Introduction: The DIY Cheapskate Laptop Stand Via

Picture of The DIY Cheapskate Laptop Stand Via

UPDATE (11/19/2008): I've created a printable PDF template that you can use to help with the cardboard cutting process. The dimensions of the template are slightly different than the instructions since I decided to make the front hooks that hold the laptop in place a little larger and taller - the notches are also slightly larger.

- The DIY Cheapskate Laptop Stand PDF Templates

If you decide to print out the templates, be sure to use 8.5" by 11" sheets of paper and print the templates at 100% - any scaling may alter the dimensions of the templates. Also, only pages three through five of the PDF template document need to be printed, and consider the environment by reusing scrap pieces of paper to print on. ;)

Note that I have not used the templates to create a stand, so please let me know if you have any issues or if you are able to successfully build a stand for yourself - I would really like to know if the templates work! :)


This is the DIY Cheapskate Laptop Stand that I created for my home office.

This stand and two other sub $10 DIY laptop stands can be found at The DIY Cheapskate Laptop Stand.

The laptop stand has held up well so far and served its purpose, which is to raise my laptop monitor height to a comfortable viewing position.

BTW, this is my first instructable so please forgive me for any errors and please feel free to leave a question or comment if any of the instructions are unclear.

Step 1: The Obligatory Disclaimer!

Picture of The Obligatory Disclaimer!

Please see the attached image for all the disclaimer info. Also, be careful not to slice your hands up in the process of cutting any cardboard - please be safe!

Step 2: Important Notes...

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Please be sure to note that if you are using a laptop with a limited screen tilt angle (like the MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops), then this stand will only allow you to open your screen to full vertical. If you have an IBM T-XX series or any other laptop that does not have a limit on how far you can tilt your screen, then you should be fine.

Feel free to change up the stand dimensions to accommodate your preferences. ;)

Step 3: Cutting Out the Sides.

Picture of Cutting Out the Sides.

These are the dimensions for the two sides. Feel free to cut the slits/notches to your particular cardboard's thickness.

Also, I cut a somewhat big piece out from underneath the front of the stand (denoted by "1" in the diagram) since I wanted to be able to slide my stand forward on my desk - it's okay but I would recommend leaving this piece intact.

Also, the front hooks (denoted by "2" in the diagram) were cut a bit small, so I would recommend making them higher and taller that what's shown just to be safe.

Step 4: Cutting the Large Cross Pieces.

Picture of Cutting the Large Cross Pieces.

I'm hoping the diagram is self explanatory, but please leave a message if anything is unclear.

And yes, the pieces should be as perfectly rectangular as possible - that's what I get for not using a straight edge to cut my pieces. :)

Step 5: Cutting the Small Cross Pieces.

Picture of Cutting the Small Cross Pieces.

As I mentioned before, I'm hoping the diagram is self explanatory but please leave a message if anything is unclear.

Step 6: Assembling the Crosses.

Picture of Assembling the Crosses.

Assemble the rectangular pieces you just cut into two crosses. These crosses will act as cross-braces for the laptop stand.

Step 7: Attach the Bottom Cross-braces to the Stand.

Picture of Attach the Bottom Cross-braces to the Stand.

It is probably easiest to insert the cross into one side then the other, as opposed to inserting the cross-braces into the bottom notches at the same time.

Step 8: Insert the Top Cross-brace.

Picture of Insert the Top Cross-brace.

Once you have the bottom cross installed, the top cross should slip on quite easily. Be sure that both top and bottom surfaces are all flush with each other to avoid any instability with the stand.

Step 9: The End!

Picture of The End!

All that is left to do is to center your laptop on the stand and make sure that everything is stable!

Feel free to send any questions or comments my way on this instructable or via my blog post: The DIY Cheapskate Laptop Stand.

Thanks for checking out my first Instructable!


chauncybryana made it! (author)2016-12-17

What a simple, effective, cheap, quick-and-dirty laptop tray. I crafted my own version of this, adding some small modifications along the way and utilizing your raw measurements (not the PDF template, although I was thankful that that was an option).

Some modifications included: raising by 3" to get the monitor height I was looking for; reinforcing the "nubbins" that supports the weight of the laptop by taping paperclips to either side; and adding extra crosspieces for added reinforcement and stability. As mentioned by at least one other user, I had to more-or-less figure out the angle of pitch manually: I chose 60 degrees, which worked perfectly for my machine.

