I’ve had some neck issues lately, and have started to see a chiropractor. It seems like constant looking down is causing the problems: looking at my phone, looking down while cooking, looking down while crafting, and (most importantly) looking down while on the computer. Working from home means that I’m terrible about sitting at a desk or a table while on the computer, but even when I do that I’m still looking down at a tiny laptop screen. I needed a solution, so I bought a stand that elevates my computer screen and a separate keyboard that attaches by USB port. But even then…I still love to sit on the couch or in bed and read blogs, write posts, browse Instagram, etc.
Enter: a lap desk! I’ve wanted one for a while, but I can’t really find them here in Japan. Even the cute ones from the States run at least $50 and tend to be geared more for preteens or teens. So as usual, when I can’t find what I’m looking for I just make it myself. This DIY lap desk can be customized for anyone, regardless of age or gender. In fact, my husband requested one for himself with “racing cars or trains” on it. LOL! It would make a great gift for any student, and you could even get creative by painting your recipient’s name on the top of the desk to make it extra-personal. I just couldn’t pass up this fabric with teapots, teacups, creamers and sugar cubes on it.
This had been on my “to do list” for a while. For months and months, in fact. Carla has even started teasing me about it (don’t worry, she has a project that she keeps putting off too, so I give it back to her! ahem, BOW SHIRT). I thought it would be complicated and annoying, so I kept putting it off. (“I’ll make DIY cocktail umbrellas this week instead, because that’s not complicated at all!“) Much to my surprise and delight, this project was way, way easier than I had anticipated and I’m really happy with the results! It probably took about an hour to make from start to finish.
You can make this without the storage unit in it and it would probably be a bit easier. But i really wanted to be able to keep my mouse, calculator, a notebook and a pen handy. It really wasn’t hard to include the storage, and I think it’s worth it.
The only slightly annoying part was the wood top. I didn’t know how big I wanted the piece of wood to be when I bought it, so I didn’t have them cut it down for me in the hardware store. I used a jigsaw to cut it down to size then sanded the edges. (I cut it so there would be about 2 inches of space on all sides of the computer.) The rest of my board was already finished, so that left me with ONE unfinished edge. So annoying. I didn’t want to have to go through the trouble of finishing it ONE EDGE and hoping that the finish would match, so just I used a paint pen to edge the whole board in gold. I loved the gold-on-dark-wood so much that I took it a step farther and drew scalloped edges onto the top as well.
What You’ll Need
-a piece of wood cut slightly larger than the size of your computer, finished and decorated (if you want! I used a gold paint pen to embellish mine. I glued first, decorated later and regretted it, so try to decorate first!). My board is about 15 x 12 x 0.5 inches.
-a storage container with a secure lid, at least a few inches smaller than the size of your board on all sides. I got mine at the dollar store.
-A foam sheet large enough to layer on the bottom and the 2 long sides of your storage container (I found mine near the pillow stuffing in my local craft store. It’s about 1 inch thick, and I got a sheet that was about 24 x 24 inches and had some leftover.)
-Fabric of your choice, big enough to cover the outside of the storage container with room to spare. If you could wrap the container in it like a present, it’s big enough. My fabric was about 24 x 24 inches.
-hot glue gun with glue
-Gorilla super glue (anything that will affix plastic to wood, you’ll use this to glue the storage container lid onto the wooden board)
-optional: a non-slip rubber mat, cut down to size, to prevent your computer from sliding off the top.
What to do:
1. Use the Gorilla glue to glue the top of your storage container to the underside of your wooden board. Be sure to center it on the board. Use the clamps to secure the lid to the board while the glue dries.
2. Meanwhile, cut 3 pieces of foam to completely encase the bottom and 2 sides of the storage bin. For the first piece, measure the bottom of the bin and add the thickness of your foam to each side of the bin that you’re also covering. For example, my bin is 9 x 12. I am not covering the short sides of my bin, so I’ll keep the length at 12 inches. I am covering the long sides, however, so I will add 1 inch on each side for the thickness of the foam. This means that my bottom piece of foam is 12 x 11. Cut the other 2 pieces of foam exactly to the measurements of the sides you’re covering.
3. Use hot glue to glue the side pieces of foam onto the storage bin first. Then glue the bottom piece on.
4. Now we’ll attach the fabric. Secure one end with hot glue where a side piece of foam meets the storage bin. Tuck the fabric’s raw edge under the foam to hide it and secure with glue. Wrap the fabric around and repeat with the other side that has foam, pulling the fabric tight and tucking the edge under. At this point your two shorter ends will be open.
5. Finish by treating each shorter side (the sides without padding) like you’re wrapping a present. Bring the sides in and bring the bottom up, folding it neatly and tucking any extra fabric under the fold to hide it. Secure with hot glue.
6. Optional: once your lid has dried, use the hot glue to glue a non-slip mat onto the top of your board.
Attach the lid and you’re done!