Quick and Easy DIY Lap Desk

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DIY Lap DeskI was procrastinating hard today.  I was supposed to be writing posts, and getting ahead.

But, my brain didn’t want to.  You can all relate, right?

So, what do I do when I procrastinate?  Usually get myself into a project.  Sewing, building etc.  It’s been a while since I got my building fix on, and that’s all I could think about.  So today, I made some lap desks for the kidos.

A few days ago, I finally worked on the 2003 laptop for my little boy.  I got it working – yay!!  So, he needed a new lap desk.  We don’t sit at a table, or a desk, to do school.  Too formal and school-y for us.  We sit wherever.  Couch, floor, dogs bench (it’s cushy). 

Due to this, (and the fact that the laptop is older and needs air circulation under it – not a blanket stuffed up in it) we need lap desks.  Clip boards had been working for a while, but they needed more hard space in their laps.

And, I know I posted about the end of our school year on Friday (but shhh – we do some school stuff in the summer too)…gotta keep those brains a-turnin’.

So, I spent last night cruising the internet and pinterest, and thinking about how my current lap desk functions, and came up with an idea that I liked.  Anybody else love cruising pinterest??  Love it 🙂

DD wants a pillow on the bottom of hers.  DS does not.  This design will work both ways.  I’m going to put velcro (loop/soft side) on the bottom of the lap desk, and the velcro hook side on a pillow.  That way, she can use it with or without (laying on the floor it will be better without).

Here’s how it went, and how you can make a DIY Lap Desk too!

DIY Lap desk

All you need is:

  • roughly 14”x21” piece of mdf (or the size you want)
  • jig saw
  • sand paper
  • a trusty dog supervisor, LOL

Optional items (don’t worry if you don’t have these tools – you can still make one!):

The job will be easier with an electric sander.

And your finished product will be spiffier if you have a router with some plunge bits and rounder bit (this is not necessary though).

Here’s what those tools look like, if you’re just curious:

I’ve been collecting tools for a long while, and have an awesome hubby that gets me cool ones frequently.  🙂  I LOVE building.  Back when Ana White started her site, I stalked it constantly!!!  She’s awesome.

I’ve made many things from her site, and it’s a source of encouragement also.  If you want some inspiration, and free plans for just about anything, head on over to her site!!

I did not use a pattern, or really measure beyond the rough dimensions I wanted.  I drew the general shape I wanted, and tried to make it as symmetric as I could.  The shape resembles an open book, roughly 21″ wide and 14″ deep/tall.

DIY Lap Desk

First, I cut out the shape.

DIY Lap Desk

If you don’t have a router, go ahead and sand the edges and your DIY Lap Desk is done!  The lap desk I have does not have a handle, and it functions just fine.  Give it to the kids to decorate and make their own. 🙂

Next, I routered the edges with a rounding bit.  Then I sanded everything.  I transferred the shape to my second piece of mdf, and got working on that one at the same time.

DIY Lap Desk

Third, I routered out an area for a pencil with the router.

DIY Lap Desk

Fourth, I routered out a handle at the top with a plunge bit, and then rounded the edges of the handle.  (A plunge bit does not have a bearing at the end of it, and therefore can go through your wood after a few passes, or just down to the depth you set.  Ones with bearings at the end cruise around the outside of your wood and cut away only at the edge.)

DIY Lap Desk

DIY Lap Desk

Sand everything again, and hand over to the kids for personalized decoration.

DIY Lap Desk

DS is making a modified X-men symbol (if I’m understanding correctly).  He outlined his design, then taped off the areas he didn’t want to be red.  Then he spray painted the whole thing.

DIY Lap Desk

Once he had three coats, he took off all the painters tape.  Then after it thoroughly dried, he placed painters tape over all the red areas and spray painted it all blue.  We had to touch up a few areas by hand that didn’t get paint.

DIY Lap Desk

I love that he designed the whole thing himself and there’s not another one anywhere like it.

DD chose to decorate hers using permanent markers.  Once she’s gottten it to a point that she’s satisfied, we might clear coat it to make it shiny.  If not, she’ll just keep doodling and making it hers.  It reminds me of brown paper bag covered books when I was in school.

They both still have the backside they haven’t decided what to do with yet.  And after using it for a few days, DD has decided she likes it better without a pillow under it…now I’ll have to find another sewing project to put my creativity in!

If the kids had wanted to, I would have let them use the router and the sander.  The jig saw is a little much for them to handle yet.

This was a nice little side-tracker project.  And the kids are happy.  What do you do when you procrastinate?

How do you homeschool – could this DIY lap desk help you?  If you don’t have the tools, ask around and see if you can borrow some – never hurts to ask!

Talk to me, I'd love to hear from you!