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Old 03-22-2009, 10:07 PM   #1
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How-to instructions for making Leonardo Leather Kindle case

This is the first of several installments for the do-it-yourself Kindle 2 users on how to make the Leonardo Kindle case featured in this thread: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=40384

Including the cost of the stock Kindle case, which has to be destroyed to obtain the hinge that holds the Kindle in place in the Leonardo case, as well as the Leonardo address book and other materials, this project will cost about $200. Is it worth it? If you want a case that is one of a kind and can't be bought anywhere, and you want the satisfaction of having made it yourself, definitely!

To whet your appetite for this project, here are a few photos of what the finished product will look like.





First installment: Removing the hinge from the stock Amazon Kindle cover.

We’ll start with removing the hinge from the stock Amazon Kindle case. The hinge is an essential feature of the Leonardo case, since it gives it all the excellent functionality of the stock Kindle case.

1. Lay the stock Amazon case on a flat work space. Using a finger nail feel edges of the of the hinge and mark them with a pen, as shown in the photo.



2. Using a sharp Exacto knife or other utility knife and straight edge, cut along the markings you’ve made. Press firmly on the blade and make repeating strokes until you’ve cut through the fabric and leather strip covering the hinge.



3. Remove the hinge when it has been cut free. The fabric is glued to the top of the hinge with contact cement. Gently pull away a corner and strip the fabric off, being very careful not to bend or break the hinge (it’s made of plastic).





4. Some glue residue will remain on the hinge (the black stuff in the photo). Using OOPs or some other glue remover rub the residue off.



5. Some extra plastic material will be left around the edges of the hinge (the yellow colored material in the photo). Using your Exacto or utility knive, trim this extra material flush with the edges of the hinge all the way around.



6. A photo of the under side of the hinge (note the spring for the hook that retains the Kindle in place) now ready for use in the Leonardo case.



Next installment: Preparing the Leonardo address book for conversion to a Kindle 2 cover.
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Old 03-23-2009, 12:16 AM   #2
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Old 03-23-2009, 07:24 PM   #3
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2nd installment:Preparing the Leonardo address book for conversion to Kindle 2 cover

This step is quite easy. All you need is an Exacto or utility knife, a straight edge, and, of course, the Leonardo address book, available for $155 from Jenni Bick Bookbinding http://www.jennibick.com/alphabet-address.html Update: last night I found a less expensive source -- Strawberry Hill, http://www.strawberryhillhome.com/022-04.html They sell it for $105, $50 less than Jenni Bick Bookbinding.

Here's what you start with: the Leonardo address book with the address pages attached.









To remove the bound-in address pages use a very sharp razor knife and using a straight edge as a guide, cut along the folded seam where the outer cover paper is glued to the leather cover.



The leather cover with the pages removed.



Another view of the cover with pages removed/



Next trim back the excess paper from the address book lining the insides of the leather cover so that none protrudes beyond the plane where both halves of the leather cover fold over the center.



The Leonardo cover is now ready for the next phase of work -- taking the cover apart and re-gluing it to make it fit the Kindle 2 better.

Last edited by artsci; 03-30-2009 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 03-26-2009, 08:59 PM   #4
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Installment three: Taking the cover apart and re-gluing it to fit the Kindle 2 better

With the address book removed, the naked Leonardo leather cover is a bit too thick to properly fit the Kindle 2 cover. Here's a side view that shows the excessive width.



Modifying the cover to make it thinner is quite easy, but it takes some courage to rip apart a hand-made $155 work of leather art if you haven’t done these kinds of things before. But let me assure you, it's not difficult, nor does it require any extraordinary skill.

1. First, carefully lift the edges of the paper lining and pull them away from the covers. You want to pull away enough of this material to leave the folded-over edges of the leather on the inside of each side of the cover exposed, as shown in the photos. Strip away as much of the paper lining as you can but don’t worry if there’s some left. It will all be covered over eventually.

The several pictures below illustrate these steps.





This is what it should look like after you've pulled away the paper lining:



2. Now slowly separate each side of the cover from the spine. Do this carefully – the leather at the outside edges of the spine is quite thin and you can inadvertently tear it you’re careless or too hasty.

