Turn a sheet of plywood into a multi-utility desk

Interesting Engineering

Recently the HomeMade Modern blog managed to take a single sheet of plywood and turn it into a multi-utility desk that you would be proud to have in your home. However you do need to be a little hands on as you cannot go out and purchase it in stores, you have to make it.


A desk can be used for numerous things if you live in a small place, such as an apartment. It can be much more than just a workstation. It should be able to double up and be used as a craft tablet, table for eating meals on, a make-up station and of course a desk can be used for storing things, such as bills. Enter the flip-desk, which was created with small spaces in mind and is a simple desk that can be used for multi-tasking.

Before beginning the project you would need to have some idea about tools and be warned, the project is labour intensive and it does take some time to complete. However anyone who is at home with DIY and who considers themselves to be something of a handy man won’t have any issue following the step by step instructions. This is a weekend project with the end result being that you will have a small and simple desk that can be used for multi-tasking.

You will need the following tools and materials to make the desk:


[Image Source: Homemade-Modern]

¾ inch PureBond Plywood sheet 4 feet by 8 feet
Pre-Made table legs
RYOBI 18 Volt Cordless Drill or similar
RYOBI 18 Volt Circular saw with Plywood Blade
RYOBI Orbital sander

Follow the instructions outlined below courtesy of The Home Made Modern Blog


STEP 1: Pick Your Plywood
I selected 3/4" Purebond Birch veneer plywood, but any 3/4" thick sheet of plywood will work. There are a lot of different options and this desk could look really cool with any of them. I had one of the nice Home Depot associates cut the top and bottom of the desk for me. This saves time and also makes it much easer to get the plywood home.

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STEP 2: Cut the Plywood Strips
Use a pencil to mark out the strips of plywood to be cut. Clamp the plywood to a work table and cut the strips with a circular saw. If you're using a RYOBI Circular Saw with a laser guide, affixing a guide fence isn't needed because you can just follow the pencil lines. I used a plywood blade for my circular saw to reduce the amount of tear out for each cut.


[Image Source: Homemade-Modern]

STEP 3: Cut the Strips to Length
Once you have turned the leftover plywood into a bunch of strips, mark out the design on the bottom of the desk and start cutting the strips to length. Cut the pieces for the front side of the desk first. You'll have just just enough plywood to make the desk and some small pieces with gaps for the interior walls of the desk cabinets.


[Image Source: Homemade-Modern]

STEP 4: Screw the Strips
Screw the strips together one at a time using 1 1/4" long screws. You'll need to vary the screw locations to avoid bumping into screws on a lower layer of plywood.


[Image Source: Homemade-Modern]

STEP 5: Mark the Top
Use a pencil to mark the cut lines for the desktop and use your circular saw to make the cuts.


[Image Source: Homemade-Modern]

STEP 6: Screw the Hinges to the Lids
Screw the hinges to the underside of the desktop lids.


[Image Source: Homemade-Modern]

STEP 7: Mark the Hinge Locations
Place all of the desktop pieces in their proper positions before setting the lid into place and marking the outline of the hinges with a pencil.


[Image Source: Homemade-Modern]

STEP 8: Cut a Recess for the Hinges
Set your circular saw cut just about 1/8" deep and cut grooves in the desk to allow the hinges to sit flush. Make a series of cuts with the circular saw and then remove any remaining pieces with a chisel.


[Image Source: Homemade-Modern]

STEP 9: Screw in the Lid into Place
Screw the hinges to the desk to affix the lid to the desk. You may not get it perfect the first time, so just place two screws at first and then test opening and closing the lid to make sure it's properly aligned.


[Image Source: Homemade-Modern]

STEP 10: Screw on the Top Pieces
I screwed the remaining top pieces into place with 1 1/4" stainless steel finish screws. They're more expensive but look much nicer. I marked the screw locations prior to screwing to make sure I had uniform placement.

STEP 11: Sanding
I used 220 grit paper on my RYOBI Orbital Sander to lightly sand the top. I used 100 and 220 grit paper on the sides of the desk


[Image Source: Homemade-Modern]

STEP 12: Screw on the Legs
Gently flip the desk over and screw on the legs. You can use longer screws where the leg holes align with the stacked up strips, but make sure to use 3/4" screws for the holes that align only with a single layer of plywood.


[Image Courtesy of Homemade-Modern]

STEP 13: Get Organized
I made some interior partitions for the cabinets out of leftover 2x3 scraps and paint stirring sticks, but you can choose to leave the cabinets open. To make the partitions, I clamped together two 2x3s and cut grooves into them. The paint sticks fit into the grooves. I also drilled some holes into the 2x3s for some handy cylindrical compartments.


[Image Source: Homemade-Modern]

STEP 14: Finish
I painted the underside of the small compartment with chalkboard paint and used double stick tape to attach a mirror to the underside of the larger lid.


[Image Source: Homemade-Modern]

Via [Homemade-Modern]

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