10 Steps to Make Your Own DIY Adjustable Standing Desk
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10 Steps to Make Your Own DIY Adjustable Standing Desk

|Jan 19, 2021

Have you been thinking of making your own standing desk? It’s easy to do, and you can enjoy the benefits of standing and sitting throughout your workday while you’re at home. Many people want a standing office desk. Do it yourself projects like this can make you proud to focus on your health and create something.

Tools and Material Preparing

Learning how to build an adjustable height desk means having the right materials and tools. Whether you have been working at home for a while or just recently started, a homemade adjustable desk is going to accommodate you while you stand or sit to work.

You’re going to need these tools:

·  Circular saw

·  Sandpaper

·  Palm sander

·  T-Square

·  Small paint roller

·  Impact drill/wrench

·  Miter saw

·  Trigger clamps

·  Large pipe clamps (3/4-inch)

·  Wood planer

·  Tape measure

Tools and Material Preparing

Make sure you’ve got these materials:

·  Woodworking glue

·  Wood scraps longer than the tabletop width

·  DIY standing desk frame

·  Lumber for the tabletop

·  Wood screws

Step by Step Guide for Making a DIY Adjustable Standing Desk

1. Build the Desk Frame

The first thing to do for a DIY height adjustable desk is to build the standing desk frame. Each brand is different, so you should follow the instructions provided. Consider the placement of the desk, too. Though the frame isn’t likely to be heavy, you may still want to put it in the general area where it’s going to stand.

It’s important to select the right frame for your DIY adjustable standing desk. That way, you aren’t going to have problems with it later. Consider whether you want something that’s L-shaped, traditional, or get two if you want a longer working surface.

Once it is in place and put together, measure the length and width between the frame legs. That way, you know how large of a tabletop you’re going to need.

When you choose the Autonomous Standing Desk Frame (premium), you can adjust the width of the frame legs from 40 to 73 inches. It’s best to have an idea of the size you need for your space. Then, you know how large of a tabletop you require for the next steps.

There’s also the option of choosing an L-shaped frame. However, you’ve got to accommodate the different sizes of tabletops necessary to ensure that it all fits together when you’re done.

Making a DIY Adjustable Standing Des

2. Choose the Wood

Your DIY adjustable standing desk needs to have the right lumber. Pine is a great choice if you’re on a budget. However, use some wood conditioner to help with the staining process. Poplar wood is great if you want to have a painted tabletop. We also like oak and walnut table top; they’re more expensive but highly impressive.

Make sure you’ve got the measurements. Some lumber companies can cut the wood for you so that it’s the right size. If you want to do this yourself, ensure that the lumber doesn’t have any cupping, bends, or twists. Also, get the lumber cut slightly bigger than you need to give you some room to play with. This also gives the wood desk a nice edge.

Choose the Wood

3. Glue It Together

You’re going to use the pipe clamps for the gluing step. They keep the wood away from the floor, but they’re also powerful and can level the boards and make sure that nothing slips while the glue dries.

First, you need to lay out the wood pieces and clamp them together. This is going to show you the problem areas. Use more clamps to keep everything in line. There could be alignment problems toward the ends of the boards. Consider using scrap wood at the ends to get everything to look right.

Please practice the gluing process a few times without actually using glue. Rotate the wood pieces about 90 degrees at high levels and put them back into place. When you’ve gotten the hang of it, brush on the woodworking glue while the wood is separated and then rotate it 90 degrees so that it is back into place. Glue all the pieces together and let them dry for at least six hours. You may want to wait 12 hours or a full day before removing the clamps.

4. Cut to Length

Now, you have to cut the tabletop to the final length with a circular saw. Trim the ends of the lumber and clean up the rough ends. Make sure you’re cutting from the bottom so that the blade spins into your finished surface first. That way, there’s less tear out risk. Ultimately, you’re going to have to plane and sand it to get it to look right, but it’s quite hard to fix a tear out mistake (where the wood splinters at the edge where you cut).

5. Plane

Your DIY adjustable standing desk is coming together nicely. You’ve cut through it and made it even, but now you need to plane the wood. To do this, you’ve got to prepare the wood planer. It can level off the high spots within the wood and shave very thin strips from it. This way, the tabletop has an even and smooth surface.

It’s also important to plane down the uneven spots, inconsistencies, and sawed-off edges from the gluing process. You can use a level to find the high points if any exist.

Make sure the wood planer is used at alternating 45-degree angles. This gives you the best results. You don’t have to worry as much about rough areas because the next step is where you sand everything down.


6. Sand

Sanding the wood is an essential part of your project to create a DIY height adjustable desk. This is going to remove the dents and mill marks, which are often caused by woodworking machines. If you don’t do a good job, you’re not going to achieve the result you want after it’s stained or painted.

