DIY iPad Folio Case: Made from a Vintage Book (How to Make Your Own Bookbook)

Okay, I'll be honest, this is what I really want, a BookBook by 12 South--

Twelve South BookBook for iPad in Red ($69.99)

It's an iPad case made of leather to look like an old book.  And I'll be honest again here, I'm getting to the point where I just might order one, in fact, I know I'm at that point (and when I do, I promise to review it here --good & bad-- as for me, that's a lot of money to pay for an iPad case).  But wow, I just love it.

Twelve South BookBook for iPad in Red
So what I did in my "Oh, I can make one of those" moments, was create my own iPad Fake Book iPad Cover. So here it is--

My Do-It-Yourself iPad Book Cover from the front (iPad hidden inside)

Open and holding my iPad
iPad case on my desk with fixed spine - thank you Revlon nailpolish

Basically, what I did was go to our used bookstore (aka The Bookery) and went to their art section where I thought they'd have a lot of larger size books.  I brought in my iPad and searched the section until I found one (actually 2, one I didn't use) that I liked.

It's The world of Leonardo, 1452-1519 (Time-Life library of art) from Time Life Books (copyright 1966).  The book was priced at $8, but since I have credit in the store for giving them my used books, I paid $3.

It's a hardback book, which I think is important less you want yours even more unstable than mine (and you don't want that).

I was lucky with this book I chose because the inside of the cover was beautiful (that was one of the reasons I chose it.)

Tip one:  Remember, to avoid having to paste things in to make a nice inside to your cover, choose a book that already has nice inside images.  And chose a hard back book so you have a more sturdy hardback book iPad cover (see these things make sense).

When I got home, I opened the book and grabbed an Exacto knife. Yes, I had to cut out the pages in the book.  This was a very weird thing to do and I felt as if I was breaking some sort of law.  But it was part of plan to use the cover as the cover for my iPad so I continued.

I very uncarefully began to cut out the books contents and then cut part of the spine of the cover because I was rushing (this was later fixed with glue and red nail polish).

Tip two:  Take your time and Exacto knives are sharp (my husband just said, "be careful or you'll cut through to the cover" in which I replied, "No I won't" and then did about 3 seconds later.

I then ignored the book for about 3 weeks because I didn't know what to do next.

Tip three:  Have a plan.

If you look in the 2nd photo, you can see that in the inner spine of the book has words from old pages of another vintage book.  I used a glue stick and an old book that I used one to try to do bookart with for this.  It only required me cutting up one page and just gluing it into the center.

Because the inside cover was so nice, I didn't have to do anything else (see tip 1).

I went to the store to buy elastic band to use to hold my iPad in.  What I bought was a long band of velcro and super glue.

Tip four: Pay attention to what you're buying.

When I got home I realize I had the wrong items, but being lazy, I decided I would make it work.  The next 20 minutes were spent realizing that velcro doesn't work as elastic at all and trying to get the superglue off my fingers.

Tip five:  Sometimes poets suck at crafts.  It's okay, keep going.

I get an idea and go to my ribbon box (where I keep ribbon people tie to gifts they give me because I hate throwing it out as it feels wasteful) and find some to work.  Of course, it doesn't match because I don't have enough of one color and for some reason, my top purple ribbon says, "FLARE" across it.

Tip six:  If you like things to match, buy your ribbon in all one color.

I then put my iPad on the right inside cover and begin supergluing the ribbon around its bottom edges to hold it in place.  The superglue won't stick, but I remember a technique (scoring - oh and that's what it's called, I didn't just morph into Sheenspeak) I learned in a pottery class about making X-marks on the two things you want to stick together.  So I take my scissors and do this to part of inside cover I want to glue ribbon to.  It kind of works.  I get superglue all over my hands (which feels terrible) but next thing I know, it's sticking!

Tip seven:  Find the right kind of glue, while I love superglue, it was not the best glue for this project.

I find that weird purple ribbon and decide it will work great (because it's not as thick as the lower green ribbon) to hold the top of my iPad work.  I think because the ribbon is thick and has some odd backing on it, it glues down easily.

But I can't glue the other side in as I'll have issues in getting my iPad into the ribbons, so I decide the velcro won't be a total waste and glue part of it to the book and part of it to my top purple ribbon.

I let the book dry for about half-hour while I read Oprah magazine on decluttering.

I slip in my iPad and works perfectly!  I bring my iPad upstairs, cozy up into bed and read Peace and Plenty: Finding Your Path to Financial Serenity by Sarah Ban Breathnach (she wrote Simple Abundance & apparently after making quite a bit with that book, lost her money and this book explores her journey back to well, financial Serenity).

This morning, I added some extra ribbon over the parts that looked back because I am a sloppy gluer and added a small button just to make things pretty. (see lower green ribbon and side of green ribbon.)

What I love about this case is it also hides my iPad.  It's a sort of iPad disguise kit--

Can you find the iPad in this photo?

So there you go. The total cost (before tax) - $3 for the book, $2.48 for the velcro I thought was elastic & friends who buy me gifts (free ribbon).

Total cost:  $5.48.
Time to do it:  3 1/2 weeks
Actual time to do it that does not include procrastination:  30 minutes

Final thoughts--

I did this myself and felt creative and it felt good to have the reduce/reuse/recycle mentality.

It really looks still just looks like a book and I love that I can leave my iPad out in the open and it is a secret holder of it.

As I read from it in bed, I could still smell the scent of bookstore on it.

It makes a nice holder for my iPad, it's cute, and I made it myself.

It was very inexpensive and did what I wanted it to-- be a holder, cover, disguise, secret case, unique folio cover for my iPad.


I fear it's a little unstable and I wouldn't trust it as a way to keep my iPad safe from damage of being dropped or as a way to transport it anywhere.  I wouldn't take it on a trip with me unless I wanted to use it as something I could use to leave my iPad in a hotel room dressed up as a book.

I had to reglue one of ribbons this morning because when I turned my cover sideways it came undone.

It's not ridiculous pretty or perfect (but really, is anything?)

And one final thought--
Superglue really doesn't come off - even with nail polish remover.

This post on Do-It-Yourself Friday has been posted by a writer, poet, editor who is not very good at crafts.


I still use my homemade iPad cover however, I did purchase a Twelve South BookBook for  in Red and I *love* it.  It is SO much more durable and useable than the one I made.  I also love the zipper to keep it secure.


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  1. I think this is awesome! I don't have an iPad--but if I get any kind of tablet, I'm coming back here for your instructions. And I wouldn't trust any of the spendy cases to provide much protection , anyway.

    Woo-HOO to you!


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