Do It Yourself iPad Stand - All you need is Cardboard and this free PDF design!

By Andrew Davidson
on October 18, 2010

Want an inexpensive do it yourself project to accompany your new iPad? How about building a cardboard stand with these instructions and free PDF design!

I waited years before I finally bought my first iPhone (drinking the proverbial Kool-Aid of the Apple Experience), only to unlock it and jailbreak it immediately, so I could use my still-beloved carrier of choice: T-Mobile.

At first, I grew to love the all-purpose one-hit-wonder apps that made my life so simple. When the iPad was announced, I initially derided it for it's too large black bezel. Now that I own one, I see the design considerations, and don't mind the aforementioned bezel as a welcome grip on the device. I wasn't however, hooked on the pricey Apple-branded (and sometimes required) add-ons and upgrades. Today, I wanted to make a super-cheap iPad stand out of some plain cardboard.

Simple 4-step iPad Stand Instructions (with Pictures!)

Print this PDF file on your printer onto a regular sheet of US Letter sized paper (8.5 “ x11”). When printing, print the file at 100% (Don’t Scale to Fit!). If you print it right, the dashed line may stop or fade as you get close to the edge of the paper, mostly due to your printers inability to print to the absolute edge. This is fine! Simply cut the line logically to the edge of the paper.

Then you can lightly trace templates onto stiff cardboard or foam-core using a pencil, and cut out the resulting shapes using a hobby knife. (In my case, I printed the PDF out onto crack-n-peel paper, then applied the sticker onto a heavy cardboard backing. This made getting perfect cuts easy, and the design I included ends up on the final stand!)

Add a score and fold on the solid line for each backing, then fold in half. Do not completely separate the two halves, as the fold acts like a spine, holding up the back of your iPad. The notch in the bottom of the back of the stand is the area where the Dock Cable can sneak through the back. Depending on how you build the stand, you can have it come out the right or left sides.

Here's a detail of the iPad in the stand with the dock cable that came with it. Plenty of clearance, and the outlet hole in the back makes for a clean appearance!

Then tape or glue the bottom edges of the stand to the pie-shaped piece, keeping the finger hold in the center, facing front. I used magic tape in this build, but you could get away with masking tape, or white glue (with time to dry). If you use foam-core, the thick edges should sit flat on the bottom platform.

You are done making your iPad Stand!

The first caveat: You must be careful when using your hand/finger above the halfway mark on the iPad. You can simply push the iPad over with very little effort. As I stated in the directions and here, this stand is best for passive iPad use.

Here's two photos of an iPad in the stand in both portrait and landscape modes. It works in either way, the 'arms' are close enough so that they won't let the iPad slip through. The finger hold in the front is also a quick way to re-point the stand so it's facing you, or allow one to pull it in closer.

Front Portrait View

Front Landscape View

Dock Detail

Back Landscape


Above is a picture from the backside of the setup, you can see how well the iPad fit in the stand, with the nice sloping curve of the stand. You can also see the knock-out for the dock connector cable better at this angle. Note the design of the hole allows the dock cable to 'key' in, so it will capture the cable if it tries to fall out.

For those of you who missed the link to the PDF design above, I present it to you in a large typeface:

Download the iPad Stand PDF Design