Introduction: Quick Lightweight Travel Laptop Desk

About: Called a renaissance man more times than I can count, I am the type of person who believes you can do anything you put your mind to. As a veteran I've seen some awful acts committed, and I guess my wanting to …

Ahh, the open road; With spring break right around the corner there is nothing quite as relaxing as a long drive to a great vacation spot. That is until you've spent hours with the family listening to them aggravating each other from boredom. Most times I set the wife and kids up with their laptops to keep them busy during a long drive. Watching movies, playing games, and reading e-books keeps them occupied for a long time, making the drive much easier. However keeping the laptop right in front of them at eye level and easy to move when they get out for bathroom stops has been an issue in the past with the heavier wood versions I've tried and mounting something somewhere limits there movement. With a pending vacation coming up I had to figure a way to solve this quickly...

"Quick Lightweight Travel Laptop Desk"

Step 1: Materials and Tools You'll Need

First step (like any) is planning; Gather your materials, make your measurements, and start mapping out your project!


Block of soft foam
Styrofoam plate or cardboard sheet
Old T-shirt or fabric
"3M Super 77" spray glue


Hot wire foam cutter (or serrated bread knife will work in a pinch)
Tape measure
Straight edge
Permanent marker
Scrap wood
Drill and driver
Razor blade knife and blades

Step 2: Measuring the Foam Form to Fit Your Lap

Now that we have gathered all of our materials, lets start shaping our foam!

1. Measure your lap in a seated position, width and length.
2. Transfer those measurements to the flat surface of your foam.
3. Using a straight edge draw your cut lines.
4.Using a hot wire foam cutter or a serrated bread knife cut your from block to that matching shape.

Step 3: Bevel the Foam for Comfort

To make the laptop set up at an eye level you'll need to cut an angle in the foam block.

5. Measure your foam on the side about halfway up, and mark this spot.
6. Measure about 4 inches out (for a place to rest your wrists) and draw a straight line between the 2 points.
7. From the end of the wrist line to the corner of the other side of the foam use a straight edge to draw all your angle.
8. Using a couple of pieces of scrap wood make a base the width of your foam and screw 2 pieces of straight edge wood to the base matching the angles of your cuts.
9. Using your foam cutter or serrated knife drag the edge of the wood guides to cut the foam dragging the hot wire or blade cross the edges of the wood, making a nice smooth cut.

Step 4: Semi Hard Surface Mounting

To make a semi hard surface I'm using a Styrofoam tray by cutting off the edges to have a flat surface (alternatively you could use a piece of cardboard).

10. Cut your flat surface a little larger than your foam form.
11. Using 3M Super 77 spray glue coat your foam and lay your board overlapping the edges.
12. Give it a few minutes to dry flip over the form I'm using a razor blade knife trim the edges.

Step 5: Dressing the Desk

As many of you know from my instructables I'm more of a function over form kind of builder but in this case I needed to give it a softer surface, look, and feel.

13. Using an old t-shirt trim the excess arms and neckline away, then slide the shirt over the foam desk.
14. Coat one edge of the foam desk with the spray glue and apply the edge of a t shirt, making sure lay it smoothly with no wrinkles.
15. Next cut the shirt up the back and fold back the fabric; start spraying, stretching, and applying the fabric to every surface of the desk wrapping it like a present, folding the edges as nearly as possible.

Step 6: You're All Done!

You're all done!

Give the glue time to set up and dry, then test it out.
My daughter took it for a good test run and it works great.