I like to craft sometimes, and I wanted my reader to have a pretty, tactile EBook cover. These instructions will work for any ebook or small tablet. I made covers for my Kindle. I looked online, and I didn’t really like the ones I saw, so I made my own.
With electronic readers the device du jour, there’s no reason why they can’t be pretty and tactile, instead of practical and businesslike. Now I’m looking for a “Don’t Panic!” badge for the outside!
I put an interior pocket to tuck the Kindle into on journeys, and a little extra pocket for notes, batteries, cable and so on. I made them out of silk brocade and crushed velvet, and lined the cases in pure silk, because I wanted them to be good to the touch.
The blue case has a lining of blue and gold shot silk and the red one has a gold lining. I padded the outside, to make them nice and ooh squishy, and the crushed velvet one has double padding, just because I can.
If you want to make your own, this will work for most readers. I’m sorry about mixing metric and non metric, but any ruler will convert the measurements for you. I tend to start in metric and then get tired and move to yards, feet and inches.
I’m a miniaturist, so I have lots and lots of bits of fabric, lace, ribbon and other stuff. I chose blue silk brocade matched with blue and gold shot silk for the blue one, and red crushed velvet and gold silk for the red one. You need two pieces of fabric, around a quarter of a yard of each. You can make it with the same fabric throughout, but make sure the fabric is nice to touch and doesn’t mark easily. You don’t want your reading time interrupted by making sure you don’t mark the case! That’s why I went for crushed velvet instead of the smooth kind.
Also, get some good quality card, not corrugated, not the stuff from a cereal packet, but a reasonable quality, some batting (polyester padding, it comes in sheets), some foam sheets (2 A4 size, or you could just use card), good quality pva tacky glue, an iron and ironing board, some tape or ribbon, about half a yard, and maybe some trim, if you want some.
I wanted an inner pocket for my light wedge, but it could easily hold notes or a small book light.
Get the carboard and, about 25mm (an inch) in from the edge, draw the dimensions of your reader (Amazon has the dimensions of the Kindle 3, so I worked from those). Use a set square to make sure the corners are right angles. Be careful because this is the basis of your cover. Later you can get creative, not now.
Draw a rectangle next to it, the depth (long side) of your reader plus 5 cm. Then add 10 cm, or the width of your light wedge, if you use one. I ended up with a 30 cm wide rectangle. Next to that, draw the dimensions of your reader again. Got that? Good.
Draw a 5 cm margin around the whole thing. Then draw another rectangle, the same size as the first one, and around it add another 5cm. The bigger piece of card is the outside, the smaller bit the inside. If you get easily confused like me, it’s really good to mark them “outside” and “inside.” They won’t show on the finished article.
Take a scalpel or the edge of your scissors and lightly score the two central lines. That’s the spine of the reader. You’ve got something that looks like a book, front, spine and back, with a margin around the whole thing. That’s the hard bit done.
Cut a piece of the fabric that you want for the outside at least an inch bigger all around than your card. Cut a piece of the wadding exactly the size of your card. Don’t forget that it stretches, but don’t let that phaze you.
Move to your ironing board and switch on your iron. Cover the board with a piece of waste fabric, an old towel or something, because you’re going to start gluing. Put the fabric on the board, the right side down. Put the wadding on top, then the card. Now glue the edge of the fabric to the card. For the red case I used a double layer of padding, to make it nice and squashy. The blue case has a single layer, and neater, but still nice to the touch.
Put a line of pva on the fabric at the top edge and fold it over. Put a piece of paper over it to protect your iron and iron it down. You’ll find that the pva will seal and you get a nice, crisp edge. Now do the opposite side, pull the fabric reasonably tight, and don’t let the padding curl over the edge of the card.
Turn the piece around and do the two other, shorter sides, but take care with the corners. Don’t let any raw edges show, and make sure it’s not too bulky. If you can mitre the edge, that’s the best way. If you can’t, bodge and trim. As long as there’s no edge of the card showing and no fraying. Oh yes, pva usually stops fabric fraying too. Useful stuff.
Put that piece, your outer cover, aside. Get the inside of the reader, and do the same with the piece of fabric you want to go inside. Right side down, pattern pointing up, then instead of padding, use a piece of foam sheet. It just gives a nice semi-padded finish and makes the case nicer to touch than just fabric glued on to card. It also means the inner is wipe-clean, which is handy. The outer card helps the piece keep its shape, as foam sheet is easily torn or distorted without it. Iron it down and put it aside. Or you can put the two pieces together and admire it for a bit.
Now for the pocket, or pockets. I made mine from foam sheet, but you can make them from cardboard if you want to, or fabric stiffened with buckram or iron-on stiffener. Decide what size you want, and cover it by folding the fabric over it, leaving an edge. Like an envelope.
Now put the pocket face down on the ironing board, and put the fabric side of the inner cover on top of it. Fold the surplus fabric over the carboard, glue and iron. I made two pockets, one bigger for the light wedge and a smaller one for notes, pens, clips or a small reading light. If you don’t want to fuss, leave out the pockets, but they’re really easy, and really useful.
You can see it now, can’t you? Never thought you’d get this far, but here we are!
If you want your reader to be fastened by tape ‘corners,’ take your ribbon or tape and stretch it over the outside corners of the right hand side of the inner cover (see the pictures at the top of the page). If you have the reader handy, you can try it for size. For the inside corners, make a loop big enough, and tuck the top end over the edge of the inner and glue.
For the inner corner, glue the lower edge of the tape loop down, and iron it sealed. I’ve tried various methods, and the best is to use sticky velcro strip. Put the soft, non loop part on the Kindle, and the looped bit on the cover. Test first with a tiny bit of velcro on your Kindle, to make sure you can peel it off if you want to, but most sticky Velcro won’t leave any residue or spoil the finish.
I’d stop here, have a beverage of your choice (but make it non alcholic, because you’re not done yet). Don’t take the beverage anywhere near your reader case, because if you’re like me, a drop will fall and the air will turn blue. I solved my problem with a line of gold lace, not in the picture because it happened just after I’d finished. Big argh.
Sandwich the two pieces together, cardboard to cardboard. If you’ve done it right, it’ll work great. Make sure the fabric isn’t too bulky, or you’ll get lumps.
Spread glue all over, making sure it doesn’t seep over the edge, and put a nice heavy book on top. Go away and do something else for an hour.
There you go! I finished mine off by sewing all the way around by hand, but you really don’t have to if sewing gives you hives. You can stick on patches, lace, but always remember that you are going to be handling this baby a lot, so don’t make it too scratchy or uncomfortable. Ready, set – read.If you want to thank me – buy a book! If you don’t, that’s okay too.