Introduction: Upcycled Herringbone Laptop Desk

About: Hi, my name is Chris and I love building stuff, usually for the house or just for fun. My workshop is the garage and outside, just need to make sure my wife's car has a place for the night. Besides that I've…

Herringbone Material

You're going to want to make more than what you think you need. There's nothing worse than putting the wood tiles on your substrate and running out. You can use any scraps you have for these tiles, but for the best effect use different woods or pallet wood (since they're so different and mostly free).

Boards get milled to 1/2 inch thick and 2 inches wide, and are cut into 5/8 inch thick tiles.


It would be a real pain if you tried to glue all those tiles together so use a substrate, like scrap mdf, hardboard or plywood. It doesn't have to be thick. Anything like 1/4 or 3/8 thick material would be fine.

I cut my substrate to 19 1/4" x 11 1/4" so that when I added 3/8 thick trim around it the final dimension is 12" x 20"

Laying Tiles

Lay your tiles at a 45 degree angle when you start that first row. I was using a fast setting glue, but you could get away with using wood glue, just hold it a little longer.

After the first row is set you can lay down a bunch of glue and start tiling.

When the glue has set you can trim off the tiles hanging over.


If you can find a contrasting wood it would help but its not necessary. 3 of the sides of your desktop will be the same thickness of the desktop and one long side will be a 1/2" taller so it will act as a lip to hold things in place.Mill your trim to 3/8" thick. I did butt joints to make it easier for installation, but feel free to do miter joints.

Tip: Instead of measuring use the desktop to set the guides to cut the trim.

Install the trim with glue and clamps

Put some curves on the sides and top and round things over with a file to make it more (I'm just gonna say it) sexy. Putting curves on square projects makes it seem not so visually heavy.


Put your finish on now before any upholstery. Use a water based finish if you don't want to change the color of the wood.


I used an old chair cushion from our dinning room that got changed out.

  • Mark and cut the cushion to fit
  • Use spray adhesive on the bottom
  • Make sure you put the thicker side of the cushion to the front of the laptop desk!
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