We were trying to decide whether we should fly or drive to visit family this summer. On the one hand, airfare for three adults and one child would be over $1600. On the other hand, it would be a 14 hour car ride with an almost four year old. $1600? 14 hour car ride? It was a tough decision, but we finally decided on the 14 hour car trip. We searched Pinterest for advice on traveling with a preschooler and we thought we were ready for the drive. We weren’t. But that is a story for another day. The one thing we did do right was make this DIY Road Trip Travel Tray. We made it with a cookie sheet and some scrap fabric (it actually was a pretty easy project) and it was a godsend during the trip.
How to make a DIY Road Trip Travel Tray
- Large Cookie Sheet
- Spray Paint
- Craft Paint
- Dauber Paint brushes
- 2 pieces of Scrap Fabric the size of the cookie sheet
- Tacky Glue
- Sewing Machine
- Bean Bag Stuffing
The first step is to sand down the non-stick finish of the cookie sheet a bit. And then spray paint it with a good primer. This is our second cookie sheet. The first time we painted the cookie sheet without doing these two things and the spray paint both did not stick everywhere and starting pealing immediately.
But we had no peeling issues with the paint when we used sand paper and primer!
This next step is completely optional but because we are crafters we had to embellish the tray a bit with some acrylic craft paint and our Martha Stewart Dauber Brushes.
Now we wanted to create a cushion to glue to the bottom of the tray that would help keep the Road Trip Travel Tray steady and stabilized on Allison’s lap when she was in the car seat. We discussed the best way to accomplish this (one pin we saw on Pinterest added a velcro strap that hooked the travel tray onto the arms of the car seat) and settled on this idea. We used a some scrap flannel fabric we had used for a couple of other projects and we stole some bean bag stuffing from an old bean bag chair. I used a sewing machine but this is such a simple sewing project you could actually hand stitch the seams if you don’t have a machine handy.
I didn’t take the time to make a pattern, I just cut a piece of fabric to the size of the bottom of the cookie sheet. This pink piece is going to be the piece I glue onto the bottom of the Road Trip Travel Tray.
Then I used the pink piece of fabric as a guide to cut the printed piece of fabric. I cut this second piece of fabric larger than the pink piece, there was a border of about 1 1/2 inches on all sides.
To create the pouch like effect for the bottom piece of fabric, I sewed a 1 1/2 inch seam at each corner of the fabric as shown in the pictures above. I trimmed off the corner piece at the seam before moving on to the next step.
By creating the corners in the step above, the printed fabric was now the same diameter as the pink fabric. With right sides together I pinned the two pieces of fabric together. In the second picture, you can see that now I have a pouch to hold the bean bag stuffing. Sew around all four sides, leaving yourself a 3 inch opening so you can fill the cushion later. One you are done sewing, turn the fabric right-side out through the seam opening.
I filled the cushion with the bean bag stuffing, making sure not to fill it too much so there would be some give when Allison had it on her lap. I used a needle and thread to close up the opening of the cushion and then I used Tacky Glue to glue the cushion to the bottom of the cookie sheet tray.
I put a couple of books on top the cushion and let it dry for a few hours. That’s it – all done and it looked great!
Allison loved the tray! The cushion was comfortable on her lap and it was even more stable than we had hoped. It never fell off that I can remember.
She used it to play with her toys, color, eat her snacks and watch the portable DVD player. Huge success! If you have a car-seat bound kid, we really recommend that you don’t leave home on a multi-hour car trip without a Road Trip Travel Tray!