This scrap wood DIY Laptop Desk is a one-hour project to get that overheating laptop off your lap! Complete photo tutorial inside!
Want to know a semi-secret about me? I’m a gamer. When I tell people this, I always feel the need to clarify a bit- not one of those first person shooter gamers. Violence freaks me out. But simulation games (Sims, city builders,) and strategy games (Settlers of Catan on steroids,) I’m all for.
As you might expect, I have a pretty hefty laptop. It gets hot. Really hot; enough to burn my legs. And if my legs are burning, that’s probably a bad sign for the insides of the laptop.
So I wanted to create a laptop desk that not only holds the laptop off my lap, but also helps cool the laptop. What I mean by this: most laptops have fans on the bottom of the machine that blow hot air out of the machine.
On a normal desk, the hot air hits the desk, and then is pushed right back into the machine by the desk. But on the DIY laptop desk I built, there are spaces between the wood, allowing that hot air to escape.
Those spaces are a simple solution to help keep laptops cool and therefore extend their lifespans. Plus, this plan is super easy, coming together in under an hour of work!
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I used scrap wood I had around to build the DIY laptop desk. You could totally use different pieces based on what was available to you.
- 1″ x 2″ furring strip, cut into four 2′ lengths
- Two 9″ long pieces of a 1″ x 12″
- Wood Glue
DIY Laptop Desk Process
Step 1: Prep Wood and Make All Cuts
Since I used furring strips and old scrap pine boards for this project, I did a fair amount of sanding to make sure the boards looked good before I started. I have a whole post on how I make cheap wood look pretty, go check it out if you’re interested in detailed instructions.
Once I was done sanding, I cut my boards into the pieces listed above; 4 pieces of 24″ long 1x2s, and two pieces of 9″ long 1x12s.
Step 2: Stain Wood
I used Varathane’s “Dark Walnut” stain. Since I thought some of the places might be difficult to reach after I assembled to the DIY laptop desk, I did this before assembly for easy access.
Important Note: Testing your stains on scrap wood before you start is important! I used wood condition on the the 1×12 pieces, but not the 1×2 furring strips, because that’s what made the boards match the most! Always test before staining!
For more information on finishing wood, be sure to check out my Fabulously Finished Reference Bundle. If you’ve ever had projects become disasters during the stain and finish process, this is the guide for you!
Step 3: Assemble
First, I “dry-fit” my plan, using some scrap boards to help hold everything in place:
Then I used wood glue and brad nails to secure each board in place.
I have this brad nailer, which makes everything super easy. I love that it’s electric, and I don’t need to haul around a compressor for little jobs like this.
While I totally recommend it for anyone who works with wood, if you don’t have a nail gun you can still make this project work, you just might need to do a little extra clamping!
Step 4: Add Extra Support
After the glue was dry, I was a little concerned that this wouldn’t hold up over time, so I cut two more furring strips and added them to each end of the desk for extra support:
To secure the support strips, I used glue and 1 1/4″ screws.
Then my DIY laptop desk was done!
Does this DIY Laptop Desk fold?
Not as written above, but it’s really easy to make into a folding laptop desk – I actually did after a couple weeks using this one!
Instead of nailing the sides into the top, attach the sides to the top with hinges!
Simply put two hinges on each support piece. Then attach the sides to the support pieces using those hinges!
How long does the laptop desk take to make?
Less than an hour. This is a really easy DIY!
Do you have any other DIYs for computers?
I love my monitor riser desk organizer. It’s an easy build, and keeps my desk super neat and clean!
I love this laptop desk! Not only does it keep my laptop cool, but I also use it as a dinner tray if I’m ever eating on the couch. It’s so convenient to have around!
The DIY laptop desk also matches all the other wood in the living room, which is a nice touch as well!
If you’ve got some scrap wood sitting around, this is an excellent way to use it up. If you’ve got way more scrap wood than you ever need, then maybe you should check out my other popular scrap wood projects: a Wall Organizer, Drawer Organizer, and DIY Heart Curtain Ties.
And if you’re not quite ready to build the DIY Laptop Desk yet, go ahead and save this post to Pinterest so you can find it again later!