DIY UpCycled Desk
Picking out the perfect desk for your space can be hard. Not only are there not that many options, the ones out there are either expensive, bad quality, or just bulky! I decided to create my own desk, to fit perfectly in my room. The best part about making the desk myself, is that I decided to use recycled materials only, creating an UpCycled desk!
Doing a little bit of Craigslist research, I was able to find an IKEA shelf unit, and old cabinet door, and two stair banisters. All of these salvaged materials cost me less than $30!
Using a bit of hardware, and a ton of creativity, I was able to make a simple desk, that can come apart and fold into two pieces for easy moving! My desk is also flexible, the top can be attached on the left OR right side of the shelf, so next time I move apartments, or just rearrange my room, I can find a spot for the desk, no matter what. Want to make your own DIY UpCycled Desk? Just follow my simple steps! A full supply list and measurement table is at the end of the article.
STEP 1: GATHER YOUR MATERIALS
Everyone has heard the saying: measure twice, cut once. Make sure that your materials will create a desk that fits within the space you have.
This desk will really consist of three pieces: the shelf support, the leg assembly, and the desktop. So starting with the shelf support, since it is the most important, we are going to measure all our pieces. To make this simpler, I have included a worksheet below. You can download this table HERE, or at the end of the article, with the supply list.
Once you have filled out the information, you are ready to get started!
STEP 2: CREATE THE LEGS
Make sure your table legs are cut to the height you came up with from the worksheet. If you are cutting the table legs using a jig saw, or craft saw, I recommend that you begin by scoring the table leg at the correct height with an X-acto blade or box cutter.
Next, cut your 2x1 piece of wood, and cut it to the correct support width. Check out the images below for reference.
To create the leg assembly, first we need to attach the support beam to the legs, as shown above. Using your drill, make two pilot holes, one 1/2" from the top of the leg, and the other 1" from the top of the leg, both centered. Drill a wood screw into each pilot hole, securing the leg to the support beam. Before screwing them in to tight, use your level to make sure you don't need to make any adjustments. Repeat on the other side.
Then, I added brass L brackets to the insides of the leg assembly, for extra support.
There is one more step to creating the leg assembly, and it is my favorite part! Adding hinges to the legs will allow you to take the desk apart, and fold it up into two, easy to move pieces, if you have to move it to a new place!
Attach the hinges to the support beam, like in the image above. Make sure to attach the hinge right side up, so that the legs can fold down completely, once attached to the desktop.
Now, it is time to incorporate the desktop.
STEP 3: BUILD THE DESKTOP
Attach the leg assembly to the desktop so that, when the legs are unfolded, there is between 1 and 2 inches of space between the legs and the edge of the desk. I recommend you attach the hinges by first attaching each hinge with the middle screw, and once you are sure it is aligned correctly (use your level!), attach and tighten the rest of the screws to attach the hinges.
Once your hinges are attached, make sure that the legs fold down completely, like in the image below:
The next step is to stabilize the desktop, so that it doesn't move around when you are using it. To do this, you are going to attach four wooden dowels to the underside of the desktop. To layout the placement of the dowels, measure 1 inch to the inside of each side of the top of the pedestal, and mark all four intersections. I recommend using a piece of paper that is the size of the pedestal, and trace where each of the hole centers is.
Make sure you layout the dowel arrangement in a way that allows the desktop to overhang the pedestal by between 1 and 2 inches.
Now, using that paper as your guide, drill a 1/2" hole at each location, in the underside of the desktop. Make sure you do this on the side opposite from where the leg assembly is attached. Stand the desktop on the pedestal, and prop the legs up. Make sure the desk is straight, and the desktop overhangs the pedestal by between 1 and 2 inches on the outside. Holding the desk in place, use a pencil to mark the center of each hole, thru the desktop, on the top of the pedestal. Drill 1/2" hole at each location on the pedestal.
Once you have drilled these holes, glue a wooden dowel into each hole. Cut the dowels so that they are 1 inch long, on the underside, and flush, with the top.
STEP 4: ADD THE FINISHING TOUCHES
Once the dowels are dry, and secured in place, add ceiling hooks to the underside of the desktop, like in the image below. These hooks need to be far enough away from the pedestal, so that the desktop can still be attached. Make sure the measure, and lay them out accordingly.
Now it is time to put the desk together. Assemble the pieces, and see what you need to do. You should sand the top of the desk, to ensure that the dowels are flush with the desktop. You can then stain the desk, paint the desk, or make any improvements that need to be made. If you want to paint the table legs, or pedestal, you should first assemble the desk once, as is. Measure and drill any holes that need to be made first, and then take it apart and paint it, and re-assemble it.
MATERIAL AND TOOL LISTS
Pieces you need:
- Shelf or pedestal for one side of desk
- Desk top, I used an old cabinet door
- Two table legs, I used salvaged stair banisters
Tools you need:
- Jigsaw or Craft Saw
- 1/2” Bit
- 1/16” Bit
Materials you need:
- Wood Glue
- Hinges 
- Ceiling Hooks 
- Wood Screws - 3 inches long
- Angle 
- 2 x 1 
- Wood Dowels - 1/2" x 2"