I’m really excited for this tutorial guys! This project is probably my favorite “big” DIY project that I’ve ever done so far, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! I’ve been using a flimsy, round dining table as my “craft desk” for about two years now, but I recently decided it was time for a change!
I got rid of the dining table and made my own built-in craft desk instead! I had been sorta dragging my heels on the project because I thought it would be a lot of work and take a week to finish. But it turns out it’s deceptively simple! You might think that a “built in craft desk” sounds daunting, but if you can paint a door, put together cube storage shelves, and drive a few screws, you can do this yourself!
I was inspired by this desk at 24 Cottonwood Lane; when I saw it, I just knew I had to have one! It seemed like such a simple and functional idea, and I knew it would be the perfect replacement for my old table. And it is! The door surface gives me tons of room to spread stuff out and work; I was able cut something out with my Cameo on one side of the desk, sew it into a project with my sewing machine in the middle of the desk, and press the seams flat with my tabletop ironing board on the other side of the desk, all without having to move anything around!
Plus it is tall! The cube storage shelves are each 36″ tall, and the door was 1 5/8″ thick, so the top of the desk is almost 38″ off the ground. At first I was worried it would be too tall, but then I realized that I do most of my crafting standing up anyways, so now I can move around and take photos or go grab tools or materials from other rooms without having to get up out of a chair every three minutes. And we found a rolling chair at a thrift store that was the perfect height for it! (Check out this Instagram photo I took of JM carrying it home over his shoulder rather than rolling it…why wouldn’t you just roll it?!)
And the desk is incredibly sturdy. I have pulled out my anvil and metal stamping kit and hammered away at stuff and there is no wiggling and no give in the desk whatsoever. It’s built in really well, plus it’s a solid core door so it can definitely take a beating!
So what are you waiting for?! I know you want one for yourself!
DIY Built-In Craft Desk
Here’s what you need to build your craft desk:
- a door (preferably a full-sized, solid core door without any decorative molding on it)
- painting supplies (roller, paint tray, etc.)
- cube storage shelves (from Home Depot, Target, Walmart, or other similar stores)
- screwdriver etc. (for putting together the cube storage shelves)
- 8 1-1/2″ screws
- 1-3/8″ forstner bit and drill (optional, for drilling holes in the door for power cords and cables)
The width of most interior doors varies from around 24″ to 38″ and they are a standard height of 80″, so keep this in mind when figuring out where to put your craft desk. We were SUPER lucky that the dine-in area of our kitchen is exactly 84″ long…perfect! So we found a solid core door that was 32″x80″ and brought it home. It lived in our living room, leaning up against and blocking the china hutch for about three weeks until I finally had time to work on it. 🙂
The first step is to paint the door. I went to the paint store near us and bought a quart of white interior Door & Trim paint. That paint has a very very subtle satin sheen to it; it’s probably what your closet doors are painted with right now, so go look at those to see what I mean.
I started by sanding the surfaces of the door down a bit and used a roller to give the entire door two coats of paint, letting it dry for a few hours between coats. (I started with a brush, but let me just save you the time right now…it will take WAY too long that way! Just use a roller!)
While the paint on your door is drying, put together your cube storage shelves. We got these cube storage shelves at Home Depot and they each have 6 cubes, but you can also find these types of shelves in 9 cube, 8 cube, 4 cube, 3 cube, or 2 cube configurations depending on what brand you get. The directions that came with them were pretty easy to follow, and I actually really love putting together prefab furniture (bring it on IKEA!), so it took about 45 minutes to put together both shelves completely.
Once the paint on the door is dry and your shelves are put together, move the shelves into the space where your craft desk will go and space them approximately how they will be spaced when the desk is finished. Solid core doors are heavy (I cannot stress this enough…they’re HEAVY!) so you definitely don’t want to move it around very much after you put the door on top of the shelves.
Lay the door across the top of both shelves, and drive screws up through the top of the shelves and into the door from underneath. The door is probably heavy enough to just sit on top of your cubes without moving much, but it’s easy enough to put a few screws in, so you might as well be safe about it!