Make sure that you utilize an orbital sander to finish the tabletop. You can start with 240-sandpaper if the tabletop features a rough surface. Start with a lower grit (80 or 120) and then move to 240 sandpaper to help refine the wood and smooth it out.

Palm sanders can be useful at first, but it takes a lot of elbow grease to get the results you want. Therefore, it’s often best to start with a palm sander for the really rough patches and switch to the orbital sander to complete the job.


7. Finishing (Stain or Paint)

When you stain wood, the goal is to bring out the textures of the wooden furniture, but you also want to focus on the colors within. If everything is done right, it’s easy to stain the wood at this point.

Make sure you remove all of the dust and debris from the wood. Consider using a vacuum or a smaller blower for the job. You can also wipe it down with a microfiber cloth. This could be a test to see how well you sanded everything because there shouldn’t be any catches from the fabric.

Choose the right wood stain for the purpose. There are many brands out there, and it’s easy to get confused. Make sure you look to ensure that the stain can be used on the wood you’ve chosen for the DIY adjustable standing desk project. Consider using a wood conditioner to help soften the wood and ensure that the stain soaks into it.

Finishing (Stain or Paint)

We like oil-based stains best because they have a slower dry time so that the piece looks evenly coated when it’s dry. Also, the oil stains penetrate more deeply, so the color is richer. If you have to apply more coats later (and this is often the case), it’s easier to do that without having to strip all the stain off with sandpaper and starting over.

Most standing desk frames last for 10 or more years and often come with long warranties on the electronic parts. Therefore, you want to be able to reapply stain to keep the desktop looking its best throughout the years. Even if your  adventure is temporary, you can still have a beautiful desk to use for paperwork or to pay bills.

Making a DIY Adjustable Standing Desk

8. Install Your Tabletop

Since you’ve already put together the standing desk frame, all you have to do now is put the tabletop in place and screw it onto the frame. This is quite easy to do, but you may need help lifting the desktop up.

Lower the standing desk, so you don’t have to lift the desktop as high. Put the tabletop on it and raise the desk so that you don’t have to bend over as much. Align the tabletop squarely and make sure it’s perfectly centered.

Clamp the tabletop to a bracket so that it doesn’t move while you’re positioning and driving in the screws. Make sure that your screws are long enough to go through the entire thickness of the tabletop and through the holes of the standing desk frame. They shouldn’t be too long (you could injure yourself on them), but they can’t be too short, or it isn’t going to hold.

Make sure you’re using wood screws since you’re putting them into a wooden product. That way, they aren’t going to splinter the wood. It’s also a good idea to have some nuts and washers to keep everything secure. This often comes with the DIY adjustable standing desk frame, but check to be sure.

Install Your Tabletop

9. Install All the Control Units

Now, you need to install the control units. These are found in the DIY kit you buy from Autonomous, but some brands don’t include the automated control unit. Make sure you check for this and don’t get one with a manual hand crank.

If you have small trigger clamps, now is the time to use them. Position the control unit where you want it to be on the tabletop. Use the trigger clamps to hold it there. Then, drill the holes and attach it to the tabletop.

You may want to gather together all the electrical cords and move them to the back of the desk. That way, they’re not hanging down. This is unsightly, but it’s also easier to damage the control unit if they are pulled out.

Install All the Control Units

10. Test It Out

Once you’ve got the controls in place, it’s time to put the desk where you want to work. This may be next to a wall or in front of a window. Take the time to plan your desk’s location now, and try to visit it at different times during the day. That way, you know if the sun is going to be too bright to see the screen or if a different position might be better.

When it’s in place, you can use the controls to raise and lower the desk. If you choose the Autonomous brand, you can set the preset buttons to your preferred standing and sitting heights. That way, you’re ready to go for the next workday.

Remember, the Autonomous DIY adjustable standing desk frame holds up to 300 pounds, so you can start decorating the space to meet your needs. Just remember that you don’t want it to look cluttered or unorganized.

Test It Out


Making your own standing desk is easy when you’ve got the right tools. Though you may not be a woodworker, it’s still possible to buy the equipment or borrow them. However, you’ve got to have a sturdy standing desk frame. Autonomous has one, and you can choose different colors and frame designs to meet your specific needs.

The assembly of the Autonomous Desk DIY adjustable standing desk should only take 30 minutes. However, it can take days to make the tabletop. You may choose to buy your desktop from a company. That way, you can skip the gluing and sanding steps and just put it on the frame and screw it into place.

Regardless of the way you want to do it, now you know how to build an adjustable height desk for use in your home.

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