Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo

Make your own portable DVD player holder for your car

by: Guest

One of our regular readers, Jason, sent us a great tip for making your own contraption for holding a portable DVD player to the back of the car seat. We just love this idea and will be using it ourselves! Thanks, Jason!

While I am not a big fan of mobile DVD systems, long car trips are rough on little kids without some form of entertainment to occupy them. When we bought our Honda Pilot, we were simply unwilling to pay an extra $1500 for a built-in system. We didn’t think we’d use it that much and we figured we could buy a portable setup for a lot less.

As Christmas travel approached, we started looking at the various cases that you can buy to strap a DVD player to the back of your car seat. None of them seemed like a good choice because they were either too bulky or didn’t fit the player well. We borrowed one from some friends that opens at 90 degrees as if you might use it sitting on your lap. I could strap it to the back of the seat but my daughter loves to push buttons, so having the bottom half of the player folded out right in front of her like a shelf with fun things to push wasn’t going to work. I began looking for a way to mount the unit to the seat while opened flat.

A couple months earlier, I had bought a set of Kwik Twists at Lowe’s. I am a total junkie when it comes to shop tools and organizational goodies, so I can’t make a trip to Lowe’s without buying something. Kwik Twists are like long, thick, foamy twist ties. They have a metal wire inside to help them keep their shape when you bend them, but they are all foamy on the outside so you can pull them tight without scratching stuff. They just happened to be hanging in the aisle with organizational items and shelving and I couldn’t resist them. I paid just under $10 for the set of two.

I was sitting in the back seat of the Pilot with the DVD player and the borrowed case trying to think of a way to make it work. I just happened to look up at my workbench in the garage and saw the Kwik Twists hanging there. The idea popped in my head that I could use the twists to strap the player to the seat (Fig.1)!

I love it when a plan comes together. It took me all of about five minutes to make this one work. Once you get the hang of it, you can install the player in even less time. Here are the steps to install your portable DVD player into your car using a pair of Kwik Twists.

First, take a twist and put it around the head rest in front of you like you are going to strangle the person in the seat. Pull it back snugly between the seat and the head rest, then bend the ends straight down. Bend the very tips back up to form little hooks. The edge of the player will sit down in these hooks (Fig.2).

Next, open your DVD player flat and sit the bottom down in the hooks that you formed with the twists (Fig 3). Our DVD player will not open flat with the battery attached so we have to use the power adapter when we rig this up, but that’s OK! Be sure that the hooks don’t obstruct the door or the buttons – just spread them out to make room. And be careful here as you’ll probably have to keep a hand or an elbow on the player if it won’t stand up in the hooks by itself.

Now, take the second twist and wrap it the other way, bracing the center of the player with it and folding the ends around the head rest in front of you (Fig 4). The head rests on the Pilot are fixed, so I can just tuck the ends between the head rest and the seat for a snug fit. I bend the excess back around to keep it from poking the person who will be sitting in this seat (Fig 5).

I’ve done this setup in our Accord, too, where the head rests move and do not sit so firmly against the seat. In that case, you might have to fold the ends of the twist around to the front of the seat and actually tie them together to stay in place. With a little effort, you can find a way to tie them and shove them up between the head rest and the seat so that they are out of the way of the passenger in front.

Now comes the best part. Since the twists are flexible, you can grab the sides of the DVD player and move it around a little to get it lined up straight. It seems like I never get the hooks on the first twist in exactly the same shape, so I have to push the player down on one side or the other to straighten it up. But, the twists happily assume the new shape that you push them into, so all is well!

Finally, pick out one of your favorite DVDs and load it up. Finding Nemo, Cinderella, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse are all suitable candidates. Strap your child in and let the good times roll! If they can handle headphones, you might even get to listen to your own music instead of the movie. Hand the remote control to your spouse and have them practice the patented aim-around-the-back-and-hit-play move. Most importantly, when you pass a huge Suburban or Sequoia on the road with the built in DVD system that the owner paid big bucks for, slide right up next to them so they can see your custom rig and get all jealous.

37 comments so far:

  • 1
    Bob Lee 08/07/2008 at 7:33 am

    This is great! We have a Pilot and did not pay the big bucks for the entertainment system. And the dvd player we have doesn’t sit well on the center console and I keep knocking it over. So I went on line and found this site with your idea from the Kwik Twists. So I will give it a try. Thanks for the idea! Bob

  • 2
    Chica 08/07/2008 at 7:44 am

    That’s great, Bob. Let us know how it goes!

