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DIY coloring station - brilliant for kids and long road trips!

Travel Tip: Magnet Magic

Now that we’ve just barely finished unpacking all the boxes (inside at least – the garage is a different story), guess what – we’re packing some bags and hitting the road to visit our family lake house in Montana.  Naturally, a 7 hour road trip calls for breaking out the big guns and this idea from Kaley is one of my favorites.  Hope you can use it too!

With summer in full swing, we have been doing a lot of traveling (get more of our tips here).  Planes, cars, even buses.  And no matter where we are, the thing that keeps my daughter entertained the most is her coloring book and crayons.  But after attempting to squeeze my entire body between the airplane seats to find a dropped crayon for the 100th time, I decided there had to be a better way.  I needed a travel-friendly coloring station.

Even if you aren’t the DIY type, this is super easy.  You only need a few supplies, and about 5 minutes to put this together.
Supplies needed:
  • a half cookie sheet
  • crayons / markers / colored pencils
  • a notebook / coloring book
  • magnetic tape (can be found at any home improvement store)
  • super glue
  • scissors


  • Cut the magnetic tape into 3/4 inch strips
  • Super-glue to your crayons / markers / colored pencils.*
  • Super-glue a 2 inch strip of magnetic tape to the back of your notebook / coloring book.*
  • Stick everything onto the cookie sheet.
  • Give it to your child to enjoy.


*note: Even though the magnetic tape is adhesive, I super-glued it to make sure that little fingers wouldn’t pick it off.  Please remember that young children should always be supervised while playing with any toy containing magnets.


They get a nice flat, hard surface to color on, and you won’t spend your time picking up dropped crayons off the floor.  Everyone is happy!

Enjoy the rest of your summer travels!


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Kaley is a photographer who spends her days starting lots of projects and finishing few of them. She lives in San Francisco with her awesomely creative daughter and her amazingly understanding husband.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

katepickle August 6, 2012 at 4:53 am

now that is genius… pure genius!


Marta August 6, 2012 at 6:58 am

What a great idea! Thanks!


Amy August 6, 2012 at 1:43 pm

You could always use sticky-back velcro if you didn’t want to use magnets! Attach a strip across the lap desk or tray, and put smaller pieces on the individual items :)


Maria September 6, 2013 at 1:05 pm

I love that idea!


vivian August 6, 2012 at 11:06 pm

excellent idea! you can also use those free advertising magnets sent in the mail, it’s the same thickness as the magnetic tape but free!


Anonymous August 7, 2012 at 1:32 am

Know that magnets work on white boards as well.


ach! August 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Such a great idea! I have to do this for my girl 😉 ach!


Jen (Pink) Williams August 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Such a fantastic DIY! I found a small sized baking sheet at the dollar store last night. Now I’m going to use those advertising magnets we have collecting on the fridge to attach everything (great idea Vivian)! Perfect for our 10 hour roadtrip tomorrow.


jenskidsadventures August 2, 2013 at 5:07 pm

A great solution to pens rolling under the seat! Thanks for the great idea.


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