DIY Desk

March 10th, 2011

DIY desk

As you may remember me mentioning before, my quest to find a simple desk for my studio (well, “studio”, who am I kidding?) has been laughable. I searched far and wide and couldn’t find a single thing that was both affordable and/or small enough for the tiny space up in our loft I’m using. Everything was too large, too many drawers (don’t need ‘em), or just plain hideous (lots of glass and veneer-covered particle board). Ever since Silvia shared her DIY coffee table with hairpin legs, I’ve been wanting to make one myself. It hadn’t occurred to me until recently that you could buy taller, three-rod hairpin legs for something like a desk or dining table. Thus a dream was born inside my head of the perfect desk. I ordered the legs in raw steel (they came eight business days after ordering) and we had a piece of pine cut at the hardware store. I sanded the edges smooth and then stained it with Minwax Polyshades in Antique Walnut. I didn’t do the world’s greatest job staining it, but it’s nothing too noticeable. When the hairpin legs came, they were covered in grease, something I wasn’t expecting. I had to spend a long time cleaning them, and then finally Will screwed the legs in for me and we were ready to go. The whole thing cost me just a little over $100, was incredibly easy to make, and I also have stain leftover. It’s super sturdy yet pretty lightweight so it won’t be a pain to move. I’m extremely happy with the results and excited to get down to making jewelry on it!

Next up, when our furnished sublet is up and we have to get our own furniture, I definitely want to make a dining table in the same style! I think a round one would be beautiful.

DIY desk

DIY desk

87 Responses to “DIY Desk”

  1. Miss Moss Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 11:11 am

    that is SO awesome! i don’t see why you shouldn’t make all your own flippen furniture.

    also, just goes to show you should never underestimate the versatility of a piece of raw pine from the hardware store. i have done the same a few times – only with trestle legs. you also don’t feel too bad about messing things on it (eg: paint, coffee mug stains…) because you can simply sand it down and re-stain if you really need to.


  2. Andrea @ Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 11:14 am

    That table looks awesome! I just found your blog, thanks for sharing!


  3. casey Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I love it! So simple yet pleasing. I have been wanting to use hairpin legs for something, and you have inspired me to make a new craft desk myself! I already have one, but it’s too bulky for my taste now. Great job!


  4. Anabela Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 11:23 am

    It looks awesome and I bet you feel so great! Geoff built me a table once too but we had to use some plain legs from Ikea — these hairpin ones are awesome.


  5. brianne @ the ravenna girls Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 11:24 am

    pretty pretty. Great to have a resource for hairpin legs as well. What did you use for cleaning the legs that won’t tarnish or rust?


  6. Emily Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I love this! & it’s always so cool to get a glimpse of someone’s workspace.


  7. victoria Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Well now that’s pretty fucking awesome. DIY makes me giddy.


  8. Angharad Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 11:30 am

    This is incredible! Incredible in that it’s gorgeous and looks so easy! I’ve been searching in vain for a new laptop/writing desk forever and stumbled across all the same problems. I think you’ve just solved it for me. Hurrah!


  9. The Maiden Metallurgist Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Lurker here- but my two cents as a metallurgist- the legs were coated in grease to prevent any oxidation during shipping, if you want to keep them rust-free you might want to apply a coat of something clear to keep them in their beautiful current condition.

    It is a truly beautiful desk, great job.


  10. Taylor Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 11:39 am

    this is beautiful! I’m so impressed


  11. elise Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 11:44 am

    that’s so cool. looks amazing.


  12. melly Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 11:59 am

    The hairpin legs are really something special!! The end product looks fantastic, Kate!


  13. Arlie Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    It looks amazing! You’ve got me thinking now about side tables to match our new platform bed we made.


  14. Erin from Bklynstitch Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Looks awesome, well done!


  15. mdrcat Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    this is beautiful!


  16. Trude Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    It looks gorgeous!! Totally inspired here. I’m definitely thinking dining table now…


  17. Kate Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    The Maiden Metallurgist – thank you so much for the tip, I’m clueless! I kind of like the oxidized look, but I think a coating is not a bad idea anyway.

    And thank you everyone else for your awesome comments!


  18. Kristen Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Great job! The desk looks amazing


  19. Anabella Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    wow what a great idea! what size legs did you get?


  20. Amanda Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Turned out great! I don’t think I ever would have thought of something like that. Thanks for sharing about the legs, that’s a really good idea!


  21. Ashley Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Looks like you could start a little table-making business on the side as well :).


  22. Dianne Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    I ADORE this project! I’ll be having dreams of hairpin legs for many moons to come. Thank you so much for sharing.


  23. Erica Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Oh my goodness! I love your desk. Thanks for sharing your hairpin-leg resource, I have visions of my dream dining-table coming together now!
    You are my DIY-icon.


  24. Kate Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Anabella – they’re the tallest – 28″.


  25. Nichole Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Looks great! (I also took a cue from your nail polish recommendation and got my first bottle of Essie (in Mango Bango)). I found your blog pretty recently, and I’m already full up with inspiration! Thank you for sharing all the great photos!


  26. Nichole Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Oh – and a Q – is there a chair? Or do you stand when you’re working?


  27. Krysten Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Awesome workspace and I love your blog!


  28. Afton Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    KATE! holy shit, nicely done. i might have to nab this idea.


  29. aron Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    what a beautiful desk for a beautiful workspace for you!!
    i love the light coming from the sun roof!!


  30. Jaclyn Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    This is a great desk, I love the wire legs. I would love to have a little DIY area, yours looks so organized!


  31. Siri Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    I am incredibly impressed with your desk!! I’ve never been a huge fan of hairpin legs, but for some reason, yours make me think about them in a new way and I love them!! Congrats on a job very well done :)


  32. renee @ Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    The desk turned out awesome! Love the hairpin legs!


  33. amy w Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Awesome! It’s a beautiful mid-century look, and timeless. Nicely done!


  34. Meagan Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    I love this desk…I had similar ideas in my head of the perfect coffee table. I like the idea of hairpin legs! Nicely done.


  35. rhiannon Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    FABULOUS. and ew, grease? why?


  36. Michelle | gold-hearted girl Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Whoa, you totally rock. I so, so want to make a desk now! It’s so cool looking, I feel like it would inspire me to work, haha.


  37. aimee Says:

    March 10th, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    oh goodness!! thanks for posting… stumbled upon your blog from a friend’s twitter…

    so in love with this diy… you’ve inspired me to do this! can’t wait to move so i can try it out!

    - aimee


  38. Linn Says:

    March 11th, 2011 at 1:09 am

    WOW. Love it. Got so inspired by this. Great job.


  39. Naomi Parker Says:

    March 11th, 2011 at 10:18 am

    It’s Gorgeous!! I’m totally inspired!


  40. Anna Says:

    March 11th, 2011 at 11:19 am

    my dad made a table that looks just like this with a blue table top. I love the look. very satisfying I bet to have made it!


  41. mosey Says:

    March 11th, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    beautiful! Isn’t it such a great feeling too, to work on a surface that you put together yourself? We put our coffee table together with the same thoughts in mind and I love it daily :)


  42. Maureen Says:

    March 11th, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    I love the desk, but am more interested in the peg board where you can hang jewelry. I’ve been envisoning a DIY project that looks just like this to organize necklaces. Did you make this? I love the gold pegs. Keep up the good work!


  43. Kate Says:

    March 11th, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Hey Maureen – I actually made a post about that ages ago!


  44. marissa Says:

    March 12th, 2011 at 6:10 am

    that is so so awesome and design spongey of you! great work! i love how it came out and i think the dining room table would be oh so chic!


  45. courtney Says:

    March 12th, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    this is a fabulous idea and it looks great! love the hairpin legs. the wood is really pretty too. nice work. i am inspired. the desk in my office/studio is a vintage one that i bought at an estate sale and refinished, but it’s too small. i need a bigger work space.


  46. kristi Says:

    March 17th, 2011 at 11:06 am

    oh wow! i am so excited to see this post. we have an antique dining table that folds down small enough to feed 2 or expands long enough to feed 10, but all the folding and unfolding, not to mention our completely uneven wooden floors, makes me really hate the table. i have been dreaming for years of having a primitive type table, just long and plain yet beautiful–room enough to throw big dinner parties or for the kids to spread out and do homework.

    all the ones i have ever seen have been inordinately priced. insane. i would have NEVER thought to do something like this. i know tons of people have already said that, but i am seriously grateful to you for this idea. i am totally going to do this!

    (side note: did you see that is featured in real simple this month? i bet it’s b/c of all the press you gave them…)



  47. Laura. Says:

    March 18th, 2011 at 8:26 am

    ah! i have been dreaming about hairpin leg tables myself, only i want a little pair of bedside tables–this makes me want to put hairpin legs on everything! thanks for the info about i hadn’t found them in my internet travels.


  48. samantha hahn Says:

    March 24th, 2011 at 11:38 am

    it looks incredible. I really really really want to make one. You make it sound so simple. You’re amazing Kate! I think I really need to do this.


  49. Anna Says:

    March 26th, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    I totally dig this desk! lovely!


