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Portable Desk


This little office-on-the-go starts with a store-bought wooden artist's supply box outfitted with a slightly larger board for a desktop and painted white. Small and light enough for kids to carry, it can be taken on vacation or toted outdoors on a warm afternoon.


  • 1/4-inch-thick stiff fiberboard or plywood
  • Art box
  • Sanding paper
  • Wood glue
  • 1/4- or 3/8-inch screws
  • Lattice strip
  • Clamp
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Mini storage containers
  • Adhesive-backed Velcro disks


  1. Step 1

    Cut a piece of 1/4-inch-thick stiff fiberboard or plywood to be 4 inches wider and 2 inches deeper than a store-bought art box. Sand edges.

  2. Step 2

    Use wood glue to attach the board to the top of the box; position so top lies flush against the back of the box. Reinforce with four 1/4- or 3/8-inch screws (below), attached from the inside of the box lid at each corner (above; screws should be short so their tips do not damage the desk surface).

  3. Step 3

    Cut a 1/2-inch-wide lattice strip as long as the desktop's width, and glue it to the top of the overhanging edge; clamp until dry.

  4. Step 4

    Prime and paint the desk, inside and out. Arrange plastic, semi-transparent storage containers along the inside edges of the box as desired, leaving plenty of room for papers and notebooks.

  5. Step 5

    Apply adhesive-backed Velcro disks (available at art-supply and sewing stores) to the underside of the containers and the inside of the desk, positioning carefully so there is enough room for lids to open.

Martha Stewart Kids, Volume 5 2002

Reviews (11)

  • 16 Sep, 2010

    Can you clarify the use of the lattice strip - whaat it is used for in the desk??

  • 31 Aug, 2010

    What a cool idea..... made one for my grand daughter.... She will love it! ;o)

  • 31 Aug, 2010

    What a cool idea..... made one for my grand daughter.... She will love it! ;o)

  • 31 Aug, 2010

    It is a laptop (your lap) portable desk. The article does not mention a computer (laptop)desk. It is designed to have a handy writing area available: Hope this helps

  • 31 Aug, 2010

    How would i give my laptop ventilation so as not to overheat?

  • 31 Aug, 2010

    I wish they had better pictures of this. I love the idea but it seems like it would be heavy to cart around, especially the way my daughter would fill it.

  • 31 Aug, 2010

    The lattice strip will act like a stop so things do not slide of the desk top.

  • 31 Aug, 2010

    What is the lattice strip for?

  • 31 Aug, 2010

    ....or someone confined to bed or with trouble sitting at a desk.

  • 7 May, 2009

    This is a really good idea, even for a grownup like me :O)

  • 28 May, 2008

    the girl looks so happy