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Building a do-it-yourself desk is not as difficult as it may seem. Sure, there are many options on the market but finding a desk that meets your needs, wants, style and budget could undoubtedly be a challenge. In this post, I’ll show you how possible it is to achieve such a thing. You can take the steps I’ve used and create your own.
This minimalist desk offers more than just style. It’s packed with functionality and it’s space-friendly. This is a 2-tone desk with a dark stained back panel and an all-white floating desk. Although it’s wall-mounted, it’s relatively easy to disassemble and take to a new location. The back is wrapped with an RGB LED strip fully changeable to set the mood. The desk itself gives you a friendly workspace to be productive with a drawer for all your belongings and keeping a clean desk. There is also an open cubby to store your laptop, notepad, IPad, or whatever else you want. That is not just any cubby, if you take a closer look, there’s a secret compartment behind that false back. Access it you need to pull on the handle and false back gives away. Now you can tuck those things you don’t want others to find in there.
(2) Sheet of Birch plywood 48in X 96in
1/4” or 1/5” plywood 24in X24in
Note: The goal here is to make this very achievable. Of course, you know I have an array of tools, but I’ll scale it back a bit to show you that you can do this with very few tools. So, when I say you can use a circular saw for this, and you see me using my table saw, this is proof that you can use that circular saw.
Step 1. How to cut the plywood
- When it comes to cutting the lumber, there are many options available to do so. Though you can get some things cut at a box store, they will not cut all the parts for you more than likely. I understand not everyone has a garage or shop filled with tools. That said, check out the video to see how I made most of the cuts for this project using a circular saw.
Step 2. How to apply edge banding
- I used edge band to cover up the layers of the plywood. You only need to do this on three sides, the two sides and the top. This is an iron-on edge band, so all you need is an iron to adhere to this.
- Next, you’ll need this edge band trim tool to remove the excess hangover. This tool does a great job of cutting both sides at once. However, you can’t be too aggressive while pushing the device because it could cause damage to the edge band. So carefully take your time as you go.
One of the things that will make this desk stand out is by adding LEDs on the back panel. Obviously, you don’t want to see the LED strip, but you want the glow from the LED. So, adding a framing on the back panel serves a few purposes. It’s a resting area for the LED to wrap around. It also gives depth, so the recessed outlet’s power cable doesn’t interfere, and it allowed me to use a French cleat system for a robust mounting option.
- I screwed the strips into the plywood and added wood glue. One thing to keep an eye on is the large gap at the bottom. This is to ensure the back panel doesn’t interfere with any baseboard. If you are looking to build this depending on your baseboard’s size, you can adjust the back panel.
- I added a piece of plywood pinned to the top of the frame first, then secured that down. Next, I attached the French cleat “the plywood with the miter in” I made sure the mitered side faces down. The French cleat has to go in a specific direction to work. I don’t recommend gluing this part. If it’s mounted wrong, you can always unscrew it and reattach it.
- Now, I add additional support below, behind the location of the desk. This will sure up the mounting surface. It is allowing the suspended desk to be anchored firmly.
Step 3. How to build a simple drawer
- I built the drawer first before making the desk. I can fine-tune and adjust the desk as I have the drawer complete.
- Since I built this project with limited tools, I’ll use the circular saw to create a rabbit joint. Of course, if you have the tools, you can use a table saw or router to do the same thing.
- First, line up the box in the direction you want the parts to be in, then mark a line where the plywood intersects with each other.
- Now I’ll connect the two pieces because I want to be efficient with these cuts. I use a speed square to act as a guide. This way, I can run to saw along with that. I’ll make the first pass on the line I drew. Then I’ll carefully use the saw to remove materials as I go towards the plywood end. The depth of the saw blade is set to 1/4in.
- Now I use a chisel to remove the parts that remain. Clean that up and use a square to double-check the wood that will sit in this joint will be squared. Make adjustments as needed.
- Now we need to repeat this but in a different direction. Instead of just two of the panels, we need to cut this in all four panels. Line up the box and mark the inside for the drawer bottom. I used the plow itself to set the thickness of the line.
- Clamp the board down and remove the material so the drawer bottom can sit. As with the previous joint, I use a chisel to clean it up. Sand the parts if you have to ensure they fit.
- After doing a dry fit, and it all looks good, wood glue is applied to the joint. Cut the plywood to fit in the drawer bottom.
- Next, I’ll use a band clamp and tighten it to the drawer frame. You can use any clamps for this. Just use a speed square to double-check the parts are squared as you’re tightening. Next, apply wood glue in the bottom joint, then place the bottom of the drawer.
- Using a measuring tape, measure diagonally to see if you have the exact measurement from corner to corner. If the number is identical, this means you have a square box.
- Finally, place weight on top of it, let this sit to the side, and give it enough time for the glue to set up.
Step 4. Building the wall desk frame
- To build the desk, I need to layout the sides and the back first.
- Then I’ll apply wood glue along the top of the side panels and place the top on.
