How to build a pull out keyboard shelf

Updated March 23, 2017

Purchasing a computer desk and discovering it is too small to accommodate a computer keyboard is disappointing. While some desks come with a pull-out keyboard shelf, other models do not. Building a pull-out shelf, whether for a small desk or a large desk, is easy. Adding such a shelf will provide you with more work space.

Cut a 17.8 cm (7 inch) by 55.9 cm (22 inch) plywood piece.

Sand the edges and corners until smooth.

Paint or stain the keyboard shelf and allow it to dry overnight.

Separate the tracks from the base tracks. Set aside the large 7.6 cm (3 inch) parts.

Line up the shelf beneath the desktop. Mark where the bases of the sliding tracks should be on either side of the shelf. Install both sliding bases.

Secure the other sliding track components to the 17.8 cm (7 inch) ends of shelf.

Re-attach the sliding tracks by sliding the shelf tracks into the base tracks installed beneath. This may need to be done at an angle. Once the tracks click together, pull the shelf in and out a few times. Place the keyboard on the shelf.


Stain or paint the shelf to match the unit where it will be installed or paint and decorate it with various colours.

The tracks should be at least 7.6 cm (3 inches) tall so the keyboard can fit on the pullout shelf without touching the table above.

Things You'll Need

  • 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) thick plywood
  • Saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Screwdriver and screws
  • Paint or stain
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape or rule
  • 2 large keyboard shelf sliding tracks, at least 7.6 cm (3 inches) high
  • Ruler
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About the Author

Based in Toronto, Mary Jane has been writing for online magazines and databases since 2002. Her articles have appeared on the Simon & Schuster website and she received an editor's choice award in 2009. She holds a Master of Arts in psychology of language use from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.