Have You Ever Built a Laptop Sleeve

Sep 27, 2008
Updated • Nov 29, 2012

Almost everyone owns a laptop these days. And every owner will tell you what a challenge it is to keep the laptop from the bumps and scratches that result when your laptop gets jostled around in the bag.

A laptop sleeve is a protective cover for a laptop. It is usually constructed of a thin durable material and fits snugly over the laptop. A sleeve not only keeps your laptop safe when it’s in a backpack but also allows you to carry it openly, without having to worry about dust and water affecting it.

While laptop sleeves are useful and some would say even essential, they don’t come cheap. Basic sleeves start from 30$ and special ones can go up to 100$, depending on what you choose. So while a neoprene sleeve may cost 35$, a leather sleeve costs around 110$. Your laptop model and size also affects sleeve pricing, with sleeves for the MacBook Air being notoriously expensive.

While most folks would grudgingly pay for an expensive sleeve, there’s a whole group of people who decided it wasn’t worth it. Instead, these people build their own laptop sleeves, out of a variety of materials. The best part about this is that many of them post tutorials so even other people can do it.

For sleeve-building tutorials, Instructables is your best bet. The site has tutorials for building sleeves out of sweatshirts, wetsuits, jeans, Fedex envelopes, binders, etc. One of my favorites was a quirky, reversible ‘monster’ sleeve that would cost 65$ if you bought it from a store.

What’s good about these sleeves is that although they’re homemade, they’re fully functional and just as good as a store-bought one. Plus, you build them for a fraction of the original cost since most of the materials are things that are lying around in the home. An added bonus is that you can build two-three sleeves and switch between them if you get tired of using the same sleeve over and over.

Have you ever built your own laptop sleeve? How do you think a homemade sleeve holds up against a readymade one? What’s your favorite laptop sleeve material and why? Let me know in the comments.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Roman ShaRP said on October 4, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    I don’t like laptops, but if I ever have it – I’ll be back to this article :)

  2. Bill said on September 29, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Damn, I wish I’d heard of this before I bought my sleeve. I paid a bomb for it.

  3. Wazzup said on September 29, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Nope, my EEE came with a nice neoprene one.

  4. AndyJ said on September 29, 2008 at 5:02 am

    I’m doubtful about how lasting these kinds of sleeves are. But I guess since it’s cheap to make one, it doesn’t really matter.

  5. Spinner said on September 27, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Neat tip. I got a bunch of old hoodies so I can’t wait to try these tutorials out.

  6. hhumbert said on September 27, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    If you have a wider-screen laptop than a 15.4, use a Magnum.

  7. Dotan Cohen said on September 27, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    I just discovered that a Durex condom can get all the way around a 15.4″ Dell laptop. Now that I’m married, I was really worried about what I was going to do with those last few rubbers. I should probably post this on Instructables.

  8. Dotan Cohen said on September 27, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    I put my laptop in a thick plastic bag before it goes in my padded backpack. This is great because I can open the backpack in public an nobody sees that there is an expensive piece of equipment inside. Of course, the laptop is spraypainted flat black to be less attractive to thieves for situations when I must pull it out in public.

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