No-Sew Lap Desk Tutorial

Our Quick & Easy No-Sew Lap Desk helps you to find comfort in any room of your house. Because it is lightweight and portable you can use it any where you go!

Hi and welcome to The Old Summers Home! Since I’ve started blogging I’ve been working on my laptop all over the house. And not in the best postural positions. Today I decided I needed to make myself a lap desk. I asked for some opinions on facebook and took what I learned and what I wanted to incorporate and made myself a No-Sew Lap Desk. This post right here is its maiden voyage, so far so good haha!

No sew lap desk tutorial for your laptop by The Old Summers Home

Key Features for Lap Desk

When it came to planning what I wanted I tried to make sure I covered every aspect and looked at all the pros and cons. I definitely wanted to be able to work at an angle. I wanted a wooden top to help keep it solid and cool. It would need to have a ledge for computer and notebook as well as one for my phone. I wanted to ensure it would not slide between cushions on the couch. Last but not least it needed to be light enough.

No-Sew Lap Desk Supplies

At The Old Summers Home, we provide links to products to help you find what we used to create ours some of these links may be affiliate links. An affiliate link pays us a small commission if you make a purchase using our link. In no way will this affect the price in which you pay for your item. 

  • 16 ‘ Laminated pine shelving
  • table saw or circular saw, mitre saw
  • Sander and sandpaper
  • Stain, gloves, rag
  • Polyurethane spray sealer
  • Trim board
  • Paint (I used Cyan Blue by Beauti-Tone)
  • Foam (I used 6-inch foam)
  • Sharpie
  • Olfa Knife (Exacto knife)
  • 1/2 yard upholstery fabric
  • T-50 Stapler and staples

Laminated Pine Shelving

Laminated pine shelving ready to cut to size. Perfect wood for so many projects

Laminated pine shelving is one of my absolute favourite types of wood to buy. The wood is so gorgeous stained and has a butcher block look to it. I have used it all over our home to renovate like in our pantry and our mudroom. Best of all this wood is good both sides and needs minimal sanding. Cut your desired length on a table saw or using a circular saw. My top is 24″ long x 16″ wide. Oddly enough 16″ pine comes in 16″ yet 12″ inch comes in 11 3/4″ just a bit of useless information I found interesting enough to share with you all haha. Now you can give it a quick sanding, you pretty much just need to sand the cut edges.

Red mahogany stain on laminated pine shelving sealed with polyurethane

Give it a couple of coats of stain (red mahogany by Minwax was my stain colour). I always apply thin coats and it dries extremely fast. After your stain is dry, seal it with polyurethane spray to protect it. Just dip a rag into your stain a bit and rub it on and off ensuring no excess stain is left on the wood. I keep a few pieces of wood stored like this in various lengths and colours for when inspiration hits. It just so happened that I already had a board stained and sealed ready to be made into something fabulous like my no-sew lap desk!

Ledges for your electronics

Ledges cut and sanded placement marked on lap desk board

Next, I took a decorative piece of trim and cut it into two pieces. These would be the ledges for my phone and my laptop to rest on. I made my laptop ledge extra long which allows me to set my notebook and pen there as well. My phone ledge is approximately 5 inches higher. I simply marked a line 4.5 inches from the bottom for the longer ledge and used my phone as a guide for the second ledge.

Trim board painted Cyan Sky for the ledges on our No Sew Lap Desk

After sanding the cut edges I painted them Cyan Sky by Beauti-Tone, the same colour I used in my Kitchen Cupboards Update.

Cutting the foam

An Olga blade works great for cutting foam or an electric bread knife is great if you have an old one on hand

This step is a bit tricky but necessary because I was working with a large piece of foam and seeking an angled shaped. I had a big chunk of six-inch foam leftover from a pontoon boat I had upholstered a few years back. It was pretty dirty from being stored in the garage that we heat with wood and not covered but it would do the job. I used a sharpie to trace my board on to the foam. Then I worked in layers with my Olfa knife to cut it straight down on both sides to make it square.

The secret to buying foam at this thickness is to purchase a foam mattress it will save you so much money especially if you are needing lots. I believe this foam was about $150 for approximately a twin size but here is a link to amazon for a better deal than that: foam mattress

Use aa square to mark your angled slope on each side of your foam 1 inch to tip of six inch

Once I had a square I measured one inch on one end of the sides of the foam. I used a square to go from my one-inch mark to the very tip of the other side so I would have a slope of 6 inches to 1 inch. I used a square and a sharpie to mark my line then repeated on the opposite end of the foam. This is the most difficult cut to make because it is a long area to cut. But it only took a few minutes of careful slices. I worked my way from side to side meeting in the middle until through. Once I had my angle cut I placed the board on top and cut off the excess on my high sloped side which created a bit of an angle.

