Introduction: DIY Simple Standing Desk - Keyboard & Monitor Stands
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For me it turns out those chairs at the office are actually way more comfy than I gave them credit for. I will not be complaining about them again. Similar to many of you, working all day from an "at-home" desk, with no walking from meeting to meeting (thanks Zoom...), has been less than fun on my back. If only I had one of those standing desks! But I already have a desk and don't want to make something huge. Let me show you how to make a quick adaptable standing desk with a keyboard/mouse stand and a monitor stand. That way you simply add the stands to be on your feet when you want, or remove them to sit when you like.
Step 1: Measure and Size
First things first. The best way to determine how high to create the stands is to get different sized cardboard boxes and books, and do some hands-on testing. Stack things up to the right height that is comfortable for you. (Careful not to let the monitor topple). Then, when at a comfortable height, measure the distances from the bottom of the keyboard to the top of your desk and the bottom of the monitor to the top of your desk. This is how tall you will need your stands. For reference, my desk is 32" from the floow, so I needed a keyboard/mouse stand that was about 44" from the ground (12" above the desk) to comfortably rest my wrists.
Keyboards are fairly standard, but in case you have a larger size than normal, measure the length and width to make sure the platform you create is able to fit. Factor in an extra 7-8 inches for mouse space too in the length of the keyboard/mouse stand.
Step 2: Gather Supplies
Materials & Supplies
- Tape Measure
- Screw Driver/Drill
- Saw (preferably miter saw)
- Wood Glue
- Pocket Hole Jig Set
- 3/4" Plywood Boards (about 8" wide by 7-8' Total)
- 2 x [8" by 11.5"] - for the keyboard/mouse stand sides
- 2 x [8" by 13.5"] - for the monitor stand sides
- 1 x [8" by 9"] - for the monitor stand top
- 1 x [8" by 25"] - for the keyboard/mouse stand top
Step 3: Cut the Boards
If you have some common boards or scrap boards that are large enough for the dimensions listed, use those. Otherwise if you have to buy 3/4" plywood, first, rip a length of 3/4" plywood at 8" wide down the length of an 8' piece. (Just a tip, if you buy a 4' by 8' sheet of plywood from a big box store like home depot they will often make one cut like this for free for you down the length of the board.)
Second, using the measurements you gathered when sizing your desk, keyboard and monitor, cut 2 boards to the height of your keyboard stand, and 2 to the height of your monitor stand.
- 2 x [8" by ***11.5"] - for the keyboard/mouse stand legs ***Depending on the height you measured for the keyboard (Subtracting 3/4" or so for the board you will have on top of this)
- 2 x [8" by ***14.5"] - for the monitor stand legs ***Depending on the height you measured for the monitor (Subtracting 3/4" or so for the board you will have on top of this)
Then, measure and cut the top two pieces to sit on the legs of each stand.
- 1 x [***8" by 25"] - for the keyboard/mouse stand top ***If planning to use a palm rest or wrist pad for the keyboard, you definitely would want this wider than 8".
- 1 x [8" by ***9"] - for the monitor top ***Bigger if the base of you monitor is larger
Step 4: Add 10 Degree Decline to Keyboard Stand (Optional)
For the 2 keyboard/mouse bottom legs (8" by 11.5") adding a 10 degree decline is optional, but helps to not have your wrists tilted up. Simply cut the boards at a 10 degree angle down the 8" side.
Step 5: Drill Pocket Holes
On the 8" side of the monitor stand legs, using a Kreg Pocket hole Jig, drill 2 pocket holes in one edge of each board. For the keyboard/mouse stand legs, if you chose to add the 10 degree angle, make sure to flip one of the boards and then drill 2 pocket holes in each board on the 10 degree cut edge.
Note: Not familiar with pocket hole screws? It's a pretty minimal investment and simple to get started. For more on pocket hole screws see a simple tutorial video here.
Step 6: Mark Where the Boards Will Connect
With the 8" by 9" monitor stand top board, measure in 1/2" from the 9" sides and mark a line. For the keyboard/mouse stand 8" by 25" top board, measure in 3" from the sides and mark a line. This is where you will connect the 2 leg boards on each stand.
Step 7: Glue and Assemble
Now, add wood glue to the edge with the pocket holes and align along the lines you've drawn with pocket holes inside. Typically it is easiest to have the screws already started in the pocket holes, then glue and hold tight for about 30-40 seconds.
Step 8: Screw With Pocket Hole Screws
Pushing down on the board from the top to hold it tight, screw in both screws halfway before screwing each tight.
Step 9: Sand the Surfaces
Plywood edges are no fun, so sand everything smooth to get off any rough bits.
Step 10: Add a Backboard on the Keyboard Stand (Optional)
If you chose to make the keyboard on the 10 degree decline, depending on your keyboard and mouse you will want to add a strip of 1/2" by 1" (actual size 1/4" by 3/4") common board to the back edge to save your keyboard and mouse from falling off the back. First, place you keyboard and mouse on the stand, and mark the spot for the keyboard cord. Then measure each side from the cord notch to the end and cut two pieces of board edge board. This way there is a gap to allow the cord to sit in. Attach with wood glue and finish nails or a nail gun.
Step 11: Add Wood Board Edging (Optional)
At this point you can be done if you like. But for those who may be staining or finishing or simply not big fans of plywood edges, you can add a 1/2" by 1" (actual size 1/4" by 3/4") common board to the front edges to hide the exposed plywood edge. This way you can stain or finish it and the edge still looks good. Simply measure the front edges, cut and glue down, then attach with finish nails. Sand the front and sides again as necessary.
Note: For the decline keyboard stand, you will want to cut the front board top edge at the same 10 degree angle to allow it to be flush with the top board.
Step 12: Add Wood Veneer Edging (Optional)
Another edging alternative is wood veneer edging. This is fairly cheap, allows the edge to be stained, and is simple to apply with a hot iron. If you have never done this, see the simple video tutorial here. After applying, any excess on top or bottom can easily be cut off with a utility knife.
Note: I used wood board edging on the front of the legs for each stand and veneer edging on the front and sides of each top board to show both. You can pick one or the other to make it easier.
Step 13: Add Felt Pads to Bottom
Add stick-on felt furniture pads to the bottom (4 each) to prevent the wood bottom from marking up your desk.
Step 14: Stain and Finish (Optional)
If you like a finished product, stain and polyurethane the stands as desired.
Step 15: Prop Up and Enjoy!
Just hold up the keyboard and place the stand underneath. Same with the monitor. Easy to put up and easy to take down! Enjoy working from home (standing) all day now!
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