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How to Make a DIY Tablet Holder For a Car Headrest


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

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      STEP 1: 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

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      STEP 2: 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

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      STEP 3: 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

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      STEP 4: Using wood glue, carefully assemble and glue the tablet holder together.

    5. Step: 5

      STEP 5: Nail the tablet holder together for reinforcement.

    6. Step: 6

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      STEP 6: Use the orbital sander to smooth the edges and make sure it's even along the joints.

    7. Step: 7

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      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

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      STEP 7: 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

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      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

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      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

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      STEP 8: 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

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      STEP 9: 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

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      STEP 10: 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

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      STEP 11: 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

  • 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

  • Looks like this would be very handy and will keep the grandkids from losing their iPads! Thanks for another great project.

    By MarilynnH

  • 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

  • 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

  • Great project! Can't wait for my grandson to be older so I can make this for him

    By marys96596_42687

  • 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

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