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How to Make a DIY Tablet Holder For a Car Headrest


Thriftdiving
Thriftdiving
Thriftdiving
Thriftdiving

Summer means family road trips! The only thing my kids beg me to bring along are the electronics to keep them occupied for the long drives! In the past, the kids have held the tablets on their lap to watch movies, but I worry about drops and them spilling food and drinks on them. With this DIY tablet holders, the problem is solved: keep the tablets out of the kids' hands during movie time, AND make one that's unique and fun! Make one for each of the headrests for your family!

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  1. Project Steps

    1. Step: 1

      Large be54e38e 4ffb 453e a8e3 cca8c024708a

      Each tablet size is different, so there's no one-size-fits-call tablet holder! Lay out your table carefully on 3/4" birch plywood and mark its size. Be sure to leave a little wiggle room so that the tablet can be inserted and removed easily from the tablet holder.

    2. Step: 2

      Large 89617cb2 4c73 4c3b 9dcc ee17186ad41b

      Cut out the back of the tablet holder. You can use a circular saw or jig saw (or even a miter saw) to cut out the back. Use whatever tool is available and gets the job done.

    3. Step: 3

      Large 9abf05a5 3970 41f2 9f95 b47b97fda863

      Cut out the sides. You'll need 2 longer pieces and two shorter pieces. You'll end up with 4 pieces. NOTE: I didn't realize it at the time, but I did also need a 1/4" piece of birch plywood that would serve as a brace to hold the tablet in place. That piece will be the width of the tablet holder and as tall as needed to prevent the tablet from falling out.

    4. Step: 4

      Large c938040f e597 4a1f 9c73 608730c49b98

      Using wood glue, carefully assemble and glue the tablet holder together.

    5. Step: 5

      Nail the tablet holder together for reinforcement.

    6. Step: 6

      Large ea409c84 31b1 44e1 884c fa7947aa56c1

      Use the orbital sander to smooth the edges and make sure it's even along the joints.

    7. Step: 7

      Large a4a2fffb c036 425c 929c 2faa08ad71b0

      Craft stores have rolls of map sheets that you can use for decorative projects. A friend of mine had given me this roll and it was perfect for this project! You can buy a roll for under $10! Check for coupons at craft stores to get it for even less.

    8. Step: 8

      Large 96233e96 6e94 48e7 b665 af09d96f75e0

      Lay the tablet holder on top of the map and fit the map around the edges, rolling it up and over the edges of the tabled holder.

    9. Step: 9

      Large 690d087f d819 4a00 91f5 6322aacd9064

      Trim the map so that the sides will easily fold up onto the tablet holder once it's time to adhere it.

    10. Step: 10

      Large 43c25e35 354c 49bc 966d 1d4102ca6e37

      This is the top piece I referenced back in STEP 3. You'll need a small piece of 1/4" plywood that will prevent the tablet from falling out. Use your nailer to attach it, then fill the holes with wood filler. Sand smooth before painting.

    11. Step: 11

      Large fd49f07d 3a22 433a b1c8 43665d04afef

      Paint the inside of the table holder an ocean blue to go nicely with the map and travel theme! :) When it's dry, use a clear wax or a clear topcoat to protect it from scratches.

    12. Step: 12

      Large 9cb7d787 5de3 4eab b015 b7e4e7e6e686

      Very carefully spray each section of the tablet holder and map with spray adhesive. For a strong hold, wait at least 30 seconds before adhering the map after spraying. Be sure to use napkins to prevent sticky over-spray from getting on other parts of your project and workspace! Work it section by section, applying the spray and adhering the map to the tablet holder.

    13. Step: 13

      Large 6ff5cb4e 2dfc 423f bc4b 9098331e9faf

      Stencil "ROAD TRIP" or some other cute saying on the top brace. I used my Silhouette Cameo cutting machine to cut the stencil and used white chalked paint with a sponge to apply it.

    14. Step: 14

      Large 51012807 743f 43ab b002 c9991c483a24

      Staple on some Velcro brand fastener to create an adjustable strap to hold the tablet holder to the car headrest! Super easy! This project can be done in as little as 2 hours or less!

Comments (9)


  • No more road trip entertainment problems! Great solution that looks awesome to boot!
    By RYOBI Nation, on May 31, 2017

  • I'm dropping my kids off with my parents in July. 3.5 hour trip to the "halfway" point. I can totally use this. I need to build two dresser/nightstand things while the girls are gone, so that's the plan whether I win the tools or not.
    By mandyjcasey, on June 5, 2017

  • Looks like this would be very handy and will keep the grandkids from losing their iPads! Thanks for another great project.
    By MarilynnH, on June 9, 2017

  • I love this! My granddaughter will be entertained, and I won't hear that she "lost the cartoon" if she can't play with the screen. Thanks!
    By Mardol66, on June 10, 2017

