In Which Falconesse Gets All Artsy Craftsy

16 Jun

This past spring, my company gave the sales reps iPads.  We will be using them to sell books, so it’s totally a business thing, and not at all a vehicle for Angry Birds and Words With Friends.  Nope.

We have the smart covers for them, but nothing that protects the whole device.  I searched high and low, but the majority of the cases I found got a big ol’ ‘meh’ from me.  There were a few awfully keen looking ones on Etsy, but nothing that screamed “cloak your iPad in my shininess.”  I wanted something with a hard cover, not a cloth sleeve.  The leather cases were all either uninspiring-looking or wildly expensive.

What I wanted, essentially, was something sort of like a book.

But no one was selling them, and thus did I decide to take matters into my own hands.  I had to get excited and make things.

Since I eat, sleep and breathe books, I didn’t know if I’d be able to carve one up for my experiment without breaking under the guilt.  Instead, I headed over to Staples and picked up a hardcover blank notebook.  Ideally I wanted one of their Black n’ Red series, but they didn’t have the bound hardback style in the size I’d need.  They did, however, have a wirebound purple-y thing with a purdy fleur-de-lis-esque cover, and that’s the one that came home with me.

I figured best case, it looks neat.  Worst case, I’m only out eight bucks.

It came out pretty keen, for an amateur attempt.

First, the supplies!

Things for the en-makening

Pictured:  the abovementioned notebook, cutting thing (which would turn out to be an ordeal), iPad, pencil, stick-on velcro, glue.

Also, coffee.

First thing:  you need to glue the pages together, so they don’t go sliding around while you’re cutting out the middles.  I mixed plain ol’ Elmer’s glue with some water (about half and half, like the nice people on wikihow suggested), and painted the edges with it.

Not for drinking

They get kind of wrinkly

Then, since you need the glue to actually take hold, I enlisted the help of Messrs. Bartlett and King:

Weighty subjects, har har

Unfortunately, when I peeked a half-hour later, some of the pages hadn’t adhered all that well.  I got all Giles Corey and thought, “MORE WEIGHT!”  See, when we first moved into our house, there were these patio blocks that just… well, let’s just say I think they were set down in the ’70s and leave it at that.  We still have ’em, though, stacked up outside until we can figure out what the hell to do with several hundred multicolored concrete blocks.  I’m sure they’ll come in handy during the zombiepocalypse, but for now…

Just like Giles goddamned Corey, I tell you what.

You probably also want to put a layer of wax paper between the pages and your weights.  Otherwise, you’ll be in trouble.  I speak from experience.  Don’t worry, neither of the books were harmed.  My original buffer was a glossy junk mail flyer, not a dustcover.  I got wise just before the bricks happened.

Then came tracing time!  This is, uh, pretty self-explanatory, but have a picture anyway:

Spot the MS Paint manipulation!

I would like to note, that is a new cup of coffee up there, because my dad is awesome.  He also fixed my car’s muffler while he was here.  And brought me a new straight-edge, since the silver one in the original photo was kind of sort of rusted shut.  My dad saved me from tetanus, YAY!

My dad rocks.

Not pictured:  getting all those curvy bits in seemed a little too advanced for me, so in the end, I cut a rectangle slightly larger than the iPad’s dimensions.  It probably saved me a lot of time, a massive headache, and very likely a finger or two.

Next, I had to remove my helper from the scene:

Don't worry, the razor's closed.

The cutting-out bit took a lot of time and patience.  I got through maybe three pages at a time, and had to pause to clear the corners of stubborn bits of paper every now and then.  My right hand hates me at the moment.  Wikihow also suggests using a dremel instead of a boxcutter, but alas, we don’t have one, and I’m not entirely confident with spinning blades of destruction.  I’ve used a table saw.  It was empowering and terrifying at the same time, mostly because I’ve seen way too many horror movies.  Nothing good ever happens when there’s a table saw in a horror movie.  Dremels are kind of like the Mini-Mes of table saws.

Anyway.  I did it the old-fashioned way.  Uphill in the snow.  Barefoot.

I didn't even nick myself!

