Introduction: Recycled Makeup Desk

Greetings, instructable community! This is Jingru and Junyao from UC Davis Department of Design. We are posting this instructable here in order to document the working process of a makeup desk, which we have made out of pure recycled materials.

This makeup desk is actually a school project that my teammate and I built recently for DES 127B, Sustainable Design. This is one of the major projects for this class, which requires students to design their own Instructable project using up cycled materials.

We started mapping out this assignment by deciding what project we should do. Things such as chandelier, clothing rack, and makeup desk have come up while we brainstormed. However, in consideration of the time and materials limits, we have finally decided on making a simple makeup desk.

This makeup desk is a size of a tray table; it can be placed either on the floor, or on your bed. The desk itself comes with a mirror, jewelry storage, and LED lightings. It is nicely designed as well as environmental friendly.


Things You Need:

All materials are up cycled as required, we got most of the wood from UC Davis Woodshop, and the rest are just recycled stuff from our household.

1. Recycled plywood

2. Mirror that you no longer use

3. LED lights (it could be in any shape, color, or length, we just prefer it to be recycled item).

4. Wood glue

5. Screws

Additional Materials:

1. Drill and nail gun

2. Electric sew (for larger and thicker wood piece)

3. Bend sew (for smaller and thinner wood piece)

4. Electric drill

5. Power sander

6. Screw driver

7. Combination square

Step 1: Determine the Measurements

The desk we made has a relatively smaller size comparing to similar items due to the time constrains we have for this project. However, the measurements are alterable, it highly depends on the time and the budget you have.

Step 2: Gather the Materials

Once you have the measurements figured out, the next step is to gather the materials you need. We suggest you to check out some local woodshop, and ask for their scraps. We also recommend ACE Hardware and Home Deport if you want more sophisticated work.

We found quite a few discarded boards at the wood shop, some didn't exactly match, but that didn't bother us. Nevertheless, we were careful to pick out boards that were of similar widths, because it will make your life easier when putting them together. We measured the wood with a combination square marked at where we wanted to cut, and finally we make that cut.

TIP: Measure twice and cut once to ensure the accuracy.

Step 3: Assumable the Desk Legs

We started by attaching the main pieces of our desk.

Find a horizontal surface, and map out where you on the top board do you want to assumable your desk legs. Place the legs in right positions with the top board on top of them, and use an electric drill to join the desk legs to the top board.

TIP: Assumable one leg at a time, with other legs hold in place.

Step 4: Cut Out the Supporting Back Board

We took the larger wood piece to an electric saw, and cut out the supporting backboard. This piece will then be attached to the top board of the desk, which is the second largest board shown in the pervious material pic. This wood piece will be supporting the mirror and the jewelry storage later on.

TIP: Use all equipment under professional guide.

Step 5: Attach the Supporting Backboard

We were to glue the backboard on to the top board with the wood glue; however, the glue isn’t seem to be strong enough to hold these large pieces in place, so we switched to using screws and nail gun. We took the two boards, and put it as how we want them to be attached. Then, we used a drill to make the hole, and finally screw the two boards together with a mail gun.

TIP: Watch out for where all the screws are, and make sure you second screw avoids the one that’s already inside the wood piece.

Step 6: Cut Out and Attach the Partition Board

We picked a slender wood piece, and cut it in to 3 even pieces. In consideration of the size of this wood piece, we took it to the bend saw, which is a cutting tool designed for smaller wood piece.

These wood pieces will be attached vertically to both sides of the backboard, as well as the center of it. This way, the backboard will be separate into two sections; with the left section acting as jewelry storage, and the right side is where we will be placing the mirror later on.

Just because these partition board we have is half thinner in size than the top board, so it is easier for us to just use the wood glue instead of drilling them together.

TIP: the wood glue needs time before it dries out, so put it away make sure no one touch it.

Step 7: Attach the Mirror

We found a old makeup mirror that we no longer use, and took it apart with screwdriver, so that it has nothing on the side, except a plain glass. We then glued the mirror on to the right side of the backboard.

TIP: We recommend you to glue the mirror first, just so you know how long you should cut for the hanging wood pieces inside the jewelry storage.

Step 8: Cut and Place the Hanging Pieces

At this moment, it’s your choice to either continue with the bend saw, or sewing it manually with a regular saw. The hanging pieces are to be placed horizontally in between the sidepiece and the centerpiece of the partition boards inside the jewelry storage.

TIP: If you cut out the hanging pieces in perfect size, you can avoid gluing them on the partition boards by simply stick them in between the boards.

Step 9: Add the Lightings

As we were approaching to the final step, we figured it is important to add lightings to our design. We too an unused decoration lighting strip, and entwined it on to the backboard, with mostly around the mirror. However, since we were using a recycled materials, the length of the lightings isn’t quite satisfying, which we have to somehow entwined it a little bit more elsewhere.

Step 10: Sand Your Project

In order to give this makeup desk a fine finishing, we used a power sander to file our work at the very end, so it gives a better overall look.