Wednesday, June 14, 2006

how to make a nintendo DS lite case from an old pair of jeans and some glue

I gave into gadget lust and bought myself a DS lite when it came out on Sunday. Among my first observations was the fact that despite being truly pocket sized, it unfortunately lacked a way of taking any games or accessories with you. The boxes games come in are illogically large and there wasn't really a good way to stow headphones.

I've seen other homemade ideas, ranging from those that require extensive sewing to those that are, frankly, kinda grungy. I wanted to make something functional that wouldn't require my learning how to sew.

What I came up with was basically a pouch with some extra fabric to wrap around the DS. (click for bigger)
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
It kind of looks like it should have drugs or something in it.

The idea basically was to use origami-style folding techniques (you can see this in making the pouch), trial and error, and a crap-ton of glue to make a case that could be stowed in a pocket or (more often for me) the small pocket of a bookbag without fear of scratching or losing my game cards all over the place. You could apply the same concepts (which aren't really even complicated enough to be called "concepts") to make a case for an ipod, a PSP, or any other pocket sized electronic device.

It rolls up like this:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I made one originally out of an old pillowcase, but wound up making another out of the denim I had saved from making shorts out of an old pair of jeans. As I have no idea how to sew, the whole thing is held together with fabric glue. The pockets for accessories are just extra bits of glued on fabric with one side not glued down.

This is the basic template.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The top portion can be as long as you want, or rather, as long as however many times you want to wrap the denim around. Everything else is just a little wider than the DS's depth, width, and height. I didn't want anything to be too snug for fear of having to force the DS in and out. It's only held together with glue, y'know.

I cut the denim to be a little larger than the width of the template, and then glued the edges down. This is easily the most time consuming part as you have to glue ALL the cut edges to prevent fraying (similar to how you have to add stitches to hem pants). Note that I also ironed every place I put glue in order to make sure it set properly and out of impatience.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I then stuck the DS in the bottom and stuck it so a little bit of fabric hung over it. This was kind of a mistake as the denim was too thick to roll up right, unlike the pillowcase I had tried before. It still works fine though.

I then tucked in the corners and glued them to themselves, then folded them up and glued them to the to...wait, screw this. This is impossible to write down. Just look at the pictures.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I then cut into the edges, folded them in, and glued them down.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Add some extra panels to serve as pockets for headphones and games, and voila!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I'm going to ask my girlfriend to help me add a button to it later on. Yes, I am this inept. For now, it works pretty well on its own.

If you want to do this yourself, a few tips:
- cutting fabric will generally be a pain unless you either have a rotary cutter or put weights on the fabric to hold it down.
- an iron will really help this process and will make sure you don't get glue all over your DS in the event you're impatient.
- cut everything a little large so you can just cut more off if it doesn't fit.
- yes, you have to glue the edges. yes, I realize this is a pain.

I've rewritten the above a couple of times to try to make it sound less dry. Studying for the bar means being able to do menial, mindless tasks and generally not being able to write without getting a headache.
In other words:
in: occasional crafting, occasional playing videogames, reading with a very closed mind, doing word problems
out: reading anything of social value, writing anything readable, sleeping
limbo: food, hygeine, social skills, existential rage

What do you think happens when I cut down this pantleg?
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
That's right, I wind up with a single very long stretch of fabric.
So in other words, no I did not make myself daisy dukes.

I can't believe people are still stumbling across this!
I've had a bunch of comments for which I can't think of a better way to respond to than the update posted above. Go there, now!


Anonymous Patrick said...

Pretty Mcguyveristic, yet not ghetto like that cardboard one.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Eay said...

nice idea :)

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Salmar said...

Wow, it's like, the perfect case. For (mostly) free. Thanks for the idea.

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband just asked me to make one like this... He is lucky that I can sew.

9:36 PM  
Anonymous bill said...

neat-o (umm, that sounds so lame). I'm gonna ask my wife to make something like this for me, she's a great sewer. coool post ! thanks. I even have a pair of jeans I was thinking of turning into cut-offs.

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHAH that is so funny....

But it doesn't have the slick look of real cases....

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so... ill just roll my ds up in a pair of jeans... yea that sounds about rite

7:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Idea...And much cooler than any store-bought case. Instead of a button, you should try velcro...

6:57 PM  
Blogger Zero Remorse said...

Good Job.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Bug said...

All rightie. I've finished my version of the case, and I've linked to this post. Tell me what you think.

Note: I appear above as Salmar.

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally awsome!
I tried to make this, but I screwed up a bit. I glued the top over the sides (for the sac), and not the other way around.

Good job! The best one I've seen yet!

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One word: Sexy.

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey salmar/bug u get nintendo power eh? i saw a poster of it on ur wall

4:45 PM  
Anonymous ShadowNet said...

Wow. If I ever tried doing this, I'd definitely have a hard time. Pure l337ness.

6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


lol this is awsome, this is sorta wierd but i made one similar to this one (i saw yours after i made mine lol) and i wanted to know what you thought of it.

heres a link to a thread i made on

check mineout and tell me what you think.



3:06 AM  
Blogger Statty McNumbercrunch said...

I like your choice of fabric - the denim is great-looking, but kind of thin. I was worried about 'cushioning' when I made mine and I picked up some cheap but brightly-colored velux blanket material (one layer of pink and one of purple) and did a two-tone dealy. I was at my mom's house and didn't have access to a sewing machine, so I was able to use simple embroidery floss and a big-ass needle to put 'blanket-stitches' around the edges. Mine is super minimal in that it doesn't have a lot of pockets for cartridges, but I carry a few extra games in the main compartment with the console and an extra stylus and USB charger cord. I finished it off with a dragonfly for shits and giggles, as they say. I found this blog in my search for ideas for a custom-made case for my friend for Christmas - any suggestions for the next generation?

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That case is sickly awesome! I have a pink case which I love but it is pretty big(5"x5"). It can carry my DS, 9 games, it has a large but flat pocket for instruction manuals(I think), and there is a big pocket inside but on top that I can fit my charger, headphones, and a few excess games. I recently made some cut-offs and I think I might make a DS case w/ them! ^_^

5:47 PM  
Anonymous ML1986 said...

I'm thinking about making a case out of my old worn-out 'cords (corduroys that is). I'm certainly glad I stumbled across this blog.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my opinion, I would rather use duct tape. if any one has an idea make link so I can see it. other than that I think you did a great job. BTW Did you come up w/ the idea?

9:37 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home