That was probably the equation behind Apple’s iBooks app…take a book, digitize it, and put it into your iPad. Tah-dah! iBook!

However, what if one took an iPad, and put it into a book instead? That was the premise behind my (slightly) crazy idea of making my very own, personalised, DIY, bespoke iPad case.

I have been searching for the perfect iPad case, but they were either too expensive, too boring, too common or just…well…plain did not fit the bill. I wanted one with character…something which shouts “ME!” (sounds familiar, anyone?)

So anyhow, my idea was to find a suitable book and hollow it out, such that there would be enough space to fit the iPad. To my chagrin, I discovered that the idea was not original, and that I was the third person to attempt it (based on my very unscientific method of deduction). There were two other posts on the topic, by Ben and Lindsay. Since I could find no other posts, I must be the third…haha. (Update: found another one. I’m fourth. Hah.)

(Even more recent update: I found a few more examples of people who did the same thing…at the last count, i am probably #1,436,567…)

Anyhow, it was not easy looking for a suitable book. They were either too thin, too thick, too tall, too wide, too heavy, too un-glam, or too softcover (I am beginning to sound like Goldilocks)…however, I eventually found one after scouring Bras Basah complex, looking in dingy corners in second-hand bookstores. It was a graphic design book titled Hindsight, edited by Ken Cato, and cost me $14 (after some bargaining). Best part was, it was fabric-bound, a nice shade of blue, and was just the right size and thickness.

Sorry Ken Cato!

It was no easy feat cutting out the iPad-shaped hole in the book, but it was nothing a ruler and an X-acto knife (and a LOT of patience) couldn’t handle. Here are the photos:

Things you need…a suitable book, rulers of varying lengths, pencils of varying thickness (for greater precision), and different types of blades (with different lengths to help get into those tight corners). X-acto blades work better for cutting the rounded corners.

When you first draw the outline, remember to leave some space (it’s actually up to you how much space exactly, but more is better than less).

After about four hours of cutting, I was still just only part-way through. Until I remembered the sage advice by Ben (not Kenobi).

“Don’t forget to square your corners after the first 10 or 20 pages and continue to cut them that way. Square corners are much easier to cut than the rounded ones.”

Ah…yes, Ben.


After more cutting, I placed the iPad in to see how much more I had to go. Not long now…besides, I was nearing the end of the book.


One point to note…when cutting, you need really steady hands. One little slip, and this is what you get…



Finally! Reached the end of the book…the green-blue page you see is the inner-lining.

Now for the acid-test…

And it fits! *phew*

Of course, along the way, I had tested to make sure that the iPad fits into the hollow. Just that, I wasn’t 100 percent sure about the depth.


And here you go…a DIY book case for the iPad. A newer “old-school” twist, to a new twist on books. Anyhow, this is still only part one of the project. As you can see, the pages are still loose. I have yet to figure out a satisfactory way of adhering the pages together, such that they all become one solid block.

Any ideas?