8 Foot Craft Table in a Day

by stu

I built this table for my girlfriend and her sister in their new apartment. They wanted a space to do their crafts and have more desk space to do work. I built this in a day pretty easily and it turned out great with a lot of surface area to work.
Finished Desk

I used a bookshelf from target at one end as the legs for more storage. This was the first time using my new Kreg pocket hole jig and it made the project so much easier it was awesome!
  • 5 - 2x4" by 8' boards
  • 3 - 1x3" by 8' white primed trim
  • 1 - 4' by 8' white melamine sheet (cut to 30" by 8' at home depot)
  • Small box of 4 penny finish nails
From Target:
Sketch out plans
I did a quick sketch on paper of the plans. They changed a bit as I went along but nice to have something to visualize the project.
Initial sketch
Cut the Boards for the Frame
The frame is a very simple 2x4 frame that is 30" wide and 8 feet long. This is the size of our top that will be placed on top of it. The 8 foot 2x4 run the long way and shorter pieces I cut to make the width be 30" which is the width of the top and the width of the Target bookshelf.
Frame skeleton cut to size
Drill Pocket Holes for the Frame
Like I said this was the first time using my new Kreg K4 pocket whole jig. It was awesome it made drilling the holes so easy and the frame came together quick. It also is a really strong joint. Drill the pocket holes in the small 2x4 cross braces and secure them. Note: You could do this without a pocket hole jig if you screwed the holes from the outside into the cross brace boards, however the downside to that is you screw into end grain which makes for a weaker screw hold.
Cut left table legs
Cut two table legs from 2x4s to the same height as the bookshelf. For me that was just about 30".
Connect & Secure table legs
I just free handed this part. I measured the distance between the two legs in about the position and wanted them and cut a board to brace across them. I drilled pocket hole screws under the brace and on the tops of both of the legs. I then secured the brace to both of the legs about 5" up from the bottom. Then secured the legs to the frame. Note: Be conscious of where you are drilling your pocket holes. Notice you can see them all now but once I flip over the table they will be hidden.
Legs connected and to the frame
Cut a strut
Nest add an angled strut to the legs that ties into the frame at the back. This will keep the legs from folding if it were to be shoved sideways and generally strengthens the support in the back left corner over the legs. This part I eyeballed with a 2x4, I just held it behind where it was going to connect on the leg and the frame and drew a line to show my angle to cut.
Secure the strut
Make two pocket holes at right angles to where the boards will secure. It it really easy to do with the pocket hold jig, just clamp the boards in so the bottoms are flat to the clamp and drill the holes.
Flip the frame
The frame and legs at this point should all be screwed together. At this point flip the frame over and rest the one end on the Target bookshelf.
Almost there!
Secure frame to bookshelf
Almost there! It's starting to actually look like a desk. Drill two holes in either side (4 total) of the frame on top of the bookshelf. I just used the pocket hole bit and drilled straight down and used a pocket hold screw to secure it to the bookshelf.
Cut melamine to size
The while melamine board comes in 4 foot by 8 foot sheets. I got it precut at Home Depot so be 30" (the width of the bookshelf) by 8 feet. However it is actually 8 feet and 1 inches long and they can't cut that small amount off at Home Depot so I had to do it by hand once I got home. If you have a circular saw this will be easier for you that it was for me. I have just a hand saw so I clamped a 2x4 to theĀ  melamine as a straight edge and cut 1 inch off. It actually wasn't that bad it went pretty quick.
Place the desktop on
Put the melamine board on top of the desk and make sure it is a good fit!
Looks great.
Trim the perimeter
You are almost there this part is the easy part. Trimming the perimeter of the desk with the white primed trim board with the 4 penny finish nails. A trick I used to not mark up the trim was to nail through a piece of cardboard so if you miss you don't scratch the finish. Nail into the 2x4 frame leaving the top of the trim flush with the desk top to hold the melamine in place. What is nice is the melamine is not secured with any fastener so you can pop it out easily to work on it or move it.
You did it!
Admire you new craft bench / desk. It looks great and I hope you enjoy it!