And you’re done!!! Told you it was simple. 🙂
If you want to get a bit fancy and you plan to have electronics of any sort on your desk (a computer, a lamp, or anything else with a power cord), drill a few holes near the back edge of the desk with a large forstner bit. (A forstner bit is a big drill bit with “wings” near the tip that allow you to drill really big holes.)
I had to climb up on the desk to be at the right angle to do this part, and that thing is sturdy! It didn’t move or wobble at all and I felt like it wasn’t even phased by having my weight on top of it!
Now my lamp and Cameo can be plugged in, plus I can pull up an extension cord so I can plug in the sewing machine or iron anytime I use them!
The last step is to fill your cubes with useful things, and then you’re totally finished and ready to use your desk!
I already had most of my craft supplies (glues, sewing stuff, paint, scissors, X-acto knife, punches, etc.) organized into these blue fabric bins, so I put three of those in cubbies on each “leg” of the desk and then filled the extra cubbies with whatever else I thought was useful. Puck and Finnegan really love to climb in the cubbies and sleep, so I used those two tan cube bins to store things that I don’t want the cats to get in. The top bin has pens and rulers and other long skinny things that the cats think exist solely as awesome toys, and the bottom bin has gardening supplies like shears, plant food, etc. In the empty cubes I put the iron, some reusable shopping bags, and a small trashcan for when I’m making a mess. 🙂
The desk is so useful, and it’s a bajillion times better than what used to be there! Remember this old table?
I’m sure you’ll recognize that dark red wood from the background of pretty much every photo I’ve taken for this blog over the past year! Well, this is what my “craft area” used to look like. I used it for everything…
Well, the problem was that the table was flimsy, the red-colored wood was horrible in photos, it was totally scratched up anyway, and the round shape made almost half of the table really awkward to reach. The new desk fits in the space perfectly and is just so much better!
I can leave my Cameo permanently plugged in and pull my laptop over anytime I want to cut something.
It’s just all around an awesome desk!
Where do you do your crafting? Do you have a craft room, or just a little table like I used to? I suppose I still don’t have a craft “room” per se, but having a giant, dedicated craft “desk” is really helping me get all my craft supplies and tools organized!
these awesome parties!
Great Idea Jessi! Love it – pinned!
Consie @ Atop Serenity Hill says
Well woohoo for you!!! Still figuring out my space but things are looking up and getting a bit better everyday.
Rachel @ I Love My Disorganized Life says
Wow, this looks really great! I’m currently working on my dining room table, and it just kills me everytime I have to clear it off when we have company!
Jessi Wohlwend says
Yeah, I totally know your pain! It’s really nice not to have to do that anymore! Although the tradeoff is we no longer have a table at all! But it’s ok, we like to eat on the couch and our friends don’t mind it either. 🙂
Laura Beth says
I love how you have the awesome storage cubbies to support your table top! FABULOUS idea :o)
Abby @ Just a Girl and Her Blog says
Yay! What a great craft area, Jessi! And I’m so impressed with your mad power tool skills! 😀 Congrats on your new beautiful space!
Jessi Wohlwend says
Lol thanks Abby! But that was the awesome thing about this project, it only requires a drill! The door was exactly the right size for the space so I didn’t have to cut it down or anything!
Great job!! I love it!! Love the cube storage underneath!!
Love it Jess – but where do you guys eat? 🙂
Jessi Wohlwend says
Lol Mom, well not at my craft desk, that’s for sure! We never ate at the table though either so it’s not a huge difference. We eat like college kids still, either on the couch or at our desks in the living room. 🙂 We talked about it for a while before deciding to get rid of the table, but we realized it was kinda silly to keep it when we’ve only eaten there about three times in the three years we’ve been here. 🙂
I love this idea! I want to try this project! Thanks for sharing your brilliance!
keri @ shaken together says
That is awesome! I am crafting in our dining room on a fold out table – I definitely need one of these for my craft room!!
Great job girl! It looks like it takes up less space too!