Introduction: Make Your Own Desk
If you’re like me, then you love to do new DIY projects. I am someone that is self-taught in refinishing and creating original pieces of furniture based on Pinterest designs. Prior to creating my first original piece, I refinished an old dresser that my mother had since she was young. The style of the dresser was no longer fashionable and instead of throwing it out, I decided to refinish it, giving it a new coat of paint and updated hardware to bring it into the current century.
Building and refinishing furniture is something that my grandfather and my mother have also done, so I had experts in the craft to guide me in my creations. They gave me valuable tips of the trade and advice to make my pieces shine. Now anyone can learn the same from me.
Is the furniture in your house with no pizazz made you want to throw it out and get something new? Making something old new again or using one’s creativity to build something is not only useful but money saving. With my help, making furniture on a budget can be within reach all while keeping up with decorating sense and fashion. Today, I am going to talk through the steps to make a desk that I am currently using as a make-up table.
Before beginning, find a good model of what furniture is desired on either Pinterest or someplace else on the internet. Choosing something at an easy level for a beginner furniture builder is key. The project should also not require too many custom tools that are not already around the house or could be easily borrowed from a friend or neighbor. The piece that I chose is the Farmhouse X Office Desk found on the Handmade Haven DIY Blog.
The first step is to find a good quality wood. There are many different types of wood to choose from. For my project, I wanted to go with a “farmhouse” kind of look. Therefore, I chose an older looking oak. Be sure to pick a wood that will hold the paint well, so do not choose a wood that is already colored. This type of good quality wood can easily be found at the neighborhood Home Depot or Menards. If the wood is not of good quality and right for the project, there is always a risk that the paint may rub off.
After choosing the type of wood most appropriate for your project, is to start measuring. There are many different sizes and shapes of a desk that you can choose from. This is where the Pinterest model will come in handy and where the builder will find the correct dimensions. Always be sure to measure every piece of wood twice to make sure everything is even. The old saying is “measure twice, cut once” to ensure that everything will go together well in the end. Without doing this, it will be more work putting the piece of furniture together because the pieces will not be the exact same size. The longer pieces of wood and the smaller pieces on the outside should be cut at a 30-degree angle. They should be cut at a 60-degree angle on the sides that are attached in the X formation. The picture of the assembly will come in handy here to see how the final pieces should fit together.
Now it is time to assemble the pieces. Once all the pieces are measured out, we will then begin to put it all together. For the farmhouse desk, begin with attaching the legs to the stretchers (the piece of wood that connects the front legs to the back legs) with your screws along with wood glue to keep the screws in place and the wood from cracking. The attachment of the pieces will always include first inserting the screws and then gluing. Repeat the step for the other side of the farmhouse desk. You will then attach the X shaped pieces to the center of the piece that was just built to form the shape. Predrilled holes can be placed in the top of the table to later attach the top of the office desk. In the case of my project, this is not necessary because I used precut glass as the top surface for elegance in design. Make sure to attach the V braces to the back of the desk. The pieces should be measured up against the desk and markings should be made in case additional cutting is needed for fit. Attach the smaller stretcher pieces to the sides, making sure that the bottom one is 5 inches from the ground level and the top one 11.5 inches from the top. The legs are then attached to the desk as are the stretchers on the side of the desk. The stretchers should be 3 inches from the bottom and set in about 0.5 inches. Attach middle stretchers to the bottom of the right-hand side of the desk. Also making sure that you watch for the distance and dimensions required. Add the plywood pieces to the desk to create the shelves. Attach the table top to the desk base. Affix with screws and wood glue. This will be the base for the glass top. Follow all included directions and diagrams to gain a better understanding of the pieces that are being referred to as well as how they are to come together. This is very helpful, especially for a beginner like myself.
After putting the desk together is complete, we will then prepare for panting. There are a few steps to take before putting the paint on. Always be sure to sand the wood first. The reason for sanding is because the wood then will be smooth and the paint will go on better. After sanding the wood down, the next step will be to prime the wood. With priming, be sure to use a paintbrush that is durable and not already used. Priming will help keep the paint on the wood better. Be sure to paint every spot with an even amount of primer. Once priming is completed, the wood will sit and dry for the amount of time it says on the packaging.
After the primer dries, the painting process will begin. There are many different colors of paint to be chosen from. For the farmhouse look I was trying to achieve, I went with white. For picking the exact color white that would be right for the look I was trying to obtain, I went to Menards where I could ask for help with what paint would work the best. When picking a brand, be sure to ask an employee or look online to see what brand would adhere best to the wood you picked. Be sure to use a new brush for painting. This brush will also need to be a no streak brush and not too thick or wide so brush strokes can be precise and get into the spaces needing paint evenly. Begin by dipping the paintbrush into the paint, but be sure to not have too much paint on the brush because it will get clumpy and start dripping. Start painting with light and even strokes to make sure that the paint remains smooth. Once the desk has been completely painted, let that dry and begin the second coat. A second coat will help to be sure every piece was painted thoroughly and nothing was missed. Let the paint dry for about a day after painting both coats.
Once the two coats of paint are completely dry, it is now time to put the finishing coat on. The finishing coat is beneficial because it will protect the paint from peeling and chipping. Use a new brush for this as well and have even strokes to prevent the uneven looking paint. Follow the same steps as listed above for the painting process to have a professional looking piece.
Finally, for the vanity I made, I decided I wanted to put glass on the top of my desk. I felt that the glass would be easier to clean and would protect the wood from any scratches and damages. When picking the glass, we want to make sure it is thick enough but not too thick. Picking thin glass will result in possibly braking easier. When going to find glass, ask a specialist that works there what type and how thick the glass should be. We went with the 1/8th thick glass. Once the glass is purchased and cut, place the glass on top of the desk. I recommend buying little rubber tabs to put in-between the glass and wood so the glass does not slide.