Accessories OtherTrays

Published on June 25th, 2007 | by Jules Yap


need a laptop desk? diy your own stand

adam’s benjamin laptop desk
adam from boston sends me this cheap but functional laptop desk, hacked from ikea’s benjamin stool.

“i’ve been looking for a laptop desk so that my poor mac won’t overheat in the summer time. i was appalled to find that the two most common returns to a search were like… REALLY expensive.

OtherTrays hack2finished2

this absurdly simple hack was done using the $19 benjamin stool and a $6 coping saw. you could make it pretty snappy by taping off the edges and spray painting the inside a really bright color. you could also make a shallower tray if you had access to a table-saw with a plywood blade on it.”

lazymonster’s grundtal laptop stand
this looks precarious but lazymonster has tested it for months and says it has served its purpose well besides displaying the laptop like a piece of art.

it’s put together from an old ikea grundtal paper towel holder (can’t find the link on ikea website) and some plexiglass sheet. and is made to be used with a tablet and keyboard, so he doesn’t really “touch” the laptop. so, no, you can’t type away merrily on this.

thanks! nigel, kevin, ian [via lifehacker]

view lazymonster laptop stand photo set

gino’s variera macbook stand
another cheap laptop desk option. gino from the netherlands used the ikea variera kitchen shelf (can’t find the link on ikea website) which fits his MacBook to a T.

“since the shelf itself is perforated, it helps to cool the bottom of those overheating notebooks. i ended up mounting the shelf upside down on its legs (pix below does not show this as it is a composite picture using the original variera). this prevents the notebook from falling off the shelf should you push against it from the front or the back.”


creaneo84′s funky monitor stand
breaking slightly from the theme but i couldn’t resist slipping in creaneo84′s awesome monitor stand that hides ugly cords too. also from a hacked benjamin stool. the front red panel is the deal maker.

2007-06-13-deskfront 2007-06-13deskdetails

thanks, michelle, abby, wendy [via apartment therapy home tech]

More hacks on

slim paperback book case
reinforcing billy book case cd insert

The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

51 Responses to need a laptop desk? diy your own stand

  1. Biltilbehør says:

    These all hacks are awesome..I prefer plastic hack as compared to the wooden hack because i think i feel comfortable with the plastic hack when i use my laptop for long time..

  2. King Kobalt says:

    So i love this idea, but i also am an IKEA HACKER :P

    My GF had a small black Ikea Computer desk ( – Similar size, but hers is black and has a keyboard tray ) I thought it was ok, but the monitor was really low for me.

    I began my search. I came across this site along with MANY others; fueling my creativity. Finally I had an idea of what I was gonna do.

    I took a simple shelf ( ), and the legs for a cabinet ( ), and VOILA!!! for about $17.25, after tax, and 30 mins of work I’m happy to say it’s finished.

    There are probably other combinations of different type/size feet and different type/size shelves.

    I plan to do some more work and drill holes into the desk to fasten the stand to it.

  3. GamerSyndrome says:

    I can work in bed or in a chair this way. It is handy because I’m never playing scrabble and working at the same time.

  4. Chris Gee says:

    benjamin is discontinued :-(

  5. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone ever hacked a laptop stand for the kitchen? I found a decent kitchen laptop stand, but would like to make something of my own for free.

  6. Bard Judith says:

    I designed one of the cheapest (yet stylin’ – matches your modern or retro decor with clean, geometric, metallic lines! :) ) laptop stands around to keep my husband’s laptop from frying its motherboard for the third time….so far so good! He’s had this one for the last two years now. In the BBQ section of your local hardware store, Canadian Tire, dollar store, or supermarket, look for one of those ‘semi-disposable’ wire grilles, made of the thin gridded wire with a wider rim. Mine cost two bucks in a Korean market.

    Stick one edge of the grille about two inches under a sturdy door and pull up to bend the sheet at a thirty degree angle or so. Remove and reverse the sheet so that the opposing edge is under the door and the bend facing you is downwards. Pull up at a thirty degree angle again. (or use pliers, if you don’t have any steel doors or the metal is resisting bending)

    You should have a rough Z shape. Placed on a horizontal surface, this gives you an elevated, tilted, completely non-air-blocking, light and portable surface. The bottom ‘upward’ bend holds the laptop in place, the top ‘downward’ bend serves as a leg or rim along the back to elevate the laptop.

