How To Make A DIY Hardcover iPad Case & Stand

I got an iPad finally! And of course the first thing I did was make a cover for it!

I knew exactly what sort of cover I wanted for my iPad: I wanted a cover like a hardcover book. I’ve seen tons of tutorials for cute little pouches for your tech, but I wanted to be able to protect the iPad and use it without having to remove it from the case.

I know you can find cases like that for purchase, but I figured it couldn’t be that hard to make a DIY iPad case, right?

And I was totally correct! I wanted to make this iPad case out of paper or cardboard so it would protect the iPad but not be bulky or heavy. Here’s how I made an iPad case with a little fabric, elastic, and the stiff cardboard from an old 3 ring binder.

collage of photos of diy ipad case made out of an old 3 ring binder

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I made myself this awesome cover for my iPad in about two hours and it wasn’t too difficult. If you are super crafty and can crank out a dress from scratch in half an hour, then this definitely won’t take you that long! But if, like me, you are not a professional crafter, budget about 1.5 to 2 hours. 🙂

The original idea came from Brandon who wrote a post on The Modern Day Pirates about making a Moleskine iPad case, but I made a few modifications because I didn’t want to have to buy a professional binding board and I wanted to cover my case in fabric instead of vinyl.

In order to make this DIY iPad case you need:

Equipment

Materials

  • an old 3-ring hardcover binder for the backing of the case
  • fabric to cover the outside of the case
  • fabric for the lining the inside
  • Mod Podge
  • craft glue
  • at least 3 feet of 1/2″ elastic
  • a piece of card stock paper, color doesn’t matter
  • one 7/16″ grommet (usually in the fabric/upholstery section of your local craft store, not the paper crafts section)

How To Make An iPad Case

Remove the binder boards from your binder

You’re going to use them to make the hard cover for your iPad. To remove the plastic-y cover of the binder I cut the bottom edge of the plastic off, and then made a Y cut up from the bottom. Then it was easy to just pull the board out.

DIY iPad Cover: Y Cut

Getting the board out from the back of the binder is a little different because (in most binders) the 3 ring contraption is attached to the back board. But it’s actually easier. Just use some super sturdy scissors or a utility knife to cut the entire metal 3 ring piece off of the binder by cutting through the plastic cover and the board itself, and then you can just pull the board out through the cut you’ve already made.

Cut the boards to size

You need a front piece, a back piece, and a skinny piece for the spine. My iPad is 9.5″ x 7.25″, so I made my boards a little bigger. Cut out two 8″ x 10″ pieces for the front and back covers, and cut one 3/4″ x 10″ piece for the spine. I found the easiest way to cut the board was with a utility knife, but a sturdy pair of scissors will work too.

If you want your corners rounded just trace the iPad corner onto the board and cut that as well. Make sure you only round the two outer corners on the front and back pieces.

Cut your fabric to size

Lay your pieces out on the wrong side of the fabric, leaving about 1 millimeter of space between the boards so that your DIY iPad case can fold properly. Cut your fabric down to size, leaving about an inch of extra room around all four edges. The edges of your fabric don’t have to be perfect; they will be covered up later by the lining.

DIY iPad Cover: Board Layout

Mod Podge the fabric onto your boards

Brush a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the back of the boards and press them down onto the fabric, exactly the same way they were laid out before. You can use a ruler here to help line the board up straight and to make sure you leave that millimeter of space.

Quick note: make sure you’re using a thin layer of Mod Podge. You don’t want the Mod Podge leaking through the fabric because it will make the cover stick to your table while it’s drying.

To get the fabric to go smoothly over the rounded corners you’ll need to fold the fabric over in a few sections rather than just twice (once for each edge). Think of a folded paper fan…

DIY iPad Cover: Corner

Punch slits into the back for the elastic strap

Once the Mod Podge is dry, turn the case over so the fabric side is up. On the back cover, mark approximately one inch in from the edges on both corners, then punch two slits through with your screwdriver or chisel. You want to punch from the fabric side inwards.

DIY iPad Cover: Slits For Elastic

Thread your elastic strap into the iPad case and attach

Cut a strip of elastic long enough to wrap entirely around the case from top to bottom. Thread both ends of the elastic through the slits, leaving about one inch of extra elastic on the inside.

DIY iPad Cover: Elastic Strap

Next, size your elastic strip by placing the iPad inside the case and closing it. Wrap the elastic around the front cover to hold it shut and pull the ends of the elastic until the cover is being held snugly closed. Hold the ends of the elastic in place, remove your iPad, and glue the ends down to the inside of the cover.