This step might scare you, but do not fear. It’s easy and it all goes back together quite easily.

The pictures below indicates various steps of this process.



When it's all pulled apart, this is what you have: 2 leather cover sides and the leather spine. Remove carefully any excess paper lining extending beyond the leather edges of the spine.



3. Now reassemble the spine and each side of the cover. The goal here is to align and glue each side of the cover in a position on the spine closer to the gold leaf flower in the middle of the spine. The covers should be glued onto the spine so they cover about 1/16” or so of the edges of the gold leaf flower. Care should be taken to be sure the covers are glued to the spine squarely and that the outer edges of the spine and covers align properly.

To make this task easier, align each cover with the spine one at a time and mark the position on the inside of the cover with a soft pencil. When the alignment of both side of the cover with the spine are so marked, you’re ready to do the gluing.



To glue the covers and spine together, I highly recommend a product called Quick Grip All-Purpose Permanent Adhesive. It’s like a contact cements, but it bonds more slowly giving you about a minute or to move things around before it sets so you can make sure the alignment is perfect.



Spread the glue within the pencil markings on the side of one cover and align it in the proper position on the spine, using the pencil markings as a guide. Pull it apart for a second or two, then place it back into position (this sets the glue a bit faster). Check the alignment from all angles to sure it’s perfect and place pressure on the joint with your fingers until the glue has set. Do the same with the other cover.



The photos below shows the thinner and newly reassembled cover.





You’re now ready for the next step: assembling and gluing in place the marbleized paper lining with the hinge. That will be the next installment.

Last edited by artsci; 03-30-2009 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 03-26-2009, 09:34 PM   #5
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Old 03-26-2009, 10:20 PM   #6
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I would totally buy one of these, but I'd be terrified to try it myself.
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Old 03-27-2009, 07:03 PM   #7
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Wow. That looks like going under the hood of the car.
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Old 03-27-2009, 07:07 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by kevindorsey View Post
Wow. That looks like going under the hood of the car.
I've spent way too much time under car hoods and, believe me, this is much easier.
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Old 03-27-2009, 07:47 PM   #9
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Awesome, thanks for taking the time to put this up. Looks good.
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:03 PM   #10
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I finished the case tonight and I'll post the rest of the instructions and photos tomorrow.
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Old 03-28-2009, 05:55 PM   #11
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This is the third and final installment. It involves several basic elements: making the thin wood pieces for the inside cover linings, mounting the Amazon Kindle 2 hinge on the right side cover lining, trimming the linings with marbleized paper, and gluing the linings into the cover.

Here’s what we’re starting with: the Leonardo leather cover with the address book and interior paper linings stripped out.



The wood linings are made of 1/32 birch plywood used in the aircraft hobby world. It can be obtained at almost any good hobby shop or craft supply shop. Here’s a photo of the label. As it shows, I bought a 12” x 24” sheet.



Using a utility knife, cut two 8 3/8” x 5 7/16” pieces out of the sheet. You might want to double check these measurements, since the size of each Leonardo address book cover could vary a bit. This size leaves about a 1/16” margin around each edge of the cover.

Measure twice to be sure, and mark the dimensions on the plywood sheet with a pencil. Use a straight edge to guide the knife, and make 4 or 5 firm strokes to cut through the plywood.





Here’s a photo of the two cut plywood pieces placed on the cover to double-check the fit (always a good idea!).



Next mount the Kindle 2 on the hinge and place the mounted Kindle 2 with hinge attached on the right-side edge of one of the plywood pieces you just cut. Center it vertically so there is equal space on the top and bottom sides of the Kindle 2 and make sure the edge of the hinge is precisely aligned with the edge of the plywood. Then using a pencil carefully mark the position of each side of the hinge on the plywood. This step is very important, since it ensures that the Kindle 2 will be in the right position when it is mounted into the case for reading.

The photo below shows this alignment.



Next we’re going to complete the mounting of the hinge on the plywood. First using the markings you made in the previous step, align the hinge on the plywood and trace around it with a pencil.



