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Hey guys! Here is how I made my desk for under $100 total. I originally made this table top for our dining table, but ended up deciding that it was a little too small if we wanted to be able to sometimes fit 6 people. I stuck it in my room as a desk thinking it would be temporary, and I now love it since it’s so big for working from home but not too big to work as a desk! This desk uses cheap, knotty pine, but if you’re more into the sleek, modern look, check out our dining table tutorial for instructions on how to make something more like that!
- Three 1x10x6 ft common pine boards – $30
- Hairpin legs – $45
- Box of 1 1/4 inch screws (at least 50) – $1
- 1×3 boards for the perimeter of your table – for us this was about 15 ft – $5
- 1x5x6 ft oak boards – $15
- Things we already had: clamps, mahogany stain, polyurethane, wood glue
Total Cost: $96
Step 1- Cut down your wood pieces
After picking up your materials, you can either have your boards cut at the store for free or at home. For our desk, we cut all the 1×10 boards down to 5 feet, but if you want a longer table you can keep them at 6 feet. For the 1×3 boards, have them cut to the length of your table- so if your table is 5 ft, get 2 pieces cut to 5 ft and 2 pieces cut to 24 in for the shorter sides. For the oak, have these cut into 3 different 2 ft sections. Make sure when you pick out your pieces you make sure they are all very flat! So many boards are slightly warped at the store.
Step 2- Assemble the table
First you are going to want to pick which side of the table will be your top and flip this over so the bottom is facing up. Glue your 1×10 pieces together and clamp- this will make your top look more seamless. Make sure to wipe off any glue (especially underneath), since the glue will not stain properly.
Next, build the frame underneath your table for support. Line the longer pieces up along the sides and put the smaller pieces at the end. One oak piece goes in the center for extra support, and the two other pieces go on either end where you will want to put your legs on. You can see in the picture below that we used thinner pieces of oak, which is why I recommend getting 1×5 pieces, since most hairpin leg bases are usually a square with 5 in sides. If I were to make this again, I would move the oak pieces closer to the end, since I wish the legs were a bit further out. Then screw in each piece to the top with lots and lots of screws! Let dry overnight.
Step 3- Sand, Stain, and Poly
Flip over your table and sand! I used 3 different levels of sand paper, starting with the coarser paper and ending with a finer paper for a softer finish. I used this mahogany stain to give it a darker red look, but you could use any stain you wanted.
I honestly panicked a bit after seeing the table after the stain, but after I added polyurethane, it looked so much better! I added 3 coats of poly to make sure the wood was extra protected. After it dried, I brought it inside and here is what it looked like before adding the legs:
Step 4- Add the hairpin legs
If you haven’t noticed from every picture of our apartment already, I love hairpin legs! They are super easy to screw in and it takes about 5 minutes. I thought this would be the best option in my room too, so I added them and thought they looked great for a bit. Then I started using my desk for work and realized there was absolutely no storage, so I swapped 2 of the legs for Ikea’s Alex drawers, and they worked perfectly! They slid right underneath and were the exact same height as the legs.
Here is what my desk looks like now with the legs and drawers:
I love how it turned out! As you can see in the pics, I’ve been swapping out my chair a lot since I ordered a new one and it hasn’t gotten here yet, but I got a fun gray swivel chair to go with the desk. I hope this helps anyone who isn’t trying to spend $500 on a desk anytime soon!
We’ve also been making these for some people in St. Louis! We especially love this black and white one we made- look how cute it turned out: