How to Make Your Own Wooden Slat-Backed Floating Desk
If the video player is not working, you can click on this alternative video link.
If you enjoyed our recent tutorial on how to make a DIY transforming bookshelf, you may want to sink your teeth into a new project. In this case, we present a guide to making your own floating home office desk!
As you can imagine, like any project of this nature, you'll need some tools and materials before you get started.
Materials and gear needed
- Lengths of wood to form the main slats
- Sheets of dark grained veneer or chipboard sheets (for the dark rear of the backboard)
- Wall power socket for the desk
- Cylinder LED lights
- Metal corner brackets
- Wood glue
- Orbital sander
- Clear varnish
- Screw anchors
- Wood staple gun and staples
- Wood screws
- Telescopic draw slides
- Double-edged pull saw
Once you've collected all the tools and materials needed for this project, it is time to get on with the build.
Step 1: Make your backboard(s)
The first step is to take your wooden planks and begin to lay them in an open-slat pattern on your black wooden sheet. You either buy a pre-prepared board or paint a regular, suitably sized wooden sheet as needed.
Ensure that each slat is the same distance apart across the entire surface of the backboard. Each slat should be slightly shorter than the backboard for reference.
No dimensions are provided, but follow the same basic procedure to build one to your requirements.
You will want the black to be exposed between the slates. This will form the main frame for the floating desk.
Once you are happy, grab your adhesive and attach each slat into place. With each slat glued into place, firmly add pressure along the length of each slat to ensure that it has a contact.
Then, take your wooden clamps, and clamp each piece into place. Leave the glue to dry, and then glue the next slat in sequence following the same technique.
You may want to use another length of wood to act as a template for the size of gap between slats. Alternatively, you mark out the position of each slat beforehand.
With the next slat glued into place, keep any spacing pieces you have decided to use, and clamp the two slats together until the glue is fully cured.
With that complete, turn the board on to its edge, and then run a layer of staples down the backside of each slat to firmly hold it into place.
With that complete, remove the guiding piece, and rinse and repeat for the next slat. Repeat the same procedure for all other slats along the back board.
Next, grab your second wooden sheet (either pre-dyed or painted), and line it up with the first, now slatted sheet.
Continue to add the slats in the same space-slat-space sequence as before, using the same technique.
Once you've reached the desired width of the backboard, you can now grab your double-edged pull saw and chop off the excess as needed. Carefully follow the line of the last slat to ensure the cut edge is not overly wonky.
With that, your floating desk backboards are now basically complete.
Step 2: Mount your backboard into place on your wall
Take your backboards (witb slats) and position them into place on the wall you want your floating desk to be positionined. Once happy, drill a hole through each board into place on the wall using as many holes as needed to hold it secure and flush with the wall.
Depending on the construction of the wall, use the appropriate drill bit for the mounting holes. Add wall plugs, and then begin the final mounting of the backboard(s) to the wall.
For best results, start mounting each corner to the wall, and then finish of the process by adding other screws along the edges of the boards as needed.
Once complete, you can cover the screws using adhesive circles of the same color as the dark backboard. Or, alternatively, paint them to hide them.
Step 3: Prepare the desk
With the backboard now in place, we can begin to work on the actual floating desk element of the piece. Take your chosen wooden sheet (it should be the same width as the backboard(s)).
Then begin to measure and cut several pieces of the same thickness board to form side walls for the draw section of the desk.
Once happy, drill as series of pocket holes to the wall pieces of the desk.
With that complete, add a layer of woodglue to each piece and clamp it into place on the main desk top. Then screw the wall pieces to the desk top using the pocket holes.
Rinse and repeat for the other wall of the draw section of the desk.
With that complete, take a another length of wood, and mark out the length of the desk top between the two main end walls of the draw section.
This will form the main rear mounting piece of the floating desk.
Cut the length of wood down to size using a pullsaw or powersaw.
Once complete, return the piece to your floating desk to ensure it is to the correct dimensions. It should sit snuggly, but not tightly, between the two main draw wall sections of the desk.
With that complete, glue and screw a series of packing pieces the same depth as the main desk, transfer it to your backboard, and mark out a series of mounting points for the piece.
Once happy, sink holes through the pilot holes into the wall, as you did for the backboard.
Step 4: Make the drawers
With that complete, return the main wooden mounting bracket to the desk top. Then, mark out and cut a partition piece of wood for the two drawers. Drill pocket holes, add glue, screw into place, and clamp, until the glue is fully cured.
With that complete, take your telescopic draw slides and mount them into place on the walls and inner partition piece of the desk.
You will need four in total, two for each draw.
With that complete, take some more lengths of wooden, mark out, and cut down to size to the dimensions of the draws required. Transfer them to your floating desk, and mock them up against the draw slides.
Adjust their dimensions as needed.
Once you are happy, glue the pieces together and hold them into place using clamps until the glue is fully cured. Screw the pieces together as needed.
Once complete, use some of the offcut backboard pieces to lift the draw frame slightly off the desk top. Then extend the draw slides, and secure the draws into place.
With that complete, test the action of the drawer slides, and adjust as needed. Rinse and repeat for the second drawer.
Step 5: Secure the mounting bracket and complete the drawers
With the drawers complete, take your mounting piece of wood, and glue it into place at the rear of the desk. Clamp it into place, and screw it firmly to the desktop using your predrilled pocket holes.
With that complete, secure the side walls of the desk and mounting bracket piece using metal corner brackets.
With that complete, remove the drawers, and transfer the floating desk to the backboard. Hold it in position using some form of frame (you can use a mixture of chairs, boxes, etc).
Once happy, mount the floating desk to the wall using suitably sized bolts through the pilot holes you created earlier. These will be the only supports for the floating desk, so ensure it is securely held onto the wall.
Once complete, remove your frame and the desk should now remain affixed to the wall. Test its strength, and adjust as needed.
With that complete, reattach the draws.
Step 6: Add the draw faces
With the drawers now reattached, grab another length of wood to form the front faces of the drawers. Clamp the wood into place, and mark out the dimensions that the draw faces need to be.
Then cut it down to size using your pull saw. With that complete, cut the piece of wood in half, and clamp each face to its matching drawer front.
With that complete, screw or nail the drawer face from the rear to hold it into place on each drawer front.
At this point, you can also complete the drawers. Cut some small sections of the same dark chipboard you used for the backboard. Staple the pieces into place at the bottom of each drawer, and reattach the drawers to the main unit.
With that complete, we can now begin to add some of the finishing touches to your floating desk -- like power sockets.
Step 7: Add power sockets and complete the desk
Take the front face of your power outlet, and mark out where holes need to be cut through the desktop.
With that complete, cut through the desktop as needed. You may want to drill pilot holes around the outline to make it easier to cut out the shapes needed.
Finish the cut using a jigsaw or small pull saw. With that complete, mount your power outlet and front face into the desktop as needed.
With that complete, take your cylinder lights, and mount them into place on the backboard of the desk. Ensure they are level with one another.
You can check this by laying a spirit level across the top of each. Adjust accordingly.
Step 8: Complete the table
With that complete, take your router and cut an angled edge along all the sharp edges of your floating desk.
With that complete, sand down all routed parts of the floating desk. You can also use an orbital sander to make short work of this step.
With that complete, take your wood oil or varnish, and give all exposed parts of the wood a coat. Work it into the grain using a spare, clean rag.
Ensure you add varnish to the vertical slates of the backboard too. They should match the same tone as the main desk once you're finished.
With that complete, we now need to finish the base of the rear wall underneath the desk. Take some more lengths of wood that you used to make the back wall slats.
Measure out the same amount of lengths that you used for the main backboard to the dimensions of the height of the wall underneath the desk. Cut them off using your hand saw.
With that complete, oil or lacquer them to match the rest of the desk. Once complete, Cut out some more sheets of the same dark-colored backboard you used before to the dimensions needed to fit the space underneath the desk.
Glue, clamp, and staple the slats to the board as you did for the main backboard of the desk. Complete one half of the backboard, and then grab the second.
If needed, cut a hole to expose any wall power sockets through the boards so that the main power sockets on the desk can be connected.
If not needed, you can skip this step.
Once complete, run wiring from the desk power sockets to the mains, and your DIY floating desk is now, finally complete.
You can continue to work on the desk by adding decorations like paintings, or photos, to the backboard as needed.
If you enjoyed this project, you may want to use your DIY skills to make some more home furnishings. How about, for example, a fancy bathroom vanity?