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Packing Tape iPad decoration

I have been meaning to get a tutorial (of sorts) done for my iPad Gelli printed packing tape project, but as DH liked the quick and dirty version I did already, and I had already Gelli printed right on the other cover, and we didn’t have ANOTHER one going spare, I wasn’t sure how I could do that.  I wasn’t interested in spending £35 on another cover.  But I thought I could go ahead and do the steps without sharing a final project.  Started that, and as it is such a long process (due to the drying time needed between layers on the plate) it just got darker and darker.  Some of the photos at the end of the process aren’t brilliant but they should still convey the info you need.

I would ask that your read thru all the steps before starting.  The template may SEEM like a bit of a pain but it will really pay off in the end.  Having said THAT, if you at least read thru it, you will be able to better identify the steps you feel like you could skip, or alternative ways to do it.

1. Measure the bars of the iPad cover. Cut templates.

Measure from just a hair inside the edge of the raised area.  You need the tape to make contact with the hard FLAT surface, not the soft FLEXIBLE area that allows the cover to fold to create the stand.


I am showing you this on the back of the cover, but that is only because the front has already been painted and it will be too  visually confusing!

You will quickly see that only two of the bands are close to exactly the same size.  One is much bigger, one is a hair smaller.  You can deal with this as you like – make them all the same (smaller) size, make three the same and one to fit the biggest band, whatever.

I used the EK Success more acute corner rounder (mines yellow – are they all yellow and green for the softer rounded corner??).  That one fit the corner curve of the bands best, to my eye.



2.  Cut a piece of Freezer Paper, at LEAST 9 x 11.  Bigger may actually work better.



If you don’t have Freezer paper, you could use a Teflon baking sheet (one of the cheap ones) or perhaps Baking Parchment or waxed paper.  The KEY is that there has to be one side that the tape will NOT STICK TO and one side you can write on.  Freezer paper is ideal.

3. Lay the plate centred on the paper side of the Freezer Paper. Draw around your plate – I used the 8 x 10 Gelli plate as it fits, near perfectly, the standard iPad cover. Mark out 2 inch bands.  The packing tape is 2 inches wide.  See where this is going?


4. Centre the paper templates in the drawn bands.  Trace around them.  Keep them – you will need them later.


You can see that widest band is pretty close to 2 inches.

5. Draw a line about 1/8 inch INSIDE the lines of the templates.  If you want more of a secure border,  make it wider.  I squared off the corners.  Life is too short to round them on an inside curve.


Why go to all this trouble?  Well, the packing tape sticky is what is going to hold the decorated strips to the case.  You doubt me? The one I posted a couple of weeks back has been in use (HARD use) since then and the tape still sticks perfectly well with no additional adhesive added to it.  This slight edge around the entire border of the design will help overcome any parts of the tape where the sticky is to sparse.  And holding down the EDGES is the most important thing.

I may experiment with masking the tape itself at some point.  That might be easier, it might not.

6. Cut out the innermost lines.


This is going to help you in two ways.  FIRST, it will help you see where to leave unpainted or open areas (the corners, some of each edge) as you decorate your plate. SECOND, the paper side is going to block the paint from those areas of the packing tape you want to remain sticky. And THIRD, the non-stick side will let the paint stick to the tape, but let the tape peel off the paper where the paint has been blocked and where it is still super sticky – without losing that sticking power!

7. Lay the plate OVER this template so you can see the lines thru it. I’ve put it on the top so you can see better.


I’ve tried to place my masked (unpainted areas) so there are plenty that cross the lines.


8. Carry on with the decorating.  Keep focused on the open areas and take care not to completely block them.


Note the text stamp – this is NOT an overall pattern.  The open areas are just as plentiful as the painted areas.  The unpainted areas will stick. See how dark it got? All those layers, all that drying time!

Let it all dry between each layer,  DRY dry, not mostly dry, BONE DRY.

9. Lay your template over the now dried paint.


THIS is where your template is really going to pay off.  You are going to VERY CAREFULLY, especially for the first one, lay the sticky side of the tape over the aperture.  The tape should fall within the 2 inch lines you marked out.  Once they are all laid out, burnish with a bone folder, the back of a spoon, an old credit card, whatever.  You want every bit of that paint to get pulled up by the tape.  You want the slight border, where the aperture is smaller than the template, to stay clear and sticky.

10.  Pull off the entire sheet.  Stick the painted side to another piece of freezer paper or waxed paper – anything you can peel it off and don’t mind cutting thru.  Go back to your templates.  Use them to cut out the bands.



