Introduction: Improvised Lightweight Desk Extension

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So you find yourself stuck in a small flat, trying to use your laptop on whatever small area of the kitchen table that is not already cluttered by leftover food and your children's homework. The stores are all shut and the next available delivery slot for office furniture ordered online is three weeks away. You are fresh out of spare wood, and your kids won't take kindly to disassembling their bunk bed.

What are you to do?

This is a quick build that will extend your work area, providing a place for lightweight items such as a few printed pages, Post-It notes, and peripherals such as a mouse or smartphone.

It uses materials that you probably already have discarded in the back of a cupboard, or in your now overflowing recycling bin.


  • Discarded CDs, DVDs - I'm using DVD-Rs. When was the last time you burned a DVD?
  • Packaging cardboard
  • Glue - contact cement is ideal for this build

Step 1: Roughen and Glue the DVDs

  1. Use some steel wool or sand paper and roughen up the surface on both sides of each DVD
  2. Apply a layer of glue to one side of each DVD
  3. Stick DVDs together to form a flat rigid layer.

If you pre-plan the arrangement of DVDs you can apply the glue more selectively so as to minimize wastage.

Step 2: Glue DVDs to Cardboard

  1. Cut the packaging cardboard to a size and shape just larger than the DVD layer you made in the previous step
  2. Turn over the DVD layer and apply glue to the other side
  3. Stick DVD layer to the cardboard
  4. Double up (and maybe triple) the layers of cardboard. Glue as many layers for the rigidity that you require

Step 3: Extend Work Area Beyond the Edge

Now simply clip your DVD/cardboard laminated surface under your laptop so that it extends beyond the edge of the table. Most laptops are heavy enough for this -- this may not work so well for a tablet or ultralight.

Your extended work area is good for lightweight items: a few note sheets, receipts, invoices. You can use it as a mousepad.

Caution! Do not use it to hold drinks or a plate of food. That would just be inviting disaster.

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