How to build a kids workstation


Project Overview

Reclaim the family dining table and bring order to the kids’ homework or crafting paraphernalia with this D.I.Y. desk project. The sides and back panel keep chaos contained, while shelves hold pen pots and drawing essentials. There’s also a cable duct to help you deal with cords. Paint the top and back panel in a colour to match the kids’ room scheme – or go for a grown-up hue and steal it for your own office!

Continue to step-by-step instructions

Step by Step Instructions

1 Measure and cut
2 Measure and cut the sides
3 Secure the rails
4 Attach the backing
5 Attach the trim
6 Assemble and attach the shelves
7 Sand down
8 Paint it
9 Cut a hole for the cable duct
10 Paint the desk legs
11 Final touches
12 The finished product
  • Step 1. Measure and cut

    Measure and cut the hevea timber panel to 897mm long, exactly the same width as the plywood panel. You can ask for this to be done in-store, or cut it to size yourself using a circular saw or handsaw.
  • Step 2. Measure and cut the sides

    Measure two side rails for the desk from 64mm-wide dressed pine to 405mm long (the same width as the timber panel) and cut using a drop saw or handsaw with a mitre box. Cut one end of each rail at 45º angle.
  • Step 3. Secure the rails

    Place the rails upside down, with the timber panel on top, flush with the sides and ends. Pre-drill screw holes 10mm in from the sides. Remove the panel, apply adhesive on the rails, replace the panel, secure with 40mm screws.
  • Step 4. Attach the backing

    Position the plywood panel against the back of the timber panel and side rails as a backing. Pre-drill screw holes in the backing 10mm in from the sides. Remove the backing, apply adhesive, then secure using 40mm screws.
  • Step 5. Attach the trim

    To attach the trim, turn the desktop assembly so the backing is lying flat. Cut the pine moulding to fit around the backing, with the side pieces butting against the top piece. Do a test fit, then apply adhesive. Secure with nails, positioned at least 30mm from the ends and spaced 200mm apart.
  • Step 6. Assemble and attach the shelves

    To make the shelves, measure and cut the 140mm-wide dressed pine into two 300mm lengths. Position two brackets on each shelf, flush with the back, then secure with 20mm screws. Position the shelves about 50mm from the edges of the backing, securing with 20mm pan-head screws.
  • Step 7. Sand down

    Give the desktop assembly a sanding all over using a random orbital sander with an 180-grit abrasive disc. Round over the edges slightly and work over the top edges of the side rails to soften the angle, making sure you check that both sides are even.
  • Step 8. Paint it

    Wipe all over using a clean damp cloth to remove dust. Using a mini roller, apply two even coats of Highland Meadow paint, allowing to dry between coats. For all-over coverage, load the roller so the end is saturated then push it into joints as you pull it to apply the paint, checking no gaps are left.
  • Step 9. Cut a hole for the cable duct

    Measure 70mm from the backing and the left side rail of the desktop to centre the 60mm holesaw. Drill the hole, holding the drill straight so the sides of the holes are even. Wipe away the dust using a cloth, then press the cable duct into the hole.
  • Step 10. Paint the desk legs

    To paint the legs, secure them to a timber offcut, turning it as you spray to reach all areas, then leave to dry for a couple of minutes. Repeat, continuing to apply light coats until the legs are covered. Paint the downpipe clip and metal planter.
  • Step 11. Final touches

    When dry, remove the legs from the offcut. Use 20mm button-head screws to secure the legs under the desktop, flush with the edges to allow for the cable duct opening. Attach the painted downpipe clip using 20mm screws and position the planter. To prevent the desk from moving, at the back of the desk, position two 75mm x 50mm angle brackets underneath with the 50mm side of the angle against the wall then transfer the position of the screws onto the wall. Use anchors suited to your wall type to secure the brackets, then position the desk over the brackets and secure underneath with 20mm pan head screws.

    Tip: Position timber offcuts under the desk while drilling to avoid damaging your work surface.

  • Step 12. The finished product

    There you have it, a work station fit for a kid - or even yourself! Once you have added your own final touches, we recommend using small pots, a cable tidy and cable duct to help keep your clutter to a minimum.

Tools and Materials


  • Safety equipment
  • Measuring tape
  • Circular saw or handsaw
  • Drop saw or handsaw with mitre box
  • Drill driver
  • 8g countersinking bit
  • Claw hammer
  • Spirit level
  • Random orbital sander
  • Tools:
  • Orbital 180-grit sanding discs
  • Clean cloth
  • 100mm x 4mm nap microfibre mini roller set
  • Roller tray
  • 60mm holesaw with arbor


  • SpecRite 1800mm x 405mm x 18mm hevea finger-jointed panel
  • 897mm x 600mm x 12mm BC plywood project panel
  • 1.2m length 64mm x 19mm dressed all round (DAR) pine
  • 250ml cement additive adhesive
  • Eight10 x 40mm bugle-head screws
  • Two 1.2m lengths Porta 20mm x 8mm pine moulding clear coverstrap
  • 20 x 1.25mm bullet-head nails
  • 1.2m length 140mm x 19mm DAR pine
  • Four Carinya 130mm x 150mm x 20mm x 15mm pine stayed brackets in Satin White
  • 20mm pan-head screws
  • 1L Taubmans water-based enamel in Highland Meadow
  • 60mm cable duct in White
  • Four Taskmaster 700mm x 10mm hairpin steel table legs
  • British Paints ‘Spray Easy Paint & Prime’ enamel in Flat White
  • 100mm zinc round downpipe clip
  • 100mm x 150mm metal planter
  • 20mm white button-head screws

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