DIY File Cabinet Desk
This last month I went through a huge transition…ALL of my kiddos are in school ALL day long! It’s so bittersweet. With my boys being gone I knew I needed a new craft/work space because I finally have some real craft time! I wanted it HUGE! 10 feet long huge and spanning my whole room. I did a lot of research on how to create it and decided to use file cabinets for my base.
I looked long and hard on Craigslist and our local thrift stores and came up empty for months. Dang small town living! So, I had to buck up and buy mine off Amazon. To support the desk with how deep I wanted it, I needed deep cabinets. I wanted to paint them so they looked really nice. To start painting them, first pull off the hardware.
You also have to pull out the drawers. If you cant figure out how to get them out, try YouTube! It helped me! I wrapped around the drawers with paper, so only the front would get painted. You can not remove the button so I just painted mine.
It turned out awesome!
Now it was time to build the desk! The first step was to get the wood! I went the cheap route. Pine 1×6 planks from Home Depot. I needed 5 to make my desk about 28 inches deep. This is one of the most important parts! You want to pick out wood that will line up as best as possible. It won’t line up perfect, because the wood will be warped. You are just looking for the best fitting pieces. This process took us about an hour. Be prepared to be patient!
Once you have these planks you need wood for the underside frame. The best choice for this would be 2×2 pieces. Unfortuantly, the longest 2×2’s we could find were 8 feet long. Since my desk was going to be 10 feet long we had to buy a 10 foot 2×4 and rip it into 2-10 foot long 2×2’s. We also bought 2- 8 foot long 2×2’s.
While at Home Depot you will also want to buy a countersink drill bit, so you can hide your screw holes. You will also want several 3 inch screws and also inch and half wood screws.
Next you need to build your frame:
Find out how wide you want your desk and how long. We did this by laying our planks out first. Be sure to cut your planks the right length before you start this process! Once you have them cut the right length, you will need to build your frame the same size as the planks.
Cut your middle cross pieces to fit inside. You are going to screw it in like the arrows show using your longer screws.
On the front side of the frame you will need to use your countersink bit first so you won’t see the screws. If you have never used a countersink bit here is what you do. Drill in first with the countersink bit, just wide enough for your screw to sit into the wood and be completely under the top of the board.
You can see here how the screw goes in under the wood.
Once your frame is together it’s time to put the planks on the top.
Once again make sure you countersink on the top. We did 2 screws on each part of the plank where it hit the frame. One thing I forgot to take pictures of is that we made big holes in the top for computer cords using a spade drill bit. Like this:
When all the planks are done it should look like this from the bottom.
This may seem out of order, but the next thing I did was stain the bottom. I wanted it stained, but I also wanted to be able to sand off any stain that might soak through. So I stained the bottom before sanding the top.
Then it’s time too fill all the countersink holes. Since I was staining my desktop I used, Minwax Stainable Wood Filler.
I filled it and left a little out of each hole.
I let it dry completely. Next came the belt sander.
Because we were using cheap planks we had a lot of sanding to do. Some parts were a little higher and I wanted the top to be even and smooth. So be patient and get the planks even. It will make all the difference when its done!
Once we belt sanded, it was time for the hand sander.
You can see how the belt sander was rough. I hand sanded for at least an hour over the whole top until it was smooth as can be!
This what your filled holes will now look like.
There were a few spots where the stain had come through so I sanded those down some.
Because I wanted a more rustic look I didn’t use a pre-stain. Here is what I did use. Thick paper towels or a rag, tack cloth, a sponge brush, and the Minwax Dark Walnut stain. Tack cloth is amazing! It will get all the dust particles off of your wood. Before you use the tack cloth I would spray the seams with a compressed air duster (like you use to clean keyboards). I didn’t do that and I had dust come up during staining which was frustrating! Make sure you remove all the dust with the tack cloth before you stain.
I don’t have any staining pictures, because I was concentrating on getting it done right since it was such a large piece. The key to staining is to put an even layer on and leave it for a few minutes (until it gets the shade you want) then wipe the rest off. After the stain I added 3 coats of Minwax Polycrylic which gives an amazing sturdy coating over the stain. I followed the instruction and made sure to sand in between each layer and used tack cloth to clear any dust.
Then you can place your file cabinets and set your beautiful desk on top!
This is what the holes looked like when stained.
I love that I have room to pull out my Cricut or my sewing machine and still have room to work!
Be sure to check out my Pottery Barn inspired Inspiration wall:
You can also see the full office reveal: