Flip Down Wall Art Desk

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Flip Down Wall Art Desk

This do it yourself kids desk folds up to become a wall chalkboard! Stores art supplies and even a paper roll holder! Super easy step by step instructions to DIY your own!

HANDMADE FROM THIS PLAN >>

Projects built from this plan. Thank you for submitting brag posts, it's appreciated by all!

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Author Notes: 

This one has been a looooong time in the making. I first came up with the ideas of a wall mounted desk last Christmas when I thought having a fold down wrapping station with rolls of wrapping paper and ribbon all neatly lined up would be a perfect spot to wrap gifts. 

 But after considering the weight and size of gifts, I decided to scrap the idea and went with the tool box gift wrap station. Building presents makes for large heavy gifts - you know what I'm talking about.

Perfect for an Kid's Art Desk

I don't know why it took me a year to realize a fold down desk with storage would work perfect as a kid's art desk.  Duh.

Tiny Space Solution

We have this constant issue in our house of no where to color, paint and do simple crafts.  We needed a dedicated art stations for the girls, but in our less than 1200 square foot house that I work out of full time, there just isn't the space for a desk or art easel dedicated to the kids.

Storage Too!

But this desk, when closed, takes up NO floor space, and acts as a chalkboard for playing school.  But when opened, the desk not only creates a perfect for kids coloring height desktop, it opens up a dedicated area for storing art supplies.  And I've even put in a spot for a craft paper roll!

Easy Systems

You know me, I'm all about creating easy systems in the home that make sense and minimize extra work.  Before, we had a show box full of crayons and would haul it around from the table to the floor.  Crayons were never put back and I felt like more time was spent cleaning up after a coloring activity then we actually spent coloring.
With this system, the supplies are stored where they are used.  That's what? fifteen minutes less for me of picking up crayons a day?  Adds up . . . 92 hours a year!!!

Mount at Any Height

I mounted this desk at Grace's preferred height of 22" to the desktop, but you can mount it at any height.  Hannah is seven, and the desk is still just the right size for her.

Easy to Use

I installed a simple hook and eye closure to keep the desk shut.  To use, just remove the hook and eye and fold open.

Christmas Gift?

If you are looking for a simple inexpensive Christmas gift idea for children, I'd sure consider this one!  It's inexpensive to make (I used a scrap piece of PureBond Plywood leftover from my mudroom as the desktop) and you can modify it to suit.  
Shopping List: 

1 - piece 3/4" plywood 16" x 24"
1 - 1x4 @ 10 feet long
1 set hinge supports
1 set basic hinges
3 D ring hangers
Chalkboard paint (optional)
Moulding or trim (optional)

2 inch screws
2 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
primer
paint
paint brush
Tools: 
measuring tape
square
pencil
safety glasses
hearing protection
level
countersink drill bit
General Instructions: 

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!

Dimensions: 
You can alter the width of the desk, but do not go any deeper - the support is not there!
Cut List: 

1 - 1x4 @ 11 1/4"
1 - 1x4 @ 12 3/4"
2 - 1x4 @ 14 1/2"
2 - 1x4 @ 24"
1 - 3/4" Plywood @ 24" x 16"
1/2" dowel, 30" long

Step 1: 

I built this project with 2" finish nails, but you can also use screws or the Kreg Jig.

Start in the center and work your way outward so you don't get caught in a corner.  Mark all joints and fasten with glue.

Please read all comments when installing the hinge supports - per reader comments, depending on your hinge supports, you may need to add extra clearance for the supports.

Step 2 Instructions: 

Mark joints and attach in place.

Step 3 Instructions: 

Now the top and bottom. Drill 1/2" diameter holes for paper roll here. Leave dowel long so you can roll the outside ends to roll up the craft roll.

Step 4 Instructions: 

You do not have to put the trim on, I did because my chalkboard edges were so ugly! I used window casing, but you can use anything. Attach the top with simple hinges on the bottom.

Step 5 Instructions: 

You will need to add  support hinges like these properly configured so the top does not fall open and supports the desktop.  
Step 6 Instructions: 

Use D Ring hanging brackets to hang on the wall.  Be SURE to attach to at least one stud in the wall, and properly hang in drywall on two other locations.
Step 7 Instructions: 

UPDATE: Per reader comments, this desk may not fit standard support hinges with the paper roll holder.   I used a simple chain on the outside coupled with euro style non mortise hinges that already provide support and it's plenty strong.  If I had placed the hinges inset more, the chain could have been put on the inside of the desk as well - but it just worked out better on the outside for me.
Other workarounds could be flipping the desk over so the paper roll is to the top, or using a wider width board for the outer frame, with a slightly narrower width board (for example a 1x4 frame with 1x3 shelves) to fit the support hinges.
My apologies to anyone having issues.  Thank you to those of you who have left feedback, it is greatly appreciated.  Ana
Preparation Instructions: 
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth. It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.
Estimated Cost: 
Skill Level: 
Style: 

Comments

Ana, could you be any more clever! This could be adapted to many uses. I think i'll make one for the kitchen area to store random papers or a bill paying station. Thank you for the inspiration!

I've been trying to figure out where I could put a desk for Maddie (6y/o) to do homework and coloring in our tiny 930 square foot home. Thank you so much! Now I can put it in her room!

The hinges in the pictures of the one that you built look different than the one specified in the instructions. Are they? Are the ones from your actual pictures strong enough? I would prefer them to the ones that would hang on the sides and get in the way of arms.

He may wear the pants, but I wear the toolbelt!

Hi Dirt Squirt, thank you! The hinges are different - I used the Euro style ones - but the better installation is the simple hinge and hinge support. We live 100 miles from a Home Depot or Lowes, so I am waiting for my next shopping trip to pick up the hinge supports, and only had on hand the Euro style ones. The euro style hinges do work, but not for a high weight load without the supports. Since the Euro Style hinges are more expensive and harder to install, I recommended the simple hinges on the underside. Hope this makes sense! Best luck! Ana

I want to point out that this desk is also good for the development of young children. When children cross the mid-line of the body it allows for better brain development and specifically the ability to learn to read. Also children with developmental delays seem to be helped by standing vs. sitting (IE: using the chalk board or an easel.

I was just discussing an idea like this for a "fold out" sewing station. I love this idea, but do you think it could handle a sewing machine? I'm thinking I might be out of luck. Love this idea, though, and will likely implement in our girls' rooms.

Hi Sandi, what a great idea, a fold out sewing center! Not sure if the support would be there with my plan, but there are certainly ways of "beefing" up everything!

We really love it in Grace's room - so far, she's put everything away when done, and folded it shut! Here's hoping that continues!

It may sound odd, but one way to get the added support is to add fold up legs to the bottom(or sides?) of the table. Unfold them, lock them into place, and then bring down the table. Or Unfold the table, then the legs if the table/wall is strong enough to support the legs. Obvious the desk would need to be larger and better attached to the wall for this idea. Just my thoughts on beefing things up. :)

I think the best part of this plan was the time savings picking up crayons. I spend a good portion of my day cleaning up the art supplies! Wondering if there would be a way to either add or have free-standing legs you could set up to support a longer version of this for a fold-down desktop for three kids?? Any ideas?

It's crazy how these small daily tasks just add up, don't they!!! Before you know it, you are 92 hours into picking up crayons.

I'm proud to say we are several days into this craft desk and I have not picked up or put away a single craft item (and we have a 2, 4 and 7 year old here regularly!). The system is working for us!

There would be no issue of going wider, I actually initially designed the desk 4 feet wide. But I scrapped that design because I wanted the kids to be able to open and close the desk independent of me. But certainly possible.

Going longer would be very beneficial because it would give you a taller chalkboard (or whiteboard or pinboard), but would make the storage cubbies harder for the little ones to access. You certainly could though - just make the frame (or part of the frame) fold out as a leg base.

LOVE this! this would be perfect for older kids too! Just wanted to add an idea- why not screw down a strip of metal alond the bottom? Not a sharp piece but something that the end of the paper can slide underneath to hold the paper down and then you can use that piece of metal to tear the paper off the roll. Make sense?

Makes perfect sense! You know what might be cute would be a ruler with a metal edge or metal ruler, then the ruler could be used as a measuring device as well!

The paper roll is actually backwards in the photo - couldn't get the kids to stop painting long enough to change it! and should actually roll under, perfect for a tear strip. Great idea!

Use a hacksaw blade (fine teeth for metal cutting & longest one) at the rear end of the table and screw it down on top of 1/8" spacers (washers will work) feed the paper underneath. Pull paper out and tape like drafters use to do. When done with art, hold the roll and tear the sheet up against blade for straight cut.

