Upcycled Desk = Boy’s Tool Bench

After ending up at the wrong museum for a blogger meet-up, my little man could not be pulled away from the tool bench. It was then that I came up with the idea to somehow make him his own tool bench. I tried making one from scratch. After having the guy at the home store cut out the wood for me, my hammering skills proved inadequate and the project was a bust. I continued to have hope, thinking up an easier way to accomplish my goal. I scavenged the thrift stores in our area hoping to find a solid wood sofa table or hall table. I didn’t have any luck finding one, but I knew immediately when I saw this little white computer desk for $15 that I had struck gold.

After having my son stand next to the desk, I realized it was a bit too tall for him to work at comfortably. My husband took the desk apart and cut off 5 inches from each of the “legs”.

After putting it back together, I sprayed the desk with 1 can of primer. I was told it wasn’t necessary to prime it, but because I was painting the desk red, priming it first would make it nice and bright. My goal in choosing red was to match my husband’s Snap-On toolbox, so I wanted it really shiny. After the desk was primed, I sprayed on 2 coats (2 cans) of red paint.

To create a divider drawer for all the bolts, screws, and nails, I bought an office supply plastic tray. The tray was a bit too wide for the keyboard pull-out, so I sawed off the back portion of the tray. I had to take a bit of sand paper and smooth out the rough edges after cutting it apart. I had my older son screw the plastic tray to the keyboard pull-out before attaching it back to the desk.

For the pegboard on top of the desk, I used a portion of a crate we had left over from our move. However, to replicate this, just measure the top of your desk or table to find the length of wood you would need. Then decide how tall it needs to be. Have the guy at the home store cut 2 pieces the desired length and 2 pieces of the desired height minus 2 inches (see illustration) from a 3×1 board. Then have him cut a piece of pegboard the total length and height.

Nail the boards together as pictured in the illustration. Place the pegboard over the frame and nail it down to the board. Place it upright on the edge of the desk. Drill holes through both the frame of the pegboard and the desk. Bolt frame in place.

For a finishing touch, I laid down a ribbed shelf liner to protect the surface of the work bench. I also picked up several small hand tools to complete our bench including small screwdrivers, a leveler, a measuring tape, and lots of screws and nails. I also added in a tub full of small pieces of wood so that he can practice hammering. I have also found that small cardboard boxes are easier to get a nail or screw through. This lets them practice without getting too frustrated.

Shared with A Delightful Home


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  2. […] post I chose to pin from last week was the darling DIY Upcycled Desk to Tool Bench Project from Ponder the Path. I am dying over the cuteness of this, and I know a particular little […]

  3. […] am all about being practical and I love gifts that encourage real life skills!  Here is a great tutorial on how to turn an old desk into a […]

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