Lap Desk for Laptop




Introduction: Lap Desk for Laptop

Hello everyone, this is my first instructable and I was almost not to publish it, because I missed some key points in the photographs. I hope even so, the instructable is comprehensive.

The first lap desk I did was for my girlfriend. A friend of mine saw the desk and asked me to make one too, but ask me to add an adjustable inclination. This was the result of what he asked me to do.

English is not my main language and a lot of this was translate with some really famous browser. Some words gave me a lot of trouble. One of those words was “slat”… Sometimes it translated it being a piece of wood others as it being mud. So ye, I hope it’s understandable at least. I also used mm because that’s what I’m used to. Hope you guys like this instructable.

Step 1: Tools and Materials.




Flat wrench

Saw with a box to make corners (that I don’t really know the name)



Drill bits, 2, 3, 3.5, 6 and 9 mm


Wood – various sizes and types

1 wood skewer with 3 mm (one of those that you use for the barbecues)

Screws - A - Hex bolt 6x35 mm – 4 full sets

- B - 3x12 mm – 70

- C - 2x25 mm - 2

- D - 3.5x45 mm - 8

Hinge (I had to do another hole in the hinge and paint it in black).

Wood glue

Spray of your favorite color

Acetone or paint thinner. This is better done, and also saver, with acetone, but I didn’t had, so I used paint thinner.


And some Old rag (I used a sock) for the paint.

Step 2: Cutting Wood

I didn´t made a lot of cuts because most of my wood was scraps from other builds, so here are all the sizes of the wood that I used and quantities.

For the top

4 500x55x7 mm light wood (pine)

3 500x34x7 mm darker wood (mahogany)

For the base

2 480x30x30 mm with the corners done

2 300x30x30 mm also with corners done

For the legs.

4 210x17x17 mm

2 220x25x7 mm (I forgot to take pictures of this ones)

To support the top (I also forgot to take pictures here…)

3 240x25x7 mm

2 170x25x7 mm

For the lifts

2 80x8x8 mm

2 20x8x8 mm

Step 3: The Lifts.

I glued the 20mm piece over the 80mm piece at a distance of 10mm from the top. I fastened it to the lathe and used a 3mm drill bit to make two holes in the piece.

Then I cut two pieces with 18mm of the wooden skewer, hammered them in the holes with a little glue. In the end I cut the excesses and sanded the piece. Repeat on the other lift.

Step 4: The Base.

I started by drawing the shape of the lift in the 300x30x30 piece. At 40mm from the top and 5mm from the outside. Then I used the chisel to remove the entire inner part of the drawing, careful not to break when cutting the outside. Make sure the lift piece is level with the top of the base. At the end I inserted the lift piece and used a 2mm drill bit to drill the place where the screw is. Do the same on the other side.

On the other two pieces of the base I made the holes where I screw the legs (see image for reference), 10mm away from the side of the corner and 8mm from the bottom. I used a 6mm drill bit to about 20mm deep, then with the 9mm drill bit I drilled enough to get the brake nut in. Dropped some glue on the brake nut, put it in the hole and then hammer it down until its level with the base. Do the same for the other three.

In one of the 480x30x30 pieces I marked the place where the hinge will stay and used the chisel to remove about 3mm, so that the hinge is at the same level as the rest of the base.

I also used a 3.5mm bit to drill the corners, 2 holes in each corner, 1 on each side of the corner. Therefore, I drilled one above the other so that the screws do not meet at the middle.

To join the base, I started by gluing the corners and then screwing. All the photos I took here were blurred, this was the best I took. I decided to take a picture with the finished project for you to see how the screws are at the end.

Step 5: ​The Legs.

I started by making the marking where I will drill to screw the legs, 8mm from the top and at the middle. Then I drilled with the 6mm bit. From the middle of this hole, measure 170mm down, then measure 25mm up, draw the rectangle with 25x7mm and used the chisel to carve 7 or 8mm deep, to fit the other slat. Repeat on the remaining legs. On the legs, I also rounded all the ends so that they do not hit anywhere when they close (not shown in pictures).