I've been wanting something like this for DD's room for a while now, but I haven't had time to sit down and really think through the mechanics. I love your design! Can't wait to find time to bang it out. (I need to finish a loft bed first.)

I love this! For more support, you could hinge the frame at the top to the chalk board so that it forms legs when you open the desk.

I'm completely confused about the hangers, though. How do those hangers work? Have you had any problems with the desk coming away from the wall? I'd be worried about that, then the supplies falling out the back.

Thanks! About the hangers, I only have them on the top, and using the desk actually pushes down on the back, keeping everything in place, rather than pulling it outward. That said, it would be a good idea to put the hangers on the top AND bottom (4 total) with at least one on top and one on bottom into a stud in the wall. Good point!

When I first saw this (on ohdeedoh) I thought the front was a cabinet door. It might make an even easier project and it would have hinges (or spots for hinges) already.
I'm just wonder how much wt this would hold. I could see my guy leaning on it and breaking it off

Thanks for the awesome idea.

What a great idea to use a cabinet door!

As shown in the photos, I do not yet have my support hinges in place (we live 100 miles from a Home Depot or Lowes and I just haven't made the trip yet). The support hinges will greatly increase the strength of the flip down - depending on the type you get and the screws you use, the weight limit could be very very heavy.

I think the part we are loving the most about this desk (we are a week into using it with three very crafty girls) is the accessible storage of supplies. It's so convenient to put the crayons and paints back and close it up!

Best luck everyone and thank you!

Anna you are so creative! This will be perfect for my sons room. I was contemplating building a desk but his room is so small that a desk would literally leave him with no room. We have a 4 bedroom house and only 1600 square foot and each room is limited to how much furniture can go in it. This will work perfectly! Thanks so much Anna!!

I just thought about something. Istead of having the external support brackets (that could get caught and yanked by clothing walking, or running, by). Could we instead attach chains to the top corners of the shelves and the fold down shelf to hold it in place?

Just built this desk. I love it. Putting on the support hinges to keep the desk level was difficult for this beginner. Had to cut a notch in the top interior shelf for the hinge to fold into. It would have been much easier to do BEFORE assembling the desk. Don't forget to think about where those support hinges will go.

Hi-
We're about to start this project (beginners.) We think the moulding makes the project, but aren't sure how much to buy or how to cut it or put it together. Is there another tutorial somewhere that explains moulding, or is that just something we need to figure out on our own?
Thanks! We are in 1000 sq ft and our kids are going to LOVE this!

Whats the 1 - 1x2 @ 22 1/2" for? I dont see that in the one in the picture. The hinge supports will not close with the 22.5" peice across at the bottom. I removed the 22.5" peice and the hinge supports still dont seem to work because there is not enough depth when closed.

The 1x2 @ 22 1/2" was originally meant to be put at the top, inset to the back, giving you something to screw the entire unit to the wall. This is an error on my part - when I hung mine and found the unit to be secure without the 1x2, I decided it wasn't entirely necessary for the plans. I will update the plans to reflect this error, and I thank you for writing to let me know. Much appreciated.

For the hinge supports, depending on the type of hinge support, you may be able to place to the outside. Or if your hinge supports are particularly long, you could flip the unit over so your paper roll sits to the top, and then you would have more room for the hinge supports. Another option is to use chain and threaded eye hooks.

Hope this works for you - Ana

I just finished building this darling desk. I just have to paint it and then I'll post pictures. Thank you for another winner, Ana!

I am a total amateur so I feel a little silly correcting anything in your plans but I just wanted to note that there seems to be one cut missing from the cut list. According to the plans there is a 1x4 @ 22 1/2 to make the shelf above the paper holder dowel but that doesn't appear on the cut list.

Thanks again!

Becky

although a very cute idea ~my husband a skilled carpenter~ made this per specs and it does not close nor do the side brackets fit without quite a bit of notching etc. and one of the cuts are listed wrong. Best if you use the euro brackets vs side that the directions call for because the desk will not close properly, if at all.

This is a fantastic project! I am going to customize it to be a computer desk-- with two computer screens flush-mounted on the wall inside the case (flip up the desk and voila- no computer)! Also working in a slide-in wireless keyboard hide-away and mouse cubby... I will send pics when done. I am so excited.

Thanks for the idea-- love the site. We are looking at building a house of our own from the ground up soon and love your momplex blog! Thanks again!!!

What a great idea! We are going to be building this for our daughter to put in her "art corner" we are making in the corner of the kitchen.

I do have one question regarding the front panel where you have a chalkboard; do you have any other ideas for what to do with that area? We already have a large chalkboard right next to where this will go and I am having a hard time coming up with an idea of how to "decorate" the front of this. Don't want to do the chalkboard or dry erase and she is too little for a pin board, don't want her to have tacks or anything like that. I was thinking of putting a fun cute fabric? Any ideas would be helpful. Thanks!

What about one of those message boards with a cute fabric and a coordinating ribbon that makes several diamond patterns? Then your little one could still showcase her items, but without the use of pins.

Hardware Tree sells a hinge/support for drop front secretaries that would work well for the wall desk. It combines both the hinge and support in compact unit, and they are only $6.35 each.

Just wondering about how much you spent on all of the materials? There is a similar desk at Ikea (59.99) and I was just trying to figure out which is more cost effective.
Although I do like the make it yourself idea better:)

Thanks,
Anne

Came here looking for an alternative to the IKEA laptop desk. We just drove to LA to buy 2 and were told they are discontinued :(

I would love to build this for my daughter but she is 11 so would need it bigger. What do you recommend the measurements should be?

I love these. We had one a LONG time ago that was built in the 70's that after the user grew out of crayons (it was deeper) it was used for hair curlers and perfume! We are building a new one into a built in bookshelf in our current home and my husband could not remember what it looked like inside; we have a photo of the outside but that didn't cut it. Thanks for sharing. He's a visual guy and the internet and posts like yours save us from killing each other sometimes!

Ana, Since moving out of our house into an apt Ive been at a standstill on building. And now, im looking at buying a mobile home out in the country, but the bedrooms are teenie! ( My duaghter is not big enough for a loft bed yet! )This is perfect, I could mount it above my daughters bed, or even in the hallway! Thanks for posting another awesome plan! Love it.

My husband and I made 2 of these for our grandkids (2 & 3yrs old). We love having them visit but hated when they just wanted to watch T.V. We wanted them to learn and use their imagination and these desks did just that. They spend lots of time coloring, painting, drawing and writing on the chalkboard. Just wanted to thank you for the inspiration and to let you know that it was just as easy as you said it would be! Thanks again!!

This is going to make my classroom a different place next year! I just hope a beginner isn't getting too carried away to imagine building several of these as centers around my room! Maybe even one for me! I can't wait to try! Thanks you wonderful woman!

I do large scale sewing projects (tall draperies, bed spreads, etc). I have been dreaming up how to convert my guest room with a queen size bed into my work space without getting rid of the bed - for the occasional guest! I'm thinking the storage day bed idea combined with a DIY headboard, which will drop down (&maybe unfold?) that can be used as a cutting table for fabrics. Because of the length:width it would probably need fold out leg supports that drop on either side of the far end of the bed. I can dream it,, just not design it!! Lol. Any suggestions?

I would like to use this as a wrapping station as you mentioned earlier. I would like to increase the width to a gift wrap roll size, but I would like to increase the height as well. I know you mentioned not to increase the depth, but would increasing both the height and width cause an issue? I am a rookie who wants all my ducks in a row before I beg my husband to construct this for me!!

It seems that you are missing from the cut list 1 - 1x4 @ 22.5" - this increases the 1x4 length required to finish the project from 101" to 123.5".

A question about mounting - how would you recommend attaching a much larger (8' wide by 40" tall) version of this to a studded wall? Any other modifications required? (i.e. hinges or other support mechanisms)

Thanks!

Ana, because I love your plans I went out and bought a kreg jig. 

So here is my dumb question. The plan calls for 2 inch nails but if I use a crate chick and use 2 inch pocket screws it goes right through both boards. What size Kreg screws and I supposed to use for this plan? I finished it with 2 inch Phillips and that was fine. Had to make some adjustments since not everything lined up the way I wanted. 

But since you love the Kreg can you tell me the screw answer?

Hi Ana,
I am in love with this design and I have bought all the materials to make two of them for the children I nanny for. After sitting down to make sure I had all my material before jumping in I realized i was missing the 22 ½ inch 1x4 that is need to make the shelf above the paper roll. After looking back I noticed that it is also missing in the cut list. So I was not sure if somewhere I missed something while reading. Any help would be FANTASTIC!!