DIY Projects Lifestyle

DIY Laptop Stand from a Butcher Block Cutting Board

May 13, 2020

Working remotely for the firm I’m with has introduced a few ergonomic challenges in my ‘working from home’ office space. I bet many of you can relate. Don’t get me wrong, I’m used to WFH and spending time at my desk, but Holy Hannah these past six weeks have been hard! So that’s why I picked an easy DIY for this month’s Thrifty Chicks challenge. See how I turned a butcher block cutting board into a laptop stand for my home office, and find out why.

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A DIY laptop stand made from a butcher block cutting board helps position the computer screen slightly higher for better ergonomics and less neck strain.

What a treat to be back with the Thrifty Chicks for another DIY makeover challenge. Each month we take on a new repurposing project based on a different theme, and this month we are turning cutting boards into new things. We hope you will be inspired by what you see! At the end of this post I will share links to all of our projects so you can stop by and take a peek.

Thrifty Chicks DIY projects based on a common theme.

Butcher Block Cutting Board Laptop Stand

Sacrificing a cutting board from our stash in the kitchen was an easy first step in this challenge. We have lots of different cutting boards in our household collection but as is so often the case, we stick to using just a few of our faves.

A square butcher block cutting board with chrome handles on either side is shown with little four inch tapered legs that will be attached to make a laptop table. Everything will be stained in a teak colour.

Normally I would thrift my way to finding the challenge’s theme piece, but these days our thrifts are closed. When you think about it, to repurpose a cutting board I already own and hardly use makes sense anyway.

Designing a Tabletop Stand for Your Laptop

When working remotely kicked in so quickly and unexpectedly, I had to mesh my office job and home office into one. This meant placing two laptop computers, a screen and a stand-alone keyboard onto my desk. I also needed to raise both laptops so I could position the screens for proper viewing. I only have one stand, so quickly improvised another by using a cardboard box.

A laptop is raised to a proper viewing position by being placed on top of a cardboard box that is five inches high, and a stand alone keyboard sits on the desk in front.

It’s incredible how much strain we put on our neck and shoulders when we’re fudging the position of our screen, and especially when we’re working for hours on end at a desk.

To kick-start some ideas for this challenge I popped onto Pinterest and discovered some really neat designs for adjustable laptop trays. I’ve pinned this one for another day, because for now a flat surface for my laptop to lift my screen 5 inches higher is all I needed.

My butcher block cutting board is 1 inch thick, so that reduced the height needed for the legs to 4 inches. I had a few different ideas for constructing the legs and/or a base, but when I saw these little 4″ taper legs at Lowe’s, I decided to take the leap.

A square butcher block cutting board with chrome handles on either side is shown with little four inch tapered legs that will be attached to make a laptop table. Everything will be stained in a teak colour.

If we were in another time I would have scoured Re-Store and the thrifts for second-hand legs or maybe moulding I could adapt to fit. In the end I kept this project super simple because 4 inches isn’t much to get fancy with with.

My desk is a vintage Mid-Century Modern teak piece. Because the laptop table is a small, functional piece I wanted to keep the teak colour going. I wanted the table to blend with the desk rather than stand out. My go-to stain colour when I’m trying to create a teak match has always been the Minwax Gunstock option below.

A close up shot of a can of teak coloured stain called Gunstock by Minwax sits on a butcher block cutting board that will be repurposed into a laptop stand and stained in the teak colour.

I love a little industrial vibe mixed in with MCM, so I only gave the cutting board surface a light sanding to prep it for the stain. I really wanted to emphasize the cut marks and surface wear already in place. Since the chrome handles tip to a slightly modern edge I felt they would keep the overall look from feeling too rugged and rough.

The staining took a bit of time because I ended up diluting a darker brown stain and rubbing it on to take the red tone down a notch. When you’re working with different types of wood the stain will colour them differently, and that was definitely my challenge with this project. Once I got the colour match a little closer to that of the desk I left everything to dry overnight.

Fast forward to assembling the legs and my Mr. helped me by pre-drilling holes for the leg bolts. With this little piece we did not need to use screw plates. It’s always best to start off with a screw bit smaller than the bolt size and work your bit size up, re-drilling each hole until the bolt can be twisted in. This prevents making a hole that’s too big.

A close up shot of the threaded end of the tapered leg that will be attached to a butcher block cutting board and turned into a laptop stand.

Once the holes were the right fit, a dab of wood glue was applied to the top of each leg and then screwed into place. The glue was just extra insurance because the leg bolts were not very long. I let the glue cure for 24 hours and voila, my butcher block cutting board became a laptop stand overnight!

A butcher block cutting board with chrome handles is featured with four inch tapered legs stained in a teak colour.

Here’s a closer look at the cut marks and surface wear. It definitely looks a little worse for wear, but do you agree that the chrome handles give it a finished look?

The scratched up surface of a butcher block cutting board stained in teak red is highlighted for an industrial vibe.

The reason I didn’t get too caught up in the cuts and surface wear with the overall look is because I knew the laptop would be covering up most of what you see here.

What I was going for was a nod to the industrial vibe. I wanted to keep the laptop stand from being too matchy-matchy with the desk even though I used the teak colour to blend it in. I was hoping by highlighting the wear and tear and featuring the texture of the cuts, it would give the little stand a bit of definition. These marks were hard-earned after all and their roots are part of the story!

A laptop with closed lid sits on the butcher block cutting board that has been repurposed into a laptop stand with four inch feet.

For this post I cleared my desk of all the extra equipment and things that aren’t normally part of my home office. I thought the new stand deserved a reveal that looked put together and I wanted you to see that too.

