8 DIY iPad Covers That Are Cheap, Easy and Stylish

A flatlay of a tablet with sewing and craft materials on a table.

Neustockimages / Getty Images

The smart cover for the iPad is nice and all. But you know what is even smarter? Making a much cheaper, customized cover yourself. We have eight of the best tutorials from around the web that show you how to craft your own unique case or cover for your iPad with materials from around the house you can re-purpose.

Composition Notebook iPad Cover

ipad composition photo
 Photo by lilblueboo.com

Lil Blue Boo has a fantastic tutorial on turning an old composition notebook (or new one for about $2.99 if you want it all slick and shiny) into an iPad cover.

Basically all you need is the plastic case the iPad came in, the notebook, a razor blade, some elastic hair bands and a needle with thread. The plastic from the iPad box becomes the protective nook the iPad settles into, and the hair bands hold it in place.
It's brilliantly simple, and uses basic items from around the house (or the drug store).

Moleskine Case for iPad

ipad moleskine photo
 Photo by themoderndaypirates.com

This tutorial on The Modern Day Pirates is similar to the composition notebook, but is made for those Moleskine enthusiasts who feel the only notebook worth having is one of these classic beauties. (Trust us, we know how you all love your Moleskines!). It was created as an alternative to the DODOcase, which is perfect except for the price.

With this project, you can use less expensive materials -- in fact it doesn't even use a Moleskine (phew! because one this size would be pretty pricey). The supplies list is:

  • 1 sheet of liner paper - $3.50
  • 1 sheet of Imitation Leather Black Morocco (brown also available) - $6.75
  • 1 sheet Davey Binder's Board .098 - $3.75
  • PVA Glue - Thin 4 ounces - $3.25
  • Black elastic ribbon - AC Moore - $1.50

Total = $18.75

That's a whole lot less than the $50-ish DODOcase, and you can customize it how you'd like. Get creative with the supplies and only use stuff from your junk drawers and closet.

An iPad In An Old Book

This project turns an old book into a new case. Seattlepi notes in the write-up of the project that, "the iPad feels particularly vulnerable as a hot gadget, I feel much better leaving it sitting around while camouflaged than by itself." It's a good point, and disguising it as something so outdated and dull as a book helps (unless you're at the library...).

All that's needed is a used book of about the right thickness and an X-acto knife. Carve out the pages, tape a little strip on the back so you can easily flip the iPad up out of the pages, and there you go. If you're really into repurposing old books, you can make a little dock for this or your iPhone. We of course recommend only using books that are destined for recycling or a sad, lonely life on a dusty shelf.

A Handcrafted Fabric Case for iPads

ipad quilt photo
 Photo by polkadotchair.com

For some, only the beauty of something soft and hand-sewn like this case will do. It even has a zipper! It's so gorgeous I can see these being sold on Etsy. Luckily, Polkadot Chair has a tutorial for you so you can make it exactly how you want it for less.

This case will certainly take a bit longer to make, and require a bit more skill, but it's still something even those of us with the most basic sewing experience could handle. The tutorial provides measurements and step-by-step instructions.

It looks like a lot of fun to make, and you could get away with using old blankets or clothing you no longer want as the material instead of buying something new.

Minimalist Suede iPad Cover

leather case photo
 Photo by Jaymi Heimbuch

Yes Please Mademoiselle has a tutorial of one of the most basic designs for those of us who love minimalist chic. With essentially a single piece of fabric, you can fold and sew a nice little cover, closed with a looped string.

It is designed as an alternative to a far more expensive $200 leather case. However, you can use the pattern and pretty much any sturdy material you'd like to have essentially the same beautifully understated case. I'm thinking old jeans....

iPad Case from a Placemat and Some Tape

ipad placemat photo
 Scott Herder YouTube

Okay, so the minimalist case is easy, but this is seriously easy -- and no-sew for those with a fear of needles.

All you need is a placemat, some duct tape, and a bit of adhesive Velcro. Well, and some scissors and a pen. Fold the placemat, tape it up, measure, cut, add the Velcro and you're done. Here's a video instructional from YouTube:

Fleece iPad Cozy

ipad fleece image
 Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood / CraftSanity

Craft Sanity (a great name for a blog, btw!) has come up with a very interesting option for an iPad cover -- or rather, an iPad cozy.

The cover is made of soft fleece to protect the iPad from scratches and dings, and flips open so that you can use the iPad without removing it from the cover. The flap even folds up to act as a sort of stand similar to the smart cover. It looks simple enough to make, and soft enough to cozy up with your iPad on a rainy day. An old fleece jacket could be repurposed for this one, or perhaps a double layer of old flannel sheets.

Bubble Envelope Cover for iPad

ipad bubble envelope photo
 Photo by foleymo via Flickr CC

Finally, we have possibly the cheapest, easiest iPad cover one could devise -- the bubble envelope. Next time you get a package in the mail that arrives in one of these envelopes, you know what to do with it.

You can swag up your tape-covered envelope as foleymo did, or keep it super simple (and somewhat disguised) by sticking with just the envelope (and maybe some snazzy doodles).