How to Make a Moleskine iPad Case

Putting a case around an Apple product gives me mixed emotions. Apple puts so much devotion into designing their products that every detail has been thought about. Holding a bare iPhone or iPad, it just feels right, the only thing they don't seem to take into consideration is: what if it is dropped, what if it is put in a bag, what if it rests on a rough surface, what if its in a pocket with keys? A case is needed. I always like to find a case that is as elegant as the Apple products themselves. For my iPod, I ended up loving the invisible shield, for my iPhone, I think there is no better case than the Incase slider, and now with my iPad I am back in this hunt. Having heard very mixed reviews about Apple's own iPad case, I searched the web and found the DODOcase. The DODOcase is everything I wanted out of iPad protection. It is light, let's the Apple product stand out, protects the screen, and feels like a book when held (gives the ereading experience a little old school flare). Best of all, they look just like my beloved Moleskine sketchbooks, which would not only look awesome sitting side by side, but offer some camouflage when carrying the iPad around the city. The problem? They are handmade, so have a 4-6 week wait (add another week for shipping) and they cost $49.95 with shipping. About to move on, I watched the video they have posted on their site about how they made the cases and had a little brainstorm. Having gone to school for graphic design, I had taken a class in traditional bookbinding and the process they use to make the cases is that same exact process. I went to my favorite book binding supply website, Hollander's and did a run down of cost.


  1. 1 sheet of liner paper - $3.50
  2. 1 sheet of Imitation Leather Black Morocco (brown also available) - $6.75
  3. 1 sheet Davey Binder's Board .098 - $3.75
  4. PVA Glue  - Thin 4 ounces - $3.25
  5. Black elastic ribbon - AC Moore - $1.50
Total = $18.75
Compared to $49.95, that's a bargain! Plus, I was able to get my own custom liner paper (there's unlimited options online), unlike the DODOcase, which at the moment only offers red. Hollander's moves fast and I received the shipment in about four days. If you are crafty, the process is pretty simple and can be completed in about two hours (drying time excluded). Please do not take this as anti-DODOcase. It is because I love them so much that I decided to make one myself. If you don't have the time to make one yourself, looking at the cost of the supplies and the fact that it comes with a nice foil stamping and beautiful bamboo seat for the iPad, $49.95 is a deal for something handcrafted like the DODOcase.


DIY Moleskine iPad Case

1.) Make sure you are working on a clean level area and use a cutting board. 2.) Measure out the dimensions of the cuts on the binder's board with a pencil. I used 8" x 10" for the covers and .75" for the spine. To get the curve look on the edges, trace the iPad. 3.) Using a metal ruler as a guide, cut the binder's board with a utility knife. This will take many tries before cutting through the board.

DIY Moleskine iPad Case

4.) Lay leather on table and size up the cut board. Remember that you will need to leave about a millimeter of space between the covers and the spine in order for the book to fold. Cut leather to size.

DIY Moleskine iPad Case

5.) Remove boards and brush on book binding glue so that the whole back is covered. This will require some extra weights or hands, as the leather will start to roll as it gets moist. 6.) Put binding board back on the leather and press down. 7.) Round out corners of leather with scissors.

DIY Moleskine iPad Case

8.) Fold edges around binder's board. For the corners, wrap leather around the corner and use a hammer or other blunt object (I used the back of a metal ice cream scoop) to hammer corners to shape. 9.)  To remove bubbles and ensure a strong bond, place a bunch of heavy books (I find art history texts work best) on top. Let sit for as long as you can.

DIY Moleskine iPad Case

10.) Create two holes in the back cover 2.5cm from the top and side. Look at a moleskine journal for reference. I found that a 1/2 inch flat-head screw driver struck by a hammer works perfect. 11.) Thread elastic ribbon through the cuts and loop around. You can place iPad in the case to make sure it is the right tension. It should be comfortable to bind iPad shut, but be completely tight. Once you have them in place, glue the tabs on the inside down to the board.

DIY Moleskine iPad Case

12.) Now comes the tricky part that makes buying the DODOcase a pretty good deal, making the holder for the iPad. In most cases I have seen online, like Griffin's, they use a four corner holder. To do this, take the imitation leather and cut four 1 inch strips. 13.) I then sized up the loops on the iPad and taped them to a piece of paper to hold them in place. Don't worry about how it looks, it will not be seen anyway.

