Skip to Content

How to Make a Fold-Away Desk

Do you need a small area to work on your laptop, but don’t have the room for a large desk? This fold-away desk will allow you to have a small office anywhere in your home.

A fold up desk is an easy and fun project to design with your own personal style!

Benefits of Fold-Away Desk

I didn’t have the extra space in my home for an office, so I started thinking of where I could add a small desk.

My master bedroom has a decent size walk-in closet, so I figured that would be the perfect place to a fold-away desk in my closet.

Since I mounted this folding desk in my closet, you would call this a office area a, “cloffice”.

Working in my cloffice is actually quite nice because it’s quiet and it is the only place that I can work uninterrupted on a weekend.

I have 2 boys running around, so my cloffice is a nice little escape if I need to get a couple of things done.

fold-away desk

Fold-Away Desk Tips

Before build your desk, you should figure out where you want to mount it in your home.

If you can find a spot near a window or a place with a door that would be best.

Since I am only using my desk for a couple of hours at a time, turning my closet into a cloffice was the best option for me.

So, if you are only planning to sit at this desk for a couple of hours then a cloffice could work for you too.

Now that you figured where to hang your shelf desk, you can mount the folding shelf brackets.

The folding desk is best suited for a laptop, as the folding shelf bracket only support a max of 130lbs.

A max weight of 130lbs is plenty of support for holding laptop and resting your wrists on the the desk.

floating desk

Designing Your Folding Desk

I recommend using a good quality 1-2 inch piece of wood as the top of this folding shelf desk.

Depending on the area or size of your desk, it can appear as a floating desk or a shelf desk.

If you don’t intend on folding the desk back down very often, you can stage the desk to look like a decorative shelf.

Instead of buying new wood for this project, I used a large sized cutting board that I had on hand.

My cutting board was in decent shape, but I didn’t have a need for it as I had 9 other cutting boards.

I have no idea how I ended up with so many cutting boards.

So, I figured turning it into a folding desk would be a good way to repurpose one of them.


The cutting board that I was using measured 20 inches long and 13.5 inches wide.

Before using this cutting board, I rested my laptop on the top surface to make sure it fit.

Fold-Away Desk Brackets

The folding desk brackets that I used support a max of 130lbs, so they are very durable.

I recommend mounting the folding shelf brackets on 2 studs if possible because this will give you even more support.

These brackets easily fold up and down with the touch of a button, so you can easily pop-up your office anywhere.

The instructions included in this bracket kit were easy to understand and the brackets were good quality.

Staining the Fold-Away Desk

To turn my cutting board into a shelf desk, I lightly sanded the entire thing then wiped it clean.

Then I gave the cutting board a white wash, so the wood will still show through.

You could buy white wash stain or easily make your own white wash from scrap paint.

To make white wash you will need any type of paint, water, a plastic cup, and spoon.

Slowly mix water into the paint until you have a milk consistency.

After brushing on the white wash, I immediately wiped the paint off then let it dry for several hours.

I applied one coat of white wash then I let the desk dry before adhering contact paper to the top.

shelf desk

How to Adhere Contact Paper

After the paint or stain has completely dried on your desk shelf, you can start adhering contact paper.

Working with contact paper is actually easier than you might think because the paper is very forgiving.

Contact paper does not bubble as much as I expected and you can lift the paper to reposition it.

The best way to work with contact paper is to cut it to size with good quality scissors or a paper cutter.

Once you have it cut to size, peel up one corner of the contact paper.

Then press a small section of the paper down on the corner of your desk.

Slowly peeling more of the backing from the contact paper, while smoothing the paper down.

Continue to do this until you have completely cover you shelf desk with the contact paper

desk shelf

If you have bubbles, gently lift the contact paper to try to smooth it out or use a credit card.

Using a credit card and gently pressure, rub the bubbled area to even out the paper.

Where to Buy Contact Paper

You can find good quality contact paper on Etsy with custom patterns. The contact paper on Etsy is handmade and very easy to work with.

Here is the Etsy shop where I purchased the contact paper for this shelf desk project.

I was recently shopping in Target and found a good selection of peel and stick wallpaper.

peel and stick wallpaper target

Peel and stick wallpaper can also be used in the same way as contact paper. Target has really cute and trendy contact paper designs at an affordable price.

These other small desk ideas, might inspire your design for your fold-away desk.


Have fun with your fold-away desk design because this is a space that you won’t use all the time.

Get creative with items that you already have on hand, so you don’t have to spend money on this project.

AMAZON AFFILIATE is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This can include installing cookies. By using this website, you agree to  our terms of service.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.