Neoprene MacBook sleeve

Posted by on Feb 3, 2008 in macbook | 20 Comments

You know you could buy notebook sleeves in every size and color. But how many selfmade notebook sleeves have you seen?


What do you need to make one?

  • A wetsuit
  • Velcro
  • A sewing machine

I got my material from a shop that sells surf equipement. They were so kind to give me three old surf jackets for free. Some zippers were broken or a bit rusty but the neopren was fine.

I don’t own a sewing machine but my mom has one. :-)

How to make a MacBook sleeve

First choose a jacket that has a back big enough to cover your MacBook.


Cut the the complete back out of the jacket. It has to be big enough to form an envelop for your notebook. After that it is easier to adapt the neoprene to the needed size.


Use chalk and a ruler to mark the size on the neopren. Then use sharp scissors to cut it to the final size.

Now it is time to sew it together. I must admit, that I don’t have any pictures from the actual sewin, as my batteries were discharged. As already stated, I don’t know how to sew, but my mom is very skillful and did the most of the work.

But I have some tips for the sewing, that I remember:

  • You sew the envelope inside out. The wetsuit has two sides, the slippery outside and the inside. So there is no problem that the fabric does not get transported while sewing.
  • Try to sew round corners. Otherwise you will end up with a notebook sleeve that has kind of ears.
  • You may need an additional special fabric to sew it together when you sew the velcro. This fabric is needed to guarantee the transportation of the fabric while sewing. Otherwise your neoprene will end up warped.
  • The velcro on the upper side is not sewed but glued only. Until now that wasn’t a problem.



More at Flickr.


  1. Sven
    12. February 2008

    You bloody tinker – the world needs guys like you. Great work – keep on rocking.

  2. Turn an Old Wetsuit into a Laptop Sleeve [Weekend Project] · TechBlogger
    14. March 2008

    [...] and great protection from the rain. Much more sturdy than a T-shirt or FedEx envelope, too. Neoprene MacBook sleeve [Tinkerlog via Make via [...]

  3. Turn an Old Wetsuit into a Laptop Sleeve [Weekend Project] » Lifehacker, tips and downloads for getting things done
    14. March 2008

    [...] and great protection from the rain. Much more sturdy than a T-shirt or FedEx envelope, too. Neoprene MacBook sleeve [Tinkerlog via Make via [...]

  4. Anna
    16. March 2008

    Nice idea. Did your mom use a special needle and thread? Also, what’s this “special fabric” she used to sew on the velcro?

  5. Alex
    16. March 2008

    No, she did not use anything special, standard needle and a thread she had around.
    The “special fabric”, I don’t know its name in english. It is very thin, light and a bit translucent. Its only purpose is to enable a smooth sewing of slippery materials. After you sewed it, you tear it off.

  6. pfirsch
    16. March 2008

    Thanks for sharing this tutorial.

    What do you mean by “transporting” the fabric?

    Unless you’re extremely good at sewing, I think it would be easier to have square corners than round corners–the “ears” are on the inside.

  7. Alex
    16. March 2008

    The sewing machine moves the fabric a bit with every stich. If the material is too slippery, the machine is not able to move it and makes too many stiches on the same position. My mom told me, that a page of a news paper works as well.
    We had square corners first, it didn’t look very nice. My mom sewed them again and we cut them very close to the join. It worked quite well.

  8. ReadyMady | Social DIY! » Una custodia per portatili da una vecchia muta
    16. March 2008

    [...] TinkerBlog spiega come realizzare la custodia in pochi semplici passi. E’ consigliabile consigliabile chiedere in prestito una macchina da cucire se non ne avete una, ma con un po’ di pazienza può bastare anche ago e filo. La guida è in inglese, ma le foto presenti sul blog o sulla galleria flickr sono sufficienti per seguire i vari passaggi;Il velcro per la chiusura può essere applicato senza cuciture, utilizzando della colla a caldo. Mi raccomando: ricordatevi di rovesciare la muta al momento della cucitura dei bordi. [...]

  9. Finally, a Home Made Electronics Sleeve That Looks Like Someone Put Some Time Into It!
    19. March 2008

    [...] post, the one where Alex tells you how to make the sleeve, try his personal blog and the post: Neoprene Macbook Sleeve.  (Alex seems to give credit to his mother for the sewing job on the Macbook sleeve.  [...]

  10. the kat and mous » Makin’ mous musics.
    23. March 2008

    [...] If you’re an old surfer like I am, you might find this useful. How to create a laptop sleeve out of an old wetsuit. [...]

  11. j
    20. April 2008

    nice. i notice you have a really clean seam down the center– both inside and out. how did your mom manage that?

  12. Alex
    20. April 2008

    That seam was part of the jacket already. It was the bottom part of the back of the jacket. So nothing to do here.

  13. MacKing1988
    23. April 2008

    Hey Folks,

    nice thing, yes do like it. I have got another macbook sleeve, called Bonosus Black (10Turio). It is like a diaper, which is wrapped around the macbook. May be you copy this one…

    ;-) MacKing

  14. Bookmarks for November 20th through December 2nd →
    2. December 2008

    [...] Neoprene MacBook sleeve“Recycle an old wetsuit” [...]

  15. michael
    6. January 2009

    Great instructions. Doesn’t old wetsuit material stink?


  16. Alex
    6. January 2009

    No it doesn’t. At least mine doesn’t ;)
    And I think, there is not much on a wetsuit that can suck up any fluids so it can’t smell.
    It does in fact smell a bit like rubber but that’s fine for me.

  17. Amanda
    25. February 2009

    You could also use the sleeves or the front panels of the jacket to add a pocket on the side of the case.

  18. How to make a laptop sleeve and notebook/journal cover | Things to Make and Do
    2. March 2009

    [...] Neoprene Sleeve - that’s a cool one, I wish I had some neoprene lying around [...]

  19. DIY: Laptop Sleeve « Broke-Ass Stuart's Goddamn Website
    9. February 2011

    [...] use this same mark, pin, sew technique on other articles of clothing too – leather jackets and wetsuits are ideal because they’re water resistant and padded. I haven’t quite figured out how to [...]

  20. DIY: Laptop Sleeve from Leather Jacket | Chic Steals
    10. April 2011

    [...] computer.  Sure you can buy one from the store – and I did scrounge up a tutorial for using some neoprene from an old wetsuit [and here, too!] (like I have many of those laying around!)…but I wanted to try a different [...]