Folding Laptop or Writing Desk

With more of us working from home and needing to create a space to work, this folding laptop and writing table is just the thing you need to make any room into an office!

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Folding Laptop and Writing Table Tutorial

My favorite place to write my tutorials is outside on our screen porch when the weather is pleasant. I love listening to the birds and feeling the breeze blow through the screens. Up until this weekend, I was using an old card table as a desk. But, it was large, awkward, and not the correct height for my needs. I wanted a table that was the perfect height and that could fold and store away when not in use. Enter the idea for thus folding laptop and writing table!

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

I enjoyed the challenge of designing plans for this simple farmhouse style folding laptop/writing table. The materials are simple 2 x 4’s and 3/4 inch plywood. The majority of the steps can be done using simple handheld tools like a drill, multi-tool, and a circular saw. (Feel free to use other tools or alter the plans to fit your size preferences.)

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Cut list:

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Top:

  • 3/4″ finish grade plywood cut to 18″ x 36″

Apron (use 1″ x 3″ boards or you can rip excess plywood):

  • 2 – 1″ x 3″ cut to 14 1/2″
  • 2 – 1″ x 3″ cut to 34″

Legs:

  • 2 – 2″ x 4″ cut to 28 1/4″
  • 2 – 2″ x 4″ cut to 26 3/4″
  • 1 – 2″ x 2″ cut to 14 1/2″ (if ripping a 2″ x 2″ yourself, remember actual size is 1.5″ x 1.5″)
  • 2 – 1″ x 4″ cut to 14 3/8″

Hardware:

Tools:

Additional materials:

Instructions:

Cut your lumber per the above cut list.

Building the Apron:

Drill two holes in the ends of the front and back pieces of the apron. Drill pocket holes into the top of all the apron pieces (spaced approximately 8″ apart.)

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Sand all edges and pocket holes on the apron pieces with a 60 grit sandpaper on the Dremel MultiMax.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Assemble the apron pieces. Pay attention to make sure all the pocket holes are facing the same direction to attach to the underside of the tabletop. The sides of the apron should be set inside the front and back pieces as shown below:

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Secure the apron pieces with pocket hole screws.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Center the apron on the bottom side of the tabletop. Measure all sides to make sure they are even. Attach the apron to the tabletop with pocket hole screws.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Notching the legs:

Line up all four legs next to each other. Use a carpenter square to square up the bottoms. Mark 4″ up from the bottom of the legs. Line up the 1″ x 4″ with the mark and trace the other side onto the legs.

Set the combination square to the depth of the 1×4″ board (it should be 3/4″). Mark this depth on the sides of each leg to denote the area that needs to be removed.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Set the depth of your circular saw (or Ultra-Saw) to 3/4″ deep.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut stripes inside the guidelines you made on the legs with the Ultra-Saw.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Use a hammer and chisel to knock out the strips. Use your oscillating multi-tool with a wood flush cut blade to clean up the edges of the notch.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Test fit the 1×4″ boards into the legs. Shave off more if needed with the Multi-Max (or circular saw).

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Set the 1″ x 4″ boards into the leg notches.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Secure the 1″ x 4″ boards with wood glue and finish nails.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Secure the cross piece 1″ x 4″ from the back side with one wood screw into each leg.

secure-cross-piece

Connecting the Legs:

To allow the legs on the desk to fold neatly, one side has to be raised up to fold on top of the other legs. Use the 2″ x 2″ board you cut for this purpose.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Drill a pocket hole into each end of the 2×2″ board. Add wood glue where the 2×2 will rest. Tap the board into place.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Secure the board into the table apron with pocket screws.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Rest the shorter legs on top of the 2×2 board. Clamp or support the legs in place.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Attach the utility hinges to the top of the legs and the 2×2 support.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Rest the longer legs in place.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Attach the remaining two utility hinges to the top of the legs and the underside of the tabletop as shown below.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Test fold the legs to make sure they fold neatly and don’t rub on the sides of the apron. Make any adjustments to the hinges or sand the legs to eliminate rubbing now.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Add the lid support hinge to the bottom folding legs (the longer legs). Follow the directions on the package of the lid support for proper installation.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

The opposite side will not accommodate a lid support. You need a barrel bolt to keep the legs from folding accidentally. Glue and nail a scrap of 2×4 to the inside of the table apron next to one of the legs (I added a barrel bolt to both sides, but you only need to add it to the one side when using the lid hinge support.)

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Rest the barrel bolt onto the scrap wood. Mark where the bolt hits the leg. Drill a hole into the leg to accept the bolt.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Attach the barrel bolt to the scrap wood with the provided screws.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Sand all parts of the desk starting with 80 grit sandpaper, then 120 and finish with a 220 grit sandpaper.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Add edge banding to the plywood top. You can watch my video below to learn how to finish off plywood edges!

It’s not hard and edge banding is a great way to finish off plywood to make it look like a more expensive board.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Fill any holes or seams with wood putty. Sand and wipe off the desk before staining or painting.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Finishing touches:

I stained my desk with Minwax Dark Walnut. After the stain dried, I added a hand-painted vine border. First, I sketched the design in chalk.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Then I painted the design using a watered-down white chalk paint.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

The apron and legs received a mixture of chalk paints in a yellow color. The edges were sanded off to reveal the dark stain beneath.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Finally, the desktop received several coats of General Finishes High Performance water-based topcoat in the flat finish. The legs and painted areas were waxed.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

Add a handle to the center of the desk apron if you want to be able to transport it easily.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

This table can be used anywhere! It’s sturdy, but doesn’t take up much space.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

I can fold it up and bring it inside and work in front of the TV. Or it can be used as a small sewing table, crafting table, or just an extra buffet in the dining room.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

When I’m done, it folds up and stores behind a bench or sofa.