Cut four strips of elastic, size them to hold down the corners of the iPad, and attach them to the card stock

Exact measurements don’t matter for this part as long as your iPad is held securely, but I cut my card stock to about 8″ x 6″, and I cut four strips of elastic about 4″ to 5″ long each. Turn your iPad over on its screen and place the card stock in the middle of the back. Wrap a piece of elastic flat around one corner of the iPad, pull it slightly taut, and mark the ends of the elastic strip on the card stock.

Then remove the iPad and glue the ends of that piece of elastic down onto the card stock where they are marked. Wait until the glue is dry, loop the elastic you just glued down around one corner of the iPad, and then measure, mark etc. a piece of elastic for the next corner. Continue gluing elastic, looping it over a corner, and measuring and marking the next corners until all four are done.

It will end up looking like the picture below…

DIY iPad Cover: Elastic Holder

Attach the card stock and elastic to your iPad case

Put your iPad into the card stock/elastic contraption and center it inside the cover. Leaving the card stock down against the board (in the exact place where you centered it), carefully remove the iPad and glue the card stock/elastic in place to the binder board.

I didn’t have the iPad in the card stock/elastic bit when I placed it and glued it. I just squared the edges of the card stock to the edges of the cover (as you can see below). As a result, my iPad is a bit wonky in the case. Before you glue anything down just be sure that your iPad is square to the cover, not just your card stock.

DIY iPad Cover: Attached Elastic Holder

Line the left cover and spine by Mod Podging fabric onto the inside and folding the raw fabric under at the edges/corners

Open up the cover, lay out your inside fabric, and cut it to size. Leave about a 1/2″ of extra fabric around all four edges. Again, you don’t need to be super precise with your cuts because the raw edges won’t show.

Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the entire left cover except for one inch around the edges and press your fabric down. Then, starting on one edge, fold the raw edge of the fabric under so that just a millimeter of your “outer” fabric shows and Mod Podge the last inch of fabric down onto your board.

For the corners, do them the same way you did the outer fabric corners. Fold the fabric around over itself a few times to make a round corner; the only difference is you are also folding the raw edge under at the same time. (Paper fan, remember?)

DIY iPad Cover: Lining Corner

Once you have both left corners finished, work your way toward the right side of the case, Mod Podging and folding your lining fabric down at the edges. Mod Podge right over the spine and the gaps between the spine and covers just like normal; no special requirements here.

Cut slits in the fabric to pass the elastic loops through, then Mod Podge the rest of the lining down

Lay your fabric over the card stock and elastic and mark with a pencil where your slits need to be. You want enough of your elastic loops poking through the fabric to hold the corners of your iPad down securely, but not so much that the iPad wiggles around (about 3-4″ of elastic, 1.5-2″ once it’s looped). Cut the slits with a utility knife.

Then continue Mod Podging the lining onto the cover and folding the raw edges under. Poke the elastic loops through your slits when you reach that part of the case and Mod Podge the fabric down over the elastic ends and card stock.

DIY iPad Cover: Elastic Loops

Fold the last two corners of fabric under and you’re done lining the case!

Drill a hole in the iPad case for the camera

Wait for the Mod Podge to dry completely, then put your iPad in the case. Mark where the camera hole should be (estimating a little bit is okay, you can always make a bigger hole than you need to), then pull the iPad out of the cover and drill a hole.

I started with a pretty small hole exactly the size of the camera, but I found when I turned the camera on and looked through the lens that I could see the edges of the hole through the camera. I ended up making a hole about four times as big as the camera so that my pictures didn’t end up with bits of the case showing around the edges.

Then I attached a grommet to make it pretty looking and I was finished!

back of diy ipad case with hole for camera and grommet

And you’re done!

homemade ipad case made out of an old 3 ring binder with elastic holding ipad in place laying open
homemade ipad case closeup on elastic holding ipad in place on fabric covered binder board

Besides being a great way to protect the iPad, this DIY iPad case works great as a stand as well. You can fold it back completely to give the iPad a slight incline, which is great for typing.

diy ipad case folded back on itself to make an ipad stand

Or you can stand the iPad up in the stand for watching movies!

DIY iPad Cover: iPad Stand Tall

Overall this iPad case is totally awesome and I love it! And even though this tutorial is long and detailed, the whole project only took me about two hours and was reasonably simple to do!

You could also do this exact same project except size it for a Kindle or other e-reader if you want. You could also just use the first half of the tutorial (before the card stock and elastic bits) to make a fun cover for pretty much anything. Stick a pocket in your lining and just make yourself a nice folio or something.

Have you made a cover or case for any of your tech? I still need to make myself a cover for my camera strap cuz it’s itchy and gross… And a pouch for my lens cap or I’ll end up losing it one day…

DIY iPad Cover: iPad Stand Tall

How To Make A Hardcover iPad Case & Stand

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Make a simple DIY iPad case to protect your iPad using an old binder, fabric, a piece of elastic, and some glue! The hardcover case protects your iPad and even folds back to be a stand for your device!
Active Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs
Yield 1 iPad case
Cost $5

Equipment

  • utility knife
  • foam brushes
  • a flat head screwdriver or chisel
  • a drill, or another hole-making device to make a hole for the camera
  • a hammer
  • a grommet tool (if you buy grommets they usually come with the tool you need)
  • a pencil
  • a ruler or tape measure

Materials

  • 1 old 3-ring hardcover binder for the backing of the case
  • fabric to cover the outside of the case
  • fabric for the lining the inside
  • Mod Podge
  • craft glue
  • 3 ½ feet elastic
  • 1 piece cardstock paper color doesn’t matter
  • 1 7/16″ grommet usually in the fabric/upholstery section of your local craft store, not the paper crafts section

Instructions
 

Remove the binder boards from your binder

  • Open the binder and cut off the bottom plastic-y edge of the front cover.
  • Make a Y cut up from the bottom, then pull the board out of the plastic binder covering.
    DIY iPad Cover: Y Cut
  • Using scissors or a utility knife, cut the entire metal 3-ring piece off of the back cover of the binder. Pull the board out of the plastic binder covering.

Cut the boards to size

  • Cut out two 8″ x 10″ pieces for the front and back covers, and cut one 3/4″ x 10″ piece for the spine. (Adjust these sizes depending on your iPad size.)
  • If you want your corners rounded, trace the iPad corner onto the board and cut that as well. Make sure you only round the two outer corners on the front and back pieces.

Cut the fabric to size

  • Lay your board pieces out on the wrong side of the fabric, leaving about 1 millimeter of space between the boards so that your cover can fold properly.
    DIY iPad Cover: Board Layout
  • Cut your fabric down to size, leaving about an inch of extra room around all four edges.

Mod Podge the fabric onto your boards

  • Brush a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the back of the boards and press them down onto the fabric, exactly the same way they were laid out before. You can use a ruler here to help line the board up straight and to make sure you leave that millimeter of space.
  • Fold the fabric around the corners 3 or 4 times (like a paper fan) to get the fabric to go smoothly over the rounded corners.
    DIY iPad Cover: Corner

Punch slits into the back for the elastic strap

  • Turn the case over so the fabric side is up.
  • On the back cover, mark approximately one inch in from the edges on both corners, then punch two slits through with your screwdriver or chisel. You want to punch from the fabric side inwards.
    DIY iPad Cover: Slits For Elastic

Thread your elastic strap into the cover and attach

  • Cut a strip of elastic long enough to wrap entirely around the case from top to bottom.
  • Thread both ends of the elastic through the slits, leaving about one inch of extra elastic on the inside.
    DIY iPad Cover: Elastic Strap
  • Size your elastic strip by placing the iPad inside the case and closing it.
  • Wrap the elastic around the front cover to hold it shut and pull the ends of the elastic until the cover is being held snugly closed.
  • Hold the ends of the elastic in place, remove your iPad, and glue the ends down to the inside of the cover.

Cut four strips of elastic, size them to hold down the corners of the iPad, and attach them to the cardstock

  • Cut a piece of cardstock to about 8″ x 6″.
  • Cut four strips of elastic about 4″ to 5″ long each.
  • Turn your iPad over on its screen and place the cardstock in the middle of the back.
  • Wrap a piece of elastic flat around one corner of the iPad, pull it slightly taut, and mark the ends of the elastic strip on the cardstock.
  • Remove the iPad and glue the ends of that piece of elastic down onto the cardstock where they are marked.
  • When the glue is dry, place the cardstock on the back of your iPad again and loop the elastic you just glued down around one corner of the iPad.
  • Wrap another piece of elastic around another corner of the iPad.
  • Continue gluing elastic, looping it over a corner, and measuring and marking the next corner until all four are done.
    DIY iPad Cover: Elastic Holder

Attach the cardstock and elastic to your case

  • Put your iPad into the cardstock/elastic contraption and center it inside the cover.
  • Leaving the cardstock down against the board (in the exact place where you centered it), carefully remove the iPad and glue the cardstock/elastic in place to the binder board.
    DIY iPad Cover: Attached Elastic Holder

Line the left cover and spine by Mod Podging fabric onto the inside and folding the raw fabric under at the edges/corners

  • Open up the cover, lay out your inside fabric, and cut it to size. Leave about a 1/2″ of extra fabric around all four edges.
  • Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the entire inside of the left cover except for one inch around the edges and press your fabric down.
  • Starting on one edge, fold the raw edge of the fabric under leaving a millimeter of your “outer” fabric showing, then Mod Podge the folded fabric down onto your board.
  • For the corners, fold the fabric in on itself 3 to 4 times to make a rounded corner (same as you did for the outer fabric) being sure to fold the raw edges underneath as you make the corner folds. Mod Podge the corners down once the fabric is folded up nicely.
    DIY iPad Cover: Lining Corner
  • Continue Mod Podging and folding your lining fabric down at the edges, working your way towards the center and right side of the case.
  • When you reach the spine, Mod Podge right over it, and over the gaps between the spine and covers, just like normal. The fabric spanning the gaps will become the "hinges" so the case can fold open and closed.