    If you can find one the same size as your laptop, you could use long heavy elastics or rubberized bands (like thin hairbands) to hold the grille right onto the computer for easy portability.

  7. savingstips says:

    I really like the Laptop Flip as a stand for my Macbook Pro. It raises my laptop for better ventilation and allows me to store my Macbook in the vertical position when not in use. This save quite a bit of space on my cluttered desktop.

  8. april says:

    $5.97 !!!! JOY !!!! PLEASE RE-THINK YOUR CHOICE, IF A LAPTOP ‘DESK’ DOESN’T HAVE AIR VENTS: i wish it was wood, but, Rubbermaid (Walmart WOW:UNDER $6:kitchen storage area, but no pic on-line) makes a nearly weightless, wide, plastic coated wire shelf for in-cabinet use that is perfect for any size “”lap”" (hip spread) to use as a “”cool”" LAPTOP DESK/food tray in bed or on sofa: there’s enuf room for my large, 16″ HP & still room for a mouse or small writing pad, etc. on the side: good for HOURS & NEVER FEEL THE HEAT! I also use it to support a small DVD player for invalid-grandma, bringing the machine to any distance she prefers, and it never interferes with her leg comfort. Link photo here is not exact: mine has ‘handles’ on side, i highly recommend. thanks for all the great ideas, folks! namaste

  9. Tom says:

    I made a laptop stand out of the variera as well. I wanted to use it on my desk so I had to modify the original variera a little as it was too high for that purpose. What I did was to bend the base-thing. It’s made of metal so it’s easy to bend. To get proper angles at the right places I used a hammer for bending the first part. You might want to put a piece of cloth or something over the metal when you use the hammer to avoid the paint bursting off.
    Now I have a notebook stand that helps cooling the computer and offers a ergonomic typing position.

  10. Anonymous says:

    i use the ikea breakfast table as my laptop stand. it’s plastic and cools better than the wood option above.

    to elevate my computer, i stuck those cheap foam circular stickers people put under tables and chairs to prevent it from scratching the floor. there are the really thick versions and these elevate the computer to allow the air to flow out and the computer to cool.


  11. Chokyi - cheap laptop desk says:

    Thanks for the cheap laptop desk DIY options and ideas. The pictures look cool! :)

  12. Q80thug says:

    i loved the idea so i tried to do it for myself. didn’t turn out as good as i hoped. the laptop table turned out to be too small for me but luckly it fitted one certain member of the family :) you can check out my my photo set to find out what i mean. thanks ikea hacker and adam for the inspiration.[email protected]/

  13. Jan says:

    Funny how it is MacBook users that are bitching about overpriced designer products.

  14. Bea says:

    nice ideas with the benjamin!

  15. Marco says:

    I’m using a compartment from the DOKUMENT letter tray set. It’s a perfect fit for my 13″ Macbook!

  16. Kj Malc says:

    It looks so amazing… nice Laptop stand… If i have this one I can assure to work 5-8 hours…

  17. Anonymous says:

    Cheep is nice but you still need a desk. Invest $149-160 for an AirDesk and work from a recliner. I gave away my desk. I’m a relciner now, life is good, even working 10 hours at a time. Check out, see what I am talking about.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I did the ikea benjamin stool conversion. I love it. It’s exactly what I needed. Thanks!

  19. Chaz says:

    This is soo cool…I had to share it with my roommie who has been looking for a cheap laptop lapstand for like 2 years!

  20. Games Lighthouse says:

    you can check more laptop reviews here Laptop Bodega

  21. These are all awesome hacks. I’ve just realized how much i need a laptop stand/desk for surfing on the sofa. Just one question, does these stands make the laptops heat up quicker? what about using a desk with
    slits to let heat escape? or build in
    a fan? Im sure ikea sells Fans.
    am i going overboard? sorry if i am.

  22. London Stu says:

    I’ve been looking for something like this… I’ve been getting worried about my ‘fellas’ down there as I always have my laptop on my lap. I think I’m boiling them to death through the heat coming off my MacBook.

    You could be saving my future children!

  23. Anonymous says:

    I want to make a sofa laptop table that stands on the ground. Ikea makes one but it’s not so nice.
    I prefer the idea of the table being made of bent wood like the benjamin stool. ideas??

