There is a lot of fall and holiday decor going on around the interwebs. I am a rebel, though, so I am sharing a great project that has absolutely nothing to do with a season, this DIY computer tray. There is twine involved, so that should count for something right?
DIY Computer Tray
I am a blogger, writer, and frequent internet gossip reader. Most of the time I do my serious computer stuff on my desktop, at my desk. But, sometimes I want to kick up my feet and “work” on my laptop in the coziness that is my bed or couch. And if I or my husband is trying to do some work in the middle of the day, we have these three little people who may or may not (ever) leave us alone.
So to have some quiet in our room is needed. But the idea of resting the laptop on our lap is not ideal. There are a few examples of computer trays online. And many you can purchase at various stores. But, I am a full-fledged DIYer, give me some wood, glue, paint, and probably twine and I can make things happen. I created this DIY computer tray that I adore, and use all the time. My kids commandeer it quite frequently, so it is a win all around.
Like I said, there are many examples of DIY computer trays around. I took a little from each and found a style that works for me. I am going to incorporate galvanized pipes, wood, and some paint. See this DIYer can make it happen. I started by looking through our wood that is forever piled in the garage. We had two shelves that were leftover when we bought the house. They were hung over the windows in the dining room. We took them down and they have been in a heap of wood since. They are pine, sturdy and beveled edge. Great for a desk surface.
We hooked up these babies into the miter saw and cut away. The two pieces together measure 42 inches long, and 14 inches wide. It was simple and easy. We then took a portion of a 2×4 and cut it the width of the two wood pieces. This was for the purpose of connecting the wood pieces together by screwing them into the 2×4, on the underside of the tray.
I chose a Rust-Oleum gray for the wood. Simple, neutral, and fresh. You cannot go wrong with gray, ever. And now, time for the obligatory repeat of instructions on spray painting. I always spray paint the same way. Taking slow swipes from one side to the other.
Don't try to lay it on too thick or too close to the surface. If you do either one it will run and give some drips. I did three coats to get it fully covered. There is still a few spots where I could have laid it on thicker, but a slightly rough look fits this project.
Next step was to paint the galvanized pipes we purchased. I selected 1/2 inch diameter pipes for the handles and legs. I thought this was the perfect size to have it be big and statement enough. But not to overwhelm the tray. Also making sure the handles did not take up too much workspace. This is a functional tray first and foremost. I needed my elbow room. The legs of the tray are 8 inches long.
This was the only picture I took off the galvanized pipes. Somehow I took none of me spray painting them, it was the same process as the wood piece. Before spray painting, we had to sand them down. There were a sticker and tape from the store that left adhesive to the pipes, and also the oil on them would make it difficult to make sure the spray paint stayed on. Once the pipes were roughed up it was time to spray paint them, I used Rust-Oleum textured black. I sprayed one side, waited for them to dry and then turned them over. To ensure I covered the full pipe. I did one coat on all sides and then just turned it over to see if there were any spots missing paint. One coat was more than enough for them.
While those were drying I went to work connecting the two wood boards together. Taking a small piece of wood and bridging the two boards together. By using a drill we (my husband) drilled 4 holes on each 2×4. Drilled the hole slightly so that when screwing in the screw it became easier and it guaranteed that the wood would not split while drilling in.
Once the holes were done it was as simple as screwing in the screws. The 2×4's were placed about 2 inches in on the bottom side of the boards. These 2×4's did a few jobs, they connected the two boards together. They also allow the handles and the legs to be screwed into it.
So, since I explained what these 2×4's are for it was time to put them to use. We placed the handles in a place I felt would be helpful in carrying the tray but allowing space for a laptop and a pad of paper. And possibly a late night snack… maybe.
The legs were selected with the length so that I could shimmy my legs under it, but it would be comfortable to type on my laptop on it. That height was 8 inches. Que the awkward moment when I sat on the floor in the home improvement store with a mock tray height. But it got the job done, we found the perfect height. And got a few weird glances at the same time. Hey, nothing going on here. Just using galvanized pipes for a DIY computer tray, normal home improvement store stuff. Ignore me on the floor and my kids singing loudly along to the music at the store. As you were.
I thought it was done after this, then while showering. Getting the paint and grime off of me and ready for my photo shoot to Vana White it up with this tray I had an idea to wrap twine around the handles. As most people do in the shower. I got out, hurriedly dressed because I was worried the twine I was going to use would disappear from the cabinet in our kitchen. Like it was going somewhere or something. You know it is a good idea when you are rushing to get it done before the option falls away from you or something. It has to be done NOW! I wanted to add twine to the handle, circling it around the handle for some added detail.
And yes, before you ask that is bananas in the background. For some reason, this portion of the project happened on the kitchen counter. No idea why. The tray was brought in from the garage and set here. This is a DIY house and ANY surface will be used. I wove the twine around the interior portions of the handle then used a hot glue gun to connect the ends to the pipe.
This is what the handle looked like without the twine. I liked how it seemed to soften up the industrial tray a little bit more with the twine. I now need more twine because I used almost all of my remaining twine. But it was well worth it.
And then, I was really done. I am so excited. It turned out so much prettier than I was thinking.
So happy I took that shower and did some deep thinking. I love the last minute addition of the twine. The shower, where twine thinking gets done.
All ready for work, and yes I will always have a vase of flowers on the tray if you are wondering.
Imagine instead of a laptop your man is carrying a wonderful and delicious breakfast to you one Saturday morning. Yes, this tray can be used for that too. I am sure that scenario is a common occurrence in your home… right?
This can also be used as a tray for kids to use. If one is working at the desk or the art table taking up the remaining space and they can pop this bad boy up on the bench to use. They loved it and were super eager to give it a try. And yes it is already broken in with a red mark from the lovely marker Gavin used for this photo op.
And now for an overload of detail pictures…
I have been currently typing away on my laptop while on the couch using this DIY computer tray. It works wonderfully. We had a long day or DIYing, I was not looking to sit at a desk and make this post. So I cozied up with a blanket and Teddy at my feet, that was the way to go tonight.
I hope you found this DIY computer tray tutorial helpful. I was inspired to do this by some DIY computer trays I saw online and made something that worked for me from all of the inspiration I saw. I hope you do the same if you see something you like to do it! If it turned out bad, scrap the wood, have a bonfire with it. Roast some marshmallows with the bonfire and laugh about that one time you made that thing and it turned out horribly. Or you do it amazingly and love the outcome. Give it a try!