In case you’re wondering, the painting was done by my friend and very talented artist, Julie King. I’ve had this piece for quite a few years now and have enjoyed featuring it in different spots in my home. I like this piece because it’s adaptable for just about any space.

Keeping a work space looking nice can be tough. Let’s face it, computers can be pretty bossy and they’re not exactly decor. I recommend picking some of your favourite things but keep them to a minimum. Leave yourself some space to work.

I’ve picked an oval vanity tray to hold a Reed & Barton enamel bowl filled with my business cards, and an English pewter mug for pencils. All these pieces are vintage favourites, and you might even recognize the pewter mug from last year’s Thrift the Look: Cottage challenge.

I’m sure you’ve read it a million times before, but if you use a tray (or a plate, a dish, a basket, or stack of books, etc.) to corral and present your smaller things you will achieve a more cohesive look.

Keep scale and height in mind as well. Julie’s painting helps anchor the vignette because of its proportions, and the black frame can hold its own next to the computer screen.

The flowers will be swapped out so there will be different vases and bouquets, and some days my water glass becomes my coffee mug so this side is always changing. This is also my mouse side and I try to keep things in this area easy to move.

My desk actually sits in front of a window and I love being able to look out. If there was a wall in front of me, this would be a great spot for more artwork instead.

In the end this is my work space and ergonomics have to be fed. Ideally I would love to place my laptop right on my desk, but that just invites tension in. This little cutting board makeover gives me exactly what I need and it sure beats using a cardboard box don’t you think?

Thrifty Chicks Project Links

I promised I would share links to all the other projects, and you will find these links below. If you are looking for some DIY inspiration you too can tackle at home, click the links and take a peek. See what each of these talented ladies have been working on, because you might just find your next project idea waiting for you.

Left Top to Bottom:

Right Top to Bottom:

Pinned & Shared at Audrey Would

How are you doing these days? Are you working remotely, or do you know someone who is? What are the ergonomic challenges in your home office space?

Thanks for stopping by. Iā€™m so glad you did.

Audrey Would Vintage Home blog

Photographs Ā© Audrey Would! Vintage Home unless otherwise indicated.

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  • Reply paulasweetpea May 25, 2021 at 11:57 am

    This is such a clever upcycle project! I’m sharing it on my Facebook page tomorrow.

  • Reply 36 Easy DIY Laptop Stand Ideas to Improve Your Workspace July 25, 2020 at 7:47 am

    […] Source: […]

  • Reply wildwood July 2, 2020 at 6:52 pm

    I never imagined that it can be use in that way, thanks for the tips. I’ll be using my unused boards for this.

    • Reply Sheila Zeller July 19, 2020 at 8:06 pm

      Your boards are so beautiful! What a great way to put the unused ones to use…thank you so much for your comment!

  • Reply Lora Bloomquist May 14, 2020 at 9:57 am

    Beautiful AND functional; best of both worlds. Now you’ve got me wondering if I need a little lift on my laptop. I love how all the cut marks give it character, and the silver and tapered legs harmonize beautifully with MCM! Fun project!

    • Reply Sheila Zeller May 16, 2020 at 9:41 pm

      Thank you Lora! When I was in the middle of staining it and trying to get the colour to coordinate I was really wondering if it was going to turn out. I’m really happy with it now, and it’s getting a ton of use already!

  • Reply Michelle May 13, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    This is such a wonderful idea! I have been looking for a way to prop up my laptop to work on because by the end of the day my neck and shoulders really bother me. I love this idea!

    • Reply Sheila Zeller May 16, 2020 at 9:46 pm

      Thank you so much Michelle! It really does make a difference, and with the amount of computer work I’m guessing you do for your blog I’m betting you would feel a change pretty quickly. I would love to see your version if you DIY your own! šŸ™‚

  • Reply Tuula @ Color Me Thrifty May 13, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    Your laptop stand turned out great! Love the look of the legs and handles. This stand could be used in so many other ways too,

    • Reply Sheila Zeller May 14, 2020 at 7:53 am

      Thank you Tuula! I can definitely see this little stand becoming a multipurpose piece. This challenge was so much fun!

  • Reply Our Hopeful Home May 13, 2020 at 10:23 am

    Your choice of legs was just perfect! And the wood really goes well with your desk. I never thought of doing this (I don’t use a separate keyboard) but you’re making me want to try! Love it! xo Kathleen

    • Reply Sheila Zeller May 14, 2020 at 7:43 am

      Thank you Kathleen. When I saw the legs it was that feeling of ‘meant to be’. I couldn’t believe my luck! I really like having a separate keyboard and mouse when I’m at my desk. If you can get a wireless keyboard, they make it so easy to get set up. Once you go down this road, it’s hard to turn back!

  • Reply littlevintagecottage May 13, 2020 at 5:16 am

    I love it, cut marks and all! The chrome on the cutting board handles and the adorable little legs you chose are perfect together! I’ve been working from home too… I may need to make myself a cutting board laptop stand!!


    • Reply Sheila Zeller May 14, 2020 at 7:40 am

      Thank you Tania! Isn’t working from home an adventure? It’s the little things that make a big difference at the end of the day. I bet you have some great pieces in your Etsy stash to choose from to make your own stand! šŸ˜‰

  • Reply Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces May 13, 2020 at 4:48 am

    This is wonderful, Sheila! It’s beautiful and functional. I know it must help you so much when you are working long hours! And I could see it could doing double duty as a raised serving pedestal for a buffet! A wonderful piece!

    • Reply Sheila Zeller May 14, 2020 at 7:36 am

      Thank you so much, Linda! I was quite excited for this challenge because I knew how much the laptop stand was needed for me in my everyday work. I’m happy with how it turned out. You are so right, what a great idea to use this little piece for a buffet. Love that!

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