Tuesday, August 6, 2013

DIY : How To Make A Slant Board


Our little Squeak is not a fan of writing. Or drawing. Or doing anything with a pen on paper for longer than a minute, maybe two.
She has low muscle tone and painful joints, but there can be many reasons why children shy away from pen work.
Her wonderful OT recently suggested we try a slant board to take some pressure off her joints and create a more ergonomic position for writing. 
We gave the therapist's board a try and Squeak's concentration and perseverance skyrocketed, so I thought I'd have a go at making her one to use at home and also for the classroom next year.

What is a slant board?

A slant board is quite simply a board that has been set at an angle, usually with clips attached at the top to hold paper and exercise books.
There are plenty of benefits to using a slant board, some of which  include:
* improved wrist flexion/hand positioning and support which usually leads to better pen grip.
* the slant of the board brings the paper closer to the child and makes it easier to see. This is especially beneficial for children with visual problems.
* assists in the action of applying correct force when writing and drawing. Children with low tone like Squeak find applying downward pressure especially difficult and tiring.
* improved eye tracking, especially when reading. The board puts the work surface at a better level for tracking which reduces strain.
* enables better posture while the child works. This can have all sorts of benefits such as better concentration and in Squeak's case, less strain on her muscles and joints.
To make our slant board 
* a sheet of thick corflute board
(ours was 5mm thick and 1200mmx900mm in dimension, which was enough to make two slant boards).
* cutting/utility knife
* adhesive velcro
* ruler
* whiteboard marker
* hot glue/strong glue
* large clip

I started out with one large sheet of corflute board. It was 5mm thick and 1200/900mm in dimension, which ended up being enough for me to make two slant boards.

First I cut the board straight down the middle.

To do this I first measured the mid point then used a ruler and whiteboard marker to draw a line. Then using a sharp craft knife I carefully cut through one side, then bent the board in half and sliced the knife through the other side so the two halves were separated.

I then stuck a strip of velcro on the bottom of the board (on what would be the 'front' side).

I then measured and drew lines across the board as above. You can make your slant board what ever dimensions you prefer, I wanted Squeak's work surface to be slighter larger than a sheet of paper so from left to right my sections measured: 35cm, 35cm, 8cm and 5cm. 
The third section is the 'rise' part of the slant board so make it as high as you want the board to sit.
As you can see on the far left of the photo there was excess board which I removed and kept for future projects.

Using the craft knife again I carefully scored through the top layer of the board along all three lines. Use the ruler for stability if free hand cutting is proving tricky.
Once the lines are scored the board can be bent in those places but still holds together securely.

Your board should now look like this once all of the sections are cut and folded.

On the underside of the smallest section attach the other side of your velcro.

Now your board can hold together using the two strips of velcro.

The girls love using the slant boards and the thick corflute is perfect - easy to cut but rigid and strong to support weight.

If your table surface is slippery you can add anti slip sheets to the back (the rubbery anti slip mats you can buy to go inside cupboards and shelves at the dollar shop would be perfect) or rubber stoppers which you can buy in packs at hardware shops. 
Ours sat on the table without slipping just fine though.

To help Squeak hold her paper steady while she works I attached a large clip at the top of the board using hot glue. It is large enough for her to open and close easily with her little fingers but small enough not to get in the way of her work.

These slant boards were so easy to make and for $7.50 each very cost effective!

Please note, I am not a specialist or therapist and my posts should not be taken as professional opinion. I am just a parent sharing what helps our child.


  1. What a fabulous idea. I can think of a few kids back in my teaching days that would benefit from this. Glad it's helpful for your kids! And at a great price!

  2. My son avoids drawing too, and I've never heard of this idea before!

  3. I know what I am doing this week. I think this would make such a difference for my girls, especially at school.

  4. Hi ho hi ho its off to bunnings I go!
    Thanks Cazz so much. We have a perspex board in use at school so I will make a couple for at home for the kids to use here. Might even make some to donate to the school as well! Providing they look as good as yours!

  5. I really love this idea...my Ruby has trouble sticking with drawing for many of the same reasons and I would really like to try this. Can you get corflute at Bunnings? Thank you for sharing all your genius ideas with us!

  6. I like this, all the benefits really do make sense & Ive never considered that the angle would be a problem before now.
    Very clever

  7. Well aren't you clever! We often use a ring binder (folder thinggy) as a slant board but this is a more permanent solution. Thanks for sharing :)

  8. What a wonderful idea! Wish I'd known this when I was studying Graphic Design at TAFE (back when half of the course was on hand-rendered artwork – I'll avoid mentioning exactly how long ago because it makes me feel old) Real slant desks for grown ups are expensive! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Jack's OT suggested something similar too. They really work wonders, don't they? Jack had low muscle tone especially in his shoulder and so his arm would tire easily. It was great for his posture too like you said. They are so great :)

  10. Some children REALLY need slant boards and they are expensive to buy. I'll keep this in mind to suggest to parents.

  11. I will definitely have to try this as my son often complains of his hand hurting after drawing for a while. Thanks so much for sharing.

  12. What a simple alternative to the more pricey versions. Such a great tutorial as well with all of those wonderful pics. So glad it has been helpful for your little ones.

  13. Replies
    1. Hi, you can find corflute board in hardware shops. Here in Australia you can buy it from stores like Bunnings or Masters in the same isle as the sheets of chipboard. Hope that helps :)