DIY Laptop Desk | how to build a lap desk

DIY Laptop Desk | how to build a lap desk

DIY Laptop Desk | The idea of being able to instantly set up a mini work station is quite appealing when you spend a good amount of time on the computer. I’ve had these DIY Laptop Desk plans floating around my head since the beginning of the summer. Initially they were for me – thinking I would be able to get away from the desk and still work comfortably from my laptop during the warm summer months – however here we are at the beginning of another school year.

Make a Laptop Lap Desk
The more I thought about the lap desk the more I realized it would probably be very beneficial for the little guy to have one as well. So with his new laptop in hand we finally got around to putting them together.

This lap desk is simple to make and can be constructed in just an hour or so. It’s durable, light weight, and very versatile – as it is not only a laptop desk but can be used as an activity / craft table for your little ones, homework desk, or even a lap table / bed – breakfast tray.

We had a majority of the wood left over from other projects – so we just used basic pine for these – except for the legs which are poplar. Upgraded prime boards can be used – but are not necessary.

Using the basic grade wood this desk can be made for around $10.

How to Make a Lap Desk Materials Needed:
2 X 2
1 X 2
1 X 12
Wood Glue
Sand Paper
Stain or Paint

Tools Needed: Miter Saw (or Hand Saw and Miter Box), Nail Gun

DIY Laptop Computer Desk Cut List:
2 X 2 – Desk Legs – Four Separate Pieces, each cut 9 inches long
1 X 2 – Front and Back Apron – Two Separate Pieces, each cut 25 inches long – ends cut at a 45° angle
1 X 2 – Side Aprons – Two Separate Pieces, each cut 10 1/4 inches long – ends cut at a 45° angle
1 X 12 – Desk Top – One Piece Cut 25 1/2 inches long

DIY Laptop Desk
(optional) – We sanded the ends of the table legs with a belt sander. This is not necessary and more less for decoration only – however it does make the table legs smooth and takes away the roughness of the edges. If a belt sander is not available the edges could simply be hand sanded and left square.

How to Build A Lap DeskStep 1 – Lay the Desk Top on a flat surface and attach the front, back and side aprons using wood glue.

DIY Lap Desk
Clamp and let set for 20 minutes.

Note – if you plan to stain the desk be careful with any access glue – as the stain will not absorb to these areas once the glue has dried.

Lap DeskStep 2 – Flip the desk top over  and using a nail gun attach the desk top to the aprons.

Lap TrayStep 3 – Working with one corner at a time – attach the legs.

Laptop Desk
Apply wood glue to each leg and nail in place – using a nail gun.

Computer Desk
We nailed each leg a total of four times – twice on each side of the apron.

Let everything set and the wood glue dry for 24 hours.

DIY Laptop Computer DeskStep 4 – Sand the entire desk. If you desk is being used by little ones be sure to sand the desk top edges down to take the sharpness away.

DIY Laptop Computer DeskStep 5 – Stain or paint the desk.

Pre-Condition Wood
We decided to stain the desk and prepared the wood with a Wood Conditioner. Since we used different types of wood we had laying around (and not top quality pieces) the conditioner helps provide a uniform acceptance of the stain and prevent streaking and blotching.

Staining Wood
Once dry, we used Ebony Wood Stain to finish.

A Polycrylic Top Coat can also be applied for added protection.

Make a Laptop Desk

DIY Lap Desk
Our little guy loves the fact he has his own little desk for work and play.

Homework Lap Desk
As with many autistic children it doesn’t take much for them to feel threatened and shut down – and for CJ, sitting at a regular desk and given tasks does just that. We’re hoping this will provide a comfortable and relaxed way to learn for the upcoming school year – so far so good.

Homework Lap Desk
As for myself – I have tested it out as well. The height it adds to the laptop makes it much more comfortable to browse and type while lounging around. The other thing I didn’t even think about is the how well it keeps the laptop cool and vented – oppose to having it sit directly on your lap.

As for the breakfast-in-bed tray functionality….
I’m thinking the handyman / hand model above deserves to test that one out.
Perhaps this weekend….I’ll keep you posted!


  1. Jessica Christian :

    I am so glad that I came across this! I mean, I was always looking for some DIY idea for a lappy desk. Will surely try this out and give you feedback as to how did it go !!

    *Excited excited*

    Jessica x

  2. Cute! I have been hoarding a few cabinet doors & staircase posts with something similar in mind! Like the stained look! Thinking I will stain mine as well! 😀


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