Lap Top Work Station For Temari Making

portable temari workstation

portable temari workstation

Wishing for something better than a pillow to place in my lap as a work surface for temari, I came up with a solution that used materials found around my house. At first, it was just a lap top work surface, and then I added a removable utility belt to keep tools and supplies for current project at hand.  Originally, the ideas was to have a surface that a ball would not roll around on (or roll off onto the floor).

The temari really does not roll off until you tilt it rather dramatically. Here, one end is jacked up 6″. The secret is the fact that the pillow side of the desks are filled with little foam pellets that conform to the shape of the ball.

temari lap desk 1

The work surface is two lap desks with one turned upside down on top of the other and both inserted into a zippered bag. I tried a pillow case but it was a little big, so I made a case with a zipper. This keeps the two desks together, but to prevent them from sliding back and forth (even in the tight case I made) I had to add a couple scraps of the nonskid mat (the kind used under area rugs and can also be purchased as place mats too).

temari lap desk 2

Also, the cover means you can keep you work surface clean by removing the cover and laundering it occasionally. Personally, I prefer the white cover over the busy print so I can see what I see my temari without a distracting print.

temari lap desk 3

I did leave the pillow case on under the zippered cover so that i can keep the lap desks together while the zippered cover is being washed and to have one more layer between the old (probably not very clean) fabric and my temari.

You could just as easily use a zippered pillow case that has been cut down to size by shortening the non-zippered end and the side that does not have the zipper pull on it when the zipper is closed. I did not have one, so I made one.

The lap desks I used are very old ones that were buried and forgotten in the back of a closet. There are a couple reasons to use the lap desks instead of a pillow. Because the pillow is soft: 1.  it will fold when you pick it up and 2. it is not rigid enough to attach a cool temari utility belt to it.

When looking for a lap desk to purchase (if you don’t have a couple of them hiding in your home to repurpose), I found a search on internet was more productive if I used the term “lap desk” or “lap desk pillow” and not “lap top desk”. The rectangular, inexpensive ones work just fine. The ergonomic shaped one that are curved to fit the body would make it difficult for the tool belt to stay on.

The tool belt was a brain storm I had one night that just had to be made the next morning, so I only used what materials were on hand. I am sure it could be improved or personalized to suit your own needs, but this design at least gives you a starting point.

temari lap desk 4

Work station utility belt assembled on left and disassembled into separate parts on right.

There is quite a bit of hook and loop fastener (Velcro) used in this project. It made it easy to assemble and to adjust without having to resew anything, plus it is easy to take apart if necessary. Please note there are two kinds of Velco used: two sided called “One Wrap” and the standard kind with hook on one tape and loop on other tape. Also, reference in this post to loop side means the soft side and hook side means the rougher side.

NOTE: Remember, you might have to adjust some of the measurements to fit either your lap desk size or scissors size. The lap desks that are used in this project are 13 1/2″ x 19″ and only about 1 3/4″ deep.


For Strap

1 piece of 1 1/4″ wide stiff belt webbing at 16″ long (1 1/2′ wide will work fine too)

1 piece of 1″ wide stiff elastic (the no roll ribbed kind) at 16″ long

1 piece of 1″ wide of hook (rough) side of Velcro at 1 1/2″  long

1 piece of 1″ wide of loop (soft) side of Velcro at 4″  long

For Scissors Pocket-

1 piece of 1 1/2″ wide belt webbing at 7″ long

1 piece of 1 1/2″ wide of hook (rough) side of Velcro at 1 1/2″  long

For Pincushion-

1 piece of felt at 5 1/2″ x 6 1/2″

yarn scraps for stuffing

2 pieces of 3/4″ wide Velcro at 4 1/2″ long each

For Thread Pouch-

1 piece light weight canvas at 7″ wide x 20″ long (light weight denim, etc.)

1 piece medium weight canvas (denim, etc.- something with a bit of body to help pocket keep its shape)

3 pieces of 3/4″ wide of two sided Velcro at 3 1/2″ long each

1 pieces of 3/4″ wide two sided Velcro (or piece of loop side) at 9″ long

 temari lap desk 5



temari lap desk 8

temari lap desk 6

  1. Stitch the 16″ piece of webbing to the 16″ piece of elastic with a 1 1/4″ overlap.
  2. Stitch the 1″ x 1 1/2″ piece of Velcro (hook side) to end of webbing.
  3. Stitch the 1″ x 4″ piece of Velcro (loop side) to end of elastic.

Scissors Pocket-

temari lap desk 7

  1. Stitch the 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ piece of Velcro (hook side) to one end of the 7″ long belt webbing.
  2. Lay on table with velcro side down, then fold up 2 1/2″ of other end and stitch along both sides to form a pocket.


temari lap desk 9

  1. fold the felt in half along the short side so that the two 6 1/2″ sides are together, and pin together.
  2. Zigzag stitch along the pinned edge but stitch so that one side of the stitching goes over the edge.
  3. Flatten the felt tube so that the seam is in the center of the back. Tuck in the corners on one end so that the end is about 1 1/4″ wide (width of strap that it will attach to later) and zigzag stitch end closed.
  4. Stuff felt tube with yarn scraps, but not too tightly or it is difficult to push pins and needles in.

NOTE: I recommend trying out the pincushion first before sewing second end closed to see if it needs more or less stuffing or a different kind.

  1. Stitch other end closed.
  2. Center a piece of two sided Velcro that is 3/4″ wide by 4 1/2″ long on an end of felt tube so that the loop side is up and stitch in place- one on each end.

Thread Pouch-

temari lap desk 10

The velcro extension part (the top half):

  1. Fold the 7″ x 20″ lt. weight canvas in half (with right sides together) along the long side so that the two 7″ sides are together and pin them together.
  2. Stitch along pinned side using a 1/2″ seam allowance making a tube. Press seam open. Turn down edge of one end of tube 1″ and press with iron.
  3. Turn right side out. On the side that has edge turned under (now it should be turned in), tuck in the three pieces of 3/4″ wide velcro that are 3 1/2″ long- one on each end and one in the center, with 1/2″ tucked in and 3″ sticking out. Pin in place.
  4. Stitch close to edge and again about 1/2″ from edge to close edge and secure Velcro strips.
  5. Stitch the 3/4″ x 9″ wide Velcro (loop side) at 1 1/2 below top edge (edge with Velcro strips).
  6. Finish other edge with an over edge zigzag stitch.

Now for the pouch part (the bottom half)-

  1. On the 9″ by 12″ canvas, fold down 3/4″ on both edges to form hems (fold toward wrong side of fabric or side that will be inside) and pin each folded edge. Stitch hems with an over edge zigzag.
  2. Fold in half (with right sides or side that will be out together) on the 9″ side so that the two hemmed 1/2″ sides are together. Pin along the folded 9″ sides and then stitch with 3/8″ or 1/2″ seam allowance. Over edge stitch the stitched seam to finish edges. Turn pouch right side out.
  3. Pin the 3/4″ x 4 1/2″ two sided Velcro to the center of one of the long sides of the pouch with a  1 ” overlap, with the loop side facing out and stitch in place.

The purpose of this piece of Velcro is to prevent the pouch from sagging open so far that things fall out.

  1. Pin pouch to the extension piece so that the back of pouch is 4″ from top edge of the extension. Stitch along top of pouch and again about an 1″ – 1 1/2″ down from top edge.

Now to assemble the parts:

temari lap desk 11

Wrap strap around lap desks and secure and stick Velcro ends to together. Slide three Velcro strips under strap and wrap around and stick each to themselves.

temari lap desk 12

Wrap the Velcro tabs of each end of the pincushion around the strap and stick each to themselves. Then stick the Velcro tab on back of the scissors pocket to any part of exposed loop tape. Ta da! Your temari workstation is done.

Hope you enjoy your temari work station. I regret not taking pictures while I made this, but I was thinking about making it and it had not occurred to me at the time that it might be something other temari makers would enjoy making for themselves. But I think if you study the pictures that go along with the text, you should be able to figure it out. If you still have a question, then just ask.


3 thoughts on “Lap Top Work Station For Temari Making

  1. this is a great idea and could also be used for embellishing work in quilting or when embroidering larger pieces of work. thank you, I love how you inventive mind works. Grest idea my friend.

  2. Thank you Denise. I am thinking that for other types of needle work, that a single lap desk with a cover would work well. I would still use a cover for two reasons: one, to have a cleanable works surface and two, the fabric would make the surface non-slippery so fabric or other needlework would not slide off. I will have to think on it and maybe come up with some ideas geared towards other types of needle work.

  3. Pingback: Bored on a Rainy Day | eccentricquilter

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