This is about where I started thinking, “oh shit, I should probably make sure the damned thing actually fits.  Because Murphy is a dick and his law kind of sucks.  So, preliminary fitting:

Sigh of relief.

I slapped another coat of my glue mixture on the inside-edges, because those ought to be stuck together, too.  Then it was time for books and bricks again:

Two was sort of overkill. Sorry, Giles.

You like trees, right?  I think they’re pretty neat, too.  They give us oxygen and shade and let Shel Silverstein write a really depressing book about them.  I had a stack of perfectly good, if slightly ragged-edged pages.  Add a binder clip and voila!  Instant notepad!

So technically I made TWO things today, right?

This next step might horrify some people.  I wanted the ipad to have some stability.  Not that I plan on turning this thing upside down and shaking it, but jostling happens, y’know?  I figured, hey, let’s add some velcro!

Yes, I stuck something to the back of the iPad, marring its smooth, sleek line.  I also covered up the Apple logo.  I don’t know if this is Mac blasphemy or not (though Marty has absolved me), but it was the best place for the velcro.

I am a goddess of MS Paint

This bad cat also needed something to hold the cover closed.  After a bit of scavenging through junk drawers and a sewing kit that I think belonged to my grandmother,* I found a neat looking button.  I yoinked a purple hair elastic out of a package in the linen closet, and was ready to go.

*Seriously, this thing is ancient and I don’t know how it got to my house.  There are pins and snaps in here still on their original cardboard, and the design (and prices printed on them!) look like they’re from the ’40s.

Yeah, I was totally a girl scout once upon a time.

Apparently I also bought a glue gun once upon a time.  I have no idea what I was planning to make with it, but I cracked that bad cat open today!

Glue gun! Pew pew pew!

I managed not to burn myself or set anything on fire while affixing the button to the front and the ponytail holder to the back:

Shiiiiny buttanz


And lo, it was time to try the finished product.  iPad goes in, first with the cover off:

Notice, I've graduated from coffee to beer.

Then with the cover on:

It still fits!

I think, for being a complete and utter nubtart at this, the case came out looking good.

A couple of things I would do differently, were I to attempt this again:

  • More glue in the glue-and-water mixture.  The pages curled more than I’d have liked, and didn’t flatten as much as I’d hoped once I weighted them down.  Alternatively, I’m wondering if a can of polyurethane varnish would work even better, or if it’d just make a huge gorram mess.
  • Work with a bound book.  Because this is wirebound, the pages can slide an awful lot.  I have a feeling a regular book would result in a cleaner outside edge.
  • Sand the sides of the hollowed out pages, to get a smoother edge on the inside.  Rumor has it a dremel kind of does this for you.
  • Try a dremel.  With someone here to call 911 in case I chop off a limb.
  • Look into an actual vise/clamp setup.  Books and bricks worked enough for my purposes, but the pressure wasn’t really uniform.

I’m fairly certain the button won’t last very long, since I’ll be sliding this into my laptop bag.  It’s bound to catch on something and break off eventually.  When that happens, I might go for something flatter:  a piece of ribbon and a pair of snaps (from the 1940s!), most likely.  However, if the iPad never travelled farther than, say, from my desk to the living room, the button would be totally viable.

What do you think?  What could I have done better?  What step did I completely overlook that would have made this project ten times easier?



6 Responses to “In Which Falconesse Gets All Artsy Craftsy”

  1. Tami June 16, 2011 at 8:12 am #

    *gasp* I love this SO MUCH.

    I need to do this. Want no longer has any place. NEED.

  2. Matojo June 16, 2011 at 8:29 am #


    … I love your commentary, btw. I giggled so much. xD

  3. falconesse June 16, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    Hee, thankee!

    And good news: the button has survived the morning commute so far…

  4. Itanya Blade June 16, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    That’s pretty nifty!

  5. zwinglisblog June 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    This is great! And to think, I spent $20 on a polyurithain(sp?) sleeve for it. Mine is ugly, your’s is pretty. ’nuff said.


  6. Fallah June 16, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    You know what else? You totally camouflaged your iPad! If you accidentally leave it somewhere, the odds of a stranger swiping a purple ringbound notebook are much lower than if you left an iPad (or tablet-shaped thing in a case) sitting around.

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