  • This is such a unique idea and it turned out great. Serena-your recent (kind of) dresser rehab has me inspired. (The tall mid century dresser you painted white.) I have a similar dresser that the previous owner put drawer pulls on - kind of ruins the mid-century vibe. Need to figure out the best way to cover the holes, and then sand/strip the existing paint off. I've had this dresser since my first apartment and the pulls have always annoyed me. Finally feeling confident that I could redo it without botching it! Thank you for your inspiring posts!
    By Anje, on June 10, 2017

  • I love this project and the road maps..
    By bowling bonnie, on June 10, 2017

  • Great project! Can't wait for my grandson to be older so I can make this for him
    By marys96596_42687, on June 10, 2017

  • Super cool project idea. I have friends with three small kids that spend lots of time in the car traveling. This would make a great surprise gift.
    By grover959, on June 12, 2017

  • Serena does it again, great project!
    By Buffy Myers, on June 26, 2017

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How to Make a DIY Tablet Holder For a Car Headrest

by Thriftdiving
May 18, 2017
Medium 254d7b7c 9d1a 486e b6ef d5b862592c1b

Summer means family road trips! The only thing my kids beg me to bring along are the electronics to keep them occupied for the long drives! In the past, the kids have held the tablets on their lap to watch movies, but I worry about drops and them spilling food and drinks on them. With this DIY tablet holders, the problem is solved: keep the tablets out of the kids' hands during movie time, AND make one that's unique and fun! Make one for each of the headrests for your family!

Project Steps

  1. Step: 1
    Huge be54e38e 4ffb 453e a8e3 cca8c024708a

    Each tablet size is different, so there's no one-size-fits-call tablet holder! Lay out your table carefully on 3/4" birch plywood and mark its size. Be sure to leave a little wiggle room so that the tablet can be inserted and removed easily from the tablet holder.

  2. Step: 2
    Huge 89617cb2 4c73 4c3b 9dcc ee17186ad41b

    Cut out the back of the tablet holder. You can use a circular saw or jig saw (or even a miter saw) to cut out the back. Use whatever tool is available and gets the job done.

  3. Step: 3
    Huge 9abf05a5 3970 41f2 9f95 b47b97fda863

    Cut out the sides. You'll need 2 longer pieces and two shorter pieces. You'll end up with 4 pieces. NOTE: I didn't realize it at the time, but I did also need a 1/4" piece of birch plywood that would serve as a brace to hold the tablet in place. That piece will be the width of the tablet holder and as tall as needed to prevent the tablet from falling out.

  4. Step: 4
    Huge c938040f e597 4a1f 9c73 608730c49b98

    Using wood glue, carefully assemble and glue the tablet holder together.

  5. Step: 5

    Nail the tablet holder together for reinforcement.

  6. Step: 6
    Huge ea409c84 31b1 44e1 884c fa7947aa56c1

    Use the orbital sander to smooth the edges and make sure it's even along the joints.

  7. Step: 7
    Huge a4a2fffb c036 425c 929c 2faa08ad71b0

    Craft stores have rolls of map sheets that you can use for decorative projects. A friend of mine had given me this roll and it was perfect for this project! You can buy a roll for under $10! Check for coupons at craft stores to get it for even less.

  8. Step: 8
    Huge 96233e96 6e94 48e7 b665 af09d96f75e0

    Lay the tablet holder on top of the map and fit the map around the edges, rolling it up and over the edges of the tabled holder.

  9. Step: 9
    Huge 690d087f d819 4a00 91f5 6322aacd9064

    Trim the map so that the sides will easily fold up onto the tablet holder once it's time to adhere it.

  10. Step: 10
    Huge 43c25e35 354c 49bc 966d 1d4102ca6e37

    This is the top piece I referenced back in STEP 3. You'll need a small piece of 1/4" plywood that will prevent the tablet from falling out. Use your nailer to attach it, then fill the holes with wood filler. Sand smooth before painting.

  11. Step: 11
    Huge fd49f07d 3a22 433a b1c8 43665d04afef

    Paint the inside of the table holder an ocean blue to go nicely with the map and travel theme! :) When it's dry, use a clear wax or a clear topcoat to protect it from scratches.

  12. Step: 12
    Huge 9cb7d787 5de3 4eab b015 b7e4e7e6e686

    Very carefully spray each section of the tablet holder and map with spray adhesive. For a strong hold, wait at least 30 seconds before adhering the map after spraying. Be sure to use napkins to prevent sticky over-spray from getting on other parts of your project and workspace! Work it section by section, applying the spray and adhering the map to the tablet holder.

  13. Step: 13
    Huge 6ff5cb4e 2dfc 423f bc4b 9098331e9faf

    Stencil "ROAD TRIP" or some other cute saying on the top brace. I used my Silhouette Cameo cutting machine to cut the stencil and used white chalked paint with a sponge to apply it.

  14. Step: 14
    Huge 51012807 743f 43ab b002 c9991c483a24

    Staple on some Velcro brand fastener to create an adjustable strap to hold the tablet holder to the car headrest! Super easy! This project can be done in as little as 2 hours or less!