Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Thinking of DIY: Handmade computer case

Before I got my netbook, I used to hate travelling with a computer. My laptop was too heavy; it weighed down one shoulder, and it added to the stress of the journey.

Melike’s case on A Cup of Sparkle
It’s not all hunky-dory with the Asus netbook Kevin got me about two years ago – the screen is quite small, you have to keep scrolling to see web pages, and it’s so light that I have to check quite often that I still have it! No, wait, that last one is not a problem! It pops into my handbag, and really, I love it. Not so its functional case – black and boring.  
This project started out because I wanted to make Kevin a case for his iPad 2. This one was like a trial version. My inspiration was the beautiful Mac Air case on A Cup of Sparkle – really love that one, even for that huuuge laptop. This idea can be adapted to any size computer, or, as Radhika pointed out, can be a purse!
So I went to the guy who upholsters our seating at home and ordered a metre of rexine at Rs 395. I chose a cream, the supplier didn’t have it; I settled for beige, or mocha, or, if we want to be stylish, a light mocha. I also got some braided cord from Pradhans (I couldn’t get suede cord), a one-hole punch and a set of magnetic closures.

Your equipment list would be something like this
·         ½ metre rexine or faux leather
·         2 metres coordinating or contrasting cord (must fit through the holes made by a one-hole punch)
·         One-hole punch
·         Magnetic closures
·         Ruler
·         Marking chalk
·         Cutter

Start by cutting out a rectangle of rexine that will envelope your computer, with a closing flap, and with enough extra at the side to allow you to do the lacing exercise.

Mark the actual edges of the comp with pins – do this neatly; even little pin marks can look quite ugly on rexine.

And a learning: you cannot iron rexine. That nice scorch mark is proof.

Now remove the pins, turn the rexine to the wrong side, and, using the pin pricks as a rough guide, draw a straight line on either side.

Mark the straight line at 2cm intervals.

Use your one-hole punch to make neat holes at the 2cm marks.


Fold the rexine, right side up, to make the envelope part of the case, aligning the holes on the top side and bottom side. Tie a neat knot to secure and then start lacing, taking care not to pull too much so the rexine does not fold at the edges.

Now to make the envelope flap: fold down the remaining loose rexine and secure with sticky tape.

Punch a few more holes in the case flap. I used a different lacing style on this – more vertical.

This is how it looked at this stage.


Now add the magnetic closures: Check out this post for the Placemat Clutch for how to do this. Carefully centre the lower part and then the top.

Now for the decorative element: the lopsided flower. Melike describes the way to do this really well on A Cup of Sparkle, so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. I made little slits with the cutter to allow me to anchor the bottom petal round over the magnetic closure on the flap.

It’s really easy, and, because of all the inconsistencies, very exclusive to you. Do try it this weekend and send me photographs of yours.


  1. Dear Prima,
    Your project is noteworthy but the material you used to make the laptop case is lousy. For a cheap purse of yesteryear's it may be O.K., but for the people who read your Blog, you should do some research in the materials used. In all aspects of modern gadgets, devices, or practically anything manufactured on Planet Earth, it is the material used that counts the most. We are in the Space Age and the spin-offs from NASA and the Russian Space Agency ensures that we have a lot of new and innovative material available. Your ASUS and MAC laptop computers are delicate no matter what the manufacturers say about ruggedness. So to give it some degree of protection the carrying case should have some heavy duty material besides Rexine. Also why did you buy ASUS? ASUS is made in China and the spare parts have to be imported from China (even for North American markets). Did you verify the closest authorized repair center? Mumbai may have one as it is the financial center of India and a lot of international offices are there besides New Delhi. So anyway before you buy anything in Mumbai first look at the After Sales aspect as well as the material and the workmanship. Sorry if I was too verbose. Bye.

    1. Dear Mario,
      Thank you for your comments. Yes, I agree that I should probably have padded the case, but this was a trial version for Kevin's iPad and I do plan to pad that one.
      The ASUS has not given any trouble, and we do have service centres here, as well as friends in Lamington Road! Fingers crossed anyway! Prima

  2. Your approach to this topic is unique and informative. I am writing an article for our school paper and this post has helped me. Thanks.

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