We’ve all worked at those prefab desks before, you know what I’m talking about.

One big cabinet of useless space, maybe a couple cubbies for your drill that won’t fit there anyway, or your LED gel lamp that again, won’t fit there…and two super tall drawers that are useless for storage. Who designed these things?

How about instead we make our own workstation and show that although it takes time to do, at least it holds all your stuff and won’t fall apart if it gets wet once like a cardboard box prefab workstation will!

I wanted a station that I could fully turn around to have a nice view of my yard or my tv when practicing on myself or my practice hand, or to give my client the best view while getting a service done. I also wanted a station where I could lock up everything away from my kids, and have it double as accent furniture when not in use for nails.

So here’s what I used:

  1. Two HEAVY short file cabinets,  three drawers and also has a lock on it. I got mine from craigslist for $80/pair
  2. 1- 2 Base, 3-4 color, and 1-2 top coat cans of spray paint, and inexpensive paint drop sheets
  3. Two sets of drawer slides that lay flat
  4. Solid wood slab for tabletop, or thick plywood cut to size (home depot does it for free with purchase of plywood)
  5. Glass top cut to order (around $100), places that make custom mirrors usually can do this. Make sure to get the edges and corners rounded. I made sure mine had an overlap on three of the sides.
  6. Hard rubber castor wheels, I bought two sets of 4 wheeled one that turn 360 degrees on all 4 wheels at a hardware supply store. They’re the type you would use to move furniture since…well, you’re moving a piece of furniture.
  7. Reclaimed wormwood ($100) to dress the table up. This was a decorative choice and of course so save money you can choose to do something different.
  8. Wood trim to line up the top to the cabinet, and to keep dust filings from getting into the wormwood.
  9. One pack of commercial grade velcro
  10. One multi socketed surge protector.

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I know these are not the greatest looking cabinets. but bear with me.

  •  I spray painted the cabinets with a couple coats base coat, since they’re made of metal. If I sprayed them with the metallic silver paint alone, the spray paint would come off anytime it was touched…and would shed paint too
  •  I spray painted them with metallic silver until they were opