Upcycling project: How to make yourself a fab ebook reader case using an old hardback book!

Paul Stevenson ebook cover 1 Like many folks these days, we love print AND digital, which is why The Simple Things is available in all sorts of formats. Reading is really important (have you seen our Inspired by... Books feature in Issue 6?) so when we saw this brilliant ebook reader case that was homemade by our friend Paul Stevenson, we just knew that we needed to get him to share it as a crafty project! Happily he readily agreed...

"I got an ebook reader a few months back for my birthday, from my wife," Paul says. "After shopping around online and in shops for a case, and being slightly shocked by their cost and uninspiring looks, I decided to make my own."

Paul Stevenson ebook cover 2

"I've been using the case for a few months now and it's been great," he says. "I carry it everywhere – on my bike, the train, etc – as it fits into a trouser pocket just fine. I've had quite a few questions by random folks on public transport asking where I bought it, so I may have to start a production line!"

That's the kind of upcycling inspiration we really love! Below, Paul explains how to make you very own ebook case – if you do have a bash at it, be sure to take a picture of your make and share it on our Facebook wall!

The kit you'll need:

  • A donor book, ideally a hardback that's of a similar size to your ebook.
  • Three lengths of elastic, each about one and half times longer than the height of your chosen hardback book.
  • PVA or other crafting glue that will stick the elastic to paper.
  • A sharp scalpel.
  • Masking tape or similar to protect the spine of the hardback.
  • Some other books to weigh everything down while the glue sets.

Paul Stevenson ebook cover 3

1. I started by scanning the bookshelves at home and picked out a few random old hardback books which had been picked up in charity shops, handed down from family, etc. The one I chose was a perfect fit size-wise. I didn't want a case that was too big or it would be annoying to carry around in a pocket.

2. The second step was to line the profile of the ebook reader to the profile of the book's pages and work out an appropriate amount of pages that I'd need to scalpel out to make room for the device. I have to admit that, at this point, it did feel a little wrong to be cutting pages out of a 67-year-old book. But having the ebook reader on me at all times has turned me from someone who rarely read books, to someone who reads daily.

3. I carefully cut out blocks of pages, making sure that there were a good 50 pages left underneath, both to allow for protection and for the elastic to be stuck and bonded underneath. Once I'd cut out enough pages, I checked that the hardback would shut properly with the ebook reader inside, without warping the book cover.

Paul Stevenson ebook cover 4

4. Next I removed the ebook reader, raided my wife's craft box and 'borrowed' enough elastic to make three bands. Two bands to run between the lower paper and hook over the top of the edges of the ebook reader, to keep it snug inside the hardback. The third band was stuck in the same way, but is a little longer, which allows it to be snapped around the front cover, keeping the book shut and the ebook reader's screen safe.

Paul Stevenson ebook cover 5

5. Once I'd completed the slightly fiddly task of laying the elastic under the lower pages, and had applied glue to the elastic and subsequent dozen pages, I piled books to the weight of about 2kg on top to apply enough pressure while the glue set for a firm bond. I left this overnight.

6. Finally, I stuck strips of masking tape along the spine on the inside of the hardback, to stop the short ends becoming frayed and weakening it during use.

Paul Stevenson ebook cover promo pic

Don’t forget, you can buy the print version of The Simple Things at good retailers around the globe, individually online or buy a subscription. For your iPad/iPhone, visit the Apple Newsstand. A digital version to read on a PC, Mac or Android device can be found on Zinio. For Android phones and tablets, we’re also now on Google Play. And now if you're in the US, you can buy a version for your Barnes & Noble Nook eReader, tablet and apps.

Subscribe now and get a free copy of the fabulous Decorate Workshop by Holly Becker, a book worth £25! You can subscribe online, or call call 0844 848 2852 (quote code TSTW13 – Mon-Fri 8am-9.30pm & Sat 8am-4pm). Offer ends 31/03/2013.