DIY Concrete Desk

concrete desktop with sawhorse legs styled with minimal desk decor

Learn how to make concrete desktop with sawhorse legs.

We’re starting the transition process for turning a bedroom into an office/studio space.  The room originally started out as a bedroom for one of the boys, but they all want to sleep in the same room and never use this bedroom, except sometimes as a play space.  This room has been used mostly for our blog shoots over the last few months. Lately we’ve been thinking it would be better utilized if the space was set up as an office/studio.  A desk was at the top of the list of things we needed for the space. So we decided to make our own concrete desktop with wood sawhorse legs!  

We love the industrial look concrete brings to a room and the wood keeps things natural and brings some warmth. And we are obviously excited that it doubles as a lovely backdrop for some shoots if needed! 😉 Since the desk is pretty simple, we added some shelves in the legs for a little bit of extra storage.  We love our new desk and are excited to keep working on this room!

minimal office decor on corner of desk
women standing and sitting at desk laughing and working
concrete desktop with sawhorse legs styled with minimal desk decor

We have the separate tutorials for the concrete desktop and the wooden sawhorse legs below so you can make them both. Or you can make just one and pair them with a different top or base of your choice!

DIY Concrete Desktop
Materials Needed for Concrete Desktop:
  • melamine board (for concrete mold frame)
  • circular saw
  • measuring tape
  • drill & screws
  • painters tape
  • silicone caulk
  • level
  • wire mesh
  • olive oil
  • concrete mix
  • water
  • concrete mixing tub
  • hoe (for mixing)
  • plastic gloves
  • orbital sander
  • 2×4
  • mason trowel
  • concrete sealer
How to Make the Concrete Desktop:
  1. Cut melamine board to create side pieces & bottom of form. The side pieces should be the thickness of the melamine board plus the thickness you want your countertop to be (our side pieces were 2 1/4″ because we wanted a 1 1/2″ thick counter). 

  2. Cut side pieces to length so that they form a square around the bottom, two of the sides will be the same length as the side of the bottom where they attach, the other two sides will be 1-1/2″ longer so that they overlap the other two sides. 

  3. Drill holes 3/8″ up from the bottom edge of the side pieces to attach them to bottom of form, also drill holes in the ends of the sides which are longer than the bottom. 

  4. Line side piece along the edge of the bottom piece and pre-drill holes thru so the wood doesn’t split.

  5. Put in screws and screw together.

  6. Repeat with all 4 edge pieces. 

  7. Wipe inside of form to remove any saw dust. 

  8. Place painters tape  around inside edge leaving a gap big enough for a bead of caulk. (Concrete can react with silicone changing the color of it, the tape keeps any smeared caulk off the inside of the form, leaving just the thin line along the edge.) 

  9. Caulk along the inside edges, going up along the corner seams too.

  10. Smooth out the caulk with your finger to remove any excess and round the corner.

  11. Let caulk dry according to directions on tube. 

  12. Once dry, remove tape, make sure to pull tape back toward itself not sideways. 

  13. Set the mold on a flat surface and make sure it is level. 

  14. Coat the inside (bottom & sides) of the mold liberally with olive oil (this is to keep concrete from sticking). 

  15. Add water a little at a time and mix until the concrete is about the consistency of oatmeal. (You don’t want it too watery as that can make a weaker counter.) 

    Pour concrete mix into concrete mixing tub.

  16. Pour concrete into mold, it should be about half full, and smooth out.

  17. Once smooth, use an orbital sander along the outside edge of the form to vibrate the mold – this gets air bubbles out. 

  18. Place the wire mesh (cut so that there is a 3/4″ gap between it and the sides of the mold) in the center of the mold. 

  19. Mix more concrete and place over the mesh. The concrete should be level with the top of the mold.

  20. Smooth out and repeat the step with the orbital sander.

  21. Using a 2×4, firmly press the board across the top of the form to smooth and level the concrete, this can get a bit messy. 

  22. Let dry for a couple hours, then go over the concrete with a trowel to help smooth it out.

  23. Cover with plastic and let dry according to the directions on the bag. We let ours dry for 3 days.

  24. Once dry, remove the screws from the form and pull off sides (they will stick a little from the silicone). 

  25. Carefully lift the concrete top to it’s side and pull away the bottom.

  26. Sand off any rough edges. 

  27. We let ours dry for another day outside of the form.

DIY Sawhorse Leg Desk
Materials needed for Desk Legs:
  • large piece of paper (or scrap wood) – for scale drawing of legs
  • pencil
  • measuring tape
  • pine boards
  • table saw
  • power planer
  • jig saw
  • drill 
  • hammer & nails or nail gun
  • wood glue
  • wood stain and/or polyurtherane (optional)
How to Make Desk Legs:
  1. Do a scale drawing of the legs (we did ours on scrap wood) to figure out the dimensions and angles. Ours are: 28.5" tall by 9" (at the bottom).  We made our leg pieces 1.5" wide.  

  2. Cut enough 1.5" strips from the pine board to make the leg pieces in the drawing, cutting 1/16 of an inch larger than you need so that when you power plane the saw marks off the edges you will end up with 1.5".  

  3. Cut your 8 leg uprights to length, cutting the top and bottom of each piece at a 5 degree angle so that they sit flat on the floor and against the bottom of the table. 

  4. Cut your 4 shelf supports and your 4 upper desktop supports to length (ours were 23"). 

  5. Cut a 5 degree angle along one long edge of each of these support pieces with the table saw so that the shelf and table supports sit flat. 

  6. Mark out the notches in the legs for the shelf and table supports to sit in, then cut out with a jig saw (you could also use a scroll saw or a coping saw). 

  7. Glue and nail the supports into the leg uprights making sure everything is kept square. 

  8. Using the table saw, cut a piece that will go between the two upper supports with a 5 degree angle on each of the long sides. (We determined the dimension of this from our scale drawing). 

  9. Glue and nail the piece between the upper support pieces. 

  10. Cut shelf to size, cutting a 5 degree angle with the table saw on each side so that the edges will be flush with the leg uprights. 

  11. Smooth edges with the power planer and glue and nail shelf place. 

  12. Once the glue has dried, sand the legs.

  13. Determine how far apart your 2 leg pieces will sit, this will depend on the size of your desktop and where you want the legs to be under the desktop (for ours, the outside of the leg pieces line up with the edges of the desktop). 

  14. Cut and attach two cross pieces to fit between the tops of the legs to secure the two sets of legs together and to give support to the desktop (we used 1×6 pine board and the two pieces were 33.5"x7 1/4").  

  15. If desired, a finish can be applied to the legs. 

Attaching the desktop to the legs:
  1. Apply silicone caulk to the support boards where the concrete top will sit.

  2. Set concrete top on top of the silicone.

  3. Apply sealer to concrete, following directions on sealer can.

laptop on concrete desktop with woman's hands typing
boy leaning on desk looking at mom who is typing on computer

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