  50. Angie Says:

    May 6th, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Could you by any chance let us know where you got the tabletop? I’ve been to a few big name hardware stores (Home Depot being one), and none of them can give me a solid piece of wood that is more than 15″ wide! All I’ve been finding is plywood, butcher block (too expensive), and solid wood that is only 3/4″ thick. Help! :)


  51. Ashlae Says:

    June 8th, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Sorry for commenting on such an old post – but did you get the raw or stainless steel legs? My boyfriend and I are making a dining room table with hairpin legs and can’t decide which ones to get. Also, it was brought to my attention that a man who makes hairpin legs works for my brothers company (making these legs is his side business) – and what do you know, you got your legs from him! Small world.


  52. Kate Says:

    June 8th, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Hey Ashlae – I wrote that I got the raw, but it’s probably lost in my massive rambling up there:) That’s why they’re covered in grease, as they’re raw steel and it’s to protect it from oxidizing.


  53. Ashlae Says:

    June 9th, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Sometimes I am so out of it – I read through it twice trying to see which legs you got, but was so excited that I, apparently, didn’t even read it properly. Raw legs bought! Thank you :)


  54. Tom Says:

    August 15th, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Hi! I love this table and will be trying my hand at it soon. I’ve never bought lumber before and was wondering what’s the size of the desktop you chose? I’m curious about the thickness, too. Thanks!


  55. Coffee(-books) Table « Mixed Elixir Says:

    August 18th, 2011 at 7:33 am

    [...] Until I work through this design-identity crisis (I’m sure with deep and probing psychoanalysis), we decided to make our own temporary coffee table after being inspired by Kate of “For Me, For You” and her DIY desk. [...]

  56. Do it yourself - Make Your Own Table With Only These 3 Things - Repairs Says:

    September 4th, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    [...] a lovely craft desk from Kate Miss. She stained the [...]

  57. I’m Table Crazy » ISLY | I Still Love You Says:

    November 10th, 2011 at 7:56 am

    [...] or not. I’ve been madly pinning potential tables to Pinterest. Angela suggested I look into For Me, For You’s DIY table with hairpin legs. It’s pretty brilliant. If we were to go that route, I’d invest money into a nice, [...]

  58. MW Says:

    November 11th, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I didn’t read through all the comments, so I hope this wasn’t already answered:
    What was the thickness of the pine that you used? And what was the height of the legs you purchased? Thanks!


  59. Kate Says:

    November 11th, 2011 at 11:52 am

    The legs are 28″ and my piece of wood is 1″ thick. I wouldn’t go any thinner than that.


  60. Diane Says:

    November 17th, 2011 at 5:32 am

    Forever fab! Where can I get these legs? Who did you purchase them from? I want to order the exact ones NOW! I was given a slice of a walnut root for a wedding present (don’t ask). This is it! My one shot to do something with it.


  61. Kate Says:

    November 17th, 2011 at 7:21 am

    Diane, click on the links (red, bold) in the post and you’ll find the legs.


  62. Hairpin leg desk | Says:

    January 23rd, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    [...] lovely DIY hairpin desk from the blog For Me, For You.  Such a classic [...]

  63. The Dude Says:

    February 9th, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Thank you. It never occurred to me. It looks great.
    All the best!


  64. Genie Says:

    February 14th, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    I got so excited about this post, I went and ordered from too! Just a warning to those also ordering from this place expecting prompt delivery.. I put in my order and it didn’t get shipped until 7 days later.


  65. DIY – Done! « Just Be Simple Says:

    March 15th, 2012 at 10:26 am

    [...] these hairpin legs with the ambition of making myself a coffee table. The idea originated from a DIY project on a blog I follow, For Me, For You. Though I lacked the appropriate workspace and most of the [...]

  66. As Ink Remains // This week + 5 Things Says:

    April 27th, 2012 at 8:18 am

    [...] In the meantime, here’s some inspiration I’ve picked up:  Firdt up, the amazing DIY table from For Me, For You. [...]

  67. 18 DIY Desks to Enhance Your Home Office - Decoist Says:

    May 17th, 2012 at 8:49 am

    [...] For a desk that’s a bit dainty, try using three-rod hairpin legs for the base  and a pine top for a rustic touch. The tapered legs have a Mid-Century modern effect, while the neutrality of the supplies makes this piece ideal for a variety of decpr styles. See the full tutorial at FMFY. [...]

  68. wendy Says:

    June 18th, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Nice job, I’m inspired to make this for my sewing table—thank you! Just want to ask which hardware store you purchased the wood cut from, I’ve called a couple of the bigger places, and so far that say they only sell 2x4s of pine…?


    Kate Reply:

    Home Depot. It’s a fairly small piece of wood, I actually have since remade the table with a larger piece I had Home Depot cut for me.


