ICheapo IPod Case




Instructions for creating a super cheap, but durable case for your iPod using materials you probably already have on hand...or at least in the office supply closet. It will take you around 30 minutes to make.

Comments, suggestions for improvement are welcome!

DISCLAIMER: Use these instructions at your own risk. If you scratch your player, I am not responsible. Follow along, and there should be virtually no risk of stratching during construction.

Step 1: Materials Needed

Here are the supplies you'll need to create the case.
1 Manila folder
1 sheet white copy paper
Packing Tape
Ipod Box (for use as a template)
A piece of clear, flexible, durable plastic. I am using the window to a freebie badge holder I got at a conference.

Scissors and a sharp pencil will come in handy.

DISCLAIMER: Use these instructions at your own risk. If you scratch your player, I am not responsible. Follow along, and there should be virtually no risk of stratching during construction.

Step 2: Box As Template

I needed to trace out the location of the window and wheel. Luckily the image on the box is actual size. so I taped one edge of the paper to the box, right along the edge so I could trace the outline of the box. While not necessary, a straight edge helps here.

See the next step for tracing the wheel just right.

Step 3: Tracing the Wheel

It just so happens that the retention cover of an old ball mouse is almost exactly the right size for tracing the outline of the wheel. If you have a non-optical mouse, try it and see.

Step 4: Cutout Window and Wheel

Now, remove the tracing from the box (if you are careful removing the tape you won't mar the box) and carefully cut out the areas for the window and wheel.

XActo knives are SHARP. Like Scalpel sharp. Use the knife at your own risk. Kids, get help from an adult. Or use scissors. But they're dangerous too. What I am trying to say is BE CAREFUL.

Step 5: Manila Folder, Just the Right Size

This here was the genesis of the whole plan. The Video iPod is an exact fit for the first crease in a manila folder. Bend yours to see.

Step 6: Lining Up

Now, slide your iPod right up agains the original crease in the manila folder. this will keep the player nice and parallel to the edge. Gently trace a line on the folder that represents the edge of the player.

Next, put the player against the center crease and trace a line on the other side of the folder. Use your straight edge to extend these lines all the way out the the top and bottom of the folder.

Step 7: Leave Room for the Port

Now turn the player perpendicular to the crease and set it back from the bottom of the folder just enough so that the edge of the folder is even with the first edge of the port on the bottom. After you have marked the bottom of the folder, repeat on the top of the folder.

Extend these line perpendicular to the crease all the way out to the edge.

Step 8: Mark Off the Top.

Notice how the line extends all the way across. You should have a line like this on both edges of the folder.

Next. Trace a line at the top edge of the player, and extend that all the way across. You only need to do one of these lines for now.

Step 9: Trace Holes on 'Inner' Sleeve

What we are doing here are creating two sleeves, each that cover three of the four sides of the iPod. First we will make the "inner" sleeve. So, on the left side of the folder, set the template you traced from the iPod box, aligning it to the proper crease. Trace the cutouts onto the folder.

Step 10: Make Cutouts on Inner Sleeve

Now carefully cutout the lines you traced onto the folder. I use some scrap sheets of copy paper to prevent cutting up my table top.

Step 11: First Folder Over Test

Fold the folder over, and slide the player in, checking the alignment of your cutouts. Make sure that the window is fully visible. Clean up any wiggly cuts and make sure everything is to your liking. I am not a stickler for perfection, so even though my cuts are not absolutely perfect, I OK with it.

If the fit is right, cut along the line the represents the top of the iPod.

Step 12: 'Laminate' the Outer Sleeve

After cutting off the inner sleeve. The remainder of the folder will be your inner sleeve. Use the packing tape to cover one side of the folder with tape. Try to make the edges of the tape line up exactly with no overlap or air bubble. If you do end up with air bubbles, poke a tiny hole in them with the tip of the XActo and they should smooth out.

I extend the tape right onto my scrap paper then cut the edges clean with the knive. Make sure the entire side is covered with tape

Step 13: Make Cutouts on Outer Sleeve

Turn the outer sleeve over, so the paper side is up. Then use the template to trace the cutouts on the RIGHT side of the folder. Again, ensure that you have lined the template up with the correct crease. The remaplte should go right to the outer edge of the folder.

Carefully cut out the holes for the window and wheel on this sleeve.

