How to build a shelf desk

Written by myra smith
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How to build a shelf desk
Fix a board to the wall to make a desk. (ronstik/iStock/Getty Images)

A shelf desk accommodates the need for workspace for a laptop computer or a designated area for mail. With a shelf desk the floor beneath is open for easy cleaning and leaves space for your desk chair and waste bin. The supports for the shelf desk are shelf brackets. Make your shelf desk from plywood, medium density fiberboard (MDF) or buy finished shelf boards. The finished desk is painted or finished in a natural finish.

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Things you need

  • Plywood
  • Timber
  • Tape measure
  • Saw
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Nails
  • Wood putty
  • Sander
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint roller
  • Paintbrushes
  • Stud finder
  • Shelf brackets
  • Shelving

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  1. 1

    Cut two pieces of 1.8 cm (3/4 inch) plywood to the width and length you want for your desk. Cut two pieces of 2.5 by 7.5 cm (1 by 3 inch) timber the same length. Cut two pieces of 2.5 by 7.5 cm (1 by 3 inch) timber to the width of the plywood for the ends.

  2. 2

    Construct the framework for the desk by screwing the long pieces of the 2.5 by 7.5 cm (1 by 3 inch) timber to the shorter pieces to form a box. Nail the plywood to the top and bottom of the frame forming a closed box. Countersink the nails with a nail set.

  3. 3

    Fill all nail holes with wood putty and allow to dry. Sand all exposed surfaces smooth with a palm sander.

  4. 4

    Roll on a coat of primer designated for wood surfaces and allow to dry. Apply two coats of finish paint to all surfaces.

  5. 5

    Locate studs with a stud finder. Install shelf brackets to the studs. If your desk is very long, use additional shelf brackets to support the weight of the shelf desk. Secure the desk to the brackets by drilling pilot holes from the bottom of the shelf bracket upward into the bottom of the desk.

    Prefinished shelving

  1. 1

    Cut two pieces of shelving to the preferred length of the desk. Cut two pieces of shelving 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) for end pieces. This measurement is a matter of personal preference. For a desk that is over 1.2 m (4 feet) long cut an additional piece to the 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) width for a centre support.

  2. 2

    Make a box with open sides by attaching the end pieces to the long pieces with screws. Center the piece for the centre support (if used). Drill pilot holes for the screws to avoid splintering.

  3. 3

    Locate studs and install shelf brackets to the wall. Set the desk onto the shelf brackets. Drill pilot holes upward through the shelf brackets to secure the desk to the brackets.

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