Thanks again for the superb instructions, and for doing all of the dirty work for me so that all I had to do was measure, cut, and assemble! :-)

saurabhj84 made it! (author)2015-03-13

Thank you for the excellent instructions. I used them as was able to put together my laptop stand.

I didn't use the print outs - just did the raw measurements on cardboard and cut it out. With every DIY, this one too had trial and error bits but the concepts were quite easy to follow to hack away.

I think one bit of information that would be helpful is the angles on the edges. I had to wing this to 30 degrees but as you can see, it has made the stand quite steep and I had to knock off 6/8" from the bottom to align it (sort of) with my monitor.

Thanks again for posting this. Really appreciate it.

juelle made it! (author)2014-05-02

I made a tablet stand! It's not exactly the same but I used your instructable as a guide and made a few revisions. Anyways, Thank you!

since76 (author)juelle2014-06-29

Nice stand! That looks like a Wacom tablet ... glad you were able to make creative use of it!

Sagz (author)2011-04-18

Hmmm. I've been needing an iPad 2 stand. Wonder if that will work? Cheap to try it out I guess. Thanks for the instructable!

since76 (author)Sagz2012-04-08

Any luck on a cheapskate version of an iPad stand? :)

knobit (author)2011-04-19

what screensaver?

since76 (author)knobit2012-04-07

Sorry for taking so long to reply, my Instructables notifications went AWOL for some reason ... anyway, the screensaver is by Simon Heys and it's called Word Clock -

knobit (author)since762012-04-07

No problem. Thanks a lit!

PSPerson (author)2012-04-02

Hm. I have made mine and I like it a LOT. I may need to chop it down a little though, as I set my laptop on top of my iHome speakers. I'll post some pics when I'm done.

PSPerson (author)PSPerson2012-04-02

Messy desk, but you get the point. I actually use my trackpad without issue. It is pretty stable.

since76 (author)PSPerson2012-04-07

Thank you for sharing the photos of the stand in action! :)

vicsar (author)2011-04-16

Awesome! You saved me :)
I will rebuild this using wood.

keithme (author)2011-04-15

WOW! Great.. def worth trying in thin plywood... :)

kost (author)2010-01-28

Thank you!

I made my own stand, based on these templates. I have a bigger laptop, so I made side panels a little smaller, and made cross parts to have some extra crossing between them.

since76 (author)kost2010-01-28

 Hi kost, glad you were able to make use of the templates and nice job on your custom stand -- oh, and thanks for sharing the flickr photos!  :)

geetz (author)2008-11-14

The one I made is not as cool, but I did mount a fan on it pointing into the intake on the laptop (and made a seal with squishy foam weatherstripping). The fan in the laptop was starting to fail (BIG pain to replace) and it was making noise. Now it never comes on; the external fan keeps things cool. Next time, I'll do it before the fan starts to fail. Nobody puts the fan behind a little removable panel like they should. Those things go bad all the time.

since76 (author)geetz2008-11-14

Bummer to hear about your fan troubles, but glad to hear that you were able to figure out a way to cool your laptop! I'm not sure if you've ever seen the way the fans are shoved inside a MacBook, but if they crap out, I'm screwed! :)

wanderlima (author)2008-11-14

good work, tks!

since76 (author)wanderlima2008-11-14

Thanks wanderlima!

gmjhowe (author)2008-11-13

Nice work, a good idea, i would use some of my gmjboard(see my ibles to find out more) which is strong enough to probs offer a warrenty! I suggest adding some printable templates? (if thats not alot of work) no doubt more people would make it then.

since76 (author)gmjhowe2008-11-13

I was thinking of creating some printable templates but wasn't sure what the best way to put them together was? I'm assuming it's not as difficult as I'm making it out to be and I can just use Photoshop, Illustrator, or MS Visio, but my only concern is making sure that the template prints out true to size on everyone's printer. Good idea, I'll have to look into this for sure. :)

gmjhowe (author)since762008-11-13

Well, its easy enough, most people will use .pdf files here, so in illustrator just choose pdf under the save menu. So essentially make it to fit A4/Letter, but have it so people have to stick a few sheets together. Put a little note telling people to make sure they have it printing at 100%, and it should all work smoothly. then people can make them out of wood, or perpex, what ever!

since76 (author)gmjhowe2008-11-13

Hey gmjhowe, that sounds perfect, thanks again for the suggestions and help!

uguy (author)2008-11-13

Nice ible. Great idea. Templates would be great. Thanks for sharing.

since76 (author)uguy2008-11-13

Thanks uguy! I have a buddy who works in the design world that I've pinged about creating a template so look for one soon. :)

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