Make an original laptop covering using a discarded hardcover book and a long zipper found at any Dollar Store, you might even have all the materials at home already! I created a book-styled cover for my small netbook and turned my boring computer into a netbookbook!

I found this vintage hardcover book with a bear attacking frontiersman, perfect for my netbookbook. This tidy cover can cleverly conceal your netbook to look like any other book in your library, here’s a short video showing the cover in action:

I know you want a sweet vintage cover just like this one, follow along and make your own!

tools + materials

  • hobby knife
  • epoxy
  • needle + thread
  • hard cover book [thrift store ~ $2.00]
  • long zipper (like from an old jacket or zip-up file folder) [$1.00]
  • netbook computer (on hand)

total: $3.00

First, find an old hardcover book that will not be missed. You can usually find old books that are being discarded at your local library or school. I found this old hardcover book at a thrift store for about $2.00.

Make sure the book you chose is slightly larger than your netbook in all dimensions (width, depth and height). My netbook measures 260mm(w)x184mm(d)x30mm(h) [10.25″x7.25″x1.25″], the pictures show how much room I had left around the netbook when comparing it to the hardcover book. You want a snug fit, so try and find a book that closely matches your netbook.

I found a zip-up file folder which was much larger than my netbook and hardcover book at the Dollar Store. If you can’t find a medium length zipper like this you can always use the zipper from an old jacket.
Rip seams and remove zipper from the donor item.
Your zipper chain may have an unobstructed end once it’s removed from whatever it was in. It’s important to terminate the exposed zipper ends before doing any more work otherwise the slider may zip off the exposed end, once it slides off the chain it’s almost impossible to get it back on again.

To terminate your zipper ends simple fold the end 25mm [1″] of the zipper edges (called the zipper tape) back onto itself and sew a few stitches to hold it in place, repeat on other side of tape so both sides have been terminated.

Most laptops have feet on the bottom to raise the underside from whatever surface it will be resting on, this gap allows for increaded air circulation around vent openings and helps keep your laptop from overheating while in use. In addition to this gap for air circulation my laptop model also has the battery compartment protruding out along the entire lower back edge.

To accommodate for the vent openings and protruding battery compartment I cut through the backside of the book is select areas. This allows the book to be tightly shut, without buckling around any protrusions and allows the laptop to stay cool even though it’s almost completely covered.

Place your laptop on the book (minding the orientation), mark the openings with a pencil and then cut out with a sharp hobby knife.

After all the openings have been made it’s time to install the zipper. The easiest way I found was to glue down each edge and leaving the corners until last.

Glue one side at a time and allow the glue to cure between sides.
With the zipper closed, start by gluing down one end of the zipper to the inside edge of the book spine. The, progressively work around each side of the book and terminate the extra zipper length at the end inside the book spine. The extra length can be trimmed later. Allow the glue to cure.
Unzip the zipper and repeat the gluing process for the other side of the book.
Let epoxy glue cure overnight.

Once the epoxy has set it’s time to deal with the inside corners. Create a pleat on each corner and apply epoxy, you may need to rest a weight on the corners to ensure they cure lying flat. I used a plastic grocery bag as a barrier between the wet epoxy and the weight I used, removing the plastic after about an hour allowing the glue to set without bonding to the plastic barrier.
Repeat for all corners on both sides.

Scraps of fabric from the zip-up binder were used to create screen lifters inside the book. These lifters will allow the laptop screen to be opened when the book is opened, allowing ease of accessibility in one motion instead of two. Scraps were dry fitted around top edge of laptop screen and checked to ensure operation both when the screen was open and closed. Epoxy glue was applied to straps and all glue was allowed to cure overnight.

Trim excess zipper if required.

Your netbookbook should now be ready to bring out to the coffee shop, or hide in your bookcase somewhere (if you’re so inclined). My book has a battle scene between a fearsome bear and a brave frontiersman, I’m sure this shows everyone at the coffee shop that I’ve obviously tangled with bears before and am not someone to be messed with.

Have fun!