How to Make a Lap Writing Desk With Plans

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This is How to Make a Lap Writing Desk With Plans, your guide to making the perfect writing desk that fits in your lap, is portable, easy to make, and something that you will enjoy using for a very long time. I’ll show you everything you need, including lots of great tips. Enjoy.

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Lap Writing Desks

How-to-Make-a-Lap-Writing-Desk-With-PlansLap writing desks are awesome. They are a lot of fun to use because literally anywhere you are sitting can become an instant desk. They are great for laptops, and you can make them in sizes that are big enough to support your work.

As a woodworker, lap writing desks are even more fun because you get to design your own and make it yourself. This means you get to pick out all of the fun features that you really like in other lap desks, and delete the ones that you don’t.

From there you’ll have an opportunity to make the exact desk platform that suits you precisely.

It’s a wonderful thing, because not only will you get a nice writing desk in the end, it will be exactly as you wanted without compromise.

See Also: A Beginners Guide to Woodworking

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In the Lap Model

Before you start designing, there are a couple of different models of lap desk that you need to consider before you make your final decision. Each of them have their own benefits, but they are a little different.

The first is the model that goes directly on your lap. While this might sound obvious, in the next section there is something a little different that does the same thing. This is a very portable version, and just a little bit smaller.

If you’re looking for something that holds a laptop really well and maybe enough room for a mouse, then this is the model for you. However, I wouldn’t recommend a cup of coffee or anything else that needs to remain perfectly level.

The nature of this kind a desk is that it sits directly on your lap, which is not level. As you move around and adjust your body positioning, anything that’s not really stuck to the surface can be knocked off.

See Also: 13 Woodworking Ideas to Help Any Beginner

Over Chair Arms Model

Solving the problem of creating a level surface is the lap writing desk that goes over the arms of a chair. This is still near your lap, but it doesn’t reside directly touching your lap like the previous example.

This is made specifically for a certain chair in the house, and it spans the arms, which support the wood. When you’re sitting in the chair, the desk comes all the way up to your stomach, and you can place anything you want on the surface.

You can make these a little bit larger, because the chair is doing the work. You’re also free to move around and change position without affecting what’s on the desk. This is great if you love to drink coffee while you write.

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This is how I do the vast majority of my writing. My lap writing desk goes over the arms of a chair that I really like, and is big enough for all my effects. I can place as many things on the surface as I want, and it’s very comfortable to use.

See Also: Best Beginner Woodworking Projects

Designing Tips for Lap Writing Desks

Now that you know the difference between the most common two versions of the writing desk that fits in your lap, it’s time to learn a few design tips. These will get you started on a good path, and you can make a project that you really enjoy.

  • Design the desk to fit you, and your body, not everyone else.
  • Make sure that the desk is a little bit bigger than you think you might need.
  • Build a desk from lightweight materials so that it’s not a burden to move around.
  • Think about the way you do your writing, and make adjustments to the lap desk as necessary.
  • You can make this project out of plywood, or individual pieces of wood.
  • If you are joining multiple pieces together, use a strong glue.
  • If you are making the project of plywood, address the edges really well because they can be splintery.

Finishing Tips for Your Desk Project

  • Finish the writing desk to match the decor in your home.
  • Make sure to remove any sharp edges or corners before you apply your finish.
  • Treat this like any other piece of furniture, and make it look nice.
  • It’s just as easy to spray a finish on plywood as it is planks.
  • Depending on the size, you may want to choose a different finishing method.

My Lap Writing Desk Plans

Lap-writing-Desk-PlansMy plans are more of guidelines than actual plans, which they need to be, because your chair is different than my chair. The only thing that really matters is that the lap desk fits over your chair, of if you are making a smaller version, it sits on your lap. 

Again, laps are different too. 

The depth is really the measurement that you want to watch, because anything too deep will hurt your lower back as you reach for things over and over.

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Also, anything too shallow will not have the space you need. For the majority of situations, 18 inches is a good depth measurement.

For your lap, I recommend about 6 inches on both sides of your thighs when seated in a relaxed position. If you go wider, you run the risk of putting something heavy over there, and causing your writing area to tip over.

For the chair, make sure it fits over the tops of the arms of your favorite chair, and that it can slide a little left and right without falling in. That’s not fun at all, and I know.

See Also: How to Pick the Right Beginner Woodworking Project

Your Action Assignment

Now that you know how to make an awesome lap writing desk, it’s time to get out of the shop and take action on what you’ve learned. Design your perfect desk, and then get ready to make some sawdust.

My first recommendation is to look online at a lot of different models of lap desks. Use those as inspiration for coming up with a design that you really like, and follow the tips that are included in this post.

Also, if you just want a good solution, follow the plans that I provided and adjust their sizes to suit your specific needs. This is the exact lap writing desk that I’ve been using for years, and it has served me very well for a long time.

If you have any questions about this desk, please Post a Question in the Q&A Forum and I’ll be glad to help. Happy building.

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brian forbes westfarthing woodworks llc owner

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