6 inch foam cut into slope for angled lap desk

Upholster your No-Sew Lap Desk

Beautiful teal and brown upholstery fabric that will complete the No Sew Lap Desk perfectly

I used approximately 1/2 a yard of fabric for this project. I already had it on hand and well since it was teal and brown it was perfect haha. This is upholstery fabric, by the way, it is much thicker than regular fabric and more resistant to wear and tear. Holds up much better when stapling fabric and stretching well worth the extra dollars its cost. I believe I bought this at Fabricland a few years back.

Ensure you have enough fabric on either side for tucking and stapling

I laid my foam and board on top of the fabric and ensured there was enough overlap on each to reach the top of the board and have about a 1 1/2 inch excess on each side.

Board and fabric right side down stapled along top edge

Then I laid my board right side down and fabric right side down with a bit of overlap on the upper edge of the board and stapled it in place. This would be the side where the 6-inch slope will be placed.

Board with attached fabric laid on foam step 2 of upholstery phase

Now place your board with attached upholstery fabric onto your foam. I had a bit of excess that I now trimmed off so I could have nice neat folds.

Folding your sides

Create corners like you would when gift wrapping to give nice neat corners when upholstering

Tuck the top corner of your fabric underneath your board and smooth out your fabric creating a nice crisp corner like you would when gift wrapping.

Fold and tuck in final piece of sides and tack into place

For myself, I found it easier to flip it onto the foam and tuck my edge up under the board making sure I had a nice crisp fold. I did this for both sides.

Press fabric to board and staple staples are barely visible when in used position

Using my stapler I put a few staples in to hold the fabric in place while I worked on my last and final side.

Envelope corner your final side of upholstery

For the final side, I folded the fabric creating another envelope cornered flap going underneath the board again.

Staple final side and ensure all sides are nice and secure

Pressing the fabric down to the board I stapled it to the board and managed not to get any fingers in the process haha. Then I went around with my stapler and made sure all three sides were nice and secure.

Attach your ledges

Attach your ledges with a few nails

This next step took a whole two minutes setting up the air compressor and those took most of that time. I simply put a few nails into each ledge along the lines I marked on the board earlier.

I used Cyan Sky to give my lap desk a  pop of colour

My ledge for the laptop I used on the side that gave me the most height and flat for my phone ledge. I had no rhyme or reason for this, just thought it looked kinda cool.

Enjoy your new No-Sew Lap Desk!

No sew lap desk complete and being utilized

That is the complete tutorial on how to make your own No-Sew Lap Desk. All in all this project was done well within an afternoon from facebook post to complete. However, add a bit more time for your wood prep as mine was already stained and sealed to start with.

Our Quick & Easy No-Sew Lap Desk helps you to find comfort in any room of your house. Because it is lightweight and portable you can use it any where you go!

No-Sew Lap Desk Overview of Features

Now that my maiden voyage of testing out my new lap desk is complete I must say it definitely makes a huge difference for this awful back pain and shoulder neck knots. Although the board is quite large it is still lightweight and comfortable on my lap. The ledges do not get in the way while I’m typing. The slope helps me work at a better angle. Because there are no legs I don’t need to worry about them slipping between the couch cushions. Not to mention that it is made with my favourite colour haha. Thank you to everyone who shared what they liked best about their own personal desks. Now I can blog in style and comfort in any room of my house. Because I’m a hoarder my total cost was $0 since I had everything on hand.

No sew Lap desk a simple DIY project by The Old Summers Home

Thanks so much for joining us today at The Old Summers Home, I hope you enjoyed this post. Let us know if you try out this project or any of our others. We always love to hear feedback! Sign up for our mailing list to be kept up to date on all our new projects and products.

Update on my No-Sew Lap Desk!

Our Quick & Easy No-Sew Lap Desk helps you to find comfort in any room of your house. Because it is lightweight and portable you can use it any where you go!

I have been using this desk every single day since it has been made and I absolutely love it! I use it on the couch, in bed or at the kitchen table. I’m no longer glued to my office desk and my back and shoulders are much better in relation to all the hours I put in on the laptop. I could not be happier with this project! It has definitely become a major instrument in my everyday blogging career!

Until next time,

Jenn Summers

The Old Summers Home

The No Sew Lap Desk is perfect for living you freedom to work from any room in your home in comfort. This tutorial is a quick and easy project that will have you working in comfortable style in no time.

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