I hoped I would be able to see the original lines thru the paper and the tape, and maybe using a different colour might help with that, but in the end I found using the templates was easier for my “old eyes” – this is one of those places you may feel you can skip my added steps for the elderly LOL!

What you will have is a strip of packing tape with the Gelli print on the sticky part, but with plenty of bare sticky areas


AND a thin border around the whole strip that is stuck to the plastic side of the freezer paper.



Peel away the freezer paper from the edges.  You can now stick the tape to your iPad cover.

This one used only a stencil that had lots of open areas.  One quick painting and pull and done.



You’d be surprised how LITTLE sticky is needed for it to grab on to the rubberized surface of the iPad cover!

Obviously it would be SO MUCH SIMPLER to make the template then pull the WHOLE PLATE onto the sticky side of a large sheet of contact paper, and use the backing you peeled off to back it for cutting the bands.

So it was bugging me not to be able to show it finished. I figured why not just stick the new strips over the already painted and Mod Podged front?  So I did, and DH said, in a word, WOW!



What you are seeing is the cover that had the print pulled right on to it, with the new packing tape strips stuck over the top.



I just love the glimpses of the original print showing thru the open areas of the packing tape!  And the packing tape clings just fine to the Mod Podge.  So now I will have to wait for another cover to come my way before I can play again.  Unless I can convince DH to let me peel off the stencil one and have another go at it…..

And now the power is finally back on I have another packing tape idea I am keen to try – nothing so complex as iPad covers, but I hope I’ll have fun with it anyway….

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Gelli print on iPad cover

Another oddball attempt.  Only time will tell what the longevity of this is.

DH is an app developer.  The result of that is that we have LOTS of iPads.  LOTS.  Six? more if you count the various android tablets.  He was happy for me to experiment on one of his old covers (it was actually the one I doodled on with Sharpies.  It was a bit bet up, hard use and all, so I started by carefully wiping off as much of the doodling as I could, using Blending Solution.  Not a perfectly clean slate but not too bad.



Once it was a good as it was going to get, I wiped it down then masked off the channels that are meant to fold with some very thing washi tape – this is the stuff that he bought me at Christmas last year and got 5 sets all the same.  I can’t really think of a use for thin, lime green washi tape (certainly not 5 rolls of it!) so I didn’t mind using it.



I added of coat of Gesso to the surface.  Not sure if it gives any benefit.  I thought it would help the paint adhere but it didn’t – more on that in a bit. I also carefully swiped away the paint from the channels and off the Washi tape.  The first time I did it, when the paint overlapped the tape, when I pulled off the tap, the paint simple peeled off the surface of the pad.  So back to square one.  Worth it, as it tells me if you mess up you can easily get the cover back to what it was with little or no damage.



I prepped the Gelli plate and pulled a print.

Do cover the back of the pad with paper, as this is a surface that will come n contact with your iPad and you don’t want mucky fingers full of paint smearing it all over that!



It wasn’t perfect but it was interesting and I liked it well enough to carry on.  I ended up messing up panel 3 and you can see later that panel has a different print on it.  I tried, for the re-do, just brushing on red paint and using a stencil on it then a stamp over it, rather than doing the Gesso layer and a Gelli print.  I’m curious to see if it makes any difference to the stability of the print.



I added to that – mostly stamping or stencils. See panel 3 here?



After that was dry (took a long time) I added a coupe of coats of Mod Podge, making sure the y covered the channels as well – there needs to be no area where the paint can be loosened or it will peel off, I’m sure.

gellipadcover9Dry between coats.  I’ve done three so far but am considering doing the suggested 5 coats they having a go at wet sanding it VERY LIGHTLY to see if I can get a smooth, no brush-stroke finish. In truth, it may compromise the seal and the paint may peel off, but it’s only an experiment so I don;t really mind if that happens.  I’m not going to get another cover to play with so making this one a few times is OK by me! The Mod Podge is matte, so it’s less shiny than the tape.



Here it is so far.

On the plus side, DH has been using the iPad mini cover with the packing tape addition and it seems remarkably stable.  No peeling at all.  I do wonder what the effect might be of lightly sanding the tape to knock back the shine?

I’ll let you know how the sanding goes, and how it performs in use.  These covers are not cheap, so it isn’t something to do as a lark, IYKWIM.  But if it holds up, and works in situ as a stand, like it should, and the Mod Podge doesn’t crack, or keep the cover from folding then I’ll let you know.

Another thought I had was using something like Plasti-coat spray on it as the base layer.  That COULD work, although I will probably have to either ruin this cover during the wet sanding step OR wait for DH to beat the heck out of another cover before I get to try that!

