Eco Modular Office Desktop made with PureBond Plywood

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This free simple step by step Do It Yourself Project Plan shows you how to use PureBond Formaldehyde Free plywood to create a desktop system.

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mod office
mod desktop

I've been feeling lately like the room I spend most of my time in is needing to get more colorful and inspiring.

(click for larger view)

Not My Prison

Never a girl to go anywhere without a plan, this is what I've come up with for the basic projects to create a fun and inspiring office.  Remember, I'll be sitting in this office through December and January in Alaska, a time of scarce sun and harsh weather.  Will need all the bright cheerful colors!
And since windows are not getting opened for seven or eight months, we are committed to using green building materials for the entire space.  And that means all wood components are made with PureBond Formaldehyde Free plywood.  

Open Base

I love the open base because it holds my computer and gives me a place to quickly and easily store files and paper.  It's made of Red Oak PureBond Plywood - very beautiful with clear varnish on it!

Drawer Base

But I also love the drawer base too because it holds files and the two smaller drawers are perfect for accessories and such.  I plan to put new hardware on this guy. 

Office Divider

But I LOVE this the most, the large center bookshelf that gives me and my husband our own desks, despite the tiny space.  We use the center desktop area of the bookshelf as a collab area, but my mess stays mine . . . and his neatness stays his.

Most Major Components Built!

The good news is most of the major components are already built!  Today I will show you how to build the long desktop.
And in the next few weeks, I will be taking on quite a few more DIY projects to liven up this space, all with a fresh green attitude!  Fun fun!

I am very grateful to have been supplied with PureBond Plywood in Red Oak for this project. Thank you Columbia Forrest Products for your generosity and making beautiful plywood that is made responsibly and better for our indoor air quality.

desktop plans
Dimensions are shown above. If you needed to go longer than 8 feet, place a splice in the middle of the desktop over the center bookshelf.


Shopping List

1 - sheet of PureBond Formaldehyde Free Plywood cut into a strip 8 feet long and 22 1/4" wide 1 - 1x2 - 8 feet long in a matching wood veneer

1 - 1x2 - 10 feet long in a matching wood veneer 3/4" Edge Banding roll (25') in a matching veneer

Common Materials
1 1/4 inch screws
1 1/4 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
Cut List

1 - 3/4" PureBond Plywood @ 22 1/4" x 96" (Desktop)

6 - 1x2 @ 17 1/2"

6 - 1x2 @ 15 1/2"

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular 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

The most confusing part for me was trying to figure out where the spacers go. And trust me - you want the spacers. It gives the desktop a more finished look and creates a more profound height difference from the bookshelf desktop to the full desktop.

So take a 1x3 or use a chalkline and draw lines as shown in diagram along edges. Use these lines to guide you. Measure and mark the placement of the first boards as shown above.

Use 1 1/4" finish nails and wood glue to attach carefully.

Step 2

Now things get easy! Just finish the boxes as shown here.

Apply edge banding to the front and sides (or all four sides) with an iron and trim edges off, followed by a quick sanding to finish plywood edges.

Step 3

When placed correctly, the top of the desktop will line up with the outsides of your bases. Screw to enable easy assembly/disassembly through the 1x2 spacers.

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.


rtc (not verified)

Fri, 09/16/2011 - 12:04

Hi Ana,
I live in AK too and was wondering where you got the plywood? Did you have to special order it? Is it much more terribly expensive than ordinary plywood?

In reply to by rtc (not verified)

Ana White

Fri, 09/16/2011 - 13:28

Hi RTC, I feel your pain! It took months for me to get this plywood up here :( the kind people at PureBond had it shipped to me.

I suggest bugging your local Home Depot to carry PureBond plywood. If enough of us bug them, they might hear us!

Lady Goats

Fri, 09/16/2011 - 12:29

Ok, Ana... I want 4 yards of the fabric that you upholstered your chairs in STAT! Seriously!? I LOVE that! The whole room looks amazing! And I can't wait to see the finished room compared to the SU plan. Love it!

Supermom77 (not verified)

Sun, 09/18/2011 - 20:51

What color would you paint the wall behind this desk unit if it is made of cherry? Any suggestions would be great.

Sharenda (not verified)

Mon, 09/19/2011 - 05:23

I really wish had your power tools :) I love looking at all you designs


Wed, 11/20/2013 - 12:53

My two boys are going to get this for a craft/homework/ Lego center. The divider bookshelf should keep them from killing each other....maybe......


Wed, 01/27/2016 - 12:15

I noticed in your post that you used the Red Oak PureBond plywood. Were you able to get this in a full 4X8 sheet? I'm looking to build this desk and Home Depot only carries the 4X8 sheets in Maple and Birch veneers. Will those work? I see I can get 2X8 pieces of the Red Oak, which should work given the cut list, but it is quite a bit more expensive for these smaller project panels. If I were going to go with the larger panels does it make a difference in quality/durabilitiy between Maple or Birch, or is it more of a aesthetic decision? I'm fairly new to wood working and this is by far the biggest project I've tackled yet so i want to make sure I get good materials. Love the site BTW! I think my wife wants me to build everything on here!