  • 3
    ackbar 08/23/2008 at 7:08 am

    Love the idea! I just did this in my car, and now I hope it works. We have a very long, long car ride ahead of us (vacation). To those that have done this and used this setup in their car… any changes, drawbacks, or advice? Thanks!

  • 4
    J 08/28/2008 at 11:03 pm

    You know they sell something just like that in the stores? (part that go around the head rest is a hard part but the rest is soft) Cost about $6 and its made just for portable dvd players like that. You can either have it flat or have it at a 90 degree angle….not saying that your idea is not a good idea but I thought that everybody had those in the stores around them. It would save you a few bucks too.

    Readers, please let us know if you have seen something like this online or in your local store. Email us a picture because we can’t seem to find them!

  • 5
    Nandu 10/01/2008 at 11:34 am

    Hi Jason,

    Nice Idea !!! Wanna try this…

  • 6
    felix 12/23/2008 at 2:12 pm

    thats great now we need something for those that have a one piece high back seat like on my 2001 expedition.

  • 7
    Grant 01/08/2009 at 5:35 pm

    Hey, I was doing a search on my competitor Kwik Twist and came up with your site. Great ideas you have.
    I read your entries about the Kwik Twist product and wanted to let you know that the Kwik Twist product is rapidly disappearing from the marketplace. The original patented product, Grip Twist, remains available.

    Thanks a lot.

  • 8
    Matt 03/13/2009 at 12:48 pm

    I’ve used these flex ties for a while and they became hard to work with they way we had it set up. I just found a carry case from NextBase on eBay. It’s made for a NextBase player, but I bought it for our Sony 8″ and it works fine. Has 2 straps that go around the headrest and clip to themselves. Very easy, but it may be tough to shange the disc. Of course, it was difficult using these flex ties, too but now, no bouncing around or kicking from my son.

  • 9
    DONNA ELAM 07/31/2009 at 9:55 pm


  • 10
    Dan 08/04/2009 at 5:38 pm

    Don’t want to be a party pooper but there is an article on a German safety org. that did crash tests and in a (as little as 18mph) rear hit the velcro type holders broke and struck the test dummy child in the head and would cause serious injury or death. Don’t know how strong the wire quick ties are but, maybe an additional velcro strap is called for or perhaps a center mount is safer. The factory option is expensive but they meet safety standards. Not likely but a possible danger to your kids. Sorry

  • 11
    Chrissy 09/12/2009 at 2:58 pm

    This is awesome! Thanks for posting this, I’ve had a really hard time finding a good way to attach the player to the seat!

  • 12
    Jo 09/12/2009 at 3:56 pm

    Glad it helped you out, Chrissy. It is hard to find something that works just right but this really does the trick!

  • 13
    Chrissy 11/10/2009 at 11:07 am

    So, I actually tried this over the weekend… and it was the most AWESOME idea!!! I will never use a DVD case again, it worked perfectly. Thanks again for putting this on the net! LOL

  • 14
    Chica 11/10/2009 at 5:18 pm

    Yay, Chrissy! So glad you loved it :)

  • 15
    Terri 12/04/2009 at 4:01 pm

    This sounds like a good idea, but how sturdy is the dvd player? Will it move when riding and hitting big bumps or lots of little bumps? Did the dvd skip at all?

  • 16
    Jason 12/05/2009 at 9:45 pm

    You can cinch up the twists as much as you want to hold it more firmly. I’ve got it down to an art where it doesn’t move much, and actually I think it is better to have a little play in the twists to absorb the shock of bumps. We don’t have any problems with skipping.

  • 17
    Lisa 01/12/2010 at 8:17 pm

    On a recent (very long) road trip we used the Kwik Twists to hold our DVD player – they worked perfectly! What a great idea – thanks for the help Jason! No skipping at all.

  • 18
    carrasco 02/23/2010 at 5:56 pm

    Came acrosss this site with this problem of mounting DVD. This idea works AWESOME!!!! Thank you Chica!!!!!!!

  • 19
    Lisa 03/17/2010 at 1:43 pm

    I just purchased at walmart a over the seat organizer for $22.96. It has a little shelf that holds your dvd player and sides to block the sun. It also has cup holder and other gadgets. Easy to install. Found it in automotive.

