Travel Drawing Kit

Before we embarked on the Great 24 Hour Rail Journey of 2011, I put a lot of thought into how I would keep a 2 year old occupied in a confined space for such a long period of time. The felt car play mat and a couple of cars and trains were a good start, but I needed more than that!

I love the crayon rolls that are all over craft blog land, but crayons (or markers) aren’t much use without paper. So I made this Travel Drawing Kit:


Designed to hold a pack of 8 washable markers and  a small notebook/drawing pad.


Made in a nicedark fabric (Michael Miller Retro Mod, Hoopla Dot in Lagoon) to hide any, ummm, over-creativity.


It kept my toddler occupied on the train, in restaurants, at shows and tour presentations, and now lives in my handbag for those moments when I need to occupy him.

Here’s the full tutorial:

Small Art Pad or Notebook (I used A5 size – 14.8 x 21cm/5.8 x 8.3 inch) Pack of 8 Washable Markers
1/2 yard of fabric (Michael Miller Retro Mod, Hoopla Dot in Lagoon)
Matching thread
30cm / 12inch Bias tape in coordinating colour
Iron-on interfacing (Medium or Heavy weight)
2 pieces of Cardboard 18x24cm (7×10 inch)
Small piece of thin elastic
Sewing machine


Cut two pieces of fabric 26x40cm (Note: dimensions include the notebook, a 1.5cm border around the notebook, 1.5cm for the spine and a 1cm seam allowance).


Cut one piece of fabric 12x30cm for the crayon/marker pocket. Cut one piece of bias tape 30cm long.

(Please ignore the big crease in the fabric, it is actually a rectangle. I really should iron before I cut.)

Cut two pieces of iron-on interfacing approximately 1cm (1/2in) larger than your notebook.


Cut another piece of iron-on interfacing 2” high and approximately an inch wider than your sketch book.


Draw a rectangle approximately 1/2cm (1/4 inch) high and 1/4cm (1/8inch) wider than your sketch book.


Pin this piece of interfacing with adhesive-side up onto the right side of one large piece of fabric in the location where the sketch book will slide in.


Sew all the way around the previously-marked rectangle with a straight stitch. Cut a hole with scissors or a craft knife down the centre of the rectangle.


Clip the corners of the interfacing (being careful not to get too close to the stitching!).


Pull the interfacing through the slit to the wrong side of the fabric, fold it along the seam line and pin into place.


Carefully iron the interfacing onto the wrong side of the fabric. Note: as there are pins in there, just press down onto the fabric and don’t move the iron from side to side to avoid scratching your iron.


Top-stitch around the hole.


Iron two larger pieces of interfacing onto the wrong side of the other large piece of fabric, leaving the seam allowance around the edge and spine allowance in the centre.


Attach bias tape to the top edge of the smaller piece of cut fabric.


Fold the right-hand edge of the fabric under and pin to the right side of the fabric piece with the hole, aligning it with the edge of the spine section and the bottom edge. Sew along right hand side, reinforcing the top section by sewing over it 2-3 times.


Pin 8 pockets (one for each of the markers). As the markers lined up are approximately the same width as the sketch book, the top fabric is wider than the bottom for each pocket and wraps around each marker.


I tested each pocket as I went to make sure the markers would fit!

Sew along each of the pinned lines to create the individual pockets, reinforcing the top of the pocket by back-stitching.


With right sides of the two large pieces fabric together, sew around three sides. I sewed around the two long sides (top and bottom) and one short side.

(Really hard to see with matching threads!)

Clip the corners and turn fabric right side out.


Cut two pieces of cardboard slightly larger than the sketchpad (reuse those nappy boxes!).


Slide one piece of cardboard into the opening, and then sew two rows of stitches to hold the cardboard into position and define the spine of the folder.


Insert the second piece of cardboard. Fold the edges of the fabric in and pin together. Pin a loop of elastic into place.


Sew the side closed.


Hand-sew a button onto the front.


Insert your sketch pad and markers…


…and give to your budding artist!


This has been a sanity-saver for this Mum, and lives in my handbag.

If you use this tutorial, please let me know in the comments or by sending me an email.


  1. What fun. Having little projects like this sure helps with traveling, even if it’s to the store. Great tutorial.

  2. This is perfect! I’ve had something like this brewing in my mind but never made one yet. Now I don’t have to do any figuring… you’ve done it all! My 3 year old LOVES to color and this is perfect for the car and restaurants!

  3. AB HOME Interiors says

    Oh that is adorable! And fun. I dont have kids but my friends do, and I swear I dont know how you moms do it. The amount of time you have to invest to make sure they are having fun and busy….sounds exhausting! hahah But your kit is adorable! is it bad that I want to use it?

  4. Oh, that is really cute! I love handmade accessories!

  5. This is so neat! love it! Very fun cute and practical!

    BTW, thanks for visiting my blog!

  6. A great tutorial, with such detailed instructions! The end result looks fabulous and so practical.

  7. Joni Nickrent says

    ADORABLE! I need this for me! TFS! GREAT TUTE! POP ART MINIS

  8. I am in LOVE, LOVE, LOVE with this! Thank you so much for the idea, I am definitely pinning this one!

    Brie from

  9. Amazing idea. My grandkids will love it. Perfect for long trips and wait times.

  10. ohgoodgolly…supercool idea!
    And I’ve got most of the materials already laying around, just begging to become a little art kit. Thanks for the easy-to-follow tutorial.
    I found you through TCB…cheers!

  11. Georgiaberry says

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Georgiaberry says

    Thank you! I have been learning how to use interfacing, and this is such a good application.

  13. Melissa @ Sew BitterSweet Designs says

    Great tutorial – I am definitely going to have to make one of these before we embark on a 12 hours car ride to CA for Thanksgiving 🙂

  14. Great idea! My son loves to draw all over my to-do lists and shopping lists…this would be so helpful! I’d love for you to link up to my new linky party – Creative Genius @!

  15. This Wonderful! I was always trying to come up with ways of entertaining the kids in the car. I would love to list these for sale in my store, Take a look and let me know what you think 🙂 Trina

  16. I just finished making one of these for a 4in X 6in pad, which was the perfect size to put with crayons. I ran the crayon pockets vertically opposite the pad along the edge of the book, instead of along the bottom. 12 crayons fit perfectly. I started with the large pieces at 10in X 7in. 10in was a *little* to small, my spine isn’t quite wide enough, but not too noticeable. I had trouble with cutting just a slit for the notepad slot, so I cut a smaller rectangle inside the sewn rectangle and then snipped the inner corners so I could fold in under neatly. Came out well for my first try.

  17. Thank you so much for the tutorial! I just made four of these for my niece and nephews as Christmas gifts using crayons and coloring books. They turned out great. I blogged about them today and mentioned your post if you’d like to check it out:

  18. You should sell them!


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