Friday, February 19, 2010

Clipboard Car Caddy

Kellie is a tree-hugger and craft-addict. She blogs regularly at Greenhab and the Green Phone Booth.

I have finally found something to keep the kids from killing each other while in the car: drawing! Coloring and drawing keeps them occupied for about 30 seconds at a shot at home yet, in the car, it turns into a whole new experience. They make up stories and illustrate them, draw pictures for all of their friends, practice writing letters and numbers. It's like having little alien children that I don't really know. But I'm NOT complaining!

The only thing that doesn't quite work for me is the mess - there's always a zillion stray pieces of paper, crayons under the car seats, colored pencils rolling around, and someone looking for something to press on. After much thought I designed this clipboard caddy that holds paper, pencils (or markers) and crayons.

For the project you'll need a clipboard (mine is 9" wide by 15.5" tall), fabric (I used less than a yard), velcro strips and velcro circles with the sticky back.

From the fabric, cut:
  • two pieces 9.5 x 9.5" (small pocket)
  • two pieces 9.5 x 16" (large pocket)
  • two pieces 9.5 x 15" (lining)
  • one piece 9.5 x 29" (outside)

Let's start with the easiest part - the lining. Take your two 9.5 x 15" pieces, face right sides together and sew along both 15" sides. Sew the bottom too, but leave a large hole for turning the whole project right side out later.

{I've allowed for a strict 1/4" seam allowance, unless otherwise noted.}

Try it on your clipboard just to make sure it fits. It should be snug!

Next we'll make the two pockets. Take the 9.5 x 9.5 pieces, face right sides, sew all the way around leaving a small hole for turning. Turn, press. Repeat with the 9.5 x 16" pieces. Don't worry about sewing up the turning hole yet - we'll catch that later.

Now we'll structure the pockets. Starting with the 9.5 x 9.5 piece, fold the bottom up 2.5 inches and press; fold the top down 2 to 2.25 inches and press.

This is going to be the pocket for crayons, so we're going to make one inch wide pockets, one for each of 8 crayons. Beginning from the left, measure out 1.5 inches and draw a line. From there, make lines every inch. When you get to the other side, you'll be left with another 1.5 inch opening. This is good; this is what we want!

Sew along each line and also up and around the top flap. At this point I also added the sticky velcro circles that will keep the pocket flaps closed.

Now we'll do the same with the bigger pocket. For this one, we'll fold the bottom up 5" and the top down 3". Repeat all the same steps to make little pockets for your colored pencils.

Great job! Now put those to the side for a moment.

Take the 9.5 x 29" piece (this is the outside piece that the pockets will attach to) and fold it in half with the right sides facing OUT, wrong sides together. Press so you'll you exactly where the bottom will be.

Now bring the pockets back and arrange them how you'd like - I put the large pencil pocket on the bottom and the crayon pocket on the top. When you pin them where you'd like, make sure you only pin it to the top layer of fabric.

Sew the pockets onto the fabric by sewing the bottom and both sides but make sure you don't sew the flap part that folds over...because then it wouldn't fold over.

Now that the pockets are sewn on, we can complete that outer bag. Fold the long piece up so that right sides are now facing. Sew the sides closed. Go slow - with the pockets already attached it's a bit bulky and will try to wiggle under your presser foot.

Flip the bag right side out. Insert it into the lining piece so that the bags have right sides facing each other. We're going to sew the tops of each bag together, but we need to insert the velcro strips first. They'll hold the bag securely on the clipboard. Mine fit really snugly, so I think you could probably leave the velcro out but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Cut two sets (one hook, one loop) of velcro. I started with 3" strips and trimmed them down later. On the right side of the bag, about one inch from the end, insert one piece of velcro between the inner and outer bag with the hook (or loop) facing down. Insert the opposite piece (loop if you used the hook on the other side) between the back two pieces of the inner and outer bags, again facing down. Repeat on the left side. It should look like this from the top when you have it all pinned:

I hope that makes sense because it's feeling hard to explain. (I'm also thinking now that you could use ribbon instead of velcro and tie it at the top of the clipboard.)

Sew the tops all the way around, then pull the inside bag out through the hole in the bottom of the lining piece like this:

It may need a little pressing at this point. Gently slide it onto the clipboard. It should fit very snugly. Attach the velcro pieces - you can trim them now too if they're too long.

By sewing the pocket sides and bottom you also created a little pocket where you can store smaller pieces of paper!

Add your pencils, crayons and paper and you're ready to go!

If you have any questions just leave a comment and I'll try to clarify. It's not a hard project at all, just many little things that all need to fit together. It's a lot like making a purse with a lining.



  1. Super cool! I love how this cane be easily customized! I linked you on my blog! =]

  2. This is such a cool idea. I wish my sewing skills were up-to-par for this one but not yet. I'll save it for the future though :)

  3. What a darling idea! You are so talented. Thanks for sharing!


  4. Very cool project and great idea. Thank you for the step-by-step tutorial with photos.


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