Make a DIY Desktop from scrap plywood

I had a perfectly good piece of plywood in my garage for about two months. It was 8 feet long and 30 inches wide. I knew this would be perfect for my desk table top

What you need to make the desktop

  • circular saw or table saw (I have a Ryobi circular saw)
  • scrap plywood to your length (mine was 30×96 inches)
  • Sander
  • Sandpaper (120 and 240 grit)
  • Wood conditioner
  • Stain (I used minwax early American)
  • Polyurethane
  • good rags
  • Wood edging (I used birch finish)
  • Iron
  • Exacto knife

Let’s Build a desktop

  1. Cut your plywood down to size using a table saw or circular saw
  2. Sand the top with P120 sandpaper and then P220 sand paper. Be sure to wipe off any excess sawdust
  3. Apply the wood edging making sure your iron is super hot (I set mine to cotton). Be sure NOT to pull on the edging as it will slide until it is dry. Simply iron it on
  4. Edging comes in 13/16 width so I had to trim a little bit with an exact knife. Run your exacto knife gently and smoothly along the edge of the plywood. Don’t use too much pressure or it will damage the plywood
  5. Sand the edges so the edging is flush with the plywood. I round the edges a bit so it’s safe for my kids. Wipe off any excess saw dust
  6. Apply a wood conditioner with a rag by running into the direction of the wood grain. Let it dry for 30 min
  7. Apply a light coat of stain with a rag. Rub into the wood (in the direction of the wood)
  8. After it dries, it’s time to apply polyurathane. Wear disposable gloves as it can be sticky. Using a clean cloth, rubs he poly into the good grain. Try not to get too much into one spot as it will be thick and sticky and take a long time drying
  9. Once you’re done, close the garage. Dust will stick to the poly
  10. A total of 3 coats of poly must be applied. Make sure to do a light sanding with P220 between coats. I choose to sand by hand as you can get a lighter touch vs the sander.

What you need to attach the desktop

  • wall trim or 1×1 or scrap wood painted white (cut to the size needed). I used scrap trim I had in my garage
  • a nail gun (I used an 18inch Ryobi brad nailer)
  • Wall bracket with extra enforcement (I used 16 inch)
  • wall anchors (if needed)
  • stud finder
  • IKEA Alex drawers

Let’s attach the desk top

  1. Build the IKEA Alex drawers as per the instructions
  2. Measure the height of the cabinet and mark and measure the height along the back wall and side wall where the brackets will be placed.
  3. Use a stud finder to mark the studs
  4. Nail the brackets into the studs
  5. Next, add the wall bracket to the middle of the desk. This will provide centre support. Without it, mine wobbled a lot
  6. Place your plywood on top and nail it into place along the back edge and screw the wall bracket into place

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2 thoughts on “Make a DIY Desktop from scrap plywood”

  1. I am in love with so many of your projects and designs! So inspiring and somewhat daunting!! I would love to do your desk! Also, do you make your own candles (noticed them in your leaves jewelry dish photos). Thanks for sharing all these awesome and aspirational project ideas… mu eldest is an awesome DIYer but sadly I can’t rely on her help these days (away at college and studying way too much!). By the way I laughed out loud when you said you were „guided“ to pursue a more traditional career by your family. My husband is Chinese American with a very overbearing mother and he can definitely relate…

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