Now I have to take a  photo of the SHOCKING state of my desk for WOYWW…




iPhone (and iPad) Gelli covers

This is a strange one.  To be fair, I only just made them (in the dark last night and this AM) and we haven’t had much chance to really see how they perform in daily use, but certainly for the iPhone case I have no reason to believe they won’t withstand reasonable use – only time will tell.  But the real beauty is that they are fairly quick to make, cheap, and if it gets wrecked you can quickly and easily make another or simply revert to your shiny plain back.

Fair warning – LOTS of photos!

You will need:

  • a shiny, one-colour snap-on phone cover
  • a piece of freezer paper bigger than your Gelli Plate
  • a piece of contact paper (packing tape is not wide enough!) I used clear contact paper but I wonder about using one with a pattern?
  • a craft knife

First measure the surface of your phone case.  You want to measure JUST the flat surface, one tiny smidge inside where the phone begins t curve around the sides and just below the camera lens cut out and up from the bottom edge just above the rounded corner.  The contact paper will not smoothly navigate the corner and I feel you get a more visually pleasing result with a rectangular piece than if you try to match the rounded corners.  MY iPhone 5 case is 2 1/4 x 4 inches

1. Measure out the area on the paper side of the freezer paper.  Draw lines just inside these lines (about 1/8  inch) measuring from the INSIDE of the line.  Better it be slightly smaller than too big.   Cut out the centre with a craft knife.



2.  Cut your contact paper at least say 3 by 4 1/2 inches.  Flip the freezer paper over an  loosen the top edge of the contact paper. Stick the top edge to the shiny side of the freezer paper and smooth the contact paper down over the hole, like so:



Now you will have the STICKY side of the contact paper (stuck in place to the shiny side of the freezer paper) showing thru the PAPER side of the freezer paper.  This means the extra paint on the Gelli plate has someplace friendly to go (the surrounding paper back of the freezer paper) when you pull your print onto the sticky window and the contact paper will  easily peel off the shiny side.


3. Select a mask.

When selecting your mask, there are a couple of things to keep in mind – I’ve added some photos of other attempts,  to illustrate:

It should be a plastic mask rather than paper.  I did use paper but the paper will stick harder to the contact paper, sometimes ripping and leaving little hazy shreds stuck to it.  You should be able to faintly see the bits of white at the far left in the vine, and on a couple of the larger leaves.  It’s not massively annoying but it could be….

18 iPhonegelli

The paint-covered contact paper will NOT stick to the phone cover.  Make sure there is enough masked area so that, combined with the thin edges surrounding the print, it WILL stick to the phone cover.

Make sure your mask is clean! If the mask has any paint on it, that paint will transfer to the contact paper and keep it from good adhesion.  It may not be a problem for you if it is only stuck at the sides but you will end up with air bubbles under the middle if you don’t get the sides stuck ABSOLUTELY perfectly flat.

19 iPhonegelli


That mask was well covered with blue paint.  You can clearly see how it transferred to the contact paper.  I do like how it looks, and it certainly seemed to stick well enough because the paint from the mask was patchy and there were still bare areas.

4. Stick your chosen mask to the contact paper inside the window.



Can you see how my mask is tucked away at the top?  Placing it, there was just a bit of the that hung down into the window and I didn’t want that masking the print.

5. Do your paint design on the Gelli plate.  Not too much paint, and a fairly simple design. Pull the print onto the sticky side of the contact paper.

Keep in mind the colour of the cover.  I have a black one.  Light paint looks muddy,  dark paint sort of disappears.  It will be different on say a WHITE cover.  You can pull a few packing tape prints and when dry, hold them over the cover you have to check how they look before going to the trouble of doing the contact paper version. I’ll show you what I did to solve the problem in a second.

10 iPhonegelli


You can see the design better on the freezer paper surround at this point.

6. Pull a thin layer of white paint behind the colour layer.  This will “back” the colour and keep the phone cover colour from showing thru quite so strong.

12 iPhonegelli


7.  LET IT TOTALLY DRY.  Peel off the  mask.  Trim away along the OUTER lines on the freezer paper.  This will leave you with your contact paper window and a thin edge of freezer paper stuck to the frame. Can you see that although my mask was pretty clean, the tiniest bit of blue paint transferred to the contact paper?  That stuff grips everything! Can you see the frame of paper?

13 iPhonegelli

This paper should peel away very easily as it is stuck to the shiny side of the freezer paper.

