Little Sloan Leaning Desk

Submitted by Ana White on Mon, 04/15/2013 - 09:41
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Free plans to build a kids leaning wall desk from

Hi everyone! I hope you had a wonderful weekend! 

The highlight of my weekend was bringing a new table (new plan spoiler alert!) over to my sister's house and watching my own little nieces move their chairs and plates over and see dinner served on it within an hour of moving it in! The finish wasn't even dry - had to use an old shower curtain as a table cloth. That's truly the joy of DIY for me - being able to bring joy to the lives of your friends and family (and others if you sell furniture) buy building beautiful and functional pieces for them.

One of our readers, Jaime, also brought a giant smile to her niece's face recently when she built this leaning desk and bookshelf for her:

Jaime followed the building techniques of the Leaning Shelf in my book the Handbuilt Home for building this set.  But because the angles can be a little frustrating without a plan, and with so many requests over the years to put together plans, I asked Jaime if I could make up plans to make building this desk easier on you.  Cause we all got little faces to put smiles on!

And Jaime said yes!  So the desk plans follow and the bookshelf plans will be posted later this week.

Thank you Jaime!

Dimensions shown above.


Shopping List

4 - 1x3 @ 8 feet long
1 - 2x2 @ 30" long
1 - piece of plywood at least 27" x 32" (can use MDF, project panel etc)
3" or longer screws (2 or more) for attaching frame to wall
1 1/4" finish nails
Recommend 1 1/4" pocket hole screws

Cut List

2 - 1x3 @ 57 3/8" (both ends are cut at 10 degrees off square, ends ARE parallel, long point to short point measurement)
2 - 1x3 @ 29 3/4 (both ends are cut at 10 degrees off square, ends ARE parallel, long point to short point measurement)
2 - 1x3 @ 11 3/8" (both ends are cut at 10 degrees off square, ends ARE parallel, long point to short point measurement)
2 - 1x3 @ 11 1/8" (both ends are cut at 10 degrees off square, ends ARE parallel, long point to short point measurement)
1 - 2x2 @ 27"

1 - 3/4" plywood 27" x 8"
1 - 1x3 @ 28 1/2" (back)
2 - 1x3 @ 8" (sides)

1 - 3/4" plywood 27" x 16
1 - 1x3 @ 28 1/2" (back)
2 - 1x3 @ 16 (sides)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Miter Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

You will need to lay these guys out in mirror. The most important thing is making sure the two sides match, and the grooves will fit your 1x3 boards. Start at the bottom and work your way upward, nailing the filler boards on to the legs with 1 1/4" finish nails.

Try to get 1x3s with square edges if you can. The rounded edges will be hard to disguise. You may wish to at this step fill the joint facing forward between the 1x3s to give the illusion of a solid leg and then sand.

Step 2

Now attach 2x2 to the top. We'll later use the 2x2 to anchor the desk to the wall.

2 1/2" pocket hole screws are preferred here, but you could get away with 3/4" PH and 1 1/4" PH screws on back side.

Step 3

Build your shelves as shown here. The best way is 3/4" pocket holes drilled on three sides of each shelf bottom, and then the sides attached with 1 1/4" pocket hole screws and glue. You could also join the back side with the sides with 3/4" PHs and 1 1/4" PH screws on the back side that will be placed against the wall.

Step 4

I recommend finishing the piece first, but make sure you still can fit the shelves in the grooves. Then anchor the frame to the wall where you want the desk, screwing through the 2x2 through a predrilled hole into a stud in the wall. Depending on your wall composition, you may need different fasteners - for a standard dry-walled wall, you'll need at least a 3" screws - at least two. Try to hit two different studs.

Make sure the angle is right so that your feet are flush to the floor, and the 2x2 sits square to the wall.

Then slide shelves in and attach to frame with 1 1/4" screws.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.


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