Building Kids' Furniture: Desk Construction Guide

What You'll Need
Tape Measure
Angle Square
Portable Circular Saw
Paint Brush
3/4 inch Plywood
1/2 inch Plywood
1x2 Lumber
1 inch Nails
Drawer Runners or Sliders
Varnish Wood Finish
Latex Paint
2 Sets Artist Stacking Drawer Cabinets (one set for each side of desk)

Building a kids furniture desk is a fun project that not only saves money, but can be a project for both you and your kids to do together.


Just as with adults, kids spend a great deal of time at their computers.  As they grow, they need to have adjustments made to the height of their furniture to ensure that they do not cause repetitive motion injuries that lead to carpel tunnel syndrome.  Desk heights should be such that children do not need to raise or lower their head in order to look at the monitor, but can look at it straight on.

Also, keyboard heights should be designed so that children do not need to raise or lower their hands and arms to more than a 90 degree angle, parallel to their thighs as they use their keyboard.

As children grow, their personal desks should be flexible enough to allow for adjustments in height.  One way to accomplish this is to build a kids furniture desk that includes the flexibility to add height without completely redesigning the desk or extravagant expense.

This desk can be completed over the course of one afternoon and is easy to adjust for your child's height as they grow and change over time.

Step 1-Measure Location

Decide and measure where you want your child's desk to be located.

Step 2-Measure Desk

Measure for the desk top.

Step 3-Cut Desk Top

Using your circular saw or table saw, cut the ¾ inch plywood to the measurements of the desk top.

Step 4-Measure Computer

Measure the size of the computer keyboard and mouse.  This will be the measurement for the keyboard tray.

Step 5-Cut Keyboard Tray

Cut the keyboard tray bottom according to your measurement.

Step 6-Measure Drawers

Measure side of artist stacking drawers for inside height measurement of desk side.  Depth of the desk side will be the depth of the desk top.

Step 7-Cut Panels

Cut two desk side panels.

Step 8-Sand Edges

Use sand paper to smooth outside edges of desktop, keyboard tray bottom and side panels.

Step 9-Cut Keyboard Bottom

Cut 4 pieces of 1x2 lumber to same width as keyboard bottom.
Attach 2 pieces of 1x2 lumber together to form 90 degree angle L-bracket.  Make two brackets.

Step 10-Attach L-Brackets

Flip desktop over so that desired grain is on the bottom and place keyboard bottom on desktop bottom.
Draw pencil outline of where you want the keyboard tray to be located – set aside keyboard bottom.
Attach the L-brackets to the bottom of the desktop, along side measurement of keyboard bottom.

Step 11-Attach Drawer Runner

Attach drawer runner/sliders to L-brackets and outside sides of keyboard bottom according to instructions.  This will serve to allow the keyboard tray to easily slide under the desktop bottom and place the keyboard out of the way.

Step 12-Flip Desktop Over

Flip the desktop right side up and place it on top of the artist stacking drawer cabinets.

Step 13-Paint and Varnish

Paint and varnish desktop.
Paint and varnish keyboard tray.

Step 14-Attach Keyboard Tray

Attach keyboard tray bottom to side by placing it on runner/sliders.
Pull out several times to make sure it slides easily.

The design of this child's desk allows for the height of the desk to be adjusted as the child grows by replacing the initial artists stacking drawers with other stacking drawers that can be increased in height over time.  Making a simple child's desk can be a wonderful and fun project for you and your child to complete in one afternoon.