Picture of How to Build a Polished Concrete Desk
This Instructable documents the construction of my new Modern desk with a polished concrete desktop!
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Step 1: Plans!

Picture of Plans!
Plan and layout the desk. Take measurements of the location you plan to place it. Nothing is worse than building something you wont be able to use. Make sure the concrete is broken up into manageable pieces both to prevent fractures, and to make sure that it is humanly possible to carry it to its final location! Also consider styling and other design elements. I decided to build a relatively minimal and modern corner desk.

Step 2: Buy Materials and Tools

Picture of Buy Materials and Tools
I used:
about 30-35 board-feet of Lyptus wood,
a sheet of lyptus plywood,
some birch plywood,
2 sheets of 3/4" melamine,
2 94lb bags Portland cement,
6 50lb bags washed plaster sand,
glass fiber,
spray adhesive,
acrylic concrete fortifier,
tube of silicone caulking,
drawer slides,
drawer pulls,

Crushed Glass,
Fiber optic cables,
other decorative elements.

air powered or waterproof angle grinder,
polishing pad set (from Ebay),
concrete working tools,
woodworking tools

Step 3: Build the wood desk frame

Picture of Build the wood desk frame
I am not going to describe in depth this part, partly because I did not take enough pictures and partly because my dad mostly did this part. My desk is constructed of lyptus, which i found out is a genetically modified combination of Eucalyptus and Mahogany. It has two shelf/drawer cabinets ant the ends supporting a center frame with a pencil drawer. The main structural parts of the desk are double thicknesses of solid wood. The cabinets are made of panels holding a piece of plywood to cut down on the amount of solid wood necessary for this project.

Step 4: Construct Concrete Form

Picture of Construct Concrete Form
for the concrete portion of this project I followed doubleabattery's excellent concrete counter top Instructable here:

The form was constructed out of 3/4" melamine sheet, with sides 2" high to ensure the concrete is strong enough. measure your desk frame and make the mold accordingly. make sure to test fit your desk before casting the concrete! It is easier to make changes now than later when it is literally set in stone. Use silicone in the corners to radius the edge of the concrete when it comes out of the mold.
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ericgoetsch5 months ago


400-500 Dollars, depending on the wood choice. This is assuming you have the woodworking tools to make the desk frame.

CoolKoon3 years ago
This project sounds like an interesting idea if one wants to have a desk with a polished stone-like appearance. I've seen this project a long time ago (about 1-2 years back) as well, but a question has popped into my mind only now: how much hammering would such concrete board/desk take? And would adding a thicker mesh improve its durability? What do you think?
hivoltage (author)  CoolKoon3 years ago
Do you mean literal hammering? I have not done anything like that on this desk since I built it, but it seems very tough. Thicker mesh might improve the strength but I have not needed it just for use as a computer desk. I think too much impact would probably crack it but I am not really sure. There are other additives like polypropylene fibers and such that are supposed to really increase the strength and plasticity of concrete but was not able to find any locally when I built this desk.

I can't tell you how happy I am that I found this! First off, great design overall and the details (extension, cables hole, glass color selection, etc.) make it that much more beautiful and functional. I'm living in Morocco, remodeling a rundown storage building and trying to find ways of applying polished concrete to the floors and countertops. I'd probably have to apply the concrete directly onto the existing concrete surfaces instead of making a mold separately. I know vibration is important. How exactly did you do this in your case?

You can use a random orbital sander without a sanding pad against the frame as a small vibrator and that will work for smaller projects. Even a larger sander would work, too. It may even be possible to use a reciprocal-saw without a blade against the frame as well, but I haven't tried that. It has enough vibration that I would think it would work, though.

Thank you, I'll give it a try! :)

Yeah, I meant its usage for hammering stuff like you usually do in a workshop. Thanks for the tips though ;)

Hi! Thank you for tutorial! It's really inspiring.

I have a quick question that may lead to another question. :)

I'm quite interested in the glossy finish of the concrete surface. As from your instructable I understand that the mixture of concrete and acrylic substance is applicable for flat surface only. What should I do if the shape will be more organic? Like flattened big mango 200x200m?


peets10 months ago

it louks goud but i hav mine and chec out my pae if you watn mour. i no i am onley a smal giy but myn louk rilley rilley goud. i noe plees chec out my payge even if i onley hav liek enuff insdutraclbes

GymGeek10 months ago

I made one like this, thanks for the advice on the type of sheets.

mrman1710 months ago

To help remove air pockets, you could use an electric sander without the sand paper, hold it at various points around the mold.

