DIY Travel Lap Tray

DIY lap tray

Between road-trips, carpools and a million errands, kids spend many hours of their life buckled up in the car. Our recent Summer road-trip inspired me to create a DIY Lap Tray that could work for crafts, activities, snacks and even a nap on-the-go. Now that I have one made for Clare, I want to make one for everyone, including myself!

DIY lap tray DIY lap tray

Ready to learn how to make a DIY Travel Lap Tray? I think this one could be our next great go-to birthday gift!

DIY lap tray

Gather ye supplies:

A cookie sheet. This 10″x13″ worked well

1.5 yards fabric total (or 6 pieces 4″ taller and 4″ wider than the outer edge of the cookie sheet – 2″ all around) I used Nursery Versery and The Birds & The Bees.

Cotton Webbing (or your strap of choice) 1 yard.

1 – 12″ zipper. I love these colorful metal zippers from Zip-It Zippers

1/2 yard medium-weight interfacing

2′ Sticky Back Velcro

DIY lap tray

Follow our zipper pocket tutorial, placing the zipper exactly centered on the fabric.
DIY lap tray

The pocket should be 1″ smaller than the front fabric all around.

DIY lap tray

Cut 2 – 18″ lengths of cotton webbing. Seal the end either with glue or a serger.

DIY lap tray

Sew the ends to the right side of the pocket front, 6″ from side edges. Repeat on one of the pieces set aside for the pillow side.

DIY lap tray

Fold the bottom edge under 1/2″ and press. Repeat on the piece of fabric that will be the “back” of the pocket.

DIY lap tray

Align these two pieces right-side facing and sew around both sides and top, leaving the bottom edge open.

DIY lap tray

Place the other two pieces of fabric right-side-facing with the handle tucked inside and sew all the way around except for a large opening at the bottom, 8″ or so. This is your pillow side.

Cut two strips of Velcro to fit along the sides of the bottom of your cookie sheet. Remove the paper and stick the rough side to the bottom of your cookie sheet.

DIY lap tray

Peel off top paper of Velcro and position centered on the “pillow.”

DIY lap trayDIY lap tray

Pull the “pillow” away, taking the Velcro along with it.

DIY lap tray

Sew the Velcro in place through the hole in the bottom of your pillow. If it’s too tight, open up the hole a bit.

DIY lap tray

Find a curly-haired helper to stuff your pillow. If you can’t find one, a straight-haired helper will work just as well. Don’t pack it too much!

DIY lap tray

Sew the opening of the pillow closed. Your needle might be sticky from the Velcro and need replacing.

DIY lap tray DIY lap tray

Tuck the edge of the pillow into the open bottom edge of the pocket. Pin well.

I thought that I might have to hand sew the two sides together but it was surprisingly easy to machine sew. I think it depends on how full the pillow is stuffed.

DIY lap tray

Add reinforcing stitches to the top of the handles.

DIY lap tray

Now hit the road! You’ve got crafts covered!

DIY lap tray

Style covered!

DIY lap tray

Naps covered.

DIY lap tray

Activities covered!

DIY lap tray DIY lap tray

And snacks covered! Everything you need to keep them from going crazy if it’s not already be too late…

DIY lap tray

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95 Comments

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[…] Cover Row 6: Recycled Container // Tissue Holder // Headphones Holder Row 7:  Eye Mask // Travel Lap Tray // Travel Candle Row 8: Headphones Holder // Straightener Cozy // Eye Mask Row 9: Travel […]

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Michelle Molloy

I just made a no see version with an old sham and hot glue. I had a piece of egg carton foam that I folded over and tucked into one of the flaps. Hopefully it will hold up! :) thanks for the detailed idea!

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Kimberly

Brilliant and adorable! Absolutely not safe for travel. A little more money for a soft lap tray is worth the safety of everyone in the car, who knows where a large flying metal object would end up? I wonder about a redesign with a substitute material? Thank you for sharing your tutorial, thedetails are great.

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Ztatsylime

whoa, hold your horses, this is not save!! the cookie tray could cause serious injury to your child if your in a car accident. buy the ones in the store or use a slightly stiffer foam, that way they will compact around your child not be forced into their abdomen.

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Lynn

Remind me to never go on a car trip with some of you! How boring it must be in your automobile, if no one can have a cup/book/toys/tray!! The cold hard fact is that it is unsafe to even put your child in the car and drive around to begin with. As someone up there said, the odds of being in an accident are far less than the odds of going insane on a car trip with a bored and cranky kid. Lighten up, folks! When I was a child, we rode in the car with — *gasp* — NO seatbelt! And often, we would — *gasp* — STAND UP in the seat to look out the windows. And guess what else? We rode our bikes with — *gasp* — NO HELMET! Trust me on this: if God decides he wants to call one of his angels home, it’s going to happen whether or not he/she has a lap tray. If God decides there is still work for that angel to do on earth, then He will guard him/her against injury from the lap tray.

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Matthew

Sorry Lynn, I’m not going to trust you on this because — *gasp* — there is no God planning out every human being’s existence. There is, however, a sense of responsibility that every parent owes their child. If you have the opportunity to provide your child with a safer alternative why wouldn’t you? Amazon currently has a travel tray for $15 that is made of materials that give under impact Sorry but this diy project, while clever and well executed, doesn’t make for a safe travel product.

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Adrienne

Matthew: Yahweh (your creator) loves you whether you believe he exists or not. He knows how many hairs are on your head. He cares about every detail of your life. You bring him glory even in your unbelief because HE is just that powerful. I would much rather have the safety of my children in the hands of this powerful, loving creator than solely in my own flawed hands.

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Travel Lap Pillow | Casa Azul Studio

[…] Last night while looking for ideas to take on the plane for my 4 year old, I found this awesome tutorial from Prudent Baby. Last week we made the chalkboard with the alphabet letters and finding this was just perfect for our previous project. So this morning I went to my little studio  to find any scrap fabric to make this awesome travel pillow. I’m not a seamstress by any means and it sure didn’t turn out as cute as the original but it works for us. Here is the Tutorial […]

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Laura

Thank you for this! We have a big trip coming up and I really want lap desks for the kiddos, but don’t want to drop a bunch of $ on them. I started to sit down and plan one out when it occurred to me that surely someone else has done this already…I was right, and you’ve done it so beautifully! I love your design and think I’ll stick to it fairly closely, however I think I’ll add a pencil pouch and I plan to sew a few strong magnets into the pillow cover to hold the tray on instead of using velcro. That will also allow the tray to be flipped over for when a smooth edgeless surface is preferred (ie: when my older daughter is drawing or reading). I’m excited, my girls will love these!

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Alert GPS Blog

[…] lap trays so they can easily color, draw, and play travel games.  Here is a great tutorial from Prudent Baby for a DIY lap tray.  Some of their other favorite lap activities include reusable sticker pads, […]

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Aino Welch

You really want a metal tray in front of your child??? In the event of a crash, it could be a hazard. Replace the tray with a piece of foam core poster board or a used political sign (Corrugated Plastic Board). In a crash they will bend or break and leave your little ones safe!

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Sarah

I love this idea and plan on making one. Before I start hacking up fabric can I confirm what is needed? Assuming I use a 10×13 cookie sheet, I should cut 6 pieces of fabric that measure 14 x 17? Is this correct? But what does that 2″ all around refer to? Do I need another 2″on top? I am a little confused. Help please!

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