- Use a countersink bit, to drill down into the plywood, make sure the screw head is low enough to accept a dowel rod later to cover up the head of the screw. I used a 3/8” dowel here. Drive the screw through the top and into the sides. Repeat this until you install all the screws.
- At this moment, you should have the top with both sides and back on. To shift my focus over to the drawer. I’ll install one of the tracks first, then reference everything off of that, including the inside panel. Then I place a quarter-inch sheet of plywood down place the drawer inside with the bottom facing up. Now secure the tracks to the drawer.
- The drawer is fully functional and the drawer cover can be installed within the opening.
- Instead of adding two drawers, one side was left open. With this being as deep as it is, it was an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the depth. Putting a false back creating a secret compartment is a nice touch. You can use this compartment for a number of things hiding your belongings, or you can also use this as a cable management solution to store excessive cables you may have on your desk.
- With such tight spacing going around the drawer and also the false backing, you need a way to pull to open them. I was able to find these small finger pulls minimal and, in some cases, discreet.
- I used a chisel to embed the handle into the drawer cover and the false back. With the finger pulls added, Both the drawer and the back panel is now functional.
Step 5. How to attach the desk to the back panel
- To attach the desk to the back panel, I will be using bolts and T-nuts.
- To keep the cleanest look, I need to hide the mounting hardware.
- This is where you will decide if you want to center the desk up to the back panel or offset. I lined the desk up with the top being approx 28 to 30 inches from the bottom or the floor.
- In this case, I’ll be shifting it over to the right of the back panel. Now mark the four locations on the back of the desk. Make two marks, 1in from the top and 1in from the bottom of the end at each site.
- Next, I’ll drill a 3/8’’hole through the back of the desk, 8 holes total.
Now, I’ll place the desk back in the position I prefer. Then take the same bit that I used to drill the holes and use it to mark the back panel. Doing this will ensure the holes will align up perfectly.
Now I’ll drill holes all the way through and insert T nuts on the backside of the panel.
Step 6. Installing the recessed outlet
- While the outlet is not necessary, I think it’s added convenience, and it helps with the minimal look.
- You may want the outlet in a different location, which is fine. After committing to that location, you want to outline a whole to be cut. You can cut this hole with a jigsaw or, in this case, an oscillating tool.
Step 7. Sanding the plywood parts
- Before applying a finish, a decent amount of prep work is needed.
- Plugged the screw holes in the top of the desk using wood glue and a dowel rod. Then use a flush-cut saw to cut the dowel. Bondo can fill the screw holes and gaps as well.
- Sand everything down with 120 grit first, then finish it off with 220 grit. Next, use a pencil to circle all of the imperfections to be addressed. Using a light will help when it comes to seeing defects in the parts.
- The desk will be painted, so I’ll use Bondo 2 to cover the imperfections and filling in the end grains to hide the plywood layers.
Step 8. Applying a Finish
- I thought a two-tone look would be more appealing. In the end, the color is based on preference;
- The back panel is stained, and a desk is painted with a high-gloss white.
- Let these sit for a few days, then a topcoat can be applied to the stain.
Step 9. How to install the LED strip
- Once ready, place the back panel facing down.
- Now install the LED strip going around the frame. Start from one of the bottom corners and work your way around to the other bottom corner.
- I do think hot glue is a great back up to the adhesive backing on the strip. All you need a small amount.
- The LED connector needs to end up inside the frame, so you will need to drill a hole through the bottom. Next, connect the end of the LED strip to the controller and strap it down if needed.
- If you don’t have straps, consider dabbing a bit of hot glue on the controller as well.
- Now install the hardware for a secret compartment, the drawer slide, the drawer, and the outlet.
Step 10. Mount to the wall
- Preferably, you will want to pick a location that has an outlet. This would give the cleanest look.
- Next, use a stud finder to find the studs. Two to three should be good enough.
- Now, attached the piece with the miter edge facing up and out. Countersink the heads of the mounting screws 2 to 2.5in screws should work here. The back panel will hang off this; make sure it’s the right height.
- I added a piece of plywood on the wall to drive a security screw through the desk and lock it. This will prevent the desk from coming off the french cleat.
- Now, mount the desk to the back panel using the hex bolt and the washers.
- Set the bottom off to the side until the entire thing is mounted to the wall and set up correctly. This way, if you need to loosen the hex Bolt to level the desk, you have access.
- Now plug in the outlet cord and the LED power cord. Finally, hang the desk and secure it.
Now at this point, the desk should be fully mounted to the wall and leveled.
Add the bottom by securing the screws from below.
I would not recommend trying this at home, but this desk is proven to be strong enough to lean on.
If you’re looking to add a stylish workspace to your home, whether in a kid room, a hallway, or an office bedroom, this is a great option. Working at home is an arduous task with all the known distractions, so it’s essential to have a space dedicated to being productive. The more desk area you have chances are you will fill it out with things that do not belong there. If you need more space than these, chances are you need an office. Thanks for checking out this post hope you find it helpful to watch the video if you haven’t already to get more detail on this build.