Plywood Desk With Several Storage Compartments





Introduction: Plywood Desk With Several Storage Compartments

I ask my desk to be a host for a lot of different activities, from regular computer work to 3D printing, electronics, figure painting etc... But my desk was a simple flat plain slab of painted masonite. Boring, yes. Easily cluttered, yes. Paint starting to chip away, oh yes! So I needed a new one.

I've always wanted to make stuff, become a maker, become a part of the maker-community. But I've never had the time, energy nor the place to do it. I still doesn't have the time, energy or place... But I decided not to let that be an excuse and instead used the need for a desk to become my first project.

I worked on it a little bit (an hour or so) and then rested. Did the same the next day. This took care or the time and energy concern. Because we live in an small apartment the place got to be our balcony and it worked out great!

The Desk

The design I made for the desk is greatly based on HomeMade Modern's Flip Desk ( So credits for the idea should go to them. Here I'm just showing how I build my own version.

This design could be made to almost any dimensions and the storage compartments can be placed in other locations in the desk. Make it your own, as I did.

Step 1: Materials, Tools and Cut Out


  • Plywood sheet (2400mm x 1200mm x 12mm) - 2 pcs.
  • Wood screws
  • Wood glue
  • Varnish
  • Hinges - 2 pcs.

I wanted to use as few different materials as I could.


  • Circular saw (or any other cutting tool)
  • Drill (or a screwdriver)
  • Sanding machine (or a block and sandpaper)
  • Chisel
  • Mallet (or hammer)

And as few and simple tools as I had.

I have attached the drawing I did for my design. Use it if you like or make your own. I used OnShape ( to create a model and drawing (


I cut the plywood sheets into many small pieces. Below are the sizes and number of pieces needed for my design.

  • 1500mm x 700mm - 1 pcs.
  • 1000mm x 700mm - 1pcs.
  • 400mm x 700mm - 1pcs.
  • 700mm x 100mm - 19 pcs.
  • 500mm x 100mm - 12 pcs.
  • 400mm x 100mm - 18 pcs.

After I cut these out I just put the small pieces on the biggest piece that is going to be on the bottom. Just to se that it all fit.

Step 2: Put It Together

Next I put all the pieces together with wood screws and glue. I stacked the 100mm wide pieces on top of each other to create a 96mm high desk. 6 pieces in a stack that would have a top or lid over it and 7 pieces in the stack furthest to the left. On every piece in a stack I screwed a couple of 20mm long wood screw into it that fastened it to the pieces below. The visibel top pieces I just glued in place to not have the screwheads showing.

The three top panels I made sure to cut right next to each other from the same plywood sheet to get a continuous pattern on top.

Step 3: Cable Management and Hinges

On the bottom and top pieces I cut out semicircles to manage the cables from things on top and things in the storage compartments.

I also used a chisel to carve out places to screw down the two hinges. This so that the closed lid would be flush with rest of the top. Use the hinges you have to measure how deep you should carve.

Step 4: Sanding, Glue and Lacquer

After all pieces, except the top cover, was fastened together I sanded it all with an orbital sander. Also rounded the corners.

Then the top was glued on. I sanded before the top was glued on to be able to access the open areas that would later come under the top.

Lacquer was then put on with no stain or coloring. I wanted to keep this bright wood style.

Step 5: Finished Desk

At last I screwed on the legs I had for the previous desk (it was simple legs bought from IKEA) and put it in place.

And here's the finished desk!

Tables and Desks Contest 2016

Third Prize in the
Tables and Desks Contest 2016



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    17 Discussions

    I really like it! I think I may try to build one to cover these metal desk legs I made (while learning to weld with my grandfather) but I may add another layer or cut around the central big shelf so that I can have a pull out keyboard tray so I don't always have to work with my keyboard hidden.

    2 replies

    Also, it's a wireless keyboard so I just move it up and around when I need it. The place it's in in the pictures is more for storage of it while not in use.

    Thank you! Cool. That's a skill I also would like to learn.

    I thought about some pull out thing for the keyboard to, but the ones I've used so far are som flimsy and this being the first furniture I've ever made I decided against it. So if you have a good solution, I would love to see it!

    I'm a professional cabinet maker and think you could've saved on lumber and increased your storage space if instead of cutting at 100mm and stacking to 96mm by cutting 2 at 96mm gluing them together and putting them vertically. Although your design looks and is extremely solid and heavy and probably much more than necessary. I think it looks good and agree with others that the flip up portion could be changed and I probably would cover it with white masonite for easy clean up and protection. But still well thought out and executed.

    1 reply

    Yes, that's true. But I like the look of the layers you get when stacking plywood this way. And for sure, it is heavy and sturdy. To sturdy than whats needed. But as said I went for the look and it also was the first furniture I've ever built.

    I like the flip up portion. It works for what I need it to be. A place to use and store projects I'm currently working on without having to clean up and move the materials when I'm doing other things.

    Interesting. Do you mean covering the lid or the box? Although with lacquer on it it's not that hard to clean up.

    Thank you for your thoughts.


    1 year ago

    Wonderful! Simplistic but does what it should and more! You got my votes! Thank you I will be planning on making this when I can!

    1 reply

    Thank you! Yea, I was aiming for simplicity.

    I would LOVE to see it when you are done. Always interesting to see others work and choices.

    I'm gonna make this for my rv. It's perfect. Thank you so much for designing, making and sharing it.

    1 reply

    Cool, I would LOVE to get to see it when it's finished and how you designed your's.

    Thank you!

    It makes me happy to hear that others like it to. Thank you for the vote!

    nice!!! by the way, is that a Bible with references in the last picture ?

    1 reply

    Thank you!

    Yes it is! I was wondering if someone would notice that.

    I like your styling. If I had a flip up portion on my desk though, it would end up with stuff on it that I would have to move each time I wanted to flip. I'd put in a drawer, or maybe a flip down area. I voted though. I like it.

    1 reply

    Yea that's could become a problem. I try to think of it like that's the thought (to cover up the flip up portion) to be a clutter deterrent so I hopefully won't put stuff there. But we'll se how long that last.

    Thanks for your vote and comment!