Making a Standing Desk

by | Aug 8, 2020

This was a fun project. A day’s effort with big returns. We decided to help a teacher. Julie, our daughter teaches third grade and with the Covid-19 challenges she will be teaching students in a classroom as well as those online. This created a number of challenges with one of main issues surrounding the presentation of materials in the physical classroom and those who will be online at the same time.

With the need to stand for long periods of time, having access to a laptop, web camera and document camera, she was concerned with the teaching process as well as the fatigue of continually bending over a desk for long periods of time. Bending over and trying to look at a web camera created other challenges with the potential of a poor teacher presentation for the online students. The fix – building a custom standing desk.

Designing the Standing Desk

Making a Standing DeskAs mention, this was a day’s work. We wanted something that specifically fit Julie’s height and would be wide enough to comfortably support all of the technology and teaching materials needed for the day. See would need a method to power all the devices and manage the multitude of cables. She also needed a shelf to hold books, papers and other teaching materials that would be easy to access.

Creating a custom standing desk gave us the opportunity to ensure the desk was properly size to meet Julie’s height. Applying a little human factors engineering, we determined the best desk height would be 38” tall and 48” wide.

Building the Standing Desk

Making A Standing DeskYou may ask, why build a desk and not purchase one? This answer is simple – cost. Looking online, most the standing desks cost $500 to $1,000 and more for those with mechanical height adjustments. We were on a budget and confident we could build a high quality standing desk for less the $100 and in fact, built this one for less than $75 including wood, nails, screws and a little paint.

Making a standing desk cut sheetThe most expensive item for the standing desk was the plywood. We used cabinet grade ¾” birch plywood at a cost of $55. Not wanting to waste or miss cut this expensive 4’ X 8’ sheet of plywood, we created a diagram to maximize our cuts. I’ve provide a copy of my cut sheet and you can download by clicking on the image in the right.

We also wanted to reduce the rough edges of the plywood for the top and shelf and added a trim band made from a piece of clear popular. An 8’ X 4” board cut into 1” X 1 ½” strips provided a very nice finished edge. See the application in the video below.

Lastly, we wanted the desk to be as substantial as possible and not wiggle or move while accessing the devices on top of the desk. We assembled the sides, top, and shelf using pocket screws. This was accomplished with a great pocket screw jig created by Kreg. There are several systems offered with a wide range of features and accessories. We own the Kreg Pocket-Hole Jig 320 and is perfect for plywood based projects.

Finishing off the desk with a 10 plug power strip and a couple of coats of white latex gloss paint, and we were ready to deliver.


Julie was thrilled with the standing desk. In the video below, you’ll see her reaction and how she plans to use the desk.

A great project for your RV work space, home office or better yet, a teacher in your area who may need an improved work space, especially with the all of the current challenges they’ll face each day with the added demands for distance learning.

RV AccessoriesNot sure about what RV accessories you need as you start RV travel? Check out our RV Accessories page where we have listed a wide range of products from essential items to those “nice to have” RV products to make RV life more enjoyable. Every item listed is being used or has been used by Joan and I as we’ve traveled across the country in our RV.

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