I am so excited to finally share the DIY plywood kid’s desk I built for Jonah’s room! A while back, I built a bigger version for the older boys’ room (you can see it here), and I wanted to build a modified, miniature version for Jonah. I knew he would be so excited to have a desk just like his big brothers, and I already had the most adorable little Mid-Century Modern style chair to go with it. I modified the desk dimensions, but I also made a couple of slight design changes as well. Since this one was going to be so much smaller, I opted for just one visible cubby. I wanted to add “secret” compartments that blended in with the desk and would allow for more storage, but I couldn’t find hinges that worked well with inset frameless doors that weren’t snap-close, so for now the front panels snap on with magnets, revealing additional storage cubbies. See the full tutorial below!
Project Supply List:
(Affiliate links included in this post.)
- 3/4″ thick PureBond Plywood (I used Maple.)
- Circular Saw with Kreg Rip Cut or table saw
- Miter saw (can use circular saw instead, I just like using this best for cross cuts)
- Pocket hole jig
- Pocket hole screws
- Brad Nailer
- Wood glue
- Small magnets
- Hot Glue Gun or super glue
- Hairpin Legs (I ordered mine in a custom height from here. Mine are 20″ tall.)
- Minwax Polycrylic (Satin)
DIY Plywood Kid’s Desk Tutorial
Of course you can always modify the dimensions according to your preference. Below are the ones that I used.
Rip down your plywood into the following dimensions:
(2) – 19″ x 31 1/2″ (top and bottom)
(4) – 19″ x 4 1/2″ (sides and inside panels)
(24) – 4 3/8″ x 3/4″
(8) 1 1/2″ x 1″
I used my circular saw and a Kreg Rip Cut. A table saw would work great too.
Cut 3/4″ x 4 3/8″ strips of plywood for the front panels. I used my miter saw for this.
Sand and then glue the plywood strips together with wood glue and clamp them tight, allowing them to dry overnight. After they’ve dried, sand them smooth. I glued 12 pieces each for the panels.
Attach all of the panels which will become the sides and inside panels of the desk, using pocket holes. You can assemble it upside down screwing into what will be the “top” first, and then flip it over and screw on the bottom from underneath. I nailed my top on with brad nails since I was experimenting with hinges, etc. Either way works.
Cut 8 small 1 1/2″ x 1″ pieces of plywood (I just used a small hand saw for this.)
Hot glue magnets to the corners of your panels. Then dry fit them so that you’ll know exactly where to glue the smaller plywood pieces into the main part of the desk with magnets that will attach to the front panels. I found it easiest to glue the magnets to the panels and then attach the corresponding magnet to each one, so that I could position it correctly before gluing the other side of them to the small plywood pieces.
Attach the top of the desk using a brad nailer (or see Step 4 for an alternative option). I used wood filler to fill in the nail holes and then sanded the whole desk smooth.
Attach hairpin legs. I had to use shorter screws than the one that came with them so that they wouldn’t poke through the bottom of the desk. I custom ordered my hairpin legs in 20″ height. The great thing about this desk is that when he outgrows it, I can just swap out the legs with longer ones.
Finish the desk with 2-3 coats of Minwax Polycrylic. (I used Satin.)
Wipe down the hairpin legs and coat them with furniture wax, then wipe the excess with a paper towel. This will protect them from rusting.
And just for reference, here is the desk I built for the older boys:
Art and chair are from HomeGoods. Rug is from RugsUSA.
Shop accessories here:
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I love the detail on the storage cubbies, how you used the raw edge of the wood. And I love that there is secret storage for all his treasures! Great job!
Erin Spain says
Wow. It’s wonderful with simple and beautiful design. Just had question how did you refine the rough edges of ply? Can we apply any solution to the edges?
Erin Spain says
Thank you! I love the look of the raw edge, so I just sanded it smooth and then sealed the whole thing with Polycrylic. If you don’t like the look of the raw edge, you can always buy iron-on edge banding at Home Depot.