Introduction: Foldable Standing Desk

After my badgering paid off and I was OK'd to start working remotely I realized I needed a desk. I've been interested in standing desks for a while, and collapsible furniture forever, so I decided to make a desk using some materials I had, and some materials I was psyched to try out. What follows is a quick 'n edited guide to how I built my desk.

Materials used:

  • 1 24"x49"x1-3/8" hollow core door- cut down to 49" for previous desk
  • 2 pairs of crutches- check with your clumsy friends or a local thrift store
  • 2 2x4s cut to 22.5"
  • 2 1x4s cut to 24"
  • 2 1x4s cut to 47.5"
  • 8 18-Gauge Roof Truss Clips- check the decking section, here's a link to what they should look like:
  • 16 1- 3/8ths machine screws
  • 8 wing nuts
  • 8 nuts (can mix and match)
  • Wood screws
  • Paint

Before we get started I'd like to credit Todd Gehris's build as an inspiration:

Step 1: Crutch Theory

The first- first step is deciding how tall you would like your finished desk to be, and finding crutches that will accommodate that height. If you haven't used a standing desk before there are a bunch of websites explaining ergonomics and regurgitating stats from the 1988 Anthropometric Survey of United States Army Personnel. This is the one I used:

I'm almost 5'4", my finished desk has turned out to be approx. 38" tall using the 6th hole from the top (4th from the bottom) on two pairs of 5'2" to 5'10" crutches. For those who hated that preceding word problem: Crutches with 9 adjustable holes marked 5'2" to 5'10" will work for any desk height from 33" to 41". If you are very tall (rad), or would prefer to build a siting desk (also rad) you may need to do this next step a little differently.

Step 2: Cut the Crutches

I cut each crutch off about an inch above the top most hole. Find a place to clamp down the crutch and go at it. I used a hack saw. It turned out to be overly cautious, but I kept the hand grip bolt in the crutch while sawing, in order to not twist the two ends relative to each other. File down the ends once you're done.

Step 3: Make the Frame

Here's that cut list again:

  • 2 1x4s cut to 24"
  • 2 1x4s cut to 47.5"
  • 2 2x4s cut to 22.5"

I cut the 1x4s first, screwed them together, then measured the inside of the frame and cut the 2x4s to what the inside measured in order to have a snug fit. These were pretty cheap 1x4s, so wherever they were bowed I put the bowed side up, over time the door/monitor weight will work it's magic.

Step 4: Make It Leggy

This was a trial and error process. Since I wanted the legs to be able to fold in I couldn't mount the brackets too close to the short-side 1x4. I also couldn't put them too close to the long-side 1x4, because in order to fold I'd need to access and remove 1 machine screw from each bracket.

To get the most stability out of the crutches mount them as far apart as possible. Make the brackets "Walk Like an Egyptian" instead of the symmetrical "March of the Penguins."

Draw a line 1" in, straight across the 2x4

Measure in 1.5" from long 1x1 side-this will be the outside of the outer tube

  • Screw 1st bracket to 2x4
    • Make sure to screw the 2 hole side to 2x4, slotted side is for crutch
  • Attach 1st bracket to crutch
  • Mark placement for 2nd bracket
  • Take off crutch (if in the way)
  • Screw 2nd bracket to 2x4

Repeat 4x

Step 5: Put on the Door / Take It Out the Door

Once the legs are on test them out and decide how you need to attach the desk surface. My 24x49" door is heavy enough to sit on the frame without moving, but you can attach the desk surface permanently or with velcro to the frame if desired. I built my desk so that my hollow core door could just sit on top of the frame with the frame and crutches doing all of the work, but if you have a more solid top you have a bit more design freedom.

To fold the desk remove one machine screw from each bracket, loosen the other screw so that it can slide in the bracket slot. Depending on length of crutch ends the first few times may slightly gouge 2x4. Cut or file down the crutch ends if needed. Hog tie the crutches. for easy travel.

Last note: I've placed my desk in a corner for added stability and the desk is doing great. I'm thinking about adding a crossbar running between the two rear crutches if I ever move the desk out of the corner.

Tables and Desks Contest 2016

Participated in the
Tables and Desks Contest 2016