To assemble the legs, I put glue on the rectangles, then I placed the slat and hammered a bit so that the slat entered completely. Make sure that everything is aligned, clean excess of glue and let it dry.

Step 6: ​The Top

I actually start by painting the top, because I didn’t want the mahogany parts to be painted, I’ll get there after.

So to assemble the top slats, I started drilling holes in the slats that will hold the top, with a 2mm drill bit, so that when the screws were tightened, the slats would not crack. I used glue to secure the slats in place, and then I screwed up. In the part of the hinge, I screwed two more slats to reinforce (see images).

I also used the 9mm drill bit to open a small hole where the lifts will fit(red circle in image) so that they do not slip out of the way when the top is lifted (I forgot to take a picture at this point, sorry).

Step 7: ​Sanding, Painting, Varnish.

Sand everything really good, make sure there is no glue left or otherwise the paint won’t stick.

As the wood is a little light, I decide to give it an “aged” look. To do this, just spray a little bit on the wood and then with the old rag and the paint thinner clean the whole piece, until it looks this grayish, or what I call “aged”.

Do this on all parts that you want to have this look.

I only tested this in pine, so I don’t know how this works in other types of wood.

Varnish everything.

Step 8: ​Assembly

All the hard work is done now. For the final assembly, I started by screwing the lifts into place.

Then I screwed the hinge, to screw the hinge into the top, I had to first cut the screws, because I had none with about 6mm. Then I made holes in the top so that when I tightened the screws the wood did not crack.

Finally I used a wrench to screw the legs in place, I put a metal washer between the leg and the base so the wood does not rub against each other.

Step 9: ​Final Notes

The paint, you can do it with any color, as you can see in the sample image, but of course the light colors do not stand out that much.

The legs ... Well I was not expecting them not to end with the same inclination, when drilling, the drill deviated a little, causing misalignment. To correct this problem, I used a rasp to roughen the base slightly. If you have to do the same remember that, with the inclination, 1mm at the top corresponds to about 10mm at the end, so be careful.

When I handed the lap desk, we noticed that the computer was sliding down with the inclination (a detail I did not remember before). I just glued and screwed a strip of wood on the bottom of the tabletop. This was a quick repair, which neither drying time had before delivering, that’s why I don’t have any image of this.

When I started this project, the person to whom it was made for asked me if I had a magnet to keep the top closed when moving around, I didn’t have one, I ended up on the same day for putting one that he brought me. I just carved a hole, enough for the magnet and a piece of metal, at the bottom and top in the opposite side of the hinge. I used some glue to put them in place.

This lap desk was made for someone that mostly uses it in winter and the laptop doesn’t have any ventilation under it, so no point opening ventilation points on it. This images are from one that I made for my girlfriend, she’s upset with me now, because this is 3 times lighter than the one I did to her. Anyway babe, I'll promise I'll fix it one day. The paint on it was made from, well I had some brushes in a can with some paint thinner, I looked at it and I was like “dang that color looks nice” gave a couple of brushes in a wood scrap, I liked it so I used it to taint everything. Drilled some holes for ventilation and I used a pyrography to draw the butterfly.

On the other side I screwed up an old fan that I switched to USB.

And that's it guys, hope you enjoy this instructable. Thanks for watching.

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    3 years ago

    It must of been hard to translate it all.


    5 years ago

    This is great! I've been wanting one of these for a while now. I just might make my own from these plans! Just thought I'd let you know that the 'saw with a box' is called a mitre box. :)


    Reply 5 years ago

    Thank you, that means a lot to me. Mitre box.. Grrrr.. that seems so obvious now.. The day I was posting the instructable, I couldn't find a single instructable with that and translators gave me something like, cutting box, corner box, corner maker..

    Thanks for the support and for the tip.


    Reply 5 years ago

    No problem! I know the feeling of knowing what you mean but being unable to find one because you don't know what it's called.


    5 years ago

    Nice job, well done.


    Reply 5 years ago

    Thank you.


    5 years ago

    You did a great job presenting all the details, and this is a very good first instructable. Well done! :)


    Reply 5 years ago

    Thank you, I'm glad yo like it.


    Reply 5 years ago

    Thank you.