Don’t Steal My Stuff! iPad Decoy Case and Cord Organizers

For the Maker Faire project, I thought I’d try to tackle something 1) sort of crafty (because I’m not a crafter, at. all.) and 2) possibly useful in terms of both a final product and its application in a library setting. After some browsing online and brainstorming about my library, I struck on a combo of ideas: an iPad “stealth case” disguised as an old book (!) and a cord/charger organizer to go with it. As I’ve mentioned before, I work at an academic library. A huge, endless reoccurring problem for our students is theft. A few times a week, we will have students come up to the desk and report that their laptop/tablet/headphones/charger/phone was stolen while they left it unattended to go to the bathroom. Sure, a brand new iPad left on its lonesome is a prime target for a potential thief, but is it as likely that your valuables will be stolen if they’re tucked away inside a nice looking copy of this 1977 cookbook?

Awesome old cookbook I got at a thrift store

Awesome old cookbook that was languishing at a local thrift store

I don’t think it looks quite as appealing to potential thieves as a new tablet or phone.  Naturally electronics have chargers and cords that need keeping, and I’ve watched countless students fight with tangled headphones and cords as they pull them out of their backpacks. So then I thought – why not make a cord organizer to go with the iPad case?

Tools for the iPad case and cord organizers

Tools for the iPad case project

Tools for the cord organizers

Tools for the cord organizer project

For the iPad case I found a tutorial on and for the cord organizers I followed a tutorial on the website Brit + Co. For both projects, I ended up changing the instructions/specs just slightly 1) to compensate for mistakes I made or 2) to try to be a bit more creative.

For the iPad case, I needed to essentially carve out a section of the pages so that my iPad would fit inside and could close all the way without indicating that it was actually inside. I placed the iPad on top of the books’ pages, traced, and started cutting. This took a surprisingly long time (almost 2 hours, split over 2 days).

Pages are cut out to make room for the iPad

Pages are cut out to make room for the iPad

After managing not to cut myself (whew!), the iPad could finally fit snugly inside. When the book is closed, the covers are flat — you would never know that there’s a tablet inside! I also added an elastic strap to help secure the iPad when the book is closed.

Snug as a bug

                           Snug as a bug

Next I started working on the cord organizers. I made three different sizes (small, medium, large) for a variety of needs: the smallest fits my headphones (iPhone earbuds), the medium size fits my earbuds and my iPhone charger, and the largest one fits my computer charger (MacBook Pro). I made the organizers by measuring and cutting various sizes/shapes out of a piece of vinyl, then cutting slits in specific locations that can be used as “straps” to hold the cords.

Medium sized cord organizer + earbuds

Medium sized cord organizer + earbuds

You can’t see it in the picture above but you can in the picture below: I also attached snaps so that the organizer can be rolled and secured (easy to toss into a purse or backback!) and I glued on some pretty lace too. I told you I’m not a crafter, so bear with me…

All three sizes!

                            All three sizes

Overall, the projects took a couple of hours over the course of two days to complete from start to finish. I think this might be a fun project to do at my library as part of a theft prevention workshop. We’ve put up endless signs warning students about theft but inevitably I walk by study carrels that have tablets and laptops and headphones just sitting there, completely abandoned.

I think that some students would likely see the value in having some fun, cheap, homemade decoy covers for their electronics, as it can be a hassle to gather your stuff to take it with you to the bathroom or have to ask someone to watch your things. I’m sure the librarians would appreciate a potential decrease in thefts as well.

Of course, there may be some safety concerns with having to use hot glue guns and sharp blades in order to complete the projects. I never cut myself but it was definitely a possibility as I tend to get a little impatient when something takes a long time.  I think the costs could be kept fairly low overall (things I didn’t already have, I purchased for relatively cheap at a craft store). Staff would have to do minimal prep work to set up and direct the projects. Additionally, both turned out to be fairly straightforward in terms of possible complications and the number of steps.

Now, someone might steal an iPad… but who would want to steal this? 🙂

The finished projects!

     The finished projects!


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