Sometimes I get a brainstorm about a repurposed furniture project, I search for something like it on google or pinterest to see what’s out there. As in today’s project, a fold up standing laptop table, I found nothing. There were lots of options for folding desks for computers—but I wanted a tall table that would allow me to stand up to do work on my laptop. That seemed easy, but you see, I want it to fold up when it’s not in use because when I use it, I’ll be in the living room. Then it hit me! A t.v. tray table is the perfect table top for a laptop. I just needed it to be taller!
I am about 5’4” tall. While standing, I measured to my elbow and chose to make my legs 42” long. My standing laptop table is about 38.5 inches tall. You may have to make adjustments depending on your height.
- T.V Tray Table (free, I already had one)
- 1x2 Poplar board 7ft (2) $13.30 (7 ft easily fit in my short bed truck)
- 1x3 Poplar board 12-14” (1) $1.57
- ⅝” Dowel $2.54 (or you can reuse the one from your t.v. tray table)
- Bolts 1 ½ x ¼” (4) $1.20
- Nuts ¼” (4) $1.60
- ¼” x 1 ¼” washers (4) .80
- Scrap piece of thin plywood (optional)
- Wood Glue
- Paint or Stain
Total 21.01 includes the dowel that you may not need to buy.
My daughter Jamie takes after me in the fact that when we get an idea, we want it done YESTERDAY! The moment I figured out what I wanted to do, I grabbed one of my tv tray tables and started dismantling it. The plan was to use the top “as is” and just make taller legs for it. What do you think? Does it sound doable?
I had to pop off some lock washers in order to dismantle the top.
To remove the pin without messing up the cleat, I grabbed the pin with the claw of one hammer and used another hammer to tap the pin out.
To remove the dowel portion of the table legs, I had to take out one screw. I replaced the screw in the hole so I wouldn’t lose it.
I used the hammer to tap, tap, tap the table leg in order to get the dowel out of the holes on the legs.
To remove the pin, I stood on the brace, grabbed the pin with the channel locks pliers, then tapped the pliers to pry out the pin. Thank you Rodney for showing me how to do that when I made the console table out of a table leaf. Up to this point I was working at home in the living room (floor). It’s been too hot to work outside.
*this post contains affiliate links, read more here*
There are a few tools that would make this project easier—tools I don’t have in my shop. I decided to go to Maker 13 and use their tools in an air conditioned shop. I cut the legs to size on the miter saw, then snipped each corner of the legs so that I could easily round them off with the sander.
This is one of the tools I don’t have in my shop, a disc sander. I was able to quickly round all the corners of the legs using it.
Before and after of the tv tray table legs. They have to be rounded in order to swivel that allows the table to fold flat.
Another tool I don’t have in my shop—a drill press. I drilled holes with a regular 5/16 drill bit.
I used a larger drill bit to make the hole wider so that the bolt will countersink. Later I found a forstner bit that did a better job making the countersink hole.
I bought a ⅝” dowel rod, the same size that was in the original table. I drilled a hole with a ¼” forstner bit—it was too small for the dowel rod. John was working at the shop that day and he recommended that I shim some of the dowel rod off with the belt sander. It worked like a charm.
I cut the bottom leg brace to size.
Then things went a little wrong. I had totally misjudged where the pivot should be on the legs. When I did a dry fit, the lower portion of the legs did not separate enough. Plan B. Back to the drill press to drill new holes. Time was running out, and I had to get going. I would be finishing my project at home after all.
Ya see the good part about me making the prototype is that I can give you the correct measurements and you can said right through this project instead of working out all the kinks.
Before I left, I did a quick dry fit to make sure the legs would pivot properly this time. If you look closely, you will see the holes that will need to be filled.
Back at home, on a cooler day—I used my Kreg Jig to make pocket holes in the lower leg brace.
I brought the table in to test it out. I love how it’s coming together!
You can see that the tall t.v. tray table looks just like a regular one, only much taller.
I used spackling to patch all the holes that were drilled in the wrong place.
See how nicely it folds up!
To aid in stabilizing the tall legs, I opted for a second brace. This was made from thin plywood, and must be attached to the outer side of the rear legs in order to allow the table to fold flat. I used my Ryobi Stapler.
I lightly sanded the table top, and the raw wood, and painted it with some satin oops white paint. (I had already painted the coffee table with diy chalky paint primer)
The original t.v. tray table had plastic spacers. I tried it without any spacers, but the legs rubbed against each other and made the table difficult to open and close. I ended up adding two washers on each set of legs. Some of the paint wore off where I had patched the holes. They needed to be touched up.
Here is the before and after of the t.v. tray table, original and new taller standing laptop table.
This before and after gives you a good idea of the height that was added with the new legs on the tv tray table.
Grainy late night cell phone picture shows where I do my best work, in front of the t.v.
I’ve been using it for about a week, and I love it. The best part is that the standing laptop table is that it folds flat for storage! Who knew a t.v. tray table would be so handy? Do you think you could get accustomed to standing while working on your laptop? I know of people who have treadmill desks, but for now I’ll just stand and walk in place while working on my new laptop standing table.