IPad Notebook Safe




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Here's a clever way to hang on to your shiny new iPad: a carrying case that converts into an easel stand and disguises itself as a common notebook.  It protects, displays, and hides your iPad, all in one convenient package!

This project came about quite organically.  I started on a completely different path before I ended up with this one.  The idea was to make something like a book safe, that looked just like a notebook from the outside, but secretly held your precious cargo on the inside.  Additionally, when opened, the notebook could act as an easel, and provide you with an easy way to display your iPad on a tabletop for watching videos or giving presentations.

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Step 1: Materials

This project used:
  • One hard cover spiral bound notebook with the pages cut out.  (You know they'll be turned into something awesome in their own time!)
  • Two layers of foam core - I used one white and one black, but you could just use black (it makes for a nicer frame for the eyes)
  • One or two sheets of black paper or thin fabric to cover the insides of the notebook
  • A few pieces of adhesive velcro
  • Grosgrain or other ribbon, length = long enough to wrap around the iPad and hold it securely inside + 5" to adhere to inside cover
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Ruler
  • Hobby Knife
  • Epilog Laser Cutter, if you happen to have one laying around, which I did (not necessary though!)
I've added a diagram that I hope explains the assembly process, 
Check it out before you move forward with the project.  

Step 2: Cutting the Frame

The first step, which I neglected to get a picture of, is to glue the two pieces of foam core together, stacked one on top of the other.  Spray adhesive makes this super easy.  Just follow the directions on the can!

Because I was using the Epilog laser cutter, I needed to do a few different tests to find out what setting I'd need to cut through the two layers of foam core at once, without setting anything on fire.

I did my samples and recorded the settings, as you can see below.  I only cut out the inner part of the frame, because the laser melts the foam inside.  Since I wanted the outside edges to look like notebook paper, I used a hobby knife to cut those.

Since I had enough foam core to play with, I cut out two frames (each two thicknesses).  This gave me some wiggle room to screw one up completely if needed.  Which I did.

Hey, here's a handy file for you to download so you can cut your own!

Step 3: Velcro

At the top edge of the frame, I wanted to place some velcro.  This came to me in-process, so it might be a bit tricky at first to understand.  I knew I'd have a strap (the grosgrain ribbon) with velcro on it to span the distance between the covers when it was being used as a stand.  Therefor, I wanted a place to stick the velcro strap to when the notebook was closed.

Wrapping the velcro all the way around the frame before gluing made it the most secure.  But it was also quite lumpy!  So I cut away some of the foam core so that the velcro would lay flush with the face of the frame.   That's what's going on in the pictures below.

Not pictured (refer to the diagram or subsequent pictures for clarification):
Take your length of grosgrain and adhere velcro to one end of it.  Use adhesive or tape to secure the grosgrain to the inside of one of the covers of the notebook.  In the next step, you will cover this with fabric or paper.

Finally, add a square of velro the front cover of the book near the outside edge.  This will hold the grosgrain velcro strap in place while the book is open, and allow it to act as an easel.

Step 4: Assemble

Glue it all together!

Because I did a crummy job of photo-documenting this step, I've included this handy diagram of what went on.  I hope it helps!

One sheet of black paper or fabric goes on the side with the grosgrain velcro strap on it to cover and strengthen that bit.

One sheet of black paper or fabric goes on the inside of the other cover if you've managed to muck it up like I did.  If yours is still pristine, feel free to skip this part.

The frame you've cut gets adhered to the side with the grosgrain velcro strap, on top of the fabric or paper, with the little velcro tab we put on the frame on the side of the notebook with the spiral.

Finally, I decided to glue another strap on to the outside to keep the notebook closed.  This strap gets glued to the back, with another piece of velcro on it that will attach to the piece on the front.   It's only a couple inches long, and its only purpose is to hold the book closed.

Step 5: Finis!

There you have it!  Your iPad is now ready to be safely nestled into its new home, with no passer-bys suspecting a thing!  Open the notebook, flip it around, secure the strap to the cover with the velcro, and you're ready to rock.

  • In my next incarnation of this project, I will use acrylic in place of foam core, as the foam core broke down quickly.
  • I will also add clear elastic along the sides to help secure the iPad inside.
  • Finally, I will try to find a non-spiral notebook to use,  as the spiral tended to snag in a frustrating way.

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    42 Discussions


    8 months ago

    It would be useful while class haha

    Bobby T

    4 years ago

    Extremely stylish ! Excellent tutorial, thanks !

    try it for what ever device you have, just have to find the right size notebook . It's should be fun I'm going to give it a try . Happy crafting.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Sounds like a good idea but as an electronics technician who has repaired faulty electronics, I can see one possible flaw.

    Did you take care of the ventilation on the bottom? This case may insulate the bottom of the iPad if the ventilation holes are blocked?

    Electronics does not like about overheating. Electrolytic capacitors are the first ones to fail.
    So keeping the ventilation holes open on the bottom by having enough clearance and allowing the hot air to escape is important. I have not seen iPad so I do not know where are the ventilation holes or if it has a fan so I can not tell how it should be done?

    I see lot of people having their laptops in their laps or using them in a couch with ventilation holes blocked, not good in the long run.
    I am typing this in my couch but I have a plastic grille, for drying dishes in kitchen, under my laptop to keep the ventilation working.

    4 replies

    I'm a little late to the game but, yeah, those are definitely speaker vents, not ventilation vents. :)

    Great instructable, smoocharoo! My current case is beginning to dismantle itself. This is a great idea for a replacement.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    you are so right about these ventilation wholes, I bought a fancy iPad case and didn't understand why it would get so hot in the case. The wholes are for the sound. Might have to consider making this diy case and possibly drilling in some wholes or possibly some wedges for ventilation. Good ideas guys!

    Thanks .


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    The iPad doesn't have ventilation holes, it's pretty much a sealed unit. The only real openings it has is a speaker grill, headphone jack, and ( for lack of a better phrase ) iPod connector. There is no airflow through the device. The case itself radiates any heat away, and I've never noticed any heat problems. Most cases totally wrap the iDevices anyway except for the connector and button cut-outs.

    The only problems you might have with it is playing video while it's all closed up. But then there's not much point in that in the first place.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Ipads generally run pretty cool actually. they don't have quite the same innards as something like a lappy, andno, no fan.


    6 years ago

    Great idea its really smart but if i found the right size of notebook then do you think i could make one for a kindle fire?


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    It really needs to be done. Just thought I'd mention to fellow hitchhiker's fans: I actually found a case with "don't panic" printed in large, friendly letters on the cover. Bout time someone did this. Check it out: http://www.mycaseconcepts.com


    9 years ago on Introduction

    This really nice. By far the best I pad case yet. One thing I don't get is why is it called a safe?

    4 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Safe because when it's closed, it looks like a normal notebook, and no one would suspect there's an iPad in it. Like a book safe that you hide stuff in.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I thought about that too, at first. But the fact is, once someone has it in their possession, a lock would do you little good. They could just as easily clip the wire bindings and open it that way. If it's more of a "keep honest people honest" type of thing, you could probably pretty easily create a small wire loop on one end of the "book cover" and have it go through a hole on the other side of the "book cover" then slip a padlock through the loop.