A step-by-step tutorial to make a DIY laptop table for a couch.
If you’re anything like me, there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything you want to do. Very often, I am using my laptop while sitting on the couch, watching a show or catching up on the news.
A few years ago, I saw the idea of a laptop desk for a couch and I loved it! It was something I needed but because I am too cheap to purchase one, I thought, why not make my own?
I wanted to try my hand at metal but in the end, I decided to make the whole laptop table out of wood.
This post is all about how to build a DIY laptop sofa table. It’s incredibly useful and would be the perfect gift for anyone who loves to multi-task.
In fact, it’s my Christmas gift to myself!
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DIY LAPTOP SOFA TABLE
- two: 2″x2″x8ft furring strips (you will have a lot left over from one board)
- one: 2″x4″x8ft or 1″x4″x8ft board
- two: 6″ corner brace
- two: 3″ corner brace
- 2-1/2″ wood screws
- 1-1/4″ wood screws (IF USING 1″x4″ board)
- twelve: 1″ metal to wood screws for 6″ corner brace
- wood glue
- stain (optional)
- black spray paint
- Tung Oil
- #220 grit sandpaper
- wood pocket plugs
- spackling paste (optional)
- felt furniture pads (optional)
If you happen to like the look of this table, I am basing my design from the Metal Edge Laptop Desk from World Market, so you can purchase a similar one there.
The size of the laptop desk is 20″W x 14″D x 25-1/2″T
STEP 1: CUT THE WOOD
First, cut the wood to the lengths you need.
Here is the cut list:
- 2″x2″ boards = 24″, 24″, 12″, 12″, 16″, & 16″
- 2″x4″ or 1″x4″ boards = 20″, 20″, 20″, & 20″
STEP 2: ADD KREG JIG POCKET HOLES
Once all the wood is cut, you’re ready to add some pocket holes to attach the boards together.
- three of the 2″x4″ (or 1″x4″) boards
- Place three pocket holes on each board (close to the ends and middle).
- both of the 16″ boards
- There will be four pocket holes on each board. Place two pockets on one side at both ends. Then, on the opposite side of the board, place two more at the ends.
- both of the 12″ boards
- Place one pocket hole at one end of each board
STEP 3: SAND THE WOOD
After the pockets are added, sand all the boards with #220 grit sandpaper.
TIP: You want the boards to be very smooth, so take your time.
STEP 4: BUILD THE TABLE TOP
Now that everything is cut and sanded, it’s time to build the top of the laptop table.
Take two 20″ boards that have pockets on them. Place them on a flat surface with the pockets facing the same direction. Align the ends of the boards and clamp them together.
TIP: Since the boards are on a flat surface, press down on the boards while clamping to make sure the boards will remain level.
Once the boards are clamped and both ends are aligned, take the 2-1/2″ screws (1-1/4″ if you are using a 1″x4″ board) and attach the two boards together with the screws.
Add the two other 20″ boards the same way until you have created your tabletop.
TIP: If your clamps are not big enough to clamp all the boards together, use a wall!
Now that the top is assembled, sand the wood to make sure you have a smooth top and rounded edges.
When you are happy with the smoothness of the top (it will not be completely bump-free), add the wood finish you want. This could be a stain or you could use Tung Oil to help protect your wood. I wanted a natural look so I just applied Tung Oil to the top.
SIDE NOTE: If you are wondering what Tung Oil is or how to apply it, be sure to visit my article on how to apply Tung Oil to wood.
STEP 5: BUILD THE FRAME OF THE TABLE
Start with the 12″ boards, 24″ boards, and two 3″ corner braces. Take a 24″ board and place it on a flat surface. Place a 12″ board at one end of the board, so that the two boards together are forming an “L”. Use a clamp to hold the boards in place.
SIDE NOTE: Have the pocket on the 12″ board be at the bottom of the “L”. Mine is on the side but the bottom would have been a better placement.
TIP: It’s a great idea to use wood glue!
Next place the corner brace on the inside of the “L”. Center the bracket then pre-drill a 1/8″ hole where each screw will be placed.
After, attach the brace with the screws provided. Then, place a 2-1/2″ screw into the pocket of the 12″ boards.
TIP: To avoid splitting the boards, adjust your drill’s dial so it’s set somewhere between 6-9 while installing the screws.
Complete this process again for the other two boards and brace. These will be the sides of the frame.
Now it’s time to install the last two boards to finish the frame.
Place one of the sides on a flat surface. Take one of the 16″ boards and place glue on the bottom end.
Place this end on top of one end of the side frame, “L”. Clamp the two boards together.
Attach the boards together with the 2-1/2″ screws, using the pockets. There are two on each side of the 16″ board.
When this board is attached, install the other 16″ board the same way but at the other end of the “L”.
Now take the other side piece, “L”, and place it on a flat surface. Place glue on both ends of the 16″ boards.
Then, place this part of the frame onto the other side piece (you just placed the side pieces on a flat surface).
SIDE NOTE: Flip the side piece over if the boards are not lining up.
Clamp each 16″ board to the side pieces, making sure the ends are aligned. Then, attach the boards together using the 2-1/2″ screw. You will be placing two screws on each 16″ board.
Now that the frame is assembled, add the 6″ corner brace to the frame. Position the frame so that the longer side is on a flat surface.
Place a brace on one side of the frame. Use a scrap board to make sure the brace will be aligned with the frame and table top. Once everything is aligned, mark where the three screws will be drilled.
STEP 6: PAINT THE FRAME
Before painting the frame you need to prep it. The pocket holes need to be filled in with plugs. To do this, place wood glue inside the pocket holes and some glue on the plug.
Then, insert the plug into the pocket. The plug should go in smoothly; if not, sometimes a screw is not drilled in far enough.
Install a plug for each pocket hole and allow the glue to dry completely before moving on.
Next, take spackling paste with a putty knife and apply it to where the plugs were just installed. This will give you a seamless finish.
SIDE NOTE: If you are not painting the frame, you will want to use a wood filler instead.
Let the spackling paste dry completely before moving to the next step.
Once everything is dry, sand all the wood again with a #220 grit sandpaper. Just like the table top, you want the wood to be smooth and free of splinters.
After sanding, wipe the frame with a cloth to remove the dust.
Then, place the frame on an old sheet, cardboard, or newspaper so you can spray paint it.
Using the spray grip tool, paint the frame with a can of black spray paint. Remember, you want smooth LIGHT coats of paint, so you will have to apply at least two coats of paint.
SIDE NOTE: Follow the instructions on the can for dry times before applying another coat.
Once you are satisfied with the paint coverage on the frame, let it sit for at least 2 hours before moving to the final step.
STEP 7: ATTACH THE TOP AND FRAME TOGETHER
Now it’s time to bring the whole project together.
Place the table top, pocket holes facing up, on a clean flat surface. Then, position the 6″ braces of the frame onto the table top.
Align the frame so that the sides and the back are spaced evenly. Mark the brace screws holes and pre-drill a 1/8″ hole into each mark; there will be six.
Then, attach the brace to the table top using the 1″ metal to wood screw.
If you want, you can add felt furniture pads to the bottom of the table to help it move easier.
Now the laptop table is complete! Go try out your laptop desk at your favorite chair or couch. It’s sturdy but lightweight so it’s easy to move around.
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and now you have a solution for using your computer on the couch.