Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Long Awaited Unveiling of my Steampunkesque iPad Cases

While awaiting the arrival of the iPad. I set about working on some designs
before the debut of the magic machine. I knew that case designs would be sparse until manufacturers knew the product would take off. No Kate Spade or Vaja design yet. a deign that caught my eye was a case called Book Book. It was a computer case Book case. Very clever. It was about $80.00. I knew I could make one work on less money.

For months I carted around a pad of shrink wrapped paper that was the exact dimensions of an iPad. This help in formulating case designs. My first every day use case was created from a discarded book I found in my favorite Antique Mall Southern Crossing. It was a picture book of Swan Lake. It would fit my iPad perfectly with some modifications. I liked the fact it was dark blue and the lettering was in gold.

The modifications: I cut out all the pages of the book and reinforced the spine with heavy duty chipboard. The chip board is glued to the inside over with glue. The spine, front cover and back cover are reinforced with reliable duct tape. The silver matched well enough with the inside pages. One iPad designer on Etsy used a velcro system to attache the iPad to the book case. I did not want to go that route as once you remove the velcro in order to you your iPad with another case you would have to remove the sticky residue.

I fabricated a bracket out of basswood. Basswood is very easy and yet durable to work with. If you do not have a wood working shop this wood you can cut with a simple small hand saw found in hobby shops and Exacto knives. Once a case is made and stained, painted, and or polyurethaned the wood is durable for everyday wear and tear. The brackets were glued and stapled to the back inside of the book cover. I painted over the staples. Since this was for myself I could live with some imperfections. If you notice the iPad is not fully bracketed. This allows for easy access to rotate the case by propping the book cover up and bending the front to the back. Since it it is my case I know how to hold it. I removed the label art on the front and replaced with an image found on a Steampunk wallpaper site. I had laminated the image for better durability. The brackets were then painted gold to resemble gold edging on fine books. I am working on making a closure for it at the moment. All of these cases are always ongoing projects.

My second iPad case, would be a heavy duty travel case. I wanted something that would remind me of the old travel or lap desks that were important in the 17th, 18th and 19th century. Thomas Jefferson’s lap desk sold for $55000 some time ago. This project honed in on my Steampunk DIY nature. This was the longest project to complete. The problem was not assembling but acquiring the parts I needed. The wood was the hardest. As the iPad is an odd size, my use of basswood would not work as I could not get sheets wide enough. I had even tried getting hardwood veneers at a local wood working shop and they could not help. So I carted my dummy pad for sometime while looking for alternatives.

The alternative came in an old cedar cigar box at the same Antique shop I found the Swan Lake book. The width of the box was perfect the height I could alter. The tape hinges would have to be removed. These are items I could work with

Modifications: I spent some time removing the tape with a blade and Windex. When that was complete, the wood had to be dried, I used plenty of Windex and it soaked the wood, and flattened. This process took some time. Never rush wood drying, you may warp it. I disassembled the box. I made new brackets of basswood for the bottom of the case and the top. This is a process you do not rush as well. I glued and clamped each rail and set it aside for a number of hours. The wood glue is strong enough that I did not have to staple it. I might later one. The box was a bit long so I created an additional bracket to hold a stylist, a stand, made from one of the original brackets. The reason I stapled the brackets on the book cover is that the wood was being glued to paper covering the cover. I purchase my hinges and basswood form Joann’s Fabric. Strange they have the wood I like and Michaels’ does not. Go figure. I bought a few small plain boxes that have hinges and clasps. They work very well for this project.

The top of the case had to be carved to allow the iPad to nestle into the case without any added force. So I spent some time carving out angles in the wood. Since I do not have a wood working shop I am sure a mitre box would have made things easier. Using an Exacto knife cuts through the wood very well and made fairly easy work of this process. Once assembled I went about staining the box. Since the cigar box has tape there is some imperfections in the stain but I think it adds to its unique quality. Two coats of polyurethane to give it a shine.

To finish the project, the iPad needed to rest on something other than wood. One could sand to a fine surface but it would still scratch the back. Oddly enough the first item I found for this case was the fabric I used. My friend Maegan, a costume designer, who lives in Atlanta, allowed me to rummage through her collection of fabrics she had acquired over the years. I snagged this fine red silk that, would add any class to any steampunk project. The fabric was spray glued to the top and bottom. This case will be my travel case to add a bit of class and protection to my iPad, the Book of Eibon

Tagged: IPad, Steampunk, Thomas Jefferson
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Anonymous said...

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Drummel said...

i did something simpler

Pat said...

This is amazing!.. At first I notice it was like a book but it doesn't really is it.. It was an ipad case!.. Fabulous!.. what a very creative design.. you can also angled it in different positions were you can feel convenient to operate your stuff.. it was such absolutely great!..

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