Sunlight is good for mental health, and even just taking a step in the back yard or porch every day is much better than staying in the dark indoors. Recently, I moved house, and my new home has a cute porch that I can sit outside on. I tried to do some work outside since that’s healthier, but… the sun is too bright! It’s really difficult to see what’s on the screen when the sun is bright even on overcast days.
As someone who can’t get off the internet for two minutes (hey, my friends are there, can you blame me?) I decided to make a simple shade to chase away the glare. This simple project can be adapted to any size screen, from full laptops to small phones. I made one for my laptop and my tablet, and they work wonders!
For this project, I definitely recommend using foam above anything else. You can make this with cardboard, but other materials will be too heavy for a laptop screen to carry. Cardboard is also quite abrasive, whereas foam is soft and flexible.
What you’ll need:
- 2 a3 sheets of foam
Making the laptop shade
With a ruler or tape measure, measure along the top of your laptop. Add 1cm to your number, and this will be the width of your laptop shade. Take a sheet of foam, and measure the width of your foam (the long side).
Now for a teensy bit of maths, I’m afraid! Since this project will vary depending on your laptop or foam, there is no way to give you an accurate size for your laptop. So, maths it is! What you will need to do is:
Width of foam – Width of laptop shade = Free space around laptop
And then, you need to do the following:
Free space around laptop ÷ 2 = gaps at the side of laptop
Now that you have your final measurement, you can begin to make the laptop shade! Firstly, start from the bottom left corner of your foam. Measure up 10cm, and mark the spot with your pencil. If you are making a smaller one for a mobile or tablet, then you need to measure 2-3cm instead. You will need to cut inwards from this line. Make a cut that is the length of your gap measurement. If any of this is confusing, feel free to use the diagram below! Repeat this on the other side of your foam.
Next, using the cuts as a guide, fold your foam lengthways along the cuts. Unfold, and then fold in the sides. These folds will form the shape of your laptop shade. After that, take one side and fold along all of the folds again. The cut will form a corner for your laptop shade. Glue the two flaps together, and use something heavy to hold the flaps down while they’re drying. Make sure the glue is completely dry, and then repeat on the other side.
You should have the basic shape of your laptop shade now. However, if you try to fit it on your laptop, it’ll just fall off! You will need to add tabs on the inside to support the shade on your laptop.
To do this, take the second sheet of foam and draw the shape below. Make sure you have plenty of space around it! Next, begin to draw tabs on your support — these will go through the shade to stick them together. They don’t need to be the same size, as long as the shape of them looks like below. Cut it all out.
After that, you’ll need to measure out slits in your shade to pop the tabs through. Make sure to match the slits to the tabs on your support. You can use your ruler to measure it if need be! Cut the slits and pop the tabs through them. You can glue the tabs in place if you want to give your shade a little extra strength.
Optional: If you want to neaten it up, you can add side panels! To do this, measure the sides of your laptop shade. For an a3 sheet of foam, it will be roughly 10cm x 20cm. Draw out a right angle triangle on foam with these measurements. Cut it out, then glue it to one of the sides. Weigh it down until it’s dry. Repeat for the other side, then cut off any excess foam to neaten out the sides!
Your finished laptop shade!
From here, you’re free to decorate your laptop shade however you like! To use it, simply slip it over the top of your laptop. You may need to fiddle with it a bit to get it to sit comfortably, but it’ll help take some of the glare off your laptop when you’re outside in the sun. It may not be perfect, but every little bit is good!
Feel free to experiment with different size shades, or make a mini one for your phone or tablet. Also, don’t forget to give prototyping a go with cardboard! This is definitely a project that can make use of prototypes, so check out my previous post on making prototypes with mental illness. Show me your makes in the comments below, or with the hashtag #ConfoundedDIY on Instagram or Twitter. I hope you enjoy this project and get more time in the sun this spring!