How to make a cushioned lap table

Bed or lap tables have so many great uses but they always have those legs that are hard to position around your own. For many people, the legs simply aren’t spaced far enough apart to straddle their lap. But if you make a lap table with no legs you won’t have to face that problem any longer. The table has a pillow attached to the bottom and sits directly on your lap.

You can make the pillow yourself or you can purchase a pillow for this project. If you purchase one find one that is no more than five inches thick. The dimensions of the pillow should be approximately 16″X12″. It can be slightly larger than that but not much smaller. At the same time purchase a tray for the top. The tray should be the approximate size of the pillow but can be slightly larger than the pillow. There are also things at home you can use for the tray, such as a lid from a plastic storage bin, turned upside-down. Spread contact cement completely over the tray or lid. Position it on the pillow and allow to dry. Your table is finished and ready to use in about 8 hours.

If you’re making your own pillow, purchase the tray first. The tray can be a serving tray without handles and can have a lip around the edge if you prefer. When selecting material there are very many different types that will work for this project. Don’t choose slick materials like satin or you’ll have trouble keeping the lap tray from sliding. Measure the length and width of the bottom of the tray. Cut two pieces of cloth to these measurements. Now measure around the tray and cut a strip of fabric that length and 5″ wide. This piece will be the band around the pillow. Fold it in half and mark that area then fold in half again and mark those folds. On each of the pillow pieces do the same: fold in half and mark then fold again and mark.

Begin on one long side of one piece of fabric and start to sew the band on, taking a quarter-inch seam. When arriving at the end of the band overlap it with the opposite end. Make sure the pillow and band are turned inside out and align the marks on the band with the marks on the second cushion piece. Pin in place. Stitch the second piece of fabric to the band. When you arrive at the side where you began stop short a few inches to allow room for stuffing the pillow.

Turn pillow right side out and stuff with cotton, foam or pillow stuffing. Don’t overstuff the pillow but instead, stuff it to where it lays fairly flat on top. Stitch shut. Be sure and stitch the area where you overlapped the band on the first piece since their remains a small gap. Now use contact cement to affix the tray to the top of the pillow. Allow to dry well.

You can make other shapes of lap trays like ovals or circles. Just draw the tray shape onto the fabric and cut two pieces. Cut a band that will be long enough to go around the perimeter and sew it to the cushion. Stuff pillow and set tray.

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