This magnetic convertible DIY laptop stand is a great way to make your laptop completely portable.
My wife primarily uses a desktop for her business but has a laptop too. The laptop either sits on her craft table for filming purposes or rides along in the car and she uses it on her lap.
That sounds normal, but what I want to tell you is how she supports the laptop: on the craft table it is precariously stacked on a couple of random boxes that once contained craft supplies. In the car, she sets it on top of an old pizza box (no, the pizza is long gone). I decided to improve upon her system and make her a wooden stand for our anniversary.
The stand needed to serve both purposes: be a laptop riser when used on the craft table and be a stable platform for her lap in the car.
I have seen several DIY laptop stand ideas online where the “legs” of the stand fold up in some manner to convert to lap use. However, most of those designs have a skirt around the edge to contain the legs and they looked like they would be uncomfortable on her lap. Plus, I was not a fan of trying to drill and set hinge pins for folding legs so that they would be flush and flat.
I also decided wooden construction was the best option. While I had seen plans for a DIY metallic laptop stand, but it had edges and corners that would be sharp if used on the lap.
After some trial and error, I came up with a unique design that uses magnets and tension to hold the legs in both the extended and “folded” positions. In the folded position the legs are flush and smooth, thus giving her the most comfort when using it on her lap. The magnets are not strong enough to have any negative effect on any electronics used on the stand. Here is how to build the magnetic convertible laptop stand.
The stand is 18 inches wide, 14 inches long, 7 1/2 inches tall with the legs extended, and 1 1/2 inches tall with the legs folded.
Materials for DIY Laptop Stand
- Pine board, 1” x 16” x 3’
- Ultra-Thin Cabinet magnet catches, 12.
- Acrylic paint
All parts are cut from the single pine board:
- Stand top: 18” x 14”
- 2 x Skirt Long Side: 16” x 1”
- 2 x Skirt Short Side:10 1/2 “ x 1”
- 2 x Legs: 10 ½” x 6 ½”
- 2 x Side Brace: 10 ½ “ long
- 1 x Center Brace: 11 ¼” long
Making the DIY Laptop Stand
The first step is to cut the top of the stand from the pine board. Then layout the other pieces and cut them from the remaining board.
Sand the top of the board and then round over the top-side edges of the top of the stand using a router. You can also sand them round if you do not have a router. The idea is to remove sharp edges that will cause pain when using it on a lap.
Attach the skirt pieces to the bottom of the board, arranging them into a square centered on the board.
Stain all pieces as you desire. I used a faux stain technique. Dilute craft paint of your chosen color with water in a 3:1 ratio. Brush the diluted paint onto the wood, wipe off excess with paper towels, and let dry. Once dry, apply polyurethane. This method saved a lot of time over the traditional staining techniques. It also doesn’t have the fumes so it can be done indoors during the colder months.
Attach the thin magnets as show in the photo below. Use the screws provided with the magnets. Be sure to drill small pilot holes so that you do not split the wood pieces.
The arrangement is important, as you want to support the legs when folded and also provide attachments for the braces. The three magnets on the outside of the skirt are for holding the braces when the legs are in the folded position.
To extend the legs turn the stand over and remove the two legs from the underside of the stand. Set them upright on the long edge against the inside of the skirt on each end. Set a side brace against each leg using the magnets there. Then place the center brace between the two side braces using the magnets. Turn the stand over to use it on a table.
Laptops are great for being able to work anywhere, but unless you have a great place to set them, they can be a bit of a pain. This unique but totally doable stand is the solution that will give you the flexibility you have hoped a laptop would bring you.