  69. kishante Says:

    July 12th, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Hi Kate,
    I am absolutely in love with your desk. Great job! I was wondering exactly what kind of wood did you use? You said you got it from home depot,but what did you ask for? Im completely clueless when it comes to wood, but i just have to make this desk. Thanks for your help.


    Kate Reply:

    It’s plywood. I can’t remember what kind, but I usually don’t have a huge preference between them!


    kishante Reply:

    Okay, thanks. Do you remember the thickness?


    Kate Reply:

    I think it’s an inch, but I’ve made other desks with 3/4″.


  70. Ashli Nixon Says:

    August 30th, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Hi there! Just wanted to let you know that this post inspired me to try a DIY hairpin table. I LOVE how it turned out! Here’s a picture of it:



  71. kelly Says:

    September 14th, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    hi kate! i’m working on a hairpin leg coffee table this weekend. wanted to check if you ever did anything to treat the legs. or if you’ve had any issues with rusting since you made this. THANKS!


    Kate Reply:

    It’s funny you should ask because just the other day I noticed my legs were rusting! I rubbed them down with olive oil on a cloth and that took it off. I have some renaissance wax I use for my jewelry that I want to rub them down with. I would definitely give them a good rub down with olive oil though after you clean the grease off. I failed to do that. But it was really unnoticeable and didn’t look bad, I just didn’t want the rust to rub off on peoples clothing. Good luck! I wanna see how it turns out.


  72. Tahiti Huetter Says:

    September 21st, 2012 at 12:12 am

    I loved this idea so much I JUST purchased my own legs and can’t wait to make my own desk. Yay!


  73. Tahitian Vanilla Says:

    September 21st, 2012 at 12:12 am

    I loved this idea so much I JUST purchased my own legs and can’t wait to make my own desk. Yay!


  74. Nikki Says:

    August 9th, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Is 2 years after the original post too late to ask a question? haha. I am just starting this project – legs have been ordered, desktop has been purchased. I’m a little skeptical about the wood I purchased because it’s only 3/4 and has kind of a ‘layered’ look to it – hopefully it turns out alright. Anyway, questions:

    -For the Minwax, did you use gloss or satin?
    -Did you sand any of the surface besides smoothing the edges? Like a ‘finishing’ sandpaper or anything?
    -How far in are the legs? Did you have to purchase the screws or will the legs come with them?

    I would rather learn from your experiences if possible – thanks so much for sharing!


    Kate Reply:

    Hi Nikki – this was so long ago I don’t remember exactly, but I think I used satin, and yes, you sand the surface before with raw wood sandpaper. I don’t have the desk anymore so I can’t measure it, but where you put the legs is up to you. On this one I think it was a couple inches in, I’ve since made two other desks that are in more because the wood is larger so there was more room for me to fit in between them. It’s up to you! Good luck.
    ps. I almost always use 3/4″ plywood as well (that’s what plywood is, layered wood) for other projects, so you’re fine.


  75. Brooke Ashley Says:

    August 11th, 2013 at 8:53 am

    I also have a question about this table! Wondering if you could tell me the dimensions? It looks like the perfect size for my space so I’m very curious. Thanks!


    Kate Reply:

    I don’t have this desk anymore as it was made years ago, so unfortunately I don’t have the dimensions! Make whatever fits for your space or you can find the size wood for, what size I made doesn’t matter for your needs as the legs will accommodate most desk sizes.


  76. Ashley Says:

    October 5th, 2013 at 11:18 am

    I LOVED this desk! I ordered hairpin legs to make an entryway table and upon receiving them I also found that they were covered in grease. What did you use to clean them?


    Kate Reply:

    It was so long ago I don’t remember, but I want to say vinegar or rubbing alcohol? You could use dish soap as it cuts grease, just make sure to dry them off really.


    Ashley Reply:

    Thank you!


  77. Vivian Says:

    March 24th, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Hi Kate, I hope you’re not tired of fielding questions years after your post–I see that I’m the only 2014 commenter here. Haha. I’m not terribly handy and didn’t want to mess up or take on a project bigger than myself, but I was wondering how you “screw in” the legs into the plywood? Do you have to drill through the table to prepare a space for the legs? Or do you literally just have screws that just screw the legs directly to the wood? And if so, do the legs come with the screws? Thanks!


    Kate Reply:

    No worries, Vivian! People email me about it all the time so you’re not the lone 2014 question asker:) I’ve made desks with these legs four times now and I’ve found the easiest way to do it is to lay the legs down on your wood and mark the holes with a pencil, and then either pre-drill holes with a drill bit just slightly smaller than the screws you want to use (they aren’t included, make sure they’re 1/4″ shorter than the thickness of your wood) and drill where each screw will be just a little bit to help start the screws, or line your screw up and hammer the tip in a bit before you start drilling.

    Good luck!


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