Sure, that iPad’s fun. But doesn’t your arm get tired propping up one and a half pounds after an hour or two?
Yes, one thing that the iPad is definitely missing is angle. A laptop has an adjustable screen, and you can just set it on your lap for couchborne surfing. Just set the iPad on your lap and… well… it’s sits there taunting you, pointing at the ceiling.
You can try sitting cross-legged like Steve Jobs, angle your knees with the help of the coffee table, or give up and shell out for a tabletop dock.
No, it’s not the end of the world. But shouldn’t fun new toys just be… fun?
So here is our solution: a DIY adjustable-angle iPad stand for your lap. Inexpensive, cozy, and light. Designed for both portrait and landscape use, and ready to fold up for transport and storage. With a stand, you can use your ‘Pad with zero, one, or two hands, and sit how you darn well please.
Our iPad lap stand is made out of flannel and velcro, with rigidity provided by a masonite endoskeleton plus some fat elastic bands to hold your preciousssss in place.
To get started, the first thing that you’ll need is a piece of fabric at least 24.5 x 27 inches. We used flannel, because it’s super cozy sitting there on your lap. And cozy is good for something that spends more time on your lap than a narcoleptic kitten.
The pattern, sketched out above, shows the three main segments of the stand– the iPad holding Front Panel, the back (vertical) panel, and the bottom (base) panel. It also shows the part of the fabric that’s bent over to cover the reverse sides of those panels, as well as the seam allowances.
The first step in building it is to fold over the edges on the left and right sides and sew them down.
Next, you fold the left half over the area where the panels will be, and sew that down on the top and bottom edges. The stand is a hollow pocket in shape at the moment– we’re constructing a big pocket in the middle of the stand, where the masonite endoskeleton will reside.
In the next step, we’ll need some velcro. The type of velcro that we’re using is the low-profile “cable tie” velcro– which is actually good for most light-duty velcro applications. (We had more to say about it in this article.)
Having sewn the top and bottom sides of the pocket, we now turn that inside out so that all the rough seams are safely hidden insde. We also add the velcro bits that allow this pocket to be held shut, once we add the masonite.
The masonite is the standard medium-stiffness fiberboard, about 1/8″ thick, the kind you find at the hardware store. You can score it with a utility knife and ruler, and then snap it to size. It’s strong enough to do the job but not overly rigid.
The masonite pieces provide rigidity to the three panels, and need to be cut out the the same sizes as the three panels. You’ll want to make sure that they fit before proceeding.
Next, two strips of velcro that are used to hold the stand upright.
Those two sewn-down strips of velcro connect to two loose straps of velcro that extend from the other end of the stand.
Also, at this stage, you add four loops of wide elastic that are used to hold down the corners of the iPad– more detail about that part in a moment.
The front panel is designed to hold the iPad by its corners– not obstructing the touchscreen nor the button –in either portrait or landscape (vertical or horizontal) orientations. This is illustrated here, with the iPad outline shown both ways and then stacked. The careful stitching of the elastic straps– shown in green– allows it to be mounted either way.
This template (drawn to scale) shows you exactly where to put those stitches at each corner.
Then finally, you put the masonite bones back in and use them as a guide for the hinges. There isn’t much slop in the design, so when you put in a row if stitches between the panels, it turns into a reasonably sturdy hinge.
At this point, it’s just a matter of using it. Put it all together, close the flap, fold it up, and get to work, er, play as the case may be.
Here’s the back side, showing the flap where the masonite pieces can be inserted. (That also means that you can take them out for cleaning.)
Here you can see the elastic straps.
And, full height. If you don’t like the range of angles in the design, it’s pretty straightforward to build another, with a different value (instead of 5 inches) for the back panel, to give different heights.
Works for tabletop use, too!
Sweet! No hands!