Introduction: Plywood Laptop Table

I wanted to make an affordable table for my laptop with a couple of small shelves and stationery storage.

And I wanted to do it using nothing more than a single sheet of plywood

Here's how I did it

Step 1: Planning and Designing

I had a small space when I was at college in my dorm and a very limited budget so with I set myself a budget (£100) and measured the space I had to fit the finished table. The maximum width i had was between a wall and a wardrobe which measured 830mm. I decided then that the overall width of my finished piece would be 800mm.

In order to keep cost to a minimum too, I decided I wanted to make the entire piece from a single 8 x 4ft sheet of 18mm Plywood. I had hoped to make it from Birch Plywood but as the cost of this material was so high, I had to settle for a lower B grade.

The CAD drawing shown above is of the final design i came up with. It has been slightly modified from the piece I produced as after I made it, my neice said she would like one also so I added a curved top and a small heart. I think this makes the piece a bit more feminine and more interesting for someone of her age (11).

Step 2: CAD and Layout

After i went through the various sketches and designs I found a design that fitted my requirements and also one that fitted onto a single sheet of Plywood. I managed to pull a favour from a friend within college who knew how to operate the CNC machine so cutting the pieces out was achieveable, as long as I could produce a 2D dxf file for him to input into the CNC software. The picture above is what i sent him and so the cutting began

Step 3: Assembly

I designed it in such a way that assembly would be as straight forward and as simple as possible (Lazy student?!)

I had wanted to build everything from a single sheet of Plywood but as a minor cheat I added a small amount of 4mm Ply to make the drawer boxes. These were cut on the table saw and can be seen in the pictures, with an 18mm face added. In addition to this I found some small button knobs that i will use as drawer pulls.

Because the cnc bit left a small curve in the inner corners, i had to cut the male parts to fit where there were openings in the sides and back of the table. I have shown this in the last 3 pictures. Everything was secured together with wood glue

Step 4: Finished Piece

When the drawers were added and handles in place, 3 coats of clear varnish were added with a light sanding of 300 grit done between each coat. The final piece can be seen in the last picture, with a laptop in place.

When all was said and done, the final cost was less than £60, much less than the £100 I had set myself at the start and included the knobs, the additional ply and varnish.


Dorm Hacks Contest 2016

Second Prize in the
Dorm Hacks Contest 2016