Frugal portable ‘lap desk’

Ellen came up with a clever hack for her artistic kids:

My kids like to draw everywhere — sitting on the couch, on the drive into school, waiting in the doctor's office.  Rather than spending a pile of money on a real 'lapdesk' gizmo or another flimsy clipboard (the overpriced Dora one broke on the second use), I use a smallish plastic cutting board from IKEA with a butterfly clip or some tape to hold the current masterpiece on.  If I get organized, I'm going to use duct tape to create a pencil holder on the edge of the desk.  The board's cutout handle makes it easy to carry, they come in several sizes for different sized laps, and it's a cinch to wipe it down if it gets mucky.  The same surface can be used as a worksurface for playdough too.



  1. Jill says

    How about a real clipboard? The clip wouldn’t come off to get lost and it’s big enough for a full piece of paper.

  2. Dave says

    Real clipboards tend not to react well to water.

    Being washable is a key feature of the plastic cutting board.

    I also like the lower profile of a butterfly clip as compared to most clipboards

  3. radmama says

    Great idea!

    We have also used small baking sheets from the dollar store. I glued felt on the back for traction on laps and to use as a felt board.

    A great size, the edges keep pencils from rolling away in the car and you can take along some magnets to play with as well.