Now we need to create a surface that will create a platform even with the surface of the hinge that will make mounting of the Kindle for reading smooth and easy. We do this by adding a strip of wood 3/32” thick x 1” on the right side of the hinge for the full height of the plywood piece. A strip of wood this size is a standard item in the same hobby or craft shops that sell the aircraft plywood described earlier. These things can also be purchased online. I recommend sanding or filing the right side of the wood strip so it has a smooth edge where the marbleized paper will be glued to it later.

The photo below provides a good idea of what this looks like (the wood strip in the photo has not yet been cut to the right height).



Now, using the Quick Grip All-Purpose Permanent Adhesive, glue the hinge and the wood strip in place, as shown in these photos.







Now, to provide an even surface for the marbleized paper we have to fill in the empty slots/corners around the hinges. To do this, use excess pieces from the 1’ wood strip we just cut, hold them in place in the slot, and mark the size with a pencil. Then we use trusty utility knife to cut them. Then we glue them in place.





Now we’re ready to glue the marbleized paper onto the two plywood liners we just created. Here’s a photo of them loosely placed on the insides of the Leonardo cover.



The marbleized paper is Serra Negra Bookbinder's Marbles and can be obtained here: http://www.papermojo.com/marble/book...l+designs.html It’s beautiful stuff, with small flecks of gold. Don’t use anything other than bookbinders paper for this purpose – it won’t be durable enough. Plus you won’t find any paper more beautiful than this – marbleized paper is a centuries-old craft, with much of it made and sold in Florence, Italy, like the leather Leonardo cover itself.

Please note that the marbleized paper has a directional pattern. You may want to coordinate that pattern for each of the pieces you make in the instructions below, or you may want them to be randomized. It's your choice.

I highly recommend Zip Dry Paper Glue for gluing the marbleized paper onto the plywood surfaces. It’s acid free, easy to work with, dries clear and fast (in about 1-2 minutes). A container of it, along with the marbleized paper and all the other pieces for the cover is shown in this photo.



Now you’re ready to prepare the paper for gluing. Lay a large piece of the marbleized poper face down on a clean, flat surface. Then lay both wood pieces face down on the back of the paper. Mark about a ¾’ border around each wood piece and cut two pieces of the paper to that size. These photos show the process.





Next spread the Zip Dry glue over one side of the left side wood piece (the one without the hinge) and place it on the back of one piece of the marbleized paper. Spread the glue so that you don’t leave openings of more than about ¾’ between glue lines. Press the peice firmly with your hands or a paperweight for about 2-3 minutes until the glue sets.

Once the glue has set, you’ll be ready to trim the corners of the paper so it can be folded back onto the other side of the wood piece, thus presenting an nice finished appearance. Using a straight edge and utility knife, trim each corner at a 45 degree angle, as shown in these photos.





Next, spread Zip Dry glue on the exposed undersides of the paper extending beyond the sides of the plywood and fold each side over to the back, holding it in place with your fingers until the glue sets. Do one edge/side at a time. This is what you’ll have when you’re finished:





Now you’re ready to attach the marbleized paper to the hinge side wood piece. Owing to the need to fit the paper around the two small metal hinge pieces as well as the varying thickness of the wood, this takes a few more steps than the side you just finished.

The trick here is to cut two small slots in the marbleized paper so it can fit over the two metal hinge pieces. First, mark the place for the slot cut-outs by laying the marbleized paper face up so one long edge butts up against the two hinge pieces. Make sure the paper is centered over the wood piece. Then, using a soft pencil, mark both sides of each hinge piece on the edge of the paper. Then, using your straight edge and pencil, draw a line on the paper about ¾’ back and parallel to the paper edge. Then draw lines on the cut marks vertical to the paper edge back to the horizontal line you just drew. These will mark notches in the paper that will enable it to slip abut ¾” past the hinge pieces. Cut out these notches. The photos below show these steps:







