Friday, February 27, 2009

The difficulties in making your own Kindle cover

Ever since the Kindle 1, I have been obsessed with the idea of making my own cover for it from scratch. But my K1 already had two covers, the one it came with and a lovely red leather M-Edge. So I drifted along. But here came K2 naked as a jaybird and the M-Edge cover I wanted not yet available. I ordered a purple M-Edge, the platform type, so that it will turn into its own reading stand. Also, I did make it a quilted slipcase which is a no-brainer for a quilter who has made all sorts of bags and purses. (See photo in my first February post.) But an actual cover that secures the Kindle is a totally different challenge and I was finally ready to take it on.

Not having a bookmaking supply store close by, I went to Michaels and bought a type of illustration board which seems sturdy enough, and I already had an exacto knife. Being a quilter means that I have lots of cutting mats, batting and fabric. The hardest physical challenge was cutting the illustration board, identical front and back pieces. You need to score it over and over and over till it finally breaks free.

I laid down the fabric for the outside, covering it with thin batting, then placed the front and back pieces appropriately with room for the spine between, and laid another piece of batting on it. Then I pulled the free edges of the outside around to the inside and glued them. My plan had been when the glue was dry to baste and then hand sew fabric to the inside.

I can figure out the book part of it just fine. Where I fall down—splat!—is in a method of securing the Kindle to the cover. We are not talking about a lightweight thing here; it is very thin but sturdy, weighs 10.2 ounces and needs to be firmly secured. Really, you are better off having it naked than to put it in something you are relying on to hold it and then having it escape. The little corner things which are on M-Edge covers would not be that difficult to do, but how secure would they be attached just to fabric? M-Edge is attaching leather to leather. It is not possible to sew to the book boards themselves. I don't think there is a solution involving fabric. There are all kinds of cases I could make for it, and did make the slipcase. But a cover which holds it? I give up.

While waiting for the M-Edge, K2 has been developing cabin fever so it was obvious I needed an interim cover and the fastest way to get one of those was to order Amazon's which is now on its way. At least it will be secure, and I can always sell it later if I wish.


  1. I was trying to figure out my own Kindle cover today and found your blog - I was thinking that i could duplicate the m-edge concept using an elastic tape for the bottom corners - the kind used in making clothing and use some sort of tube made of something like neoprene or a thin sturdy vinyl or other touch fabric that could hold the top - i was thinking you attach these to a backing - say a think but sturdy sheet of cardboard, vinyl or styrene (available at model train or hobby shops) - in this way you can use a much stronger fastener to attach the parts that will actually hold the kindle body and then you have a much bigger surface to attach that sheet to the cover you are making - this way the fabric doesn't have to do the job at such a small area but can be used to hold the entire "backing" piece- i hope this makes sense - since you had said you understood the book bing part of it i though you might get what i am describing - if not i can send you a drawing - good luck

  2. I was wondering if a cover could be made using old denim jeans, foam, pieces of sturdy cardboard, and elastic bands? I hate to spend money on things that I can make myself, but somehow a Kindle cover seems just out of my ability.

  3. The easiest way is velcro. I am trying to figure our a way to not have to put velcro on the back of my kindle...I am thinking of buying a skin and putting the velcro on that and sticking velcro on my cover.

  4. Why not use some stiff fabric, like canvas, to make corner pockets - similar to how old photo albums worked?

  5. I've made a couple and I experimented:

    The black bias tape corners were fail. They kind of worked, but they'd have to be tighter and snugger than I made them.
    The corners, on the other hand, work a treat. I replaced the tape corners with the fabric ones.
    You want a square of foam sheet, 1.5 inches each side. Cut them in half to make two right-angled triangles. Then get a big square of fabric, and wrap it around the sheets to make a pocket. I kinda did it as I went, origami-style, but it worked. The foam bit goes on top. Then I glued the corners to the fabric, and then sewed around two sides to be sure.
    What you have to be careful of is the fit. Make it nice and snug. I've been using both covers for a month, and so far, no accidents.
    On the covers you can also see a deep pocket at the back, on the left hand side. The Kindle fits in there for when I really want to make sure it's secure, like in transit.
    The other way I thought of was buying one of those gel cover things and then securing that to the case, either gluing or with Velcro.