Modular Desk Bases with Shelf Help

custom built in desk
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Build your own desk base with this modular plan!  YOU choose how each base is configured - from open shelves to doors or drawers!  

These days your desk gets as much or more use than your kitchen!

So your desk really needs to be done RIGHT.

I just built a new desk with modular bases customized for my needs.

custom built in desk

This is an easy to customize system, both in size and in functionality!

On the left I did an open shelf with a roll out for the printer. On the right I did a row of drawers and then a CPU tower/wastebasket cabinet.

Here is a video of my building this desk:

If you aren't able to watch the video, here's the photo steps:

1. Design the Bases

I used the Shelf Help Configurator to design my desk bases to fit my needs.  I have created a template for this desk system that you can use to guide you in designing and building your desk.

shelf help desk

2. Plywood Panels Arrive

The plywood panels for the desk arrived about a week later in the mail.  I didn't have to go buy the plywood, haul it, cut it, and then deal with (and pay for) scraps I didn't need.

shelf help order in package

The front edges of the plywood panels are also edge banded, so no need to finish them!

shelf help front edge banding

3. Assemble

Assembling the plywood pieces is pretty straight forward - just drill 3/4" pocket holes on the horizontal pieces and attach to the vertical pieces with 1-1/4" pocket hole screws.

shelf help building

Instead of a full plywood top or back, I used 1x3 furring strips to tie the sides in.  This saves weight, cost, and bulk in the project.

shelf help building step 2

4. Customize

Once the carcass is done, it's easy to customize to suit your needs.  Since you are working with a square project, you can just measure as you go - no need for a detailed plan.For the desk base on the right, I added three drawers and a cabinet door.

adding drawers to a built in desk

For the base on the left, I added a roll out printer shelf.  All the bases have 5" baseboard.

roll out printer shelf

5. Finish and Top

The finish on the desk is primer and white semi-gloss paint from Sherwin Williams (color is Extra White).  The countertop is quartz, the color is Rococo.  The quartz countertop is just sitting on the desk bases.  It is very heavy, so glad the desk bases are well made with 3/4" thick plywood!

custom built in desk

Are you ready to build your own desk?  

modular desk template plan

Head on over to Shelf Help for more details, templates, and of course, the configurator!

Finishing Instructions
Finish Used
Rolled on primer and paint in off the shelf white from Sherwin Williams
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