Next spread Zip Dry on the surface of the wood piece with the hinge side up. Make sure you spread Zip Dry on the plastic hinge surface as well, but don’t get it into the metal hinge pieces themselves, especially the one that is sprung. once the glue has been spread, slip the marbleized paper onto the wood piece, keeping the paper off the glue until the notches you cut have slipped fully into place past the two hinge pieces. When everything is properly aligned, press the paper firmly into place with your fingers for about 2-3 minutes. Please note that there it’s a drop off in the surface where the 1” wood piece ends. Once the paper has been glued into place, that will be invisible. But don’t press hard with your fingers in this area while the glue is setting. Once the glue has set, flip the whole thing over and using the same procedures you followed with the left side non-hinged piece, fold over and glue the extended paper for a finished appearance. This photo shows the hinge side piece before the paper edges have been folded over and glued.



Here are the two sides we just made laid loosely in place inside the Leonardo cover. Note that the spine is still exposed. The next step is to make and glue in place a marbleized paper piece that will cover the exposed spine.



First, get a piece of marbleized paper about 9” long and 3” wide and lay it face down under the two sides as shown in the photo. Mark both the upper and lower sides with a pencil. Then fold the paper back over these marks and glue with the Zip Dry. This will give you a piece that looks like this:



Lay this piece over the spine as shown and align it perfectly in place, so that it’s centered horizontally and vertically. Mark the right and left edges with a pencil onto the naked surface of the Leonardo cover. Next spread Zip Dry on the naked surfaces of the cover from the pencil lines you just made up to the edges of the spine. But don’t spread glue on the spine itself (the paper lining needs to be loose here so it has more give when the case is opened and closed, and especially when it is folded back. Then glue the paper piece in place, taking care to align it perfectly before the glue sets (you’ll have about a minute to do this).

Now for the last step. Start with the hinge side first and spread Quick Grip All-Purpose Permanent Adhesive liberally and evenly over its exposed underside surface. Then lay the piece carefully into place on the left side of the inside Leonardo cover, lining it up perfectly so that there is about a 1/16 gap between the edges of the piece and the edges of the Leonardo cover, top and bottom and on the right side. Hold the piece in place for about 5 minutes with your hands or a heavy paper weight or other object until the glue sets.

Once the hinge side is glued into place, do the same with the other side. This is what you’ll have:



Let the whole thing sit for about 30 minutes to let all of the glue dry, then slip the Kindle 2into the hinge. It should slip in easily. Here’s what you’ll have:



Now fold the case closed over the Kindle and enjoy your craftsmanship:



I recommended that you fold the case closed and place a book or other weight on it for about 24 hours. This ensures that everything settles into place and makes the cover take "a set" in the closed position.

Last edited by artsci; 03-30-2009 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 03-28-2009, 05:56 PM   #12
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The final installment has been posted. If there are any questions about these steps, I'd be happy to answer them. And I urge anyone who decides to give this a go to contact me if he or she runs into any problems.

Last edited by artsci; 03-30-2009 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 03-28-2009, 06:03 PM   #13
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BTW, the Kindle 2 Leonardo Alphabet Leather case the was made to put together these instructions was shipped this morning to danielgore. So there are now two of these in existence. If anyone else makes one from these instructions, please post to this thread. We're a very small club
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Old 03-28-2009, 10:34 PM   #14
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If you decide to make more and sell them, please get in touch!
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:52 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by whitearrow View Post
If you decide to make more and sell them, please get in touch!
This is a possibility, but a remote one. I contacted today the US office of the Florence, Italy leather craft company that makes the Leonardo Address Book (it took some searching to find them!). I'm trying to make a deal to buy sets of the unassembled spine and left and right covers, which would eliminate major elements of the work required, and I hope dramatically lower the costs. The rep said the company has refused such proposals in the past, but she was not familiar with the Kindle and said that photographs of the finished case might be persuasive. I've emailed those to her.

I'm also trying to find a wholesale source for the Kindle 2 hinge, but so far that has proved futile.

In the meantime, for anyone interested in this project, late last night I found a less expensive source for the Leonardo Address book: Strawberry Hill, http://www.strawberryhillhome.com/022-04.html They sell it for $105, $50 less than Jenni Bick Bookbinding.
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