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Customize this built-in desk to suit your room decor and needs, whether it’s a family organization center, makeup table, or crafts desk.
Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.
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Check the materials list to see the finish and laminate used for the completed desk, but feel free to substitute either or both for the desk that fits your decor. If you wish to substitute 3/4-inch birch plywood for the MDF shown, reduce the total cost estimate by roughly $10.
Cut the 24-in x 44-in desktop from 3/4-inch-thick plywood or MDF. If you don’t have the tools to do this at home, ask a Lowe’s associate to cut the top to size.
Using a table saw or circular saw, cut the front and side edge strips of laminate 1 inch wide (1/4-inch oversize) and about 1/4 inch longer than the sides and front of the top.
When cutting laminate, use a fine-tooth blade and set the blade to cut no more than 3/8 inch deep. Rest the laminate on a thick, flat surface -- we used a rigid foam panel -- that won’t damage the blade.
Starting with one of the desktop sides, apply contact cement to the back of the laminate strip and the MDF edge. Let stand according to the product instructions while the surfaces become tacky. Without letting them touch, center the laminate over the MDF edge and gently lower it in place. Press the laminate down with a J-roller to create a solid bond between the surfaces with no air bubbles.
Using a laminate trimmer or a router with a laminate-trimming bit, remove the excess laminate. Repeat for the other side and then the front strip.
Measure the MDF desktop, and saw the top laminate 1/4 inch oversize in both directions. Apply contact adhesive to the MDF top and the underside of the laminate and let stand until tacky.
To quickly apply adhesive over a large area, use a disposable 4-inch roller.
Lay a row of 1/2-inch wood dowels about 10 inches apart on the MDF and rest the laminate on the dowels with the sticky side down while you line it up to overhang each edge. (An alternate laminate pattern is shown for photography.) With the top laminate in position, gently remove a middle dowel and allow the laminate to touch the adhesive on the MDF. Continue removing dowels from the center to one edge, pressing the laminate in position as you go. Repeat in the opposite direction and use the J-roller to bond the laminate to the MDF.
Using a laminate trimmer or router, trim the laminate flush with the edges. (Take special care to keep the router from gouging the laminate edges.) To soften any rough spots or sharp edges, wrap a scrap wood block with 220-grit sandpaper and lightly sand the laminate edges. (Hold the block at an angle to avoid scratching the face of the laminate.)
Cut the apron sides (B) and front/back (C) to length (Wall-Mounted Table Project Diagram). From the leftover 1 x 4 poplar, cut the triangular corner braces. Drill a centered 3/8-inch hole in each brace.
Glue and clamp the apron sides flush with and between the front and back. Check that the assembly is square at the corners.
Glue and clamp the corner braces to the back and sides of the apron with the top face of each brace flush with the top edges of the apron.
Flip the apron upside down. Then glue and clamp a table leg against the front and one side of the apron with the end of the leg flush with the edge of the apron. Repeat for the second table leg.
Apply the finish of your choice (Cracked Pepper shown on the finished desk) to the apron and legs.
Place the laminated desktop upside down on a flat surface. Center the apron along the width of the desktop with the back flush with the back edge of the desktop. Using the holes in the corner braces as a guide, carefully drill pilot holes in the underside of the desktop and screw the apron to the desktop. Along the front of the apron, drill and screw 2-inch corner braces to the apron and desktop.
Decide where you will install the desk and hold it in position there with the top level. Use an electronic stud finder to discover where the back of the apron crosses studs behind the drywall. Drill 1/4-inch holes through the back of the apron at these points and lightly touch the drywall with the tip of the bit. Drive 2-1/2-in wood screws to fasten the desk to the wall.