DIY Scrap Lap Desk

I had a few scraps of wood laying around from previous projects, so I decided to tackle a quick, easy, and (almost) free build: a lap desk! It took less than 2 hours to construct and the only purchase I made for this project was a package of 2 standard hinges for $2 bucks; everything else (wood, screws, nails, glue, stain) I had on-hand. Also, since the hinges came in brass, I spray painted them with Rustoleum’s oil-rubbed bronze spray paint.

I modified Ana White’s plans slightly by:

  • Not building the side cubbies; I didn’t want this lap desk to be too heavy and didn’t have a need for the extra storage
  • Using 1×3 boards for the aprons (just working with what I’ve got!), instead of the 1x4s the plans call for
  • Not building the dividers in the flip-top cubby
  • Shortening the legs by 4 inches so that it would be more comfortable to use in bed

I finished it with a thin coat of Rustoleum Ultimate Wood Stain in dark walnut (love this stuff – it dries in an hour!) and am embarrassed to say I didn’t even bother putting a coat of polyurethane on it (laziness got the best of me).

And here she is, in all her $2 buck glory!

Gotta love quick, easy, and (almost) free projects!


  1. says

    That is absolutely fabulous! I’m not a DIYer, but really wish i was after seeing this one. Thanks for linking up at Making Space Mondays. I hope we see you there next week! -Tabitha

  2. Debbie says


    On the front aprons, do my eyes decieve me or are there 2 aprons there? Maybe one for the front and one for the back? In the cut list photo it says 1 – 1″ x 3″ @ 21″ (front aprons) but it looks like 2 pieces stacked in the photo. Thanks!

    • says

      Oops! You’re right… good eye! One apron for the front and one for the back (not 2 for the front, obviously). Thanks for the catch!

  3. Diane says

    LOVE the laptop table! You have now solved my Christmas list problem for my mother!! (she has everything!! lol)
    I love woodworking and this will help make my scrap wood collection smaller!

      • Alejandro says

        Thanks for your reply, Jen. Do you remember if the if the measurements in the first picture are already corrected to the final version? I’m not very good with inches and whatnots, metric system FTW! 😛

        • says

          I’m sorry I can’t remember, but I think the measurements in the first photo are before I shortened the legs. I think I shortened it by 4 inches or so. It’s been awhile, but I remember setting it on top of the bed, in my lap and just figuring out what height would be most comfortable for me. I’d recommend you build it to your specific needs. Hope that helps! Good luck!

          • Alejandro says

            You could always measure them, right? (n_n) Anyway, I’m going to start this late tonight and finish it tomorrow and gitf it to my mom for christmas. Thanks for the inspiration and merry christmas!

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