inches to anchor it to the lid. apply glue liberally to the outside of the tray and put the gauze around the perimeter. glue to the inside edge of the book on both sides. you may want to leave some slack on the side where the hole is so the fabric will move easily out of the way when you want to plug in the netbook

Step 7: Glue Time

once the tray is trimmed the way you like it and the lid has dried, slather the bottom of the tray with white glue and get it where you want it. Make sure the lid still closes. For extra strength, put something heavy on top of the tray as it dries. For even more strength, you can do step 7 out of order and glue the gauze around the tray first so that the glue meshes with it's fibers, increasing it's strength

Step 8: Holy Crap, I Think It's Done!

If you somehow managed to get through this atrociously written article and something has been made other than a mess, i congratulate you. Feel good for making something despite my badly written instructions.



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    14 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice! I have done a similar project, though I put the fake leaves on paper on the screen end so that the owner would have access to her ports and such, since mine was a permanent installation.

    I plan on doing the project once more, and this time I hope to make full use of the laser cutter at the local hackerspace. I plan to break down and rebuild the battery casing, and to mount it in the spine of the book, covered by one of the laser-cut living hinges. I will probably post my project log here once it's complete.

    I am very glad to not be the only one doing this.


    9 years ago on Step 8

    I thought I was really clever to think of making a faux-book case for my little laptop but it looks like you've already done it (I haven't yet). It looks great, but I can't tell what holds it closed?

    1 reply
    Mr. Headcrabjrn11

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    the only closing aid is the weight of the lid, and the stiffness of the cardboard. i was considering adding a lock to it, but it seems everyone who uses the netbook in my household pulls it out, so now it's just a very awesome  storage box

    Mr. Headcrabcyberfux

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    That's the beauty part: the netbook rarely gets hot. and with the one fabric only side being on the same side as the outlet, it rarely gets very hot. Apologies for the long delay between replies, I've had an interesting season to say the least

    cyberfuxMr. Headcrab

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I'm using netbooks since the EeePC 701 (701-901-AAO-1000h) and they ALL get hot... I like the idea but i have to say, that i fear your Buddy will overheat one day...

    Mr. Headcrabcyberfux

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Hmm... very true, i'm too used to my full size Toshiba, a notebook that melts plastic tablecloths at idle and doubles as a space heater. The Netbook gets no where near as hot, also, it doesn't seem to like being in the Tome, it escapes and sleeps on the dining room table


    9 years ago on Introduction

    The only thing you are missing, is the words "Don't Panic" inscribed on the front cover.

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    "Tome of Infinite Knowledge" is an awesome name. I was wondering the same thing about air flow. I wonder if you could gut out and modify a big book like when gangsters hide guns and money and such. I've got ideas for other things. Thanks for the inspiration!!!