A few months back I spotted an adorable anthropologie Chaklboard Laptop. I thought that would be a semi-easy knock-off project!! I asked the hubby for some help putting it together. I’m glad he was up for the project (have I mentioned before that he is my BEST-EST helper?!)
With a little team work and some awesome tools, we were able to whip it up in no time. I was so happy because I was really hoping to make one of the kids’ gifts this year. The best part of all was it cost under $20 to make – a huge difference from the $68 a piece anthro was wanting!!
Here is what it ended up looking like:
It’s so fun, and I know the kiddos will love it. I may have showed Lily it a bit early so she could draw a cute picture on it. I didn’t tell her what to draw, but LOVE her sweet pic.
Here is what you’ll need if you want to make this too:
- 7/16” finished plywood (We used plywood, but you could use any type of solid
- 1 ½” hinges x 2
- 3/8” screws for the hinges
- Chalk vinyl
- ½” Strong magnet
- ½” metal disc
- Paint or clear coat
- Router with a square end bit and roundover bits
- razor blade
1. Cut the plywood into two 12”x 9” boards. I used plywood, because I like the striations and wood patterns of the different layers. A high quality pine board would have worked just fine, and may have been easier since it does not splinter with the router as much. You can cut the boards with whichever saw you prefer. I’ve recently started using the Rockwell VersaCut for simple projects like this. It is easy to be accurate with it because of the laser sight, and how easy it is to handle, since it is so small and compact. It had more than enough power to cut through these panels.
2. Using a 3/8” roundover router bit, I rounded the four corners, and then routed all four edges of on of the faces of each board. These rounded faces will make up the outside of the laptop. I was wondering how I would stabilize the wood, but I had recently started using Rockwell tool’s Jawhorse vise. This made the job so much easier! I don’t have room for a big workbench and vice, but this can stabilize objects so big that it completely replaced the workbench for this project.
3. Not only does it hold objects bigger than 3’, but it is completely hands free, so I can finely position objects in the clamp, while I am tightening down. It helped so much that I just had to throw that in!
4. Using a 1/8” roundover, I cut a 1 ½” groove into the still flat side (the inside of the laptop). This will help opening the laptop.
5. The next step was to create the tray for the chalk. I did this be using a ½” straight router bit. To do this cut into the middle of the board. I had to carefully use a plunging cut method. Some routers are able to do a plunge cut easily, with others,like mine, this must be done carefully and manually.
*NOTE – Whenever routing a desired shape, you will achieve better results by creating guides to determine the shape. This is done by measuring the distance from the outermost edge of the bit to the edge of the base of your router. Mine was 3”. I then set boards 3” away from the edge of my drawn chalk tray. After clamping these guide boards down, the job was easy.
6. My tray was 3 7/8” x 2 1/4” and was centered left to right and I started it ½” from the edge of the board.
7. The next step is to create recesses for the hinges on the inside faces of the laptop. To find the location of the hinges, I placed the boards back to back with some paper in between them to create a slight gap for clearance as the boards rotate on each other. The hinge was the placed in the desired position with the joint centered evenly over the gap. This will ensure that the hinge is in line with the boards and centered. I then traced the edge of the hinge as well as the marks for the holes.
I cut out the outlined area using a straight router bit set to a depth of 3/323”. Since the router bit leaves rounded corners, the corners were removed using a razor blade.
8. In order to keep the laptop from falling open, we created a magnetic catch to keep it closed. We found 1/2 “ powerful magnets, and I made a 1/2 “ disk by removing the head from an oversized nail (found at any hardware store). These were inserted into the wood by drilling a ½” hole the depth of the magnet and disk. These were then glued in using wood glue. We covered the top magnet with the chalk vinyl.
9. If you are painting the wood a solid color, this can be done now. If you are simply adding a clear coat, you need to apply the chalk vinyl first. Cut and place the chalk vinyl, but leave the mask on so no clear coat gets on the vinyl.
Spray several layers of your preferred type of clear coat. We used satin finish polyurethane.
10. To install the hinges, the standard screws are too long. One alternative is to purchase 3/8” screws, or we simply ground the screws that came with the hinge shorter. Pre-drill the holes to the appropriate depth (masking tape on the drill bit can act as a depth guide IMG_6096). Assemble the hinges and you are done!
I really hope the kiddos love it!
It would make for a great gift idea too.
For more Handmade Gift Ideas be sure to check out: