Monday, December 6, 2010

DIY Project: Build custom built-in desk

As you walk into the Guest Bedroom, to the left, is an awkward corner of the room that was useless space. 
Step 1: Measure the area where you want to place the built-in. Draw a detailed sketch of what you want the final product to look like and the pieces needed to build it.
Jason was ready to tackle this corner with a built-in made out of his favorite, MDF.
Step 2: Choose material based on cost and strength needed to complete the project. Here MDF is used because it is both cost effective and easy to work with. Shown below are the pieces that Jason cut out of one 4 x 8 foot sheet of 3/4 MDF and three prefinished 4 foot shelves. Cost: $36.00.
Step 3: Prep the area for the built-in. Jason started by taking away the old trim.
Step 4: Build the main structure by screwing or nailing the pieces from the outside, so no nail holes will be visible once the built-in is placed in the wall. Gluing and screwing is used here because it will make the structure much stronger. If using screws rather than nails, ensure you predrill the holes to keep the MDF from splitting.
Step 5: Once main structure is complete, ensure it fits in the built-in location before proceding. This is very important for old homes due to the walls never being square. The built-in doesn't have to fit perfectly in the hole because soon you will trim the front to hide any imperfections.
Step 6: If you want a more custom touch, now is a great time to secure beadboard to the rear of the built-in with a nail gun. Cost for beadboard sheet $23.00.
Step 7: Slide new built-in into location and secure to wall. A couple finish nails from a nail gun will be all that's needed and can be easily hidden.

Step 8: Trim out the front of the built-in, this can vary to builders taste. Here Jason used scrap pieces of 3/4" MDF to cut out an arch and finish framing the front. Cost $0.
Final steps: Caulk all nail holes and trim gaps to make MDF appear seamless. Paint the built-in with a durable paint. Paint cost: $18.00.
Total Project Cost: $69.00
Total Time: 6hrs to build and trim structure.  (plus addl time for 3 coats of paint to ensure durability)


BEFORE                                                                        AFTER

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