Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo

Make an iPad cover

by: Chica

Make an iPad cover
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Like many of you out there, Jo and I love the portable function and all-around awesomeness of our iPads. They are just so versatile that we often wonder how we ever got along without them! Like any expensive device, though, we want to protect them with a cover. Rather than pay big bucks for one of the many available (and boring) iPad covers on the market, I decided to make my own custom iPad cover. I started the design process by looking at our custom Kindle cover, which just needed a few adaptations to work for the iPad. The most important feature (besides looking cute, of course!) is that the iPad case needs to also serve as a stand for when I want to watch videos. You might be surprised at just how easy this cover is to make!

NOTE: This tutorial was designed for an original series iPad, which measures approximately 7.5″ wide, 9.5″ tall, and 0.5″ thick. If you have a later series iPad (like an iPad2 or iPad Mini), you will need to adjust the measurements accordingly for your case.

The first thing you’ll need is some heavy chipboard for the inside of the case. Don’t use regular corrugated cardboard from a box, because it will bend too easily. Use something solid and sturdy. A great upcycled source for chipboard is the back of a heavy-duty notebook or the inside of a binder cover.

You need to cut five pieces of chipboard using the following measurements. Go ahead and mark each piece with its number so that you don’t get them mixed up later.

  • Piece #1: 10″ x 7 1/2″
  • Piece #2: 10″ x 1/2″
  • Piece #3: 10″ x 7 3/4″
  • Piece #4: 10″ x 1/2″
  • Piece #5: 10″ x 3 3/4″

custom iPad cover

You’ll also need about a half a yard of fabric, cut in three pieces using the following measurements. This is where you get to have a lot of fun and choose something that really matches your personality!

  • Piece #1: 10 1/2″ x 23″
  • Piece #2: 10 1/2″ x 15 1/2″
  • Piece #3: 10 1/2″ x 8″

DIY custom iPad cover

Finally, you’ll need some 1″ wide elastic. This is the trickiest supply to find, because it’s so hard to find colored elastic. If your fabric looks good with white or black, then you’re in luck, because white and black elastic are readily available. I was actually very lucky (and amazed) to find a gorgeous teal elastic within a selection of new knit elastics by Dritz in our local Jo-Ann Fabric store. I don’t see it for sale online yet, but keep an eye out. I’ve also seen quite a selection of colored fold-over elastic online and in Hobby Lobby stores, and that’s a good option. Also keep in mind that you don’t have to use 1″ wide elastic, and can use something thinner if you find it in a color you like. I like the security of the wider elastic, though.

Cut four pieces of elastic 4″ long and one piece 11″ long.

DIY custom iPad cover

Okay, now that the supplies are straight, let’s get started! Take the four shorter pieces of elastic and lay them on the corners of your smallest piece of fabric and pin them in place. Make sure that the ends of the elastic completely reach the sides of the fabric.

DIY custom iPad cover

Then use your sewing machine to run a quick row of stitches on each end of the elastic, as close as possible to the edge of the fabric.

DIY custom iPad cover

This will add extra security to the elastic straps and also keep them in place during the rest of the construction.

DIY custom iPad cover

Use your scissors to trim off the excess corners of the elastic, taking care not to trim too closely.

DIY custom iPad cover

DIY custom iPad cover

Lay the smallest piece of fabric on top of the middle piece of fabric, right sides together, and line the edges up all the way on the right side.

DIY custom iPad cover

Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew the pieces together on the right side, then open them up and lay them flat.

DIY custom iPad cover

Place the largest piece of fabric face down on top of what you’ve got so far, and line it up on the right side again. Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew the pieces together on the right side.

DIY custom iPad cover

Use a ruler to measure 2 inches from the row of stitches and make a mark with a pen. Do this at both ends of the row of stitches.

DIY custom iPad cover

Slip the long piece of elastic in between the pieces of fabric, so that it sticks out the top and bottom. Line it up so that the elastic is centered on the marks you made, and pin in place.