Cut slits in the fabric to pass the elastic loops through, then Mod Podge the rest of the lining down

  • To line the right side of the cover, lay your fabric over the cardstock and elastic and mark with a pencil where your slits need to be. About 1 ½" of the elastic "loop" should poke through the fabric (3" to 4" of elastic if it were straightened out) to hold the corners of your iPad down securely.
  • Cut the slits with a utility knife.
  • Continue Mod Podging the lining fabric onto the right cover and folding the raw edges under.
  • When you reach the elastic loops, poke them through the slits in the fabric, then Mod Podge the fabric down to cover the ends of the elastic and the cardstock, leaving the looped ends free.
    DIY iPad Cover: Elastic Loops
  • Fold the last two corners of lining fabric under and Mod Podge them down onto the right cover.

Drill a hole in the case for the camera

  • Once the Mod Podge is completely dry, put your iPad in the case.
  • Mark where the camera hole should be on the back cover. Estimating a little bit is okay, you can always make a bigger hole later if you need to.
  • Pull the iPad out of the cover and drill a hole through the cover where you marked it.
  • Put your iPad in the case and open the Camera app. If you can see the edges of the cover through the camera, take the iPad out of the case and use a larger drill bit to make the hole bigger so the camera has a clear view.
  • Add a grommet to finish the edges of the hole.

Notes

I made this DIY iPad case for my original iPad 2 (way back in 2012!), which is much smaller than the current iPads that are available. All of the measurements in this post are for making a case that fits an iPad that is 9.5″ x 7.3″, so feel free to adjust them as needed to fit your device.

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Jessi Wohlwend

I believe that anyone can do crafts and DIY projects, regardless of skill or experience. I love sharing simple craft ideas, step by step DIY project tutorials, cleaning hacks, and other tips and tricks all with one goal in mind: giving you the tools you need to “do it yourself”, complete fun projects, and make awesome things!

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Reader Interactions

  1. Shara @ Palmettos and Pigtails says

    9 years ago

    This is a wonderful tutorial….especially for us “normal” people out there! Thanks! Pinning away….
    Shara @ Palmettos and Pigtails

  2. Jessica says

    9 years ago

    Wow that looks pretty good! thanks for linking up 🙂

  3. Jen says

    9 years ago

    Wow! This is such a great idea not only for my own but also for my dad’s ipad! 🙂

    I found you in blog hop and I followed you via Blog Lovin. I hope we can interact and know more abt each other through this. It would mean a lot if you drop by my blog as well. Kindly answer the Nuffnang poll in my side bar, it’ll just take a few seconds, promise!

    Jen
    whyyyjen.blogspot.com

  4. Mel says

    9 years ago

    This is awesome, love it, also totally relate to the cover thing, got so sick of it I eventually just took the darn thing off

  5. Jenn says

    9 years ago

    Awesome idea. Those iPad cases are expensive. I don’t currently own an iPad, but I’m pretty sure I have convinced myself to splurge on one. Did you get the brand-new version (#3)?

    • Jessi says

      9 years ago

      Yeah, I guess it’s just called “The new iPad” but it’s the newest one out there…one newer than “The iPad 2” 🙂

      • Jenn says

        9 years ago

        So, I did it!! I gave in an bought one. I had to go with “The New iPad”, because the picture quality was amazing. So, now I have to got to make me one of these!

  6. [email protected] says

    9 years ago

    Awesome tutorial! I totally want an iPad! I’ll have to save this tutorial for when I finally get one! Love the pattern you chose too! 🙂

  7. Beth @ Aunt B's Kitchen says

    9 years ago

    Nice! Thank you for this excellent tutorial. I’m going to make one of these for my granddaughter.

  8. Holli says

    9 years ago

    Found you from the Blog Hop today. I have dreams of getting an iPad and using it in my kitchen so I don’t have to keep running to the computer to check my on-line recipes. I am pinning your tutorial…and hoping that someday it will be sitting on my counter holding my iPad. 🙂 Thanks for sharing. Beautiful blog!

    • Jessi says

      9 years ago

      Thanks Holli! Using an iPad for recipes is a great idea!

  9. Kendra @ A Proverbs 31 Wife says

    9 years ago

    You did a really good job with this Jessi! I don’t have an ipad, but when I get one I am so making a case like this.

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