DIY and Crafts

How to build a budget-friendly desk

Previously from The Block NZ, Marty joins the YH&G team to show us how to put together a desk that’s kind on your time and pocket


Materials you will need
2 x bookcases;  2 x cans spray paint;  18mm plywood;  Click-in flooring;  Wood glue;  Timber surround;  Nails;  Clear varnish;  8 screws

Tools you will need
Tape measure; Hand saw; Hammer; Square; Pencil; Sandpaper block; Hand drill; Paint brush

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Step 1
Apply 2 coats of white spray paint to bookcases, leaving to dry totally between coats.

Step 2
Measure and cut your 18mm-thick plywood to the size you desire for the desk top. We cut ours to 1200mm x 500mm. Measure and cut the click-in flooring to the same size.

Step 3
Using wood glue, glue the flooring onto the plywood, making sure it fits perfectly.


Step 4
Cut timber surround to fit along all sides of desk top and mitre corners. Glue surround to edges and, if needed, hammer in a fine nail at each corner for extra security. When glue has set hard, give whole top a good sand so edging is perfectly flush with top.


Step 5
Give the desk top and sides at least 3 coats of varnish to protect the surface (we used clear but you can use a tint if you wish).


Step 6
Place desk top on bookcases, ensuring overhang is even on both sides and it is balanced, from front to back. Using a drill, screw in 4 screws per bookcase, as shown in photo (make sure screw length is less than the combined width of desktop and bookcase top).

Marty’s Tips

  • Check the space where you want the desk to go and make it to size.
  • When spray-painting the drawers, make sure you have a large, clear area as the spray paint spreads through the air and will land on any nearby surface.
  • Make sure you have someone leaning on the desk top while you are drilling the bookcases to it.
  • Check what materials you already have as you can make it more cost-effective if using recycled materials.

Created by: Catherine Wilkinson and Martin Laidlaw

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