Car Art Lap Desk

Car Art Lap Desk 1

When we travel to visit family, our shortest drive is three hours. Not an eternity but long enough to make we parents a little crazed if the children are idle & unhappy. This is why I really liked Julie’s idea, from Joy’s Hope, so much: a DIY that helps pass the time that doesn’t involve the DVD player. I can remember trips as a child, drawing picture after picture on the lap desks we had. I loved it. And I thought Bug, and some day soon, Sweet J, would too.

The inspiration for this project came via Lil Blue Boo and her What Would YOU Make? series. She sent out a chunk of fabric to a group of bloggers and asked them to create something using the fabric. It was Julie from Joy’s Hope and her Art on the Go creation that lit the spark. I took her idea and tweaked it, just a bit.

So here’s how I did it.

Car Art Lap Desk 2

What you need:

– Fabric –

  • 1 cover piece – cut to 21″ x 16″
  • 1 inner bag piece – cut to 20″ x 15″
  • piece to cover the pencil container

– Cookie Sheet – any size works, I used the 15×10 inch size
– Interfacing – cut to 9.5″ x 15″
– Plastic stuffing beads, foam balls, cotton batting – I used the plastic stuffing beads
– Adhesive hook and loop
– Can, cylindrical container
– Magnets
– Hot glue

First, cut your fabric. I made two of these lap desks, one with corduroy and one with a flannel. The inner sack to hold the stuffing was just scrap white fabric I have. I made the inner sack “just in case”. Just in case my simple sewing doesn’t hold up. Just in case the outer bag gets snagged. ‘Just in case’ because anything can happen and those little stuffing beads would be a beast to clean up.

Fold the inner sack fabric in half and sew around three sides of the rectangle with a 1/2 inch inseam, making sure to leave a small opening to insert the stuffing.

To make the inner sack more cube-like, pull the fabric on either side of the corner like the picture below. I’m sure there is a term for this but I, the super novice, do not know it. Only had a picture doing this with the corduroy.

This pull will bring the seams together, so work to get them perfectly stacked.

Place this folded corner in your machine with the corner pointed to the right and sew a  line. The inseam should be 1/2 inch as well, measured from the sewn corner, not the inseam edge. This should make a one inch deep ‘cube’.

Sewn line. Trim corner to 1/2 inch.

Then this is what it looks like right-side-out.

Repeat on other three corners. For the corners shared with the unsewn edge, just make sure the seam is in the middle and you will be fine.

Fill the bag with the stuffing and hand-sew the opening closed.

Now on to the outer bag

Iron on the interfacing. It should be on one half of the fabric.

Repeat the steps from the inner bag. Fold in half and sew around the three sides of the rectangle with a 1/2 inch inseam, making sure to leave an opening to insert the inner stuffing sack.

Then repeat the steps for the cube corners. Pull the fabric on either side of the corner like the picture below.

This pull will bring the seams together, so work to get them perfectly stacked.

Place this folded corner in your machine with the corner pointed to the right and sew a line. The inseam should be 1/2 inch as well, measured from the sewn corner, not the inseam edge. This should make a one inch deep ‘cube’.

Trim corner edge to 1/2 inch. Repeat with other three corners. Turn right-side-out.

Insert inner sack into outer sack.

Hand-sew the opening closed.

Then for hook & loop fun! I used three 9-inch long strips for each lap desk: left, right and middle. The adhesiveness is necessary for sticking to the cookie sheet and it’s very helpful in holding the strip in place while sewing it to the fabric.

Worried about placing the hook & loop in the same place on both the sheet and bag? Here’s a tip:

1. Stack the hook & loop on itself.
2. Peel off the adhesive cover on one side and stick to the pan. Repeat for all pieces.
3. Peel off the other adhesive cover strip on all three pieces.
4. Center the lap bag over the cookie sheet and press down on the adhesive strips.
5. Gently pull apart the hook & loop, making sure it stays put on the fabric.

Hand sew the hook & loop to the lap bag. Thanks Mom for your help.

Reconnect the hook & loop and you’re done!

Now on to the main event, the reason I did this project in the first place. Check out this pencil/marker/crayon caddy.

No more spilled pencils. No more balancing the box somewhere in the seat. Not here. This thing is slick. It even doubles as a paper holder!

Take any old cylindrical container. I’m using a drink mix cylinder. Julie used a can. I liked mine for the lid.

Because I had trouble with the glue adhering to the plastic base, I improvised. I attached a Bristol board circle to the base with wire to give myself a glue-able surface. Then I covered the wires inside with another Bristol board circle. Not beautiful but necessary.

Then I wrapped the container in matching fabric and glued it in place with a glue gun.

I glued three magnets to the bottom and it was finished.

Let the creative juices and car serenity flow!

Take care.

-amy c
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Lovely Crafty Home

Keeping It Simple

About Amy Christie

Amy is a wife, mother of two and a maker. Making is her thing whether it is food, DIYs or photos of her children. Follow Amy on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Bloglovin, Twitter, and through her once-a-month newsletter to keep up with the latest from this heart of mine.

7 thoughts on “Car Art Lap Desk

  1. This is a great idea. We used to travel 2 hours to get to family. Now we’ve moved 2 minutes away. This would have been awesome to have. I think I would have turned the cookie sheet the other way to hold pencils and crayons in it like a tray. My kids like to have more than one color out at a time. The holder is sweet! I like the magnet idea.

  2. I LOVE this idea! I will definitely be making these for my kids for Christmas! My husband just joined the military, so we will be doing quite a bit of traveling. I thought that these lap pads could also double as travel pillows if I used fiberfill instead of the plastic filler beads! I’m sure these will be life/sanity savers! Thanks so much for posting!

  3. Thanks so much! I was searching for diy lap desk instructions that uses a baking pan. We are going on a 18hr trip with a 16 month old boy! I plan to turn the tray the other way to use for cars and magnet animals :) this is Very helpful!

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