I’m not going to call this a tutorial because the project has too many failures. I provide more of a cautionary tale (and resources at the end of people who actually know what they are doing).
I’m also not going to create the cool graphic that I love seeing on other sites but seems like a bit much for my project.
But I will share what I did to make my own cover for my Kobo reader. Because I’m nice like that. And my screw ups will probably make you feel better about your own crafting and if I can give you a confidence boost then I’m providing a public service. Basically, making my own cover practically counts as volunteer work.
Where’s my medal? Or key to the city? Or whatever they give to selfless people like me.
- A book to cut up
- Piece of cardboard about the size of one half of the book
- Piece of elastic or hair bands
- Fabric or paper, enough to cover the book twice (One piece will be for the outside, one will be for the inside. It is probably best if the inside piece is felt or even flannel as it will be against the tablet screen.)
- An Exacto knife
- Hot glue gun
- Mod Podge
- Brush for the Mod Podge
This whole project started when I looked at the sleep covers that were on sale but even on sale they are around $60. No way. Especially for a cover I don’t even like. I really like the covers that look like standard books. That isn’t what I made today because I didn’t have the right book. But if I’m going to make them myself, I can have several covers if I want. That’s right, I’ll be a multi-cover e-reading diva. Fancy!
To kick off the project, I needed a book to serve as the “shell”. This was not difficult for me since I have shelves full of corporate
cheerleading training books. Their usefulness to me over the years was demonstrated by the thick layer of dust on them.
These two were slightly different in size.
I selected the book that was closest in size to my Kobo tablet. This was my first mistake.
Get rid of the book jacket. These corporate books do have a nice, blank slate. I’ll have to remember that for another cover project.
With your Exacto knife, cut the pages away from the back. You can see a gap the inside paper is covering. Run the Exacto knife along here.
If you stay within the gap, the knife will cut easily.
Turn the book around and cut the other side the same way. The pages will come away from the cover in a single piece. Go ahead and discard/recycle these pages.
At this point I did something I should have probably done earlier. I checked the thickness of the book against the tablet and found it was going to be too small.
Looking at both the books again, the bigger book is going to be big enough for the tablet.
A perfect fit!
Because I’m under financial arrest (no spending money on projects until the kitchen is paid off), I had to stick with what I have so I broke out the hair elastics. Luckily I have a big pack of multiple colors. The big ones would probably be better for this project but I wear those and I don’t wear the thin ones (I have a ton of thick hair, these little bands aren’t up to the task).
I won’t spend a ton of time explaining this part because it didn’t work. I made holes at the corners and cut slits up to them to position the elastics. I was trying to keep the elastic clear of the speakers and on/off switch. In the end, they didn’t hold the tablet at all. They slipped off and were worse than useless. New strategy needed.
I duct taped up the holes and cuts.
Looking at some of the other projects online, I decided what I probably wanted was to have the tablet mounted on its own piece of cardboard to leave the cover smooth. So I grabbed the smaller book that was rejected earlier and cut the front away from the book. It was the perfect size.
I wanted to attach the elastic a different way than I have seen in other projects so I created notches in the edge. It’s important to leave the straight side of the triangle closest to the corner so the elastic is held in place and won’t slide off.
I placed each notch two inches away from the edge. The notch method seemed to work well holding the elastic. I did double the elastic since these bands are so thin and I didn’t think a single one would have held the weight of the tablet.
I took the elastics off and wrapped the piece of cardboard in my contrast fabric. If you are using felt or flannel on the inside, use that for this piece.
It was right about here that I realized my fingers were going to show in the pictures and my nails with their chipped polish were gross. I know I don’t stage things on purpose but even I had to polish my nails so they didn’t look gross in the pictures. That is my standard; don’t be gross.
I felt for the notches under the fabric and made a single, small cut for the elastic to slip into. I’m not sure I needed to do that. I might try it without the slits next time.
The two elastics were held nicely by the slits. I fastened them on the back with a lot of glue. You need to get glue nearly into the slot on the back to keep the elastics in when you are jostling them around by putting your tablet in the holder.
Testing the holder out. It works perfectly this time! The elastic doesn’t cover the screen much at all and doesn’t block the on/off switch. My futzing about that before wasn’t necessary. Shocker.
I recommend testing the holder in your cover now. You know, measure twice, cut once? Be smarter than me. I always recommend being smarter than me.
Because I’m not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, I began covering the outer shell in fabric. Brush Mod Podge on one side of the book. Doing it one side at a time like this makes it much easier to position the book on the fabric.
Anyone else call it Modge Podge? I can never call it MOD Podge, it is always MODGE Podge.
Wrap the sides in and try to do a better job than me again. I cut the corners too close to the edge of the book. Give yourself a little more room than I did.
I folded the edges of the inner piece and glued it to the cover.
I glued the holder in and on the other side, I glued a piece of soft foam I had lying around. I wanted something soft against the tablet screen.
And this is when I found out what the holder and foam do to my perfect fit.
I have a couple more corporate books lying around so I found another one that was thicker. This time, I tested it ahead of time. OK, so I had to deface three books before I got this right. I did get there eventually.
All I had to do was cover the new book. This time, I didn’t bother with a contrasting fabric on the inside. There is so much crap glued in, you didn’t really see it anyway. I was a little more careful this time. The corners look much better. I guess I just take a little practice.
So the big test, is this book thick enough to hold everything?
It just fits. Looking at the side, the hot glue clearly created a lot of height. My glue is kind of old. I wonder if that is why it didn’t compress. Next time, I might try super glue or something that won’t add so much thickness.
For as much trouble as I had and as much as I’ve mucked this up, it looks fantastic. I would actually like to eventually put a piece of elastic on the outside to hold it closed. I like how that looks anyway.
The elastics have no problem holding the weight of the tablet.
I didn’t have a magnet that would make this a sleep cover but I can get it later and slip it behind the foam making this a sleep cover. You can buy those magnets at Radio Shack. I might try this again with strips of cardboard so that it makes one of those covers that fold back and prop up the tablet.
I’m glad I finally found a use for this fabric. Every time I saw it I pet it.
I’m not going to polish this post up and pretend like I knew what I was doing. The mistake process is helpful too. Now you know how to ensure the right thickness of the book, how not to do the corners, and that hot glue may not be the best adhesive here. Mostly what I give you is what NOT to do. But I guess that’s helpful too sometimes, right?
These are the people who actually know what they are doing and will be a help to you if you want to make your own cover.