DIY Rustic Desktop

Jul 28, 2017 by

DIY Rustic desktop

When I first decided to try doing a blog I thought I could do it all on my iPad and that it would be no big deal, easy peasy. I could just do everything from my bed or couch because I didn’t need anything other than some kind of electronic that I could type on and that hooked up to the internet. Then I started to realize that I would need a binder to keep things organized, then I needed a printer and I needed space to lay out different papers and books. I needed space!

I had a desk that I got as a hand-me-down and it was great while I was in college, it was everything I needed it to be. As I started getting more and more into this whole blogging business I quickly ran out of space on that desk and needed a new one. For my birthday my husband wanted to buy me a desk. I looked and looked online and at different stores around town and couldn’t find anything that I liked that was within our budget. Go figure…. So he found someone who had made a desk and suggested that maybe we do that. I loved the idea. The person he got the idea from did a much, much simpler version by just laying stained boards on the shelves. We wanted to kick it up a notch. Here is what we did:


Two bookshelves and a filing cabinet from Ikea

6-1x10x8’appearance boards (we used pine)

2- 1x2x6

Wood glue

1 1/4” wood screws

Wood putty

Wood stain (I used Mirawax provincial)

Polyurethane sealant

Metal strapping


Spray paint


Measuring tape

Miter saw

Circular saw


Clamps (large and small)

Impact driver




Foam brushes


Saw horses

After you buy the wood let it sit and dry out for a week or two, preferably in the room the desk will be in. When the wood dries it will warp. You want this to happen before you get everything put together so you can work with the quirks as you go, rather than have it do funky things after it is all put together.

Once you have all the supplies and tools and your wood has dried you are ready to get to work!

The first step is to measure how big you want your desk to be. Mine is roughly 6’ x 6’. One side is slightly longer than the other side because that is what fit best in the room we have it in. Always measure two to three times just to be safe. Once you make a cut there is no going back!

DIY Rustic desktop

Next you are going to make the 45 degree cuts.  Line up the wood to decide which side you want up and which order you want them in.  There will be three pieces for each side. It helps if you lay them out so you can see where the cuts need to be made and mark it. Cut the ends of the wood at a 45 degree angle with the miter saw. Cut the 1×2 into 2 foot sections.

DIY Rustic desktop

Lay the boards in the order you want them. Make sure the cut ends are even. Glue three pieces together with wood glue and use large clamps to pull them together as tight as you can. Use the smaller clamp to try to straighten any warped ends. Use the 2 foot sections of 1×2 to add strength by gluing the 1×2 to the back of the desktop and using screws to secure them. Repeat with the next three pieces to make the other side of the desk. Once the glue has dried measure and double measure the length you want it. Mark it and cut the end off with a circular saw.

DIY Rustic desktop

DIY Rustic desktop

Next, use wood putty to fill in any crack or chips. Let the putty dry completely then start sanding. You will want to use a sander for this. I used 100 grit, medium grain sandpaper to take off the edges where the boards meet, and to get all the putty off the surface. I finished with 400 grit, fine grain sandpaper to make it as smooth as possible.

DIY Rustic desktop

DIY Rustic desktop

After the sanding we rounded the edges with a router and sanded away any imperfections by hand with the 400 grit sandpaper.

DIY Rustic desktop

Now that you have reached this point it gets easier. The next step it to stain it. Wipe down the surface with a damp (not wet) rag to get all the saw dust off.  Staining is really simple. I used a foam paint brush to apply the stain I let it sit for a couple minutes and used a rag to wipe it off. I liked how it turned out so I didn’t do a second coat. There are more specific instructions on the can to follow, make sure you read them before you start.

DIY Rustic desktop

When your desktop is as dark as you want it apply a few coats of polyurethane. This is also really simple. Just like the stain, make sure you read all the instructions before you start. I just used foam brushes again. I did three coats on both pieces of the desk top. You can do more or less, whatever you want. Just a heads up, you will need a new brush for each application. It doesn’t rinse out well and when it dries it doesn’t soak up, or spread the new stuff very good.

DIY Rustic desktop

DIY Rustic desktop

You are almost done!! Even after I had let the wood sit out for a couple weeks it still continued warping and made the edges a little wonky so they don’t fit together perfectly. Adding two metal brackets on the bottom to hold it all together made it a little sturdier. We also got some metal strapping to put on top to cover the warped edges and make it look nicer. We spray painted the strapping and used thumbtacks to attach it to the desktop.

DIY Rustic desktop

DIY Rustic desktop

Now that the desktop has been put together and has been set on the shelves and filing cabinet I have a beautiful, custom desk where I can organize all my stuff and blog away! Like I said at the beginning we saw something super simple and kicked it up a notch. We had some challenges along the way with tools breaking and wood warping, but in the end it turned out to be a fun, beautiful and fairly easy project.

DIY Rustic desktop

DIY Rustic desktop

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