At Home DIY Everyday Gear Kids Nursing Home

Elastic Band for Holding Paper/Small Objects on Tray Table

Writing has become difficult for my dad, and he does very little of it these days. After Christmas, though, he wanted to write short replies to a number of Christmas cards. It was difficult for him to hold on to the paper, so I rigged up a fat rubber band to hold it on his writing table.

This wasn’t the best solution, though, since I couldn’t find one that was fat enough when stretched to hold the paper as well as I liked, and I worried that the rubber band was under so much tension (and was so likely to break) that it could potentially injure him if it snapped unexpectedly.

Years ago, colorful elastic webbing (used mostly for belts, sometimes for waistbands in gathered skirts) was available at fabric stores. I couldn’t find that — colorful belting is now mostly made of nylon, non-stretchy, webbing — but I did find sturdy, one-inch wide black woven elastic. It’s a little thicker than plain elastic, and has a softer feel as well as a more gentle stretch.

Elastic Band for Holding PaperI wrapped the elastic snugly around Dad’s table, overlapped the ends by an inch, and stitched all around the edges of the overlap. (No sewing expertise required — this isn’t art, it just needs to hold securely.) The trick turned out to be making sure it wrapped tightly enough around the table — I was a little too conservative at first.

The new band is inobtrusive, but does a great job of holding paper, a notebook, coloring books, writing implements, a magazine, etc. in place. Pages can be turned (even one-handedly) without tossing whatever’s being looked-at onto the floor.

If you have pre-shrunk the elastic, the bands can be washed and dried; with several on hand, there will always be a clean one to use. These woven elastics don’t store as much energy as standard elastic; if a band were to separate, it’s unlikely that it would do any harm. A winner on all fronts!

Total cost for one: under $2.00.