Step 14: Put in the Plastic Window

Your choice here. On either the outer side of the inner sleeve, or the inner side of the outer sleeve. place the clear plastic on the sleeve. I chose to cut the plastic so that it fit just past the edge of the window. This gives you room to tape it in.

Use packing tape around the EDGES of the window. Try to tape in such a way that no tape is visible through the hole. Tape all the way around. Use the knife to trim off extra tape the extends beyond the sleeve.

Step 15: Create Bottom Flaps

Now on the bottom of each sleeve. Cut down aloing the folders creases to the bottom of the folder, along the line that we created earlier. You should end up with a little flap. This will protect the bottom of the player, and leave room for the port.

Repeat on the other sleeve, leaving a flap.

Step 16: Create Top Flap

On the OUTER sleeve, match up the iPod with the cutouts you created and come around to the top of the player. Make two marks on the folder that indicate where the inside edges of the headphone jack and hold buttons are. Draw guidelines from each of these markings parallel to the folders creases, and create a right angle with lines form the dots to the outer edges of the folder. Before you cut, see next image for the results.

This is how your outer sleeve should end up.

Step 17: Tape Up the Bottom

Starting with the inner sleeve, use packing tape to fold the flap under the player. I found it easiest to tape the front to the bottom, then slide the player in and firmly pull the tape onto the back of the player, for a nice tight fit.

Repeat with the outer sleeve.

Make sure the window and wheel of the player match up with the cutouts you created on each sleeve.

You're on the home stretch!

Step 18: Connect Sleeves and Top Flap

One the bottoms are secure. Add a wrap of tape around the lower half of the player to secure the two sleeves together. Try not to get the tape on the plastic window. (see notes on image.

Now tuck the flap from the outer sleeve in between the back of the player adnd the inner sleeve. Add a piece of tape to hold this in place. Make it secure, but not so tight, other wise the top of the window will bow out.

Step 19: Secure the Top Half of the Sleeves

Use one more piece of tape to secure the sleeves together around the screen. Again, try not to get tape on the window itself.

Also note in the picture that the flap was pulled to tight and caused the top to bow. If that happens, Just use the knife and gently slide it between the flap and sleeve in back and tape it again. Make it snug, but not tight.

Step 20: All FInished

Clean up any excess tape around the bottom port and the top flap. Be SUPER-DUPER carefule that the knife never maked contact with the player. If done correctly you should never make contact between the knife and player.

Look it over. The entire outside of the case should now be "laminated" with packing tape. If you missed a spot, use some extra tape to cover any exposed manila paper.



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    12 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I made one of these (thanks for the instructions!) and it turned out great. The only change I made was to use a glue stick to put a page from an Aquaman comic book cover on the manila folder before using all the tape. Great job!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    i made one from a cheez-it box, velcro and tape and its sick, but i dont have a use for it cause i already hae a case.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I have an Ipod case by "agent 18"(at the ipod store for $20) and it is a beast! its made of some kinda plastic material and it's saved by ipod from a drop on the pavement. Nice instructable dude. kudos


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Um...just sayin........you can buy a ipod cover thats nicer and feels better at the dollar store :P just sayin thou nice instructable :)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    This is nice. You know, you don't need to cut a hole for the click-wheel, it works just fine without a hole. It's just harder to see. I don't like that people buy big, bulky cases for their iPods. I like small, thin ones that just look good and protect it from scratches. Honestly, How many times have you dropped your iPod?

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    true true i do agree with you. and ive only dropped my ipod video like 4 times since i got it like a year and a half ago


    12 years ago

    sweet i did something similar for my mini, but its just plain old printer paper covering it with a plastic baggy cut out for screen protector(yours is better and more protective). i love these kind of things, also before you laminate that you could print or draw cool designs onto it...nice one


    12 years ago

    Kind a nice and... cheap idea! One day will give it a try. But I guess it is better to buy the case for an iPod. iPod - especially Video are not cheap... so you need more protection. I own an Extreme Mac leather case and it work just perfect ... but costs a lot on the other hand. Anyway - you found a nice solution. Thanks


    12 years ago

    only problem i have with these kinds of cases is the wheel cover is never truly circular and that kinda bothers me =(


    12 years ago

    it may protect it from theif.....by being ugly, yet useful


    12 years ago

    haha that is pretty cheap so does this protect it from much other than scratches?