Thursday, September 30, 2010

Airplane Tray Cover Activity Centers

So, my sister and her family are moving to AFRICA on Friday!!! I have such mixed feelings about this. Really, I do. I am SO excited that they will be able to do what they are called to do (help set up business, make them (businesses) stronger, orphan care, after school programming), but I am going to miss them SO much. You can learn more about them here. I thought I had better whip up something that my nieces can use on the plane so, here it is!

I saw this idea quite a while ago when I was traveling with my daughter to Utah. I searched for something that would protect the airplane tray, yet allow her to play and eat off it. Commercially you can buy these tray covers but I just did not care for the look/colors of them. So I decided to figure out how to make one myself! :)
This is the front of the tray cover. I used laminated fabric (Amy Butler, LOVE her fabric) as the base covered with multipurpose weight vinyl. I edged the vinyl so that you could easily slip a coloring sheet, game, maze, etc under and use dry erase markers to color it.
In order to make it "stretchy" I used mesh, just like football uniforms, for the back side. I doubled up the fabric to make a pocket to hold small parts, like polly pockets when the try needs to be up.
I then quick whipped up a bag to hold all the parts out of some fabric I had in my stash.
Using printed out games from the internet I was able to find the Dot Game that my sister and I played when we were younger. Oh, I should add that my nieces are 4 1/2 & 3 but I think they can handle it with help of their parents.
I also printed off some coloring sheets (they are so into fairies right now) that they can color in. The great thing is that they will be coloring on top of the vinyl so the coloring sheets will last forever. I found great 2 sided dry erase markers at Target, they come in an eight pack so I just split them between the two girls. I also used my Stampin' Up! big shot to cut out a piece of wool felt for an eraser (that is what the scallop square is in the picture).
I printed off some educational games for them too! I'm all about learning & what better time than when you have a spare 24 hours on a plane! :)
In this picture you can see the checker board that I printed and the flower checkers that I made using a Stampin' Up! Sizzix die and the big shot.

You can also see the pocket that I attached, this will hold the markers and the eraser when the tray cover is in use. I just used some left over fabric to make the pocket.

Ya, think you want to make one, do you??!!
Here is how to do it, fairly simple for the most part I would say.
Cut your laminated fabric to 12 x 24 inches
Cut your Clear Vinyl to 9 x 24 inches.
Cut two strips of laminated fabric to 2x24 inches.
Cut your mesh to 11x22 (fold in half)
To make the edging fold the long strips of laminated fabric in half, burnish, and in half again. This will give you 1/4 edging with a nice clean folded edge.
Stitch to the edges of your vinyl on both sides. I did a double stitch about 1/16 of an inch apart for extra strength.
Hem edge of the laminated fabric so you have about a 1 inch hem. Double Stitch.
Hem the edge of the mesh (top, not sides) I did a double roll hem (I think that is what it's called) for a little added bulk.
Attach the edged vinyl to the laminated fabric by stitching the sides together.
Then attach the mesh to the fabric by double stiching and trim the excess bulk.
The end result back side! The size should end up to be approx 9 inches x 15 or so. Allow enough room so that the tray mesh will stretch (this seems to be able to stretch at least one inch. The average airplane tray is 9 1/2 by just over 16 inches.
Hope fully this all makes sense! Let me know if you have questions.

Happy Crafting!


  1. Tara, how cute! What a great gift for your nieces. I am sure they will love them. I am going to go read about their move and share it with my daughter as that is what she would love to do someday. Thanks for the detailed instructions too!

  2. Are you kidding me? This is such a fabulous idea!!!!! My girls would LOVE this! So incredibly creative and useful too!


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