Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Dry Erase Travel Kit

We have some road-tripping in our future this summer, and while movies and video games in the car are one of  the WONDERFUL advantages of being a mom in the 21st century, sometimes my kids need to unplug....but how? 

I recently bought a roll of this dry-erase vinyl. I only needed about 3 feet of it to put a summer job chart up for my kids, but I ended up with this 10 foot roll. So of course, thinking of some way to use it was in the back of my mind. 

Then I remembered seeing that Crayola now makes dry-erase crayons, pencils and washable markers, and it hit me-- I could make dry-erase travel kits for my kids.  

And these kits are extra-cool because....(drumroll).....The fabric covering the kits is also dry-erase.  Seriously. I used laminated cotton/oil cloth fabric to cover two of them and a vinyl tablecloth to cover the other two. They totally wipe clean when you write on them. Perfect for travel, too, because they wipe clean from spills. 

I didn't make all of them exactly the same way. The laminated cotton did well with the glue gun, but the vinyl tablecloth didn't do as well, so I took it to the sewing machine more. I will talk about your options as I go through the tutorial. These would be easy to customize to fit your own preferences. 
I hope this tutorial gives you a good framework to work with.

Dry Erase Travel Kit
You will need: 
  • One 8" x 10" canvas panel (this is the kind on a stiff cardboard--not wrapped on a frame)
  • One 8" x 10" piece of heavy cardstock or tagboard
  • Dry Erase Laminate 
  • Duct Tape
  • 13 x 38" piece of laminated fabric (oilcloth, laminated cotton, or a vinyl tablecoth)
  • Two 8" x 10" pieces of fleece, felt, or quilt batting
  • Glue gun; Glue sticks; Sewing Machine; Thread
  • Optional: Letter stickers to put names on the front

1. Start with this--the canvas panel. This 3-pack costs $3.  This project really begs you to make more than one. :)

Measure and cut a rectangle on the dry erase laminate that is about 1/2 inch bigger on all sides than the canvas panel.

2. Press the laminate onto the BACK of the canvas panel (so the canvas side isn't covered). Wrap the excess around to the canvas side. 

3. Tape the excess down with duct tape. 

4. Hot glue one piece of the 8"x10" fleece/felt/batting to the duct tape side of the canvas panel.  Glue the other to the 8"x10" piece of tagboard.

5. Lay your fabric out, right side down. Arrange the cardboard and canvas pieces, fleece side down, about 1 inch apart, 10 inches away from one short side of the piece of fabric.
6. Glue or sew a 1/2" edge on the short side of the fabric closest to the tagboard, as shown here.

7. Trim the other end of the fabric to 1" away from the white board. (Keep this trimmed piece for a later step.) Fold 1/2 inch over, and glue or sew in place, as shown.

8. This step can be hot-glued or sewn.  Obviously, hot gluing is shown here, but I chose to sew this step by my last couple.  If you are gluing, lay hot glue along the 1-inch space between the two boards... 

...And fold the fabric over, then press in place, with the excess making a lip along the left side of the white board. 
9. Hot glue this lip of fabric into place. 
10. Fold the right side of the fabric over the white board, and hot glue down.  
11. Fold the top and bottoms of the fabric and pin in place. Notice how I folded the corners in first. Sew this in place. I found that I preferred a zig-zag stitch for this. 

Here it is after the sewing.

12. Now glue down the top and bottom edges to frame the entire inside. 

13.  Using that piece of fabric you cut off of the end in step 7, cut an 8x10" piece of fabric and fold it in half to make your inside pocket. Sew up the sides, wrong sides together, then turn inside out. You can finish the top with a rolled hem, or serge it as I did if you have a serger. 

14. Now decide how you want your pockets to look for all the markers, pencils, crayon, and erasers, and sew lines through the pocket to form compartments.

Here is a close-up of how I divided my pocket. 
15. Glue the pocket to the inside of the kit. Hot glue was tricky on the vinyl tablecloth fabric, so I ended up using mounting tape on one of the kits. My hot-glue gun is old, and I have a hard time keeping the glue from suddenly coming out in large quantities (which melted the table cloth fabric). You may not have that issue.  Hot glue worked great on the laminated cotton. 

And it's done! My daughter didn't waste anytime putting it to use once I put some pencils, crayons and markers inside.  I used a piece of felt as an eraser. The dry erase crayons come with an eraser that works well, too. 

Here is one I made with the vinyl tablecloth. My older sons weren't wild about the light-blue chevron. They were cool with stripes, though. 

And here's proof you can write on the outside. This is the same as the one below with "Finley" on it. The marker wiped right off! 
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  1. Such an awesome idea. Long car journeys can be so dull, but this would certainly brighten it up. My daughter would love it!

    Thanks for sharing at Marvelous Monday on Smart Party Planning :-)

  2. This is a great idea! I have a bunch of book covers that would work, I think, too!

    I found your through the Teach Me Tuesday @ 3GLOL #10 link party!



  3. Oh wow, that is such a great idea!! I've got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for tomorrow that links to your tutorial:

    1. Thank you, Anne! I am honored to be a part of a Craft Gossip Post! I linked to the post on FB and Twitter. :)

  4. Pinning! I think kiddo would love one of these. Husband has to pick her up from her moms every weekend and I know she gets so bored in the car even though its 20min away. Thank you for sharing this! It will be great for our little road trips too!

    1. Thanks for the pin! My kids have loved them. They also make good quiet books for church or school assemblies that are hard for kids to sit still in. :)

  5. Thank you! I am so happy you liked it enough to feature it! I will go grab a button. :)

  6. What did you use to put the letters of their names on? Another fun idea: buy the small cookie sheets from the $1 store and use magnets to play bingo. They are dry erase compatible so you can use them to practice spelling, math problems, etc. Thanks for the idea!

    1. Kristi Ann, I used scrapbooking sticker letters. They haven't come off yet (after two 13+hr car rides!). Love the cookie sheet bingo Idea!

  7. Thanks so much for linking up at Teach Me Tuesdays last week. Your link is very much appreciated!

    Pinning this awesome idea!!

    Hope to see you again, starts tonight @ 8pm CST.

    Have a great week!

  8. Can you imagine how much mileage a young mom will get out of having one of these tucked away in her purse? try these out