UPDATE: While you can still find the original tutorial below, there’s a new, redesigned version of this cover, along with several other Kindle case designs, in my daughter’s book, Make Your Own Kindle Cover – VOLUME 2 – THE SLIGHTLY MORE CHALLENGING (BUT STILL SUPER-EASY) COVERS. The new version uses slightly different materials and cuts out several steps, making a cover that is even easier to construct and comes out nicer than the original design.
And here’s the original (and at one time pirated in its entirety, right down to the picture of our funny cat) post of the original design:
Pretty, isn’t it? It wasn’t very hard to make: all it takes is some basic skills most of us learned in Kindergarten.
A little while back I threw together a super easy, super cheap cover for my Kindle, which you’ll find further down this page. It was working perfectly for me; however, as is my way, I immediately began to consider how I could improve it. First off, as some of you suggested, padding would afford the Kindle more protection. And second, I wanted something that felt a bit less… well… plastic. I wanted something a touch more elegant, something people would admire when they saw it, something more befitting my dear Kindle. I’d watched an interesting show recently that showed how leather-bound hard-cover books were made, and I realized I could incorporate a number of those steps into creating a new cover.
There is NO sewing required. Don’t get me wrong, I love to sew; over the years I’ve acquired several vintage Singers dating from 1916 through to 1962, though my favorite is a 1930 Model 101, which I’ve used to sew everything from clothing to upholstery and boat canvas. But I know not everyone has access to sewing machines and I wanted to keep this a strictly scissors and glue kitchen table project.
Everything you need to make your own diy Kindle cover.
So here are all the components you’ll need:
1. Rubber cement: $1.79
2. One Poly (plastic) 2 Pocket folder: $1.99
3. One paper folder: $0.25
4. One sheet of ‘Foamy’ craft foam: $0.99
5. Four Command adhesive strips: $0.76 (out of a 16 pack)
6. One adequate size scrap of pretty fabric from the remnant bin: $0.99
7. Pencil, Scissors, Wax paper: (surely you have these around the house!)
8. One small piece of medium sandpaper: (I have much of this around my house)
9. One cup containing the hot caffeine beverage of your choice: Vital
10. One feline supervisor: Costly though not essential – likely to interfere at wrong times
11. A clean kitchen table: Priceless
UPDATE: READ THE COMMENTS READERS HAVE OFFERED. THERE ARE SOME EXCELLENT SUGGESTIONS FOR OTHER APPROACHES USING MATERIALS I WAS NOT FAMILIAR WITH, INCLUDING SCRAP-BOOK ADHESIVES. (I know, it may come as a shock but I don’t scrapbook!)
While I am aware this collection of materials visually clash, in the end the only parts you’ll see will be one side of the poly folder and the fabric of your choosing. So long as you can fold the fabric over your Kindle with an inch border on the top, bottom and side, it’s big enough.
You could use any fabric from a pretty remnant to some faded denim cut from an old pair of jeans. Everything else shown here is structural and won’t show once the cover is completed. I recommend you read through all steps first before starting.
Note: I don’t specify any measurements because your Kindle may be a different model than mine, but the same process applies no matter the size. I could probably just trace the old one, but for demo purposes I’ll start fresh.
Got everything together? Great. To begin, place the Kindle along the folded edge of the folder. Trace around your Kindle with the pencil onto both folders. On the paper folder trace wide and on the poly folder keep the line closer to the actual edge of the Kindle.
Trace the Kindle…
The goal is for the paper folder to be slightly larger than the poly one. For demo purposes you can see on the paper folder how I’ve outlined the Kindle. On the poly folder I lined the Kindle with the upper edge; it’s one less side to cut. On the outer corners I like to round the curve, but leave it straight along the crease of the folder. However you approach it, be sure to ADD ½ INCH TO ALL OUTER EDGES to allow for the thickness of your Kindle. Once you cut each folder out you’ll have two kindle sized folders, and again, the paper one should be the slightest bit larger than the poly one. The Kindle should fit inside with a nice edge around the outside to protect it. Take the poly folder and trace it 2 times onto the foamy. Cut that out as well.
Choose which side you’d like on the poly folder as the visible interior. This pattern is pretty but clashes with the fabric so I’ll go with the plain white as my exposed interior. Now, SAND whichever side you WILL NOT see when you open the cover.