15 iPhonegelli


8. Carefully stick the piece to the phone cover.  You can re-position easily – it will cling but not stick.  Once you are happy with your positioning, burnish it down.  You can do this with a bone folder or the back of your fingernail, and if you cover either with something like an eye-glass cleaning cloth you will minimize the lines you can see in the open areas.

16 iPhonegelli


Check it out!

17 iPhonegelli


This is just the beginning of my experiments, using stuff I had.  I have a stencil in mind that I think would be PERFECT for this, but I need to buy it.  I can also think of two I cut on the Cricut that I would love to try but the ones I’ve already cut are too big, so I would need to cut them again but smaller.

There is a lot of playing to be done with colour and pattern, to maybe devise some rules about what works best from an adhesion POV.  What about gilding flakes or metallic paint??

As you can see from the photos I made three different ones.  They peel off absolutely cleanly from the cover, and what’s more, I was able to stick them to the scrap of release paper the contact paper came off of, and was able to re-attach them.  So maybe you could make a whole little wardrobe of cover stickers and change them at will.  The tricky part is keeping the corner where you start to peel-back from getting totally ragged, but with care it’s not too bad.

And now a bonus shot.  As I was playing with this, DH wandered past and said Well that’s nice but when are you going to do my iPad mini cover?? You may recall I did his iPads (one stamped with Staz-on, one doodled with Sharpies) but I’ve not had a go on his mini iPad cover yet.  So I did.  For that, I found the packing tape was the perfect size.  It was all a bit experimental, so the sizing isn’t perfect on those rounded raised panels, and again my stencil was so mucky it all transferred to the tape.  But even so, the packing tape DOES stick well enough to the cover material.  I’ll know later today how well it sticks as his iPads get a lot of use, getting tossed in his backpack and briefcase, tossed on the desk and counter, propped up by the side of his chair…if it stays stuck thru all that, I’m thinking it’ll stay stuck unless it gets dropped in a puddle or caught out in the rain.

He isn’t convinced that the contrast of the shiny tape over the matte cover material is ideal – certainly better cutting of the tape so it covers the entire raised panel, leaving only the thin grooves between then matte, will help A LOT, but even so, I think it looks pretty cool….



Again the tape peels off easily once you get it started, we could see no transfer of paint to the cover (granted, only a short time installed – maybe tomorrow, after say 48 hours, it’ll be different?) and it seems pretty well stuck.  Tempted?  If you have a go let me see the results.








E-reader holder

One of the Christmas gifts my daughter gave me was a little fabric stand for my iPad.

The choice of fabric was hers, and I love it because she picked it for me, but she clearly has no idea what my taste is, IYKWIM.


Now I have never been a fan of e-readers.  I vastly prefer actual books.  BUT DH stumbled on a book (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry) that he gulped down in about two days.  Very unusual for him – he reads, but not so much fiction.  He suggested I read it and as it was already on his Kindle it seemed silly not to read it that way.  I did, and I really enjoyed it.  What surprised me is that I liked reading it on the Kindle more than I expected.  At first, the whole way you had to grip it, to avoid triggering a page turn got on my nerves A LOT.  But when I remembered this beanbag, it solved that and other issues.  For example, I read while I eat (breakfast and lunch, which I tend to eat on my own, never dinner, which we eat as a family) and the issues with real books (keeping to book open, turning the pages and not getting food on them, etc) can be solved with an e-reader if you can solve the problems e-readers and meal-time reading (keeping them at the right angle for easy reading.) This little beanbag worked a treat.


Basically it is constructed like those sour cream containers (US ones, not UK ones) where you take a rectangle of paper (or in this case fabric) and sew a tube.  Sew one end closed, fill with styrofoam balls (the small ones like for bean bag stuffing) then sew the other end closed the opposite.  You can see a paper version on Dan99‘s blog if that is difficult to picture. This bean bag is exactly the same, scaled up.

I think DH intended I would use it for my iPad, but I never USE my iPad, really, unless I am laying down.  Except to Skype DS at Uni, and that is the one case where this beanbag holder is less than ideal as the mic is blocked by the fabric. I should give it a go with a YouTube video or something, to see if the VOLUME on playback is affected like the MIC is for conversation.  If not, I can see using this more often.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to share it.  The company he bought it from, at a craft fair, is called ebeanies.


doodling is DONE!

Well, it was hardly ZEN but it’s finally done!!