DIY Moleskine iPad Case

14.) Size up and cut the liner paper so it covers the entire inside of the cover. Cut four slits so that the holder loops will poke through where needed.

DIY Moleskine iPad Case

15.) Coat the back of the liner paper and the holder loop and paper completely in glue and afixe to the cover. Make sure you smooth it out as much as possible. Let dry completely.

DIY Moleskine iPad Case

16.) I put an Apple sticker on mine, but you can decorate as you see fit.

DIY Moleskine iPad Case

The Bottom Line

So far, I must say I am pretty proud of how the cover came out. I can not speak for durability, but as it is made of the same materials as my Moleskine and I carry that thing everywhere I go, I think the case will be around for awhile. I will say that I am now completely comfortable with putting my iPad in my bag, as the screen is completely protected with a hard cover.

DIY Moleskine iPad Case

Weight wise, because it is mostly paper and cardboard, it adds very little bulk to the iPad. It feels about the same weight as a book of the same size. Some cool features are similar to other book-like ebook cases. It adds a nice thickness to the iPad when held that feels just like holding a book, making reading in iBooks feel absolutely natural.

DIY Moleskine iPad Case

When closed and viewed from a distance, the case is almost unrecognizable as the $500 device it really is. For when the iPad is put on my lap or on a table, the cover can be folded back into a stand to make the perfect amount of incline to make typing much easier. The case can also be used to make the iPad stand up for watching videos.

DIY Moleskine iPad Case

DIY Moleskine iPad Case

I have to warn that this is not a project for anyone with little to no crafting experience. Bookbinding is definitely an art and like I stated, I took a college class in it. From every review I've read, the DODOcase is worth every dollar, but if you want to give my process a try, for under $20 I doubt you can find a case of this quality. Add to this that the case will be completely unique to the rest of the world and I think I found a case suitable of carrying my beloved iPad. For those that want the Hitchhiker's "Don't Panic" style in their iPad case, check out my review of the MyCase Concepts Don't Panic Folio Case.

Update 7/2/10

Wow. The response to this post has been completely overwhelming and I thank everyone for their kind comments. On June 17th, I woke up to find that the MDP servers had been completely crushed., a Gawker Media blog devoted DIY, design, and how-to's had featured this post. I couldn't even take a moment to bask in the fact that my creation was being featured on one of my favorite sites, as I worked with my hosting provider to get the site back up. At this time, the post has been read nearly 60,000 times and been reposted on sites throughout the world in France, Australia, China, and Japan. This is easily among the most eyeballs to ever see a work of mine and the most read post in MDP history (yes even beating my infamous "Dark Marks and Other Failed Harry Potter Tattoos"). As a content creator, this is severely exciting and surreal.

If you found this post through Gawker or another site, I thank you for reading and urge you to browse MDP a bit. There is much more content just like this to be found. Secondly, the guys over at Dodocase found the post and after talking to Patrick a bit, I am an even bigger fan of their product than before! They really seem to care about their product and seriously make each case by hand. I was able to pick up a bamboo tray  from them and installed it into my case, making it as close as I can get to an actual Dodocase without buying the real deal.

In short, as I mention in the post, after making just one of these, I think their product is fairly priced at $59.95. The bamboo tray works flawlessly and since it holds the iPad completely still, makes it feel identical to holding a book. It has been about a month since I completed my case and I have barely taken my iPad out of it. The case is holding up as well as any notebook and is starting to get the little bumps and scrapes that they get too, giving it the worn character that my moleskines always seem to get. As it is the case that is getting the "character" and not my iPad, I could not be happier.

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Social Media & Design Nerd for Hire obsessed with Doctor Who, Space, Drawing/reading Comics, Video Games & David Bowie.

111 Responses to “How to Make a Moleskine iPad Case”

  1. Max December 11, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    for the cardboard.

  2. Eric April 26, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    Hi! Awesome DIY project! I wanted to do this for a while and wanted to know one thing. What kind of liner paper is needed? Does it have to be anything special (certain type of paper) or just something I like to look at? Thanks again for the quick reply.

  3. jade December 6, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    how about adding some extra stuff to turn this is a very beauiful purse, where i can hold my moleskin book, cards and stylus or pencil and of course we need a strap


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