The reason for this step is that rubber cement does not adheres well to smooth plastic. Once sanded, the rubber cement will stick like…well, you know. Do this over a cutting board or work bench, not your 70 year old kitchen table, then wipe everything clean.
RUBBER CEMENT TIME
Warning #1: One key ingredient in rubber cement is acetone, which keeps things in a liquid form until the acetone evaporates. Acetone is also a key ingredient in various solvents including nail polish remover. In other words it can really mess up your manicure, so wear gloves if that matters, and cover any surface you’re working over lest you damage the finish on your dining room table. Work over some wax paper; keep that on hand as you’ll also be use it to keep the glue-coated pieces separated.
Warning #2: Work in a well ventilated space. One whiff of rubber cement takes me right back to grammar school art class where we were all given little brown tubs of it for projects. But that familiar, flashback-invoking odor is not something you should breathe too much. Perhaps excessive rubber cement exposure explains why I was rotten in math class. Rubber cement is also fairly flammable, so use proper precautions.
So, do you remember how this stuff works? It’s messy, slimy, looks like snot, (both when wet AND dry.) Once it dries it sticks to anything else coated with dry rubber cement. The bond will be flexible and won’t become brittle. Start by coating the paper folder and foamy… those will get coated on BOTH sides, but DON’T let any pieces touch each other.
Is your tea getting cold? Stop and take a sip, then get ready; for the next step you’ll need to work fast. Have your piece of fabric close by and ready. No, I hadn’t told you to cut it, not yet; it should be at least 1 inch larger than the open folder on all sides. Coat the sanded side of the poly folder and don’t worry if any gets on the other side, it’ll peel right off. Make sure there’s LOTS of wet rubber cement on the poly, lay it on thick then QUICKLY grab your fabric and lay it WRONG SIDE DOWN onto the still wet rubber cement and press it down. Don’t worry if the rubber cement bleeds through; it’ll dry clear. Now check everything over. You may want to re-coat areas that seem too thin.
Step back, let everything (including your hands) dry. Peel any cement off your hands… you don’t want things sticking to you as you proceed.
Lay both pieces of foamy to the outer edges of the paper folder as shown. You want a gap in the center to allow for backwards folding. Lay the paper over a sheet of clean wax paper and fold it closed, foam side out, taking care not to let the inner glue-covered sides touch.
Now lay out your fabric, glue (wrong) side up, and place the paper folder centered on the fabric as shown. Press down firmly. flip to fabric side up and smooth. Now check the edges. If any haven’t adhered as well as you’d like, this is the time to add some glue. Peel the fabric back, coat it and the foam with more glue, let them dry then smooth them down.
Now take the fabric and flip it over. Don’t let the picture confuse you, the coral colored folder I’d been using is blue inside. Now we’re going to trim the fabric a bit. I bevel the corners as shown to make folding easier and less bulky. Now it’s time for more glue, this time slathered thick over the exposed fabric and the inner folder, in order to be sure thing hold together nice and secure. Again, go sip some tea while you let this dry.
Starting at the corners, fold the fabric gently over the inside edge, pulling the fabric inward as you press it down. Trim away SOME fabric overlap but don’t trim too close to the edge. We’re on the home stretch now! Coat all that folder over fabric with a fresh layer of glue, be sure to work some under any folds on the corners, and read a chapter on your Kindle while it all dries.
All dry? Smooth down any creases in the fabric, then very carefully line up the middle crease on the poly folder and align it with the crease on the now fabric covered folder then gently press them together.
The whole arrangement will be a bit stiff to fold at first but it’s best to work it back and forth. It will relax the more you use it. Now rub off any excess rubber cement inside the folder. Place command strips on the back of your Kindle as shown, then attach the Kindle. It’s easiest to fold it closed slightly to position it where it would best fit.
And that’s it! If you’d like, you could even use Velcro as the fastener, I’m considering that so I could change covers from day to day if the mood hits. I’m sure this won’t be my last version, I’m already tossing around a few ideas for further improvements. But enjoy your new and totally unique cover. Send me a picture if you’d like, I’d love to see how they come out.
And if you’re looking for more cover ideas, check these out!