December 2, 2011

How To Holidays: Make a Kindle Cover

Posted by Kristin

Now that the holiday season is officially upon us, most of us have probably started thinking through our gift lists....not just what we want but what to give our friends and family. Last Christmas, I took on the endeavor of making many of the gifts that I gave. While ambitious and slightly exhausting, I really enjoyed it and plan on doing it again this year. While I can't give away my handmade gift ideas for this year (sorry hubby, you're out of luck- no slip ups here!), I can share some tutorials on gifts I made last year. So first up is a Kindle cover.

Last December, Mike received a Kindle from my parents and I for his birthday. Along with requesting that, he also requested a Kindle cover. But after checking out options on Amazon, I didn't quite have the $40 to spend on a cover. Enter creative thinking.

First, I started out by observing the general features of Kindle covers.

Kindle Leather Cover with Updated Design, (Fits Kindle Keyboard)
$40 will get you this leather Kindle cover from Amazon.

I noticed that they all had a stiff cover of some sort to protect the Kindle. I also saw that most had an elastic band to keep the cover closed.

Kindle Leather Cover with Updated Design, (Fits Kindle Keyboard)Kindle Leather Cover with Updated Design, (Fits Kindle Keyboard)

I also noticed that while some did have fancy pockets to hold papers and tabs to hold the Kindle in place, others just left the Kindle sitting on top of the back portion of the cover, as shown above. After thinking through what I could do at home, I figured this model was probably the easiest to duplicate.

Once I had the design in mind, I gathered all my supplies on my official crafting surface...the living room carpet. They consisted of the Kindle itself so I could measure it, fabric, a ruler, chalk, cardboard, and a drafting triangle.

Next, I began measuring the Kindle to see how much of a stiff surface I would need. I used cardboard I had on hand because I thought that it would be stiff enough to offer support but not so heavy that it would be uncomfortable to hold. Once I knew the dimensions of the Kindle I cut the cardboard into three pieces. One for the larger, right side front cover, one for the back cover, and one for the narrow, left side front cover. This narrow, right side front cover would fold over the larger, left side front cover and keep it closed (it will make sense once you see the finished product).

The cardboard pieces: front, back, and overlapping narrow front cover.

Next, I cut the fabric pieces to match the cardboard. I decided to use black felt on the outside because its soft and not overly bright or busy. Mike likes fairly simple patterns so I figured black was a safe bet.I began by measuring out the appropriate distance between the coardboard pieces, knowing that I wanted them to fold into eachother like a journal. Once I had the correct spacing, I laid them out on the black felt and cut out a large rectangle.

I used the drafting triangle and chalk to mark my cut lines on the felt.

Once the rectanble of felt was cut, I evened out my measurements and trimmed off any excess material.

Next, I did the same thing with the inside, liner fabric. I chose to use striped,cotton, green and blue fabric for the inside, just to brighten things up a bit. Plus, green is one of Mike's favorite colors so I knew he'd like it. Once I had the rectangle of striped fabric cut to the right dimensions, I hemmed all 4 sides.  Felt doesn't really fray too easily, so I decided not to hem it. However, regular cotton fabric will fray on the edges, hence needing to hem that layer.

I also decided to sew a green strip of the striped fabric on the front side of black felt just for extra pizzazz.  Here's what the front cover looks like with the green stripe added (sorry for the washed out picture). 

Looking at the cardboard pieces above (L -R), is the front cover (felt with green stripe),
 the back cover (black felt), and the narrow, front fold over cover (black felt). 

Next, I was ready to assemble the cover. Unfortunately, I have limited pictures for this part so I'll do my best to explain it. First, I laid down the front, felt cover, good side facing the floor, and laid out the cardboard pieces on top of the felt, with the appropriate spacing in between. Once I knew the spacing was correct, I glued the cardboard pieces into place using a spray adhesive.

Then I laid the rectangle of hemmed, striped fabric on top of the cardboard and felt layers, good side facing up. Think of the black felt and striped fabric creating a sandwich where they are the bread and the cardboard is the meat (maybe a nice smoked turkey???). Once the striped fabric was lined up over the black felt, I brought it over to the sewing machine and began sewing around the top and side edges.I decided to use green thread so that it would blend in with the striped fabric and also add a nice little pop of color against the black felt.

I stopped sewing once I got to the middle of the bottom edge of the cover. At this point, I wanted to sew in the elastic band that would go over the side of the cover to keep it closed. I ended up using a thin, elastic headband I had lying around, which fit perfectly. I simply tucked one end of the elastic band in between the front and back covers, where the right edge of the middle piece of cardboard meets the left edge of the right piece of cardboard. I then sewed the elastic in place along the edge of the fabric.

Once that elastic was sewed in place, I finished sewing the bottom edge of the cover closed. The last part to sew was inbetween each layer of card board, creating seams that would help hold the cardboard pieces in place. Although I had glued them in place, I didn't want them shifting at all from side to side, so vertical stitches would create individual "pockets" of fabric that would ensure that the cardboard pieces would stay in place. I simply ran stitches from top to bottom, directly over all the fabric pieces, inbtween the large, left side front cover and back cover, and in between the back cover and narrow, right side fold-over cover. After that it was ready to go

Now for more pictures which will hopefully make the instructions much more clear!

This is the inside of the cover. You can see the elastic sticking out of the bottom right corner.

A simple elastic headband worked perfectly to keep the cover closed.

Now for a look at the outside of the cover:

The narrow, right side front cover folds over the larger, left side front cover
and is held closed by the elastic, stitched in place on the bottom seam.

A stripe of green fabric adds a bit of interest to the plain, black felt.

Hopefully this brings some clarity: the larger, left side front cover folds in over the back
cover and kindle inside. Then the narrow, right side cover, folds over everything
and is held in place by the elastic, which was stitched in place on the bottom seam. 

The money shot: here's what its all about.

And just in case Mike didn't know what to do, I left him some handy-dandy instructions.

Now I do realize that this cover doesn't have any tabs holding the Kindle in place. But I will say that Mike inserted the Kindle, closed the cover with the elastic band and shoot that sucker like bartender shakes a martini'  So I felt fairly confident that it would do its job of storing the Kindle safely. And I'm happy to report that roughly one year later, the cover has held up really well and it still doing its job of keeping the Kindle safe.

Do you have any amazon-related items you've tried to DIY? PEC would love to hear!


  1. The kindle cover still works great

  2. this helped me my brother has a birthday and I decided that I am going to make him a kindle case for his kindle he has.