This looks awesome! I might just give it a try!

One of the first things I noticed in the pictures, however, is that Fox-body Mustang in the background. Nice job!

chetchez11 months ago

Instead of daisy-chaining the power strips, I really like the Fellowes 10 Outlet Split Surge Protector (Model FEL99082) - Safer and you don't lose an outlet!

this looks very interesting - i have a kitchen counter refurb and granite is v expensive...

sarliaee5 years ago
Windows 7 was my idea. Concrete Desk was yours. Congratulations. Beautiful job!
 So you're to blame for Windows 7.  Widows 7 convinced me to give up and switch to Mac. LOL
i love you. :) ha ha
And Mac convinced me to quit and switch to Vista Ultimate.
I just switched to Linux on my own. lol
then that convinced me to switch to linux since that broke. I post a video sometime. remind me. basically, going to the grub menu, then choosing windows, it says "Loading Windows Vista" along with a progress bar, then when it finishes, the screen turns black and it sits there. I've let it sit for an hour before.
archion hintss3 years ago
And the combination of frustrations from Linux, MAC, and Vista have convinced me to be very thankful for the stability of Windows 7 :)
This is probably my final windows operating system though, I refuse to operate off of a cloud. (Win 8 is cloud based)
It amuses me that 18 months on suddenly people are commenting on a lighthearted comment I made about Windows referring to their TV ad. It did end in LOL which I assumed everyone knows the meaning of. I still posses a laptop running 7 (I don't like the Mac version of MS office) and it crashes quite often.
hintss archion3 years ago
switch to linux soon?
altomic archion3 years ago
aside from instructables i use pen and paper.
agiledesign4 years ago
Just wondering if you poured it on a piece of glass if it would have saved some time polishing it? I've considered doing my kitchen counters in a similar manner. Great looking result. Nice write-up and pics too.
hivoltage (author)  agiledesign4 years ago
Yeah that probably would create a perfectly smooth and shiny surface right out of the mold, if you can manage to shake all the bubbles out of the concrete. I definitely did not anticipate how many bubbles there would be or how difficult they were to get out of the poured concrete. Also, I wanted my embedded glass shards to show in the finished slab, and they were covered by a thin layer of the concrete when I unmolded it. The only way to expose them was a quick grind with the 50 grit polishing wheel. I saw on one of those shows on hgtv they poured some countertops but used a sheet of thin, hard plastic in the bottom of the mold and the countertop came out of the mold ready to go.
I've seen a thick Mylar (brand name) plastic used for glossy slick surface molding. Mylar is the stuff used for model airplane wings and body skins.
hivoltage, where did you buy your glass shards from? Or do you have any recommendations where I might find them? Thanks for your help.
hivoltage (author)  shelycel264 years ago
I don't remember the name of the site, but google doesn't turn up anything familiar, so they may have gone out of business since I published this instructable. I found one site but the minimum order per color is five pounds at 3 dollars a pound
I believe I bought five pounds of earth tone mix and a pound each of extra green and teal for my desk.
there is a special sheet of plastic! is shiny and mostly used for columns that can give you a similar finish! also is easier to vibrate with a rubber mallet just hit the form with the mallet several times, this will ensure that all the cement goes down preventing air bubbles so the final product is even and shiny!!
Shiny? I could guess someone could use Polyethylene/Polypropylene sheet since almost NOTHING sticks to it- It's also sold at retail hardware/home improvement centers as plastic drop cloth 4 mil. but this can wrinkle and I've never actually done it this way since it would probably not be very shiny.
pgiambat2 years ago
That is one GREAT looking desk, great job! I so want to try this too. I'm thinking I might start with a workbench top.
nitsuj10982 years ago
Still waiting for the light box instructable and lit up and night pictures...
Great desk, I will be doing a countertop similar to this. How long did you leave the concrete before you started grinding/polishing?
abadfart3 years ago
where did you get the fiber optic cable im not finding any that isn't worth its wait in gold around here. i really like the idea of the idea of having stars in my counter top
hivoltage (author)  abadfart3 years ago
its eg12 endglow cable from
thanks ill start on this when i get in to my new house
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