Desktop with Storage Compartments - Build-Your-Own-Desk Collection

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This desktop is easy to make and works great! Add different bases to get the perfect desk! DIY plans by

Hi everyone!

I've been wanting to put together a set of plans for you to make a custom study desk.  You know, one of those pick-your-desk-and-leg systems.  So you can customize for your style and storage needs.

I'm pretty excited with what we've come up with, and over the next couple of weeks, you'll see lots of different base options to go with this desktop -

The top of the side compartments flip up for additional storage -

You could easily throw a few dividers in there to keep pencils, papers, coloring supplies - whatever - within easy reach!

Or add a fun pin board or just paint with chalkboard paint the inside of the flip ups for added functionality.

A project this fun also must be fun to make.  You'll be suprised at how quick and easy this desktop is to make.  It's just two 24" x 48" plwyood panels that are available off the shelf with 1x3 frames sandwiched in between.  That's it!

Detailed plans follow, and stay tuned for the different bases!

Have an aweome day and please - share your projects when you are done!  We'd all love to see how you customize yours!

XO Ana


Dimensions shown above


Shopping List

2 - 24" x 48" project panels (available off the shelf) - I used 1/2" thick but 3/4" would be fine too (will make your desktop 1/2" thicker though)
2 - 1x3 @ 8 feet long
2 sets of simple butt hinges

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

4 - 1x3 @ 13-1/2"
4 - 1x3 @ 21-1/2"
1 - 1/2" thick plywood panel @ 24" x48"
1 - 1/2" thick plywood panel @ 24" x 21"
2 - 1/2" thick plywood panels @ 24" x 13-1/2"

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
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

Build two frames out of 1x3s.

Step 2

Attach the two frames to the bottom plywood, inset 1/2". TIP: Use 1/2" thick scrap plywood as a spacer to help guide you.

Step 3

Cut the top panel into three pieces and attach center piece on top of the two 1x3 frames. You can also add additional 1x3s underneath to put a "back" or middle divider under the center panel (IDEA - place a power strip in the back and a 1x3 to divide with holes to create a charging area). Hinge the two side panels on with simple hinges so the hinge pin sticks out the back when closed.

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.


Lady Goats

Mon, 01/19/2015 - 13:38

And may be the best way to get storage without drawers that are never closed (at least, that's how it is at my house, anyway!)


Sun, 02/01/2015 - 16:59

Hi everyone! Does someone know how to prevent the "bleeding" nodes of the pine from appearing through water-based paint (other than using oil-based paint)? I live in France, and used something which is supposed to be an alternative to what is called shellac in North America, but it doesn't work evenly... :(


Wed, 11/09/2016 - 19:32

having trouble finding hinges that fit.  Maybe I'm not putting in correct place.  Any illustration to show size and placement would sure be appreciated.


Wed, 11/09/2016 - 19:32

having trouble finding hinges that fit.  Maybe I'm not putting in correct place.  Any illustration to show size and placement would sure be appreciated.


Mon, 07/27/2020 - 20:40

Has anyone had problems cutting the measurements in the 24” x 48” plywood? Because of the blade depth I was only able to get a a 13.5in, 13.25in, and 21in piece, and not two 13.5in pieces as the plan called for. Was I supposed to buy 3 plywood pieces instead of just two? I feel like I’ve missed something haha 😅. Either way I’ll use what I have, but wanted to confirm.


Fri, 07/31/2020 - 16:57

the blade will always "eat" part of the wood. it's normal, what i did was to cut the 21 piece and then measure the lenght of the left over minus the blade then that by half to get 2 identical pieces, but yes they were not 13.5 as intended either way they work just fine.


Sun, 03/20/2022 - 16:35

This is cute and we would like to try this but where are the plans for the sawhorse legs? This is only the top. I'm confused. Thanks.