How to make a DIY desk for under $50

Back to School HQ

GAFFNEY, SC (WSPA) – Whether out of stock or outside the family budget, parents are having to get creative with a back to school list that looks a lot different this year.

7 News found one way to help you get the kids ready without breaking the bank on what many would consider a big ticket item this year.

With many schools likely starting remotely, home schooling experts have said an efficient learning area that’s away from the many distractions of being at home will help the kids stay focused on their assignments.

If you don’t want to monopolize the kitchen or dining room table you’re likely in the market for a desk.

But, as we found out at times they can be hard to find and hard on the wallet.

So why not apply a little DIY?

After a trip to the hardware store, we headed to Gaffney to meet up with Ann Hanna, owner of Palmetto DIY where we learned a little lumber can go a long way.

All you need is 10 pieces of wood for less than $40.

If you compare that to desks online at big box stores that start at around $100 dollars – that’s a savings!

“You’ll need posts, you’ll need a frame, and you’ll need a desktop,” said Hanna.

No need to risk life and limb with a circular saw at home because of a little known secret.

“Home Depot and Lowe’s if you take them the dimensions that you want they will literally cut it and package it up for you to walk out the door with,” she said.

Hanna said all you need is a power drill and some screws.

Don’t own a power drill? Those same stores offer rental options, too.

Hanna said then it’s just a matter of putting it together.

The desk we assembled in Hanna’s shop took about 45 minutes.

Another idea? Let your child’s imagination run wild with a paint color.

“You could actually use the chalkboard paint right on it and use that to scribble on and make it a lot of fun,” Hanna said.

The National Retail Federation found in its annual survey that parents of kids in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of nearly $790 dollars per family.

The higher amount than years past is attributed to the purchasing of electronics like computers and printers for at home learning and furniture like desks.

DIY Desk supplies:

  • 2 to 3 4×4 posts – depending on measurements of desk
  • 2 to 3 2×4 pieces of lumber – depending on measurements of desk
  • 1 piece of plywood or MDF (medium-density fiberboard) – either will work. The MDF will be smoother with less splinters. Both can be painted or stained.
  • Lowe’s or Home Depot can cut the wood for free to your specifications depending on the desk size your child needs.
  • 3 in. general construction or wood screws
  • 2 in. general construction or wood screws
  • Power drill or screw driver
  • Sand paper
  • Paint or stain of your choice
  • Casters – if you want it to roll easy for clean up purposes

DIY Desk instructions:

  1. If you want the desk painted or stained then do that before you start assembling it.
  2. Build a rectangle frame to your specifications with the 2x4s cut to length.
  3. Screw the ends on using the 3 in. screws.
  4. Place the desk top on this frame and mark where the frame hits on the corners so you can line it up later.
  5. Lay the desk top to the side.
  6. Then take the 4×4 posts cut to length and place one in each corner of the rectangle frame.
  7. Again use the 3 in. screws to attach each post to the frame. Two screws on each side that is touching the frame.
  8. You can also add casters at this point to the bottom of the legs if you want it to be mobile for easy clean up underneath it.
  9. Flip the frame up on the legs and place the desk top on top of the frame.
  10. Line of the marks you made earlier with the corners.
  11. Use the 2 in. screws to attach the desk top. Start with the corners, 1 screw on each side of the corner. Place more screws down the line of the frame from corner to corner.


Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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