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

If you like this tutorial, be sure to pin it for future use or to share! Cheers!

Folding Laptop Writing Desk | Pretty Handy Girl

I’d love to hear if you make your own folding laptop and writing table!

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Scrub Away Hard Water Stains | Pretty Handy Girl
31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl
 

Do you have hard water? If you do, you probably understand when I say, “It’s the bane of my existence when it comes to cleaning sinks!” However, I have a trick to scrub away that stubborn hard water crusty stain in no time! And I use a little power to save myself from fatigue.

hard-water-crust

Day 20 – Scrub Away Hard Water Stains

The other day I shared my non-toxic drain opener with you. Today, pull that vinegar and baking soda back out. You’ll also want to grab a good scrub sponge. I’ve been using the Scotch Brite Non-scratch Scrub Sponges and like them because they are non-scratch and use natural fibers. (I was not paid to say that!)

Pour some baking soda and a tiny bit of vinegar to create a paste on the hard water stain. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes.

vinegar-baking-soda-scrub

While you are waiting, cut a piece of the scrub sponge to fit on the sanding head of the Dremel Multi-Max. The hook and loop will hold the scrub sponge in place. If you don’t have a Multi-Max, you can scrub by hand, but it will take a little longer to remove the crusty stain.

cut-scrub-sponge-to-size

Before you plug in the Multi-Max, make sure your vinegar baking solution is more paste and not too much liquid. If there is too much liquid, add more baking soda. You want to make sure you are working with a paste to avoid any potential electrical shocks.

Turn on the Multi-Max and let the vibration of the sanding head do all the work for you! It may take several passes until the hard water stain is gone.

dremel-multimax-scrubbing-sink

Before:

hard-water-crust-around-sink

After:

How to Scrub Hard Water Stains Away | Pretty Handy Girl

I love finding ways to clean with power tools!

hard-water-stain-removed
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Pin for later!

remove hard water stains from sink

DIY Marble Toss Game | Pretty Handy Girl

The summer is dragging on and the kids don’t have any summer camps for the next few weeks. That means: 1) I need to find a way to keep the kids entertained. 2) I need to keep them from pushing me over the brink of insanity. 3) I need to keep them from pushing each other off a cliff.

engraved-marble-toss

I came up with a fun marble toss game that will keep them busy. It was an easy game to make and I used some of the scrap wood laying around my workshop. Feel free to substitute materials and make modifications.

I enjoyed using the Dremel Fortiflex to carve the intricate letters and numbers. I have to admit I’m enjoying working as a brand ambassador for Dremel and testing their tools.

Let’s get your marble game face on!

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Materials:

Optional: White pin stripes

Cut list:

  • 1 – 1/4″ x 10.5″ x 24.5″ plywood (face)
  • 1 – 1/2″ x 23″ x 9.25″ plywood (for side supports)
  • 2 – 1×3″ cut to 8.5″ (for base supports)
  • 1 – 2×4″ cut to 8.5″ (for upper support)

Tools Used:

Instructions:

Begin by drawing a horizontal line across the 1/2″ plywood.

mark-triangle-half

The angle will be approximately 22˚degrees.

22-degrees

Use the Dremel Ultra-Saw (jig saw or circular saw) to cut your plywood board in half diagonally.

cut-on-line-ultra-saw

You should have two identical triangles for the side supports. Read more

Stamped Spoon Necklace

Today I have the honor of introducing the extremely creative KariAnne from Thistlewood Farms. She’s showing us one of my favorite gift ideas from her idea farm ;-). DIY Stamped Spoon Necklaces!

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Hello Pretty Handy Girl readers! My name is KariAnne from Thistlewood Farms and I am so excited to be here today! In our family….every year is a handmade Christmas and I just love getting handmade gifts from family and friends.

Today, I want to show you how to make a simple gift for someone special this Christmas by transforming a vintage silverplate spoon into a necklace. You can personalize it with a date or names or a quote or an anniversary. Just be sure and stamp it from the heart.

How to Make a Spoon Necklace

Spoon-Necklace

Supplies:

Silver-stamps

  • spoon (at the risk of stating the obvious)
  • steel stamping block
  • hammer
  • silver stamps
  • jump ring
  • chain

Instructions: Read more

Pallet upcycling is all the rage today. But, if you’ve ever tried to actually remove wood planks from a pallet, you know that it is not an easy task. The nails that are used are typically spiral nails and are designed to really grip that wood. And if that’s not enough, they usually shoot 4-5 nails per joint. Sheesh, you’d think they were building a foundation for a 10 ton elephant. Okay, actually it is the foundation that has to hold tons of product as it is lifted by a fork lift. Which explains why harvesting pallet wood can be a labor intensive task.

I figured you’d appreciate it if I shared with you the quickest and easiest way I’ve found to salvage this beautifully rustic pallet wood. Read more