This instructable will show you how to take a tall, narrow Ikea bookshelf, plywood and a sheet of whiteboard and make a stylish multi-functional project desk. We use it as a computer desk, scrapbooking area and a place to sketch or leave notes with a dry erase marker. The whiteboard material will stain (a red candle sat on it for awhile and stained it even though it wasn't burning), so keep that in mind. This one is 6.5' long and 2.5' wide. I think it cost about $25 for everything except the shelf.
Plywood (at least 1/2")
Whiteboard (cut to the same size as your plywood)
Donor shelf (mine was Ikea, but I think any tall/narrow shelf would work)
1" Wood screws
Liquid Nails (or similar heavy duty adhesive, and 1 tube is probably enough)
Step 1: One Shelf Becomes Two
We started with a 6+ foot tall bookshelf that we no longer used. It was the perfect size to become the legs/shelves for the desk. Plus, the red color kept the desk from looking too homemade. I used a circular saw to cut it in roughly in half. In the process I discovered that the core of the "boards" was hollow with cardboard bracing. Benefit - lightweight. Drawback - fewer places for attaching screws.
Step 2: Painting the Plywood
My wife is a graphic designer and aesthetics are a bit more important to her than me. In order to keep everything looking spiffy, we painted the edge of the plywood white to match the whiteboard that would eventually be glued on top. I think the paint says "Charlie", which is the name of our cat.
Step 3: Attaching the Plywood to the Legs
A quick note about this step: I built this 9 months ago and had to take it apart to move it into our new house. When I put it back together, I decided to use 4 pieces of spare wood screwed to the plywood to help guide the legs to the correct place on the underside of the plywood. I dug out a few inches of the cardboard bracing to accommodate the wood guides. They don't bear any structural load but simply help to keep everything in the right place.
Step 4: Glue the Whiteboard to the Plywood
Glue like crazy. I used Liquid Nails. Everywhere. Almost a whole tube on just the top, actually. Then put the whiteboard top on and put heavy objects on top to keep everything tight. You may want to open a window and turn on a fan, as that much Liquid Nails has a stronger odor than you might realize at first.
Step 5: Finito!
Finally, after a few hours of work and several hours of drying (at least 4, but 24 helps clear out the vapors) you have a fabulous desk that is quite functional without looking tacky or too homemade.