Combination Stationery Case Lap Desk

A few years ago I made some stationery cases out of cherry. I wanted something that would hold paper & envelopes, and be sturdy enough to write on and durable enough for travel. I made one in monarch size, and one in letter size. The letter one was the last, so it’s a bit more refined.

I used an elastic band to hold them shut, but I’m thinking of figuring out something that’s a little more elegant.


The top panel is set a little below the side so that sheets won’t slide off, and is stiff enough to write on.


The space below is enough for maybe 40 sheets, depending on the weight of the paper. I usually carry a few sheets of monarch and the rest in letter.


A thumb hole in the top of the divider panel makes it easy to get to the envelope compartment below.


There is a small compartment at the end to store cartridges, but really it’s there because the envelopes aren’t as long as a sheet of paper 😉

The elastic band does a nice job of holding sheets while they’re being written on. I’ve taken this on trips, and used it while sitting on a plane. It’s a bit bulky, but it holds far more paper than a portfolio and provides much more protection.

I’m considering making a few more and offering them on Ebay, so if you’re interested let me know!

[UPDATE: you can now buy one of these cases here.]

14 thoughts on “Combination Stationery Case Lap Desk

  1. Hello,

    I have been searching online and locally for a Stationery Lap Desk that has a hinged lid. The best was a replica of President Thomas Jefferson’s that inclined from 2 inches up to 6 inches, made of special wood but costing $350!

    Then I saw kids’ lap desks with no compartment inside.

    So, your box looks very nice indeed but I am wondering if you could incline it and add cushioning (like upholstered pillows; grey or navy is fine) underneath so we shut-ins can use it more comfortably at home?

    Also, how much are you charging for the above box and I do not do E-Bay. By prepaid charge card.

    I like how you have the envelopes’ divider and the pen slots, also.


  2. P.S. I really liked the bungee-type straps on it, also. It was ingenious to be able to use them to hold stationery as well as close the box. Appreciated your lowering lid so there is a “lip” to prevent paper from sliding off.

    Where does one get cherry wood? Distinguished looking box.


  3. Hi Dorothy – The original problem I was trying to solve was carrying stationery in a very protected way in a briefcase. So I wanted light, small, and just enough lap desk to jot a letter or two.

    The box as shown would be approximately $85 plus shipping. More for rarer or more difficult wood. Cherry comes from cherry trees 😎 I have a local wood supplier that carries a huge number of species, but cherry is grown in a lot of places in the US.

    A cushion could be added, at extra cost.

    An inclined design is really a different design. I need to think about that one. I’m guessing what made the Jefferson replica so expensive is the drawer(s), and the hinged double-fold lid. The Jefferson lap desk is a very impressive piece.


    1. A Jefferson Lap Desk-like model can be purchased for around $125 through Amazon and other online retailers, but it’s far more elaborate than yours here. Yours is simplicity and function and beautiful, so around $85 isn’t asking too much, I would suppose.


      1. Sorry, just thought of something else too. I have a “Traveller’s Desk” which is quite big and bulky, so it’s good for home and short trips, but not something I would pack along for a trip like I might with your offering.


  4. Thanks, Steve…I’m just finding this on your page, 8.7.11. Actually, regarding the incline, all I need is a block of wood at the top end to elevate it. Maybe we can figure out some type of attachment that would be in keeping with your idea of slim fit in a briefcase, i.e., take the width of wood (two inches wide) out and snap it onto the bottom later?

    Also, do you make it in a cheaper wood to accommodate these changes for elevating it plus adding a cushion…wait, THAT’s the secret…Elevate that end of the cushion?


  5. P.S. Looking at your top photo again, it occurred to me that all we need is a graduated piece of fabric-covered foam…thicker at the top so the whole stationery desk is “inclined.” The cushion helps us as shut-ins so it does not “cut into” the leg and the incline is necessary to be able to write at a comfortable angle. Sitting up in bed is quite different from sitting down at a desk with things flat.

    Look inside a soft laptop briefcase…see that thick rubbery/fabric wedge they use to cushion the laptop? It is too wide but you get the idea.


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