How to make a drawing table

Written by andrew dewitt
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How to make a drawing table
(Illustrations by Andrew DeWitt)

Every artist needs a place to work and create his or her art. One thing that every illustrator needs most is a drawing table. Normal tables cause an artist to hunch over his work, which causes back strain and prevents proper light from shining on the illustrations. Creating a diagonal drawing table is a must for artists on a budget. While the table won't look like one you bought, making your own will save you a couple hundred dollars.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • 2, 6 foot 2-by-4s
  • 1 sheet of plywood (usually comes in 6 feet by 8 feet sections
  • Band saw
  • Liquid Nails
  • Sheet of white Masonite
  • Pencil
  • Measuring Tape
  • 6 1/2 inch wide flat tip screws and nuts
  • 6 2-inch long screws
  • 6 3-inch long screws
  • 6 wood clamps
  • Sturdy chair or box

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Cut the 2-by-4s into 3, 4-foot long sections. Cut the plywood into a rectangle that is 4 1/2 feet long and 3 1/2 feet wide. Cut two triangles out of plywood that are 1 foot long and 8 inches tall. Set 2 of the plywood sections aside for legs. Measure and mark a line in pencil 4 inches from the top of two leg pieces. Cut from the upper left corner of the 2-by-4 to the pencil line to create a diagonal on top of the wood. This is where the table will rest.

    How to make a drawing table
  2. 2

    Drill 3 1/4-inch holes for the screws in the bottom of each leg. Drill 3 1/4-inch holes in the bottom centre of each triangle as well. Make sure that the holes for the legs and triangles exactly match. Press the triangles against the bottom of the legs so that the ends are flush with each other. Place a 1/2-inch flat-tip screw into each of the holes you drilled. Apply nuts to the screws on the opposite side to secure the screws. Place the remaining 2-by-4 sideways halfway up the leg to act as a perpendicular support beam. Drill holes for the 2 1/2-inch wide and 3-inch long screws you will place on the outer side of the leg. Attach the screws so they go through the leg and into the support beam. Do this for each side.

    How to make a drawing table
  3. 3

    Cut out two trapezoid shaped support pieces from the remaining plywood. These should be 5 inches long at the base, 3 inches long at the top and 2 inches wide. Place these on the outer top of each leg and turn them diagonally so they are flush with the angles surface of the top of each leg. Screw in place with 3 2-inch long screws.

    How to make a drawing table
  4. 4

    Place the tabletop sideways resting against a sturdy chair or box. Turn the leg section sideways and place this in the middle of the table. Screw 2 3-inch long screws from the top of the table into the top of each leg to secure the legs to the tabletop.

    How to make a drawing table
  5. 5

    Set the table upright and cut a 4 1/2 feet long and 3 1/2 feet wide piece of white Masonite for the surface of the table. Apply strong glue, such as Liquid Nails to the surface of the plywood table. Make sure to have a bead of glue running around the edge of the surface and make a large "X" across the table with the glue. Lay the Masonite over the top of the table. Secure this with two clamps on each side and let it dry overnight.

Tips and warnings

  • Have a friend handy to help with step 4. He should either lift the legs in place for you or steady the tabletop.
  • Always wear safety goggles when cutting wood.
  • Do not clamp the Masonite too strongly or the surface will crack.

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