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Easy DIY: Affordable Desk With Metal Legs

by Samantha Potter|Sep 14, 2021

I’ve been updating McGregor’s office zone that is in our spare bedroom and it’s all started with an easy DIY desk. This DIY desk really really needed to happen. He was using a desk I had since university when my style was more glam than it is now. Since university, I have gravitated to a more rustic, and well, I don’t think glam was ever quite McGregor’s style… So, just in time for him to return to the office full time, I’ve decided to fix up his space (timing is impeccable!).

Faux Metal Legs for this DIY Desk

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I made this DIY desk fully out of wood – it came to about $100 to make. I could have done it for $75, but to be honest, I wanted a more sturdy top so opted for an additional $25.

The one design detail I wanted for this desk was the metal leg look. The “metal” legs give it a more masculine and industrial look – but I didn’t want to pay the price of full metal legs. So black spray paint to the rescue as usual – luckily I had leftovers from my antique vase.

Metal-looking legs for cheap. Yes.

To be honest, I also got a little lazy, if you filled the knots, and sanded it down more, you’d have even more of an industrial look. I sanded but didn’t bother filling.

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Here’s what you need to make a DIY desk with faux metal legs:

Before you pick out your materials, you need to know what height you’d like the DIY desk to be as well as what size you’d like the top to be. I will give you measurements based on what I have made below. It is 30 inches tall (it’s on the high side because McGregor is tall!), 24 inches deep and 44 inches wide.

  • One x 3/4-inchx2’x4′ pine plywood for the top
  • 12 feet of 1.5 inch pine (frame for desk top – two ~2 ft pieces and 2 ~4 ft peices)
  • 25 feet of 2x4s (this will give you a little extra – 4x pieces that are 20 inches, 4x pieces that are 28 inches, 2x pieces that are for your cross bars – ~24 inches long)
  • Black Spray Paint
  • White paint
  • Aged Glaze
  • Carptener’s Glue
  • 2.5 inch screws
  • 2 inch nails
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Tools you need:

  • Table Saw
  • Mitre Saw
  • Drill
  • Sander (+ sandpaper)
  • Level
  • Nail Gun

Instructions:

  • Using your table saw, cut your plywood to the size that you want your desk-top to be. Don’t forget, we will be framing this out so account for additional frame width (I did an extra 2 inches because of a 1-inch frame on all sides).
  • Next, make the cuts for your legs using your mitre saw. You are creating a rectangle. After trial and error, I found it easiest to mitre these corners as they fit a lot better. I needed four mitred pieces that were 20 inches wide and another four mitred pieces that were 28 inches tall. Remember, as you’re looking at your piece of wood, it should be trapezoid-esque (both short corners on one side, and both long on one side) for your mitred corners to fit together.
  • Using your mitre saw again, make the cuts to cap off/frame out your desk top.
  • Make the cuts for your brace – I added two additional “braces” both at the back, one at the top, and one at the bottom. My pieces were 32 inches long.
  • Assemble your legs – if you can make pocket screws, do this, if not, add wood glue to your mitred corners, and then screw two screws into the top/bottom portion so you don’t need to fill any holes. I pre-drilled to prevent cracking.
  • Add your frame to your desk top – use wood glue and a nail gun.
  • To achieve the same look as I have, stain your desk top using a white wash (75% water, 25% white paint) and the Rustoleum aged glaze.
  • Spray paint your legs black.
  • Once everything is dry, assemble your desk. First, place the desk top over the legs and make sure it is level. Then, flip the desk top upside down, and measure the placement of your desk legs – I did 2 inches from the edge of the plywood, and centered width-wise. I then screwed in the legs with a 2.5-inch screw. I did the same with the braces.
  • Flip your DIY desk over and there you have it! You can also jazz it up by adding a hole for your cords to go through using a hole saw if you want.
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