  24. Anonymous says:

    has anyone used one of these ?

    backpackable maybe? and watchin’ the dvd player in bed looks kinda funky.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Looks cool! except what about those small town people like me that don’t have an ikea nearby.

    Check out this thing.

    How kick ass is that? no assembly required, transforms into 5 different tables including a laptop stand with keyboard wireless keyboard slot!

    they have a pic here..

    anyone own one?


  26. Anonymous says:

    Like all of you needing something cheap and easy to keep the hot bottom of laptops off the tables, I was searching till I came to this site. While all are good and ingenious ideas, I have an even better one. Was browsing in the kitchen when I came upon two bottle corks. Hey presto! just pop them under the laptop a little like Julieta’s kinopiomethod, except I don’t have any fancy name for it. And you can just throw them into the bag, no weight, no bulk.

  27. julieta says:

    Hello, I want to share with you that I made a portable laptop stand diy for my macbook, it takes 2 min. to make one.
    Please see it on my deviantart site.

    Write me suggestions

  28. Chella says:

    I have an hp widescreen. I use my scrabble box. It’s a perfect fit, and I find it doesn’t overheat, despite being unventilated. I can work in bed or in a chair this way. It is handy because I’m never playing scrabble and working at the same time. Of course I felt a little stupid the time I realised I was playing scrabulous online while using my actual scrabble as a laptop desk.


  29. Anonymous says:

    Instant well-ventilated laptop stand:

    Take a DOKUMENT magazine rack, turn it on its side, put laptop on top.

  30. Mariana says:

    this is awesome. any ideas on making a keyboard tray?

  31. Diego says:

    It is not an IKEA’s stuff, it something you can find anywhere…. a dish dryier rack!! in Woolworths UK you have it for £5, you have to take the medium holder and that’s it, there are 2 wire extension from the smaller (bottom) that fit 2 holes in my 2 laptops (a 15.4″ Widescreen and a 17″ square), also pad the base to increase softness against your legs ;)

  32. Anonymous says:


    With the wall carpet (or whatever it is) and the background lights it looks like an sacrifice shrine from the front view.

    And yeah, thats what you do, you sacrifice your time on it… ;-P

    But however, nice idea.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I too bought a Benjamin stool to make a laptop table.
    I’m not sure where to make the cut. The first time the depth was about 7 inches and that seems too tall. How tall is yours?
    It would save me some time and energy if I knew that.
    Thaank you!

  34. Anonymous says:

    i bought this stool to copy your hack.
    how tall is your finished product?


  35. Anonymous says:

    i bought this stool to copy your hack. how much did you cut off? yours looks to be about 6 inches deep. What height is yours?

  36. Anonymous says:

    For $20 you can buy a Laptop Desk.

    No assembly required. It’s light and can slip into your laptop case. I use mine always.

  37. Cat says:

    I hacked my own laptopjack.

    I bought a pair of skate brake pads and set them under the back corners of my laptop. The weight of the laptop is enough to keep the rubber material from sliding around on my cheap lap-desk, and it takes no time to throw them in the laptop case.

  38. lazymonster says:

    I use a (discontinued? – the designer credit on the back is Elisabeth Bjorkbom) cork bottomed, pattern topped (TV) laminate tray from IKEA when I’m not at my desk, they were super cheap and I have a few of them strategically stored – bedside/chairside – but I like the look of the hacked benjamin stool. Good find MCS, grundtal lives.

  39. Anonymous says:

    I’ve used baking cooling racks for laptop trays. Very handy.

  40. Radvixen says:

    wow this is awesome!

  41. Anonymous says:

    I really like Adam’s idea, and just went to our local Ikea to pick up a Benjamin stool. Unfortunately, it’s exceedingly narrow. I’m not a big man, but I wonder about the cooling potential of a desk that’s only 16 inches across.

    Does anyone know of any slightly (4 inches would do) wider products with a similar profile?

  42. john says:

    oh baby! sweet ideas!

  43. bani says:

    “Stop the madness. Hack.”


  44. Ingrid says:

    Brilliant! I have one of those crappy Fellowes plastic monitor holders (which is cracking), and have been desperate to find a nice wooden, modern-looking monitor stand. This hack is perfect!

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