Doodle Desk for a toddler

by Stephen Hobley on April 13, 2010

Toddler Doodle Desk
One of the tasks I set myself this Christmas was to make Sarah Jane something only using left-over stuff from the garage. I had a spare sheet of MDF, some PVC pipe and dowel rods and decided to make her a “Doodle Desk”. This takes rolls of paper and lets you crank out a new sheet to draw on whenever she fills up the previous one. Once a roll is completed you can simply turn it over and draw on the back.

Doodle Desk for a Toddler

Doodle Desk For a Toddler #2

I cut a strip from the rear of the sheet and then cut this up to make the 4 supports that hold the dowels and pipe.

Since this is made from MDF it’s *really* important that you seal it properly. I use two coats of sanding sealer, then latex paint, and then a final coat of polyurethane on top. The handles are dowel, with two disks cut out using a hole cutter. Joining dowels inserted close to the edge provide the cranking handles. I even found an old folding card table that I cut down to toddler size using a pipe cutter. Add one bucket of washable crayons and you’re done.

The inspiration came from my final year of college, I used wallpaper backing rolls to write on while I was revising for finals. Once the sheet was full, I would tear it off and roll out a new piece. (I’m glad I don’t have to do stuff like that anymore!)

The finished rolls are being filed away for the future when Sarah Jane is old enough to examine her early work and give us all her critical appraisal.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Empty Jay April 14, 2010 at 12:47 pm

I love it! I’m filing this away for a near-future project to make for my daughter.

adam lee April 14, 2010 at 1:56 pm

this is so cute, i was just thinking about making one with my friend for a design collaboration table.

I would love to see the main rollers on the other side so that when her elbows stick out further she can still use it!


Brad April 14, 2010 at 3:05 pm

I see myself building one of these for the kids. Probably invert it with the rollers on the bottom. Good stuff. Thanks for the inspiration.

shobley April 14, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Thanks – we put the handles on the other side because we didn’t want her to crank all the paper out.

It didn’t take her long to work out how to do it though – now she happily winds just enough to do more drawing.

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