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How to Build a Hideaway Laptop Desk

Eliminate desktop clutter by creating this custom deck that holds a storage compartment for your laptop. Learn how to make a hideaway laptop desk with these easy steps.

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Step 1: Design the Desk

This design includes vertical slots perfect for canvases, shelves that are perfect for artwork or baskets of supplies, and recessed cups to hold pens and other essentials. A cool hideaway compartment slips his laptop neatly out of the way whenever he's working on art projects and also keeps it out of the kids' reach. The desk fits in a corner of the room, measuring 60" along one wall and 48" along the other. The sides are each 20", and the desk sits 30" tall.

Step 2: Cut the Desktop

Cut out the top of the desk from a sheet of plywood, then cut a second sheet. Using two sheets will give the large desktop more stability. Flip one of the desktops face-down and sketch the opening for the laptop compartment in the correct position. Drill a pilot hole and cut out the compartment with a jigsaw. This hole should be slightly larger than the box that will hold the laptop.

Tip: Wood splits a little when cut or drilled from above. Flipping the pieces face-down puts the small splits on the bottom of the wood, out of sight.

Step 3: Cut Holes for Pen Cups

Trace the circular storage baskets onto the underside of one desktop piece, then drill and cut out with a jigsaw.

Step 4: Duplicate Cuts

Lay the desktop without holes face down and trace the cuts from the first desktop onto it. Remove the first desktop and cut out the holes. Cut the circular holes for pen cups to the exact size; the hole for the laptop hideaway should be larger than the hole in the other desktop, to allow for overhang. The piece with the larger laptop hole will go on top in the completed desk

Step 5: Sandwich the Desktops

Use wood glue and nails to attach the two desktops to each other. Lay the top piece face down, apply glue, position the bottom piece face-down, line the pieces up and secure with clamps. Drive nails through the wood at intervals, being careful to choose short nails that won't go all the way through to the desk surface.

Measure the lap so the secret compartment is a perfect fit.

Step 6: Build the Hideaway

Build a box of birch plywood to fit the cutout in the desk. Since the hole in the top piece of plywood is slightly larger, the hideaway should sit securely on the small "shelf" running around the hole. If the hideaway is awkward to lift, drill a hole in the top of the hideaway large enough to slip a finger through.

Step 7: Trim the Desktop

Use wood glue and nails to secure dentil molding around the edge of the desktop.

Step 8: Build the Base Pieces

Build two large boxes to the appropriate size to support the desk at the desired height. These bases can be customized for any use; for this project, Karl built one base with vertical compartments, the other with large horizontal shelves.

Sand and stain. Sand and stain the desk pieces as desired

Step 9: Install the Desk

Position the base pieces and desktop in the room as desired. Once everything is in place and aligned, secure the top to the bases by driving screws up through the top of each base piece into the bottom of the desktop. Be careful not to drive the screws up through the surface of the desk.