  • 20
    Jess 03/19/2010 at 1:21 am

    Check out First straps. They sell online for 14.99 but they look super easy to make. I’m going to attempt it once I get my dvd player (just ordered). I will let yall know how it goes.

  • 21
    Kathy 03/31/2010 at 12:08 pm

    I just use velcro. Make sure there is a lot of overlap on both ends. Place the velcro on the hinge area of the dvd player and around the posts of the headreast. Works like a charm.

  • 22
    Robert Roock 05/08/2010 at 3:38 pm

    Just wanted to say thanks for saving me a bundle of cash. I used the idea posted on your site regarding making your own portable DVD player holder for my car. Great stuff, worked like a charm. Thanks and thanks to Jason for coming up with such a simple yet affective mounting system.

  • 23
    Chica 05/08/2010 at 3:39 pm

    That’s awesome, Robert. Thanks for letting us know the technique worked so well for you!

  • 24
    Lorraine 05/18/2010 at 12:35 pm

    Would like to know if there is a way to hook it up between the 2 seats,(over the arm rest) so both my kids can watch the player?

  • 25
    Stacy 05/26/2010 at 11:06 pm

    Found this neato trick before and didnt use it but now I might need to. We bought a kinda stand/table thingy and it hooks into the bolt of the seat. I like it but dont love it being in the way. It seems to me that these twists come in two kids.. one you can hook them together to make longer twists and the other not? I would have to order from the states to Canada and hope to confirm which you used?
    Two.. 32 inch would be enough for a car install (outback)?
    Going on a 15000 km road trip with our 4 year old this summer and need a plan
    YES I SAID 15 000 km. all across canada and usa!

  • 26
    Sarah 09/03/2010 at 12:24 pm

    I found your solution awhile back and tried it out in all our vehicles. Worked great! I love a cheap solution. We have a Ford F150, Pontiac Vibe & Toyota Highland, and worked the same in all. Just used the standard size with the 2 pieces. I see Kathy had a good idea using velcro also!

  • 27
    carlos 01/03/2011 at 8:14 pm

    Just installed it in my minivan. Awesome thanks!

  • 28
    Chauncey Ehrhardt 05/31/2011 at 4:18 pm

    You’re very right! Your blog is very good! I very much support!

  • 29
    NIKY 06/09/2011 at 9:34 pm

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

  • 30
    Carisa 06/22/2011 at 8:30 pm

    Heading out tonight to get the Kwiktwists so we can mount the DVD players for our trip to CA this weekend! I like the fact that they can be taken down without any damage to the headrests or players, since we only put the players in the car for long rides. Thanks again!!

  • 31
    Kim 06/25/2012 at 12:31 am

    I just installed this in my Chevy Traverse for our road trip tomorrow—THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! It worked like a charm and I found the Kwik Twists at Lowe’s for $5.99!!!

  • 32
    KJ 06/26/2012 at 6:36 pm

    The idea works great!! The hardest part was convincing the staff at Lowes they actually had the KwikTiwsts on hand. (KwikTwists are also available at Tractor Supply Co.)

  • 33
    Chica 06/26/2012 at 6:57 pm

    KJ, don’t you just hate it when a clerk doesn’t know about something they sell? Sometimes it’s easier to just find it yourself! :)

  • 34
    RL 09/12/2012 at 12:12 pm

    Worked great for our trip! Thanks for sharing. Also had an issue with convincing Lowe’s that they sell the KwikTwists. The guy knew what they were but didn’t know the brand name.

  • 35
    England 06/04/2013 at 10:37 am

    Thank you for this great idea. I’ve been searching for a year now for a way to get my DVD player to stay up in my car. My son keeps dropping mine when I put in on his lap. I will check the Tractor Supply Co which is about 2 minutes from my home.

  • 36
    Jenny 07/13/2014 at 11:49 pm

    I absolutely love this idea. We just purchased a 2014 Honda pilot and didn’t want to spend extra for the entertainment system. I travel back home to visit family often with our almost 2year old and it can sometimes be as long as 8 hours in the car. This is a great idea I can’t wait it try it!

  • 37
    Brieann 08/01/2014 at 2:44 am

    Thank you for posting this awesome idea!!! I just received a portable dvd player and I was searching for a mounting system online and found this. I’m going to Lowe’s tomorrow to get some quick twists and try this for our trip tomorrow.

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