Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kindle Cover

Following up on my idea for using a screen print to make a cover for my new Kindle, I decided to see if I had what I needed without having to go shopping. I found a piece of fabric in my stash. It is a nylon, made for packs or purses—very heavy-duty, waterproof stuff. It seemed like it might be a good durable fabric for the cover and it just happened to be in a nice, rusty red that I love. Then I scavenged through my boxes of printing inks and tossed out several jars that had solidified. I found a greyed purple that seemed nice.

I set up my print station in the garage, for lack of a better work space. This is my screen printing setup:

It is a large board, lightly padded and covered with heavy plastic like you would make a tablecloth from. Years ago I chose this geometric print which is helpful in squaring things up on the board. A grid pattern is perfect, but I couldn't find such a thing at the time. Over the years, many, many prints have left ghost images on the board. At one end are a set of hinge clamps to hold the screen. You can see the little "kickstand" I mentioned in yesterday's post, holding the screen up off the print surface.

The first thing I did was determine where I needed to position the fabric for the print to end up where it needed to be. Then I put strips of masking tape at the corners, so I would know where to position the fabric. I planned to make several prints.

The next step was to print a test piece. I spread a nice thick line of ink across the top of the screen, then lowered the screen onto the fabric and pulled the ink across the screen with a squeegee. Here's the test print:

Looks pretty good. I adjusted the positioning slightly for the real prints. Then printed three prints on the red fabric.

Yuck. Two problems. First, there is not enough contrast between the ink color and the fabric color. I wanted the print subtle, but not this subtle. Second, the nylon fabric is not taking the ink well. It has a texture that is interfering with a smooth application of ink and I think the nature of the fabric is such that the ink is just not adhering well. I have the feeling it might scrape right off, even after it dries. Back to the drawing board.

I still like the idea of the sturdy fabric, but printing it won't work. I find a smooth cotton in a good match and decide I will print on it, then sew the prints to the nylon. I mix up a lighter shade of ink and print four prints on cotton.
So much better!

Here is the finished cover.

Here is the inside.

It was tempting to put a beautiful fabric on the inside, but I decided I did not want something that would scream at me in my peripheral vision as I was reading. Many of the covers that I saw online used these corner triangles to hold the Kindle in the cover, but made from the lining material. I hated the way that looked! So I was pleased with my idea of using a semi-sheer nylon fabric for the corners, which I think is fairly innocuous.

The kindle fits very snugly. In fact, it is a little tricky getting it under all four corners. But I guess this is good. I am pretty sure there is no way it will slip out. I made the cover so the front wraps to the back and closes with velcro. Here is the back.

All in all, I am quite pleased with how it turned out. I will have to use it for awhile, I think, to know if it works the way it needs to.


  1. I love it best when all is on hand. Well done!

  2. That was a fascinating process. I liked the process as well as the finished product! Great job.

  3. I hope it works well for you, because it looks wonderful. Like you, I do not like distracting things in my peripheral vision.

  4. Very nice! Mr C's cover is just for carrying. He takes it out to read.

  5. Just delightful. I think the colors work very well together. I love the sheer corners.

  6. Your cover looks great. I hope it works well for you. I was lucky enough to receive a kindle for Christmas too and I love it! My reading habit dropped off a bit this year but now I know I will be reading so much more in 2011

  7. Your cover turned out great. I need to make one for my Kindle. I have been saying that since May....

  8. Fantastic AND so practical! I love what you've done here.

  9. oh it's lovely! I love it--and not just the screen printing, which is wonderful, but how terrific the whole cover looks. You do such great work!

  10. What a great idea! All the best for 2011.