October 16, 2008

DIY Craft Desk - Revisited

(Please forgive my poor tutorials- I've never been talented at teaching. But I will answer your questions if you have any!)

Hello! I've been getting consistent emails and comments on older posts about my DIY craft desk. I thought it would be helpful to put together one complete post with all the details, to help those who'd like to consider this project.

Costs & Materials:

2 of these Cubicle Storage units from Target $50 now, I spent $40.
1 sheet of MDF, 1" thick, about $25 at Home Depot
4 1x4" boards $2 each Home Depot
2 Table Legs (I actually used 2 railing things, cause I liked the shape of them) $2 each HD
White Primer and Paint
1"x1" board or any scrap board for joining the 2 sides.

Photos of the project:

BEFORE- $35 desk from Craigslist, sheet covered table.

Idea sketch of new desk design.

During assembly - I first put together the cube shelves and then attached them with 2 1x4" boards. This was to make it stable and not let the MDF top sag in the middle.
On the L side, I attached the legs and more 1x4s around the edges.

Painted and sealed - I attached the tops and then painted it and sealed with varnish.

It really didn't take much time at all, once I had it planned out and the parts purchased. Buying two $50 shelves from Target makes it about $150 total in price, so you can definitely find pre-made desks for that amount. However, they will not be nearly as large or with as much storage or as well-built (mostly will be the cheap laminate wood). Also, I absolutely loved the challenge of designing and building something this large all by myself, no help from my husband or anyone. It was completely worth the cost for that feeling of accomplishment!

Here are some links to other fabulous DIY craft desks as well:
Spring Chick's Ikea desk
Curbly's simple desk
Craft desk for four

Thanks to everyone who has left such nice compliments and asked questions. I hope this helps someone become inspired to build their own desks!!

Leave a comment!

UPDATED 12/01/09
Thank you all for your continued interest in my desk! It makes me so happy that so many people have taken this project and built their own. You all are amazing!
Here are a few more details that I have been asked about the desk:

The length of the pieces can all be custom, so it is really dependent on how big your space is. Mine is 6 feet long, and 38" wide. That is because the cube shelf is 36" wide, and I added 1" on both sides to cover the side boards. The side boards are 6 feet long also on the main desk.
A sheet of MDF comes in 8ft lengths, so the 2 ft that were cut off of the bottom to make my main table were used to make the side table, or "L".
So, a standard sized sheet of MDF is 8ft x 4ft (96in x 48in)
I had Lowes cut 10" from the entire length of the board first, then cut the rest of the board at 6ft.
Main desk is 72in x 38 in
Side desk is 24in x 38 in
Extra piece 10in

The MDF I used was 1" thick for stability and balance on my desk. Here is a link to read more about MDF and why it is so wonderful for construction projects.

UPDATE 12/03/09

This sheet of MDF from Home Depot is 8ft x 4 ft (numbered in grey)

For the visual learners!
Blue: Main Desk
Orange: Side Desk
Grey: Extra

Orange numbers are the order of the cuts

Alternately, you could change the cut order, and have 2 ft cut off the end first, then 10" from the main piece. This would give you a side piece 48"x24" in size. That was too long for my space, but it could work for you!

Joining boards without having nails show

I used this technique to join the tops of the desk to the 1x4" side rails, and to join the "L" side to the main area. There aren't any screw heads showing from the top of the desk, they are all inside. This isn't the easiest way, but it does look sharp when it is finished.
*On some of the holes, I did use a drill gun to first drill a hole, and then the screw. This helped the screw go in a lot easier, especially on the parts that I had to drill upwards.
*Talk to your Home Depot or other hardware store employees, they are full of suggestions about construction. If you don't like this method, they can suggest many others, and direct you to the proper hardware.

DIY craft desk

Here with the screws highlighted:

Blue: Screw from underneath up into the MDF of the top
Orange: Screw straight forward into the 1x4" side rail


  1. Wow,it looks great and you explained it so well. I'll be linking to this post. I hope it sends you a few extra visits!

  2. That is a fabulous desk! You gave me inspiration for my next blog post because I have a DIY craft desk as well.

  3. Awesome idea! Thanks for sharing!

    God Bless You and Yours!!!

  4. Check this out.... I'm scheming to figure out how I can make one as fast as possible!


  5. fabulous, great job! Just what I would love to have.

  6. Hey Jannypie-this made it to CRAFT. Congratulations!


  7. I absolutely love seeing how things and furniture transform with white paint... You did a great job with that desk!

  8. Very nice!! I love this idea really- so simple yet so useful. I need something for my books and that's a perfect idea. I like your blog :)

  9. That is a WONDERFUL piece of craftsmanship and creativity! That that you made it yourself is even better!


  10. OMG I was looking at a desk at Pottery Barn the other day for 1400, and I said to my husband, I am sure with two of those shelves from Target and a piece of wood from H.Depot you could make this....WOW we were so on the same page!
    Thanks for the instructions, now he has not reason not to do it for me.!!!

  11. THat is amazing! That looks awesome and sort of easy to do! Thanks so much for the tutorial!

  12. Holy crap, Jan. I was just doing my usual read through the craftzine.com blog today and I clicked on this cool desk tutorial. Um, much to my shock - I look at the blog profile and picture and realize... I know this person. LIke not in the blog world but in the real world... because she's my Sorority Sister from ONU!!! Love the desk and YOU! Had no idea you were a blogger - I'll have to check this out more often!

    ~Katie (McMurray) Cable (katiecable@ yahoo dot com)

  13. What a great desk! I love the layout. :)

  14. Thank you so much for sharing. I was thinking of reorganizing my craft room too and was looking for ways to "lift" the table so that I won't break my back from cutting up all those fabrics. :*)

  15. Great idea! I'm building that.



  16. This is fabulous. And just when I had given up on ideas to do a large desk with storage in a spare bedroom, you come along. I'm totally doing this! Thanks so much for the inspiration!!

  17. I love this idea! I'd love to try to to do this some day!

  18. I love this!! I am going to pass this along to my husband ASAP! The only other thing I've found is the $1,000 craft desk from pottery barn...too expensive for me! But this is even better. Thanks so much!

  19. Wow! With a little more support, I think this would also make a great computer desk. I think I'll make one when I move out from my parents!

  20. This looks to be taller than a usual desk. How tall is it. How did it work out for sewing? can you reach your foot pedal?

  21. good eye! it is taller than normal, which is great for standing and cutting fabric or working on projects. i couldn't reach my foot pedal normally, so i placed a box on the floor, that doubles as storage, and put the pedal on that. it works out just great. a foot stool or shelf would work also!

  22. Thanks for answering my question about the foot pedal!


  23. I really like this project. Was wondering what you used to attach the left side of the table to the larger part (i.e. the unit with the Target cubicles on each end)? I didn't see any hardware listed in the supply list. Also, does the one sheet on MDF provide enough surface for both table tops? I really need a project I can do without depending on my husband. Please let me know what I need to attach the two table tops and how much MDF to buy. Thanks so much!
    P. Frederick

  24. You are amazing! I saved every picture for my husband. I WANT that desk!

  25. I love this desk and really want to make it but have a few questions... How did you connect both pieces of the L??? Is one section wider than the other? Could you possibly tell me the length of each section? Also curious if you did indeed use only one sheet of MDF for the entire desk and cut it or if you used two seperate sheets? I really hope to hear back from you! Thank you! avarose04@msn.com

  26. U are a freakin genius! I love that! I wish I were that creative and handy too!

  27. That is absolutely amazing! Well done.


  28. Wonderfully thought out desk! This turned out beautifully, man you have lots of craft space now.

  29. This is a great idea for a desk. If you have some dough to spend, though and want more compartments, visit


  30. That is one amazing desk - I soooo wish I had the space for one.

  31. Love it !!
    In my sewing room we used an old door as a table both for my dd's sewing machine and also as a space between us to cut and plan..
    Love your bright room !
    Happy crafting :-)
    God Bless,

  32. My fiancee is building me a craft table, just a regular one with a shelf under the top. I wish we've read your blog before - my craft table would have been twice as big :)

  33. Love this desk and am going to tackle it next weekend for my little craft corner. How did you connect the two tops to each other? I didn't see details on that. Also, am I correct that the left side (for the sewing machine) was the top to the old desk? By the way, LOVE the little cup hooks you used to wrangle all those chords!


  34. I love love love this idea!!! So the DIYer in my had to try to recreate it. And so I did, I am so happy with the way it turned out!!! Thanks so much! I love your blog!

  35. Just curious to know if the cube storage is very sturdy? Did the finish chip any when you nailed the support pieces to it??


  36. Hi Marilyn, Yes the cube storage is very sturdy! It doesn't even wiggle a little bit, and I have quite a bit of weight on it. And the finish is well made also, no chipping or flaking. Good questions!

  37. Thanks for answering my question, I wanted to ask about the tops of the desk

    How did you secure the tops of the desk in the corner? Is there a visable seam on top? I guess what I am trying to figure out, how is the sewing table side secured to the other side, or is it?

    Thanks so much for your help. I am really interested in trying to make one like this for myself. This is the best DIY desk I have seen.


  38. Hi I just love your craft desk and I am going to make myself one. I am not organized at the moment. This table would suit my organizational needs perfectly.
    I do have a few questions on how you made your craft table.
    1) What is the width of the MDF board? HD only carries 24" wide meanwhile the width of the shelving unit is 35" so Im in a pickle.
    2) How did you secure the MDF board to the tops of the cube unit? Nails or screws and wood glue?
    3) What is the length of the MDF board?

    I think my Home Depot doesn't carry the size board you have.

    Thanks for your help!!

  39. Hi there! I found your blog about a week ago and am having fun making my way through it. I love your blog design and have found so much cute stuff on it! Thank you! I found the cubicles for this desk project at Fred Meyer on sale today plus I believe I'll get an extra 10% off with a coupon so I'm all over it :-) My husband is going to be building the desk for me soon but I have a couple of questions...

    1. How are the two separate surfaces attached at the seams?
    2. How did you attach the top to the base? Did you attach it from underneath or screw it in on top?
    3. What brand and color paint did you use?
    4. What are the smaller pieces of wood I see in the pictures of the view from underneath the desk, or is it just the angle in which the picture was taken?

    If you can answer these questions I would appreciate it so much! s.webb at hotmail.com THANK YOU!


  40. I seriously thought about doing this but then realized that the cube set thats in the corner is kind of inconvenient, youd have to crawl under the desk to get something there, i suppose it wouldnt be bad if you put stuff you really dont use under there. super cute idea though. i bought 1 of these and stuck an old door on it then bought 2 legs from ikea and wham a desk haha

  41. Excellent use of space . . . and on a budget, too! Thanks for sharing! I'm a writer as well as a scrapper, so this looks like a perfect desk.

  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

  43. This is such an awesome idea. Exactly what I needed. You are brilliant.Can you please e-mail me the dimensions of the 1x4 wood ( how long is it ) What is the width, height and length of your table on each side. Thanks so much.


  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

  45. Hey everyone, I have updated the post with the dimensions of my desk- I hope that is heplful!

  46. Thans Janny, for the updates! Awesome. One question (so sorry!)...the side table looks so much larger than 2 ft. Am I reading something wrong?

  47. Hi Jori- You are correct, the side table is longer than 2 ft, that is the depth of it. It is 38" long, resulting from the first 10" cut and then the 2ft cut, making a piece 38"x24".

    Maybe this will help
    Blue: Main Desk
    Orange: Side Desk
    Grey: Extra
    Orange Numbers are the cuts

    Alternately, you could change the cut order, and have 2 ft cut off the end first, then 10" from the main piece. This would give you a side piece 48"x24" in size. That was too long for my space, but it could work for you!

  48. "Jennifer said...
    Wow! With a little more support, I think this would also make a great computer desk. I think I'll make one when I move out from my parents!"

    I am using it as a computer desk, sewing table, craft table and TV stand all in one, and I never have any trouble! It is extremely sturdy!

    "Cassidy on September 13, 2009 10:34 PM said...
    I seriously thought about doing this but then realized that the cube set thats in the corner is kind of inconvenient, youd have to crawl under the desk to get something there, i suppose it wouldnt be bad if you put stuff you really dont use under there. super cute idea though."

    That is true, I do crawl under it to get in that far corner, which is perfect for me because it puts that empty space to use as storage for crafts I need but don't use often (like Christmas crafts). Of course, if it was facing out into the room, both cube sections would be equally funtional from the sides!

  49. my business partner and i made this desk from your tutorial!



  50. Thanks for the instructions. I almost bought the one from Target until I seen it was 159 for just the table top and was bummed it would of been so expensive for all pieces. I just did this today except for the other part of the table. Still have to paint the top and it should be complete by tomorrow!


  51. I am currently re-doing my sewing room. Have been trying to find something just like this. Thanks so much for posting.

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  57. I LOVE this desk! It looks awesome! I am wondering what height chair you use at yours? It looks to be a bar/counter height chair, but how many inches?

  58. I love this desk. I built one with a few different modifications. I spent $112 total I got all 3 cubicles and bookcase on sale. Went to a bargain center for the MDF with a laminate top which I paid $9.98 for 2 sheets 4x8 ft sheet. The one side is 75" and the other side is 51" long. We added Trim to the top edge around the desk. The only painting that had to be done was the 1x4 wood and trim.



  59. Well the other links seem to not work! Maybe this one will. Thanks for the Idea it was great.


  60. This is great!!! Quick question....it seems Target has 2 different cube organizers. The one I want (in white) is made by closetmaid....is that the right brand? I want to make sure I get something sturdy!

  61. Hello Great blog about DIY Craft Desk - Revisited

  62. Very Beautiful desks. I would like to have some in my house.

  63. Yet another believer here Janny! I customized the desk to my space and dropped down the table, but your instruction were clear, concise and obviously super inspiring!

    Thanks so very much for making my studio happier! xo


  64. really nice desk. Excellent work

  65. So. Awesome.

    Pinned this so I can remember it!

    My boyfriend is a custom woodworker so I can totally talk him into building this for me! (He hates designing things, so I usually have to come up with that part).

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  66. After this much time do you still like it and would you do anything differently?

  67. You may be getting more comments and questions from people who post to "Pintrest". It is very popular right now. Great work on the table!

  68. You may be seeing more posts and questions regarding your table. Many people post to "pintrest" and its very popular right now. Great table!

  69. How did you attach the table legs?

  70. Thank you for sharing the details of this wonderful desk. I changed it up a little when I created my desk from your plans a couple of years ago. I am blogging my craft room and linked up to this post you can see my post at http://my-creativit.blogspot.com/2012/08/craft-room-post-1-under-construction.html
    Thanks again - Tracey from My-CreativiT

  71. I modified yours a little because my room is small but take a look! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=464877870190396&set=a.445431592135024.106285.100000045620875&type=3&theater


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