Hey there!  I am kind of feeling “on top of things” right now because it is not even December and I already have a few things crossed off of my Christmas list.  One of those being our Teacher gifts this year!  I usually wait until the last minute and throw something together but this year I had an idea for a DIY gift that I was so excited to start!  I love that it is so versatile and would make a great gift for a child, teacher, in-laws, anyone!

No Sew DIY Lap Desk

I made these personalized lap desks for $10 each and about an afternoon of workSmile  Notice it is NO SEW…. Hot glue is all you will need for this baby!

Here’s how you can make your own:


Purchase Foam board from Hobby Lobby.  This is about 18”x30” and will make 2 lap desks.  I purchased at 30% off for under $1.50Thumbs up

poly foam

Also purchase Poly Foam ~ 3”x15”x17” from Hobby Lobby (30% off also at about $5).  You will need one of these per lap desk.

how to cut foam board

Mark a line on the foam board measuring a 14”x16” piece and cut using box cutters.  You will need to use quite a bit of force when cutting and cut slow.  You will probably need to repeat until you are all the way through the back of the foam board.  This will ensure a smooth clean cutSmile

mark for cut

Now, lay the foam board on the foam cushion and trace around the foam board (you want these to be the same size) and cut with a large kitchen knife.  Use the same technique as you did with the foam board for a nice clean cut!

hot glue foam board to foam

Spread hot glue on one side of the foam board and attach the foam cushion.

burlap and foam

I chose to wrap the cushion with burlap and purchased 1 yard (1 yard will make two lap desks).  I cut the burlap at 24”x26” and placed the foam/foam board on top of it with the foam board side facing UP.

hot glue gun

Using a hot glue gun, start wrapping the burlap around the foam like a present, securing with glue as you go.

wrapping a present

I chose the shorter sized to have the folds.

folding a gift

folding the burlap

Wrapping doneSmile

burlap cover

Wrapped and flipped over.


Now for the beautiful top!

I wanted a beautiful stained top for the lap desks so of course, I turned to Purebond plywood.

You can purchase the Purebond two ways, depending on how many lap desks you are making:

1) I purchased a 3/4” 4’x8’ sheet of birch at Home Depot.  One sheet will make 15 lap desks… or give you a lot of scraps for later projectsWinking smile (cost for the sheet is $42 making the cost for the “top” $3 each)

2) You can special order a 2’x4’ panel and have it delivered to your local Home Depot HERE.  One sheet will make 3 lap desks. (cost for the sheet is $15.75 making the cost for the “top” about $5 each)

Either way you choose to purchase, you can have the nice guys at Home Depot rip the panels into 14.5” boards.  I take it home at that point and cut to size but if you do not have a saw, you can have the guys actually cut the tops completely.  ***Tell them to make the cuts 14.5” x 17.5”***

We love Purebond for so many reasons and here are just a few:

~ It uses Formaldehyde-free glue (scary to think we have been breathing in harmful chemicals until now)

~ It’s made in AMERICA… Whoop!!!

~ It’s made with wood from sustainable forests

~ It’s extremely easy to work with

~It is available at any Home Depot ~ Birch and oak are in stock and you can also order hickory, maple,  you name it and have it delivered to your store… Love that!

~Biggest selling point for us… It’s BEAUTIFUL! You get the look of real hard wood for a fraction of the costSmile

Whitney and I sharing why we have taken the Purebond PledgeSmile

how to cut wood

If you are cutting at home, it helps to put a piece of painters tape over your cut line to prevent the wood from splintering on the end.  It makes for a really nice clean edgeWinking smile  Cut at 17.5” making your tops 14.5”x17.5”.

Now because we want the top to look like a beautiful piece of solid wood, we have to use edge banding to cover up the plywood edges.


You can purchase a roll at Home Depot.  You will find it near the Purebond panels.


It is SOOOO easy to apply.  Just iron on all 4 edges and cut to size by scoring with box cutters!

Now for the finish!

Rust-Oleum Early American

I am so in love with the Early American stain by Rust-Oleum so I chose this color to stain the Purebond tops!  I used a foam brush to apply 1 coat on the top and sides.



You will definitely need to seal this and I chose Ultimate Polyurethane by Rust-Oleum to protect the finish.  I applied 1 coat with a bristle brush.

Now to personalizeSmile


I used my silhouette to cut an “L” stencil (initial of name).  You can find so many great stencils at your local craft store if you do not have a silhouette!

how to stencil

I chose a cream colored latex paint that I already had on hand to dry brush the monogram.  To dry brush, blot your paint brush until it is almost dry and blot all over the stencil.


I like the roughed-up look it gives the paint.

Gorilla Glue Epoxy

To attach the top to our lap desk, I applied a generous amount of Gorilla Glue Epoxy along the outer edges and the center of the foam board side of the lap desk.

clean corner

That’s it!  I love that you can personalize this any way you choose!  It would make a great gift for kids, teachers, in-laws, you name it.  It’s so versatile, inexpensive and thoughtful!  I think I need one for myselfWinking smile

DIY Lap Desk

DIY Teachers Gift

DIY Christmas Gift

Lap Desk

Thanks so much for stopping by!


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  1. Hi! Did you put the polyurethane on before or after you personalized it with the “L” or did you do both..? Thanks!

      1. Thank you!! Also, what is the name of the cream colored paint color? I want to get the same shade 🙂

  2. I wanted to thank you guys for this project! I made 12 of these for my nieces and nephews and some of my kids’ friends. I bought foam by the yard at Joann Fabrics and used fleece instead of burlap. I used 2″ foam wrapped in a layer of batting. I made them 14×16 and painted each top to match the fleece used for each one. I stenciled their names on top and hand painted each name, then painted with 3 coats of polycrylic. I spent about $100 and made 12! All the kids loved them! Thanks again for a great Christmas present!

  3. I’m a rookie when it comes to wood projects… so this may be a silly question, but could you make it with rounded corners?

  4. Awesome! Great for any age! Did you stain the edging? I’m guessing so, since it looks perfectly matched. Thank you again!

  5. This is a lovely idea. The best way to cut poly foam is with a serrated bread knife. An electric one is even better, that’s how it’s cut at the fabric store.

  6. Another hit! I love giving hand-made, personalized gifts since everyone in my family is a gift-card-giver. Simple projects like this are sure to impress. Thanks for always sharing such fantastic ideas!

  7. This is absolutely gorgeous! Great job, Ashley! Luckily for me, Home Depot is right down the street from my office. I guess I know where I’m going on my lunch break. Thanks for sharing 🙂