I am totally NOT the relaxed, “just doodle it and it will work out” person that I suspect you really need to be to embrace this art form.  I agonized over every area, hated some of them as soon as I put the pen to the pad-cover, second guessed myself continuously, and probably ended up more stressed rather than less at the end.  LOL!  The couple of things you need to know:

Sharpies ROCK! I tested out lots of pens, on the hidden hinge area, and found Sharpies work great.  Bic Mark it! markers work great (but they have a funny idea of what the term “Fine Point” means) and the Uni Super Ink markers work too but while they are lovely and rich black, they are a little glossy and leave very visible stroke marks.  I can live with that, but you may not be able to.

And here is a total surprise – Copics work great! I suspect Promarkers will too.  While you can’t blend very well on the cover material (although I didn’t try that, it seems a reasonable assumption, certainly on ORANGE) you can use all the colours of the rainbow to doodle if you want. Not very zendoodle either, but fun.

Another tip, also the opposite of Zen, for people who don’t equate messing up a small paper sample with messing up an iPad cover, is to get yourself a transparency sheet.  Lay it over the cover, and doodle in the area you want to fill.

This could actually be a handy tip for on-paper doodlers as well, if you are working on a large piece and wouldn’t be happy if it wasn’t “perfect” (it didn’t help me make mine PERFECT, but it did help in some areas when I thought Oh wouldn’t that fill look great there? then tested it and thought YUK! Hate that!

And I really struggle to draw a smooth curve and neat ROUND circles.  Mine always look more oblong, and I am incapable of keeping things in a straight line or repeating anything exactly so I found the Crafter’s Workshop templates to be VERY handy for all those swoops.  Yes, yes – I KNOW that s not what it is all about, but really, it would have been total rubbish if I depended on my eye for spacing.

what else?  Ah, I found this site to be very helpful – they have LOADS of patterns to learn.

That’s it.  I think I want to get a white cover and have a go on that, maybe with Copics.  But I need a bit of a break from doodling for a bit….


altered iPad 2 cover

Since DH is an app developer there really was never any questions that he would get an iPad 2 when it came out.  He managed, somehow, to order two covers.  Being the lovely and supportive DH that he is, he gave one to me to customize for him – he likes the case with stand I made for the original iPad, and I recently made him a case for his new Mac-Air, since the one he had been using was too big, so this completes his set.

It was never in question how I was going to do it – it had to be stamps and Staz-on.  I played around with a few designs yesterday before my girl-flu kicked in and wanted to post this while I still had a bit of coffee in my system.  I’ll be crashing soon, I think.

Just a few warnings:  First, the Staz-on is really sticky when the ink hits the cover.  The grip between the ink-covered stamp and the material of the case was strong enough for the stamp to come off the mount and stick, requiring it to be peeled up.  The clear stamp stamped beautifully, very crisp, but the red-rubber lifted then fell back a bit, smudging.  I used permanent ink remover to wipe it away, with limited success, then a stamp positioner to re-stamp exactly over the image again.  There is a slight hazing of the ink on that panel, but it isn’t hugely noticable.  I masked off each of the raised panels so the ink didn’t touch the grooves as I knew it would never stamp in the depression clearly.

So, DH still has a nice cover, unique to him, and I got to have a play.  Win-Win.

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iPad cover Gallery

Well, some are better than others, there are minor design differences between them, and some failed experiments (maybe failed, not sure yet) but here is a selection of some of the iPad covers I’ve made:

Top is the first one I made.  I abandoned the more aesthetically pleasing strap around the short side for the more secure strap around the vulnerable side, as you can see. Some have pockets in the flaps, some don’t, but in the end what you could store in them was so limited I stopped making it a def. feature. Some have fabric straps with Velcro closures, some have elastic and are attached.  I really like the completed one made from old blue jeans although that one is a COVER only with no integrated stand. I like the pocket a lot.

DHs version has slightly looser elastic holders at the corners so he can insert the iPad while it is IN the “official Apple iPad cover” for that added security.  I also made him a strap that can be added for carrying, but that is the potential fail – without using it we don’t know how secure it is, and by using it, if it isn’t, we don’t know if her is putting his pad at risk!  You can see how the integrated stand works in the middle picture there.The angle is somewhat adjustable.

Now that is out of the way I can maybe ge back to some stamping and scrapping and crafting!


Cases, again

I spent quite a bit of time today working turning these:

into this, an iPad cover made from old blue jeans, for my DS:

It’s not quite done but now he tells me that it’s “too brightly coloured” – it’s JEANS for goodness sake!  Ah well.  Such is a Mom’s life. I thought the addition of the pocket was quite clever but now it will be destined for a friend in CA, perhaps, when DH goes out to WWDC (the big Apple convention) next month and I’ll have to start another one for DS – but this time he has to come with me and pick the material himself, because I clearly don’t know my son at all!!