Making a lap tray, instructions

The laptop is a constant companion for many people today. On the sofa or in bed, or in a deck chair on the balcony, a laptop gives you the flexibility to work, surf or chat in comfort, and a lap tray is the perfect accessory. Originally developed in the south of Scotland, the lap tray is also an excellent support for writing letters, reading or drinking tea. The well-padded tray sits securely on your legs, offers a stable surface, doesn't pinch and even looks good with its pretty fabric cover.

Incidentally, a cushioned lap tray is also ideal for children on long car journeys, as it gives them room to draw and play.

Making a cushion for a laptop, instructions

To build your own lap tray, you need the following materials:

  • sturdy fabric, 140 x 120 cm
  • wood strips for the frame
  • decorative mouldings, 10–15 mm wide
  • thin board, 40 x 30 cm
  • cushion, 40 x 30 x 10 cm or padding
  • hand tacker (e.g. Novus J-29) or cordless tacker (e.g. Novus J-214 EA)
  • fine wire staples
  • optional glaze or varnish for the decorative mouldings
lap tray out of wood and fabric
Step 1: Staple the taut fabric onto the board.

And here's how it's done:

1. Use the tacker to cover the board with fabric, folding the fabric over the edges onto the back.

Making a cushion for a laptop out of fabric
Step 2: Tack a frame made of wood strips to the board.

2. Staple the wood strips onto the board to create a frame.

Re-covering a cushion, instructions
Step 3: Sew a cushion cover.

3. Sew a cushion cover from the fabric or fold the ends in appropriately, leaving one side open.

Making your own lap tray, instructions
Step 4: Staple the cushion cover onto the board.

4. Fasten the cushion cover to the board with the tacker.

Making a pad for a laptop
Step 5: Fill the cover with padding or a cushion.

5. Slide in the cushion filler or padding and close the opening with the tacker or sew it up.

Attaching the pad to the board
Step 6: Cut the decorative moulding to size.

6. Now it's time for the decorative moulding: saw the pieces to length with mitred ends and, if you wish, paint them to match the colours of the cover.

Workshop, making a cushion for a laptop
Step 7: Staple the decorative moulding onto the board.

7. Finally, fasten the decorative moulding to the fabric-covered board using the tacker. The distance holder on the NOVUS J-16 EADHG makes it possible to staple very neatly and precisely: with the help of this spacer, the staples around the tray can be driven exactly parallel into the wood. When stapling, make sure the staples are long enough: you should use 1/3 of the staple length for the fastening material, and we recommend 2/3 staple length for the anchoring material, so that the staples are anchored by one third in the decorative moulding and two thirds in the board.

Making a practical lap tray for a laptop
The finished lap tray is ready to be used.

Your lap tray is ready!