DIY custom iPad cover

Now use your sewing machine to sew along the two long sides of the fabric. You should now have a rectangular “bag” that’s only open on the left, and sewn on the other three sides. The diagram below shows in yellow where the sewing should be, and also where the elastic should be.

DIY custom iPad cover

Flip the bag inside out and you should have a set of corner braces on the front side and and an elastic band on the back side.

DIY custom iPad cover

DIY custom iPad cover

Take piece #1 of your chipboard and slip it inside the fabric, all the way down to the end.

DIY custom iPad cover

DIY custom iPad cover

With the chipboard shoved down into the fabric as far as possible, and the fabric pulled taught, use your sewing machine to run a row of stitches along the edge of the chipboard, as close as you can get it without sewing through the chipboard (that’s a good way to break a needle!)

DIY custom iPad cover

Put chipboard piece #2 into the fabric next, and shove it all the way down in place.

DIY custom iPad cover

Then run another row of stitches as close to it as you can to piece #2.

DIY custom iPad cover

Continue with chipboard pieces #3 and #4, adding a row of stitches after each one.

Finally, put chipboard piece #5 in place, and you should have a couple inches of fabric left on the end.

DIY custom iPad cover

To close the end up, start by folding one side of the fabric down over the chipboard.

DIY custom iPad cover

Then tuck the other side in on itself, to create a smooth and even fold.

DIY custom iPad cover

Use a slip-stitch to close up the seam. If you need help with a slip-stitch, check out Lesson 10 in our Sewing 101 video series to learn the technique.

DIY custom iPad cover

And just like that, you’re done!

DIY custom iPad cover

Just slip your iPad under the elastic corners and you’re good to go.

DIY custom iPad cover

To close the case up, just pull the cover over top of the iPad, wrap it around, flip it over, and stick the flap under the elastic band on the back.

DIY custom iPad cover

The cover is so snug and secure and makes it so easy to carry the iPad around in style.

DIY custom iPad cover

And if you want to hold the iPad in your hands, the flaps fold up to create a slim and sleek case that is easy to hold.

DIY custom iPad cover

The best part, though, is that the stand lets you prop the iPad up for watching movies. Just open the case back up and fold the cover back on itself, and form a triangle with the flaps. I just love it!

Make an iPad cover
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127 comments so far:

  • 1
    Ardi 12/10/2014 at 5:58 pm

    The power button on my husband’s ipad is in the top right hand corner. Do you have any suggestion on how to place the elastic so that this will not be covered up. This is a major problem with the cover that was purchased for him. I am going to try this project but would like some input on my question before I begin.

  • 2
    Chica 12/13/2014 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks for sharing your metric measurements, Irit. So glad you enjoyed this project!

  • 3
    Chica 12/13/2014 at 3:01 pm

    Hmm, that’s a tough one, Ardi. Do you think the tablet would be secure enough if you just left that elastic off entirely and only had three corners with elastic?

  • 4
    Angela 12/17/2014 at 4:04 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial! I just made covers for both of my boys. They each have iPad2s and the covers came out just fine. I’m sure they will love them for Christmas.

  • 5
    Mary 01/01/2015 at 6:43 pm

    How do I allow for the camera lense? I don’t want to cover up the lense with the case. I have an iPad Air and the lense is located in a corner. Any ideas? I still want to take photos while my iPad is in the case.

  • 6
    Chica 01/04/2015 at 10:56 am

    Mary, that’s a great question! I guess a notch of some sort is called for. If you figure out a way to make it work, please share with us!

  • 7
    Pam 03/01/2015 at 6:23 pm

    Thankyou so much for the pattern and wonderful directions. My IPAD cover had seen better days so I found your tutorial and made one for myself but the chip board I got from the craft store was thin so I ordered some from Amazon and made a cover for my daughter and grandson and they both love them. Also I used interfacing to make them a little more tough for kids

  • 8
    Pam 03/26/2015 at 11:44 pm

    This was a great tutorial. I added interfacing and a light batting. It went together really well. Thank you! I want to make another one and incorporate a quilt block.

  • 9
    Chica 03/29/2015 at 10:07 am

    Pam, I love the idea of incorporating a quilt block!

  • 10
    Keri 06/15/2015 at 3:22 pm

    How did you get the measurements for the fabric? I need to change it to fit my iPad mini. I understand the measurements for the chipboard but not the fabric. Can you explain how you got those measurements? Thank you so much! I am excited to start making this!

  • 11
    Chica 06/15/2015 at 7:02 pm

    Keri, we calculated the fabric measurements based on what would be needed for the size of our iPad. If you want to modify the instructions to fit an iPad Mini, you’ll need to adjust accordingly based on the measurements of the Mini. (Ex: if it’s an inch shorter than an iPad, make all the pieces an inch shorter)

  • 12
    Tina 06/16/2015 at 5:12 am

    oh wow I can not tell you how pleased I am to have found this tutorial ….. I have a ipad cover which I hate but haven’t been able to find one that I like ….. And now I can make my own …… THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU xxxxxxx I love how you have done it all step by step …AWESOME ……. Thank you so much xxxxxx

  • 13
    Chica 06/16/2015 at 7:06 am

    Tina, thanks so much for the nice comments! Hope you really enjoy your new cover :)

  • 14
    Sharon 06/16/2015 at 12:02 pm

    I love this!!! My question is this: Could I use plastic canvas instead of the clipboard?

  • 15
    Chica 06/18/2015 at 7:07 pm

    Sharon, that sounds like it just might work!

  • 16
    Sophie 07/31/2015 at 11:23 am

    Thanks a lot for this tutorial. I’ve juste made one for the Samsung Tab for my classroom, I will make another one, it’s easy. Good explanations ! I will show it on my blog later.

  • 17
    Sophie 08/03/2015 at 2:45 am
  • 18
    Chica 08/04/2015 at 6:28 pm

    Sophie, those look great! Thanks for sharing your results.

  • 19
    Elley 08/13/2015 at 9:29 pm

    Planning on making one of these but would like to add a place to store my stylus. I saw one with pockets that might work. but it looked bulky when closed. any thoughts ? Maybe extend the case a little next to the ipad and add an elastic?

  • 20
    Sophie 08/14/2015 at 1:16 am

    thnak you Chica ;)

  • 21
    Chica 08/17/2015 at 7:16 pm

    Elley, we haven’t tried adding a pocket for a stylus, but it sounds like your ideas are on the right track. Let us know how it goes!

  • 22
    Joy 09/13/2015 at 9:39 am

    Your instructions are so good! Clear and easy to follow. I am going to make one for myself and for my husband. Thanks for taking the time!

  • 23
    PATRICIA 09/19/2015 at 2:14 am

    Merci pour ces explications qui sont très bien faites.

  • 24
    Camilla 01/24/2016 at 3:48 pm

    fantastic instructions :-) really easy to follow. Just made one and Will be putting pics and instructions in swedish on My blogg
    I’ve also changed the measurments to centimeter and millimeter. Keep up this brilliant site !

  • 25
    Linda 01/30/2016 at 9:23 am

    Has anyone tried covering an old iPad case?

  • 26
    Sylvie 02/01/2016 at 5:48 pm

    Very good instructions. I modified the sizes a little for ipad air 2. Also I put another row of stitching after the last piece of cardboard and folded only the last 1/2 inch inside and sew over by machine so it makes a stopper since I made it with heavy fabric (kind of ultrasuede) Merci beaucoup ! I wish I could send you a photo.

  • 27
    Chica 02/04/2016 at 12:57 pm

    Sylvia, thanks for sharing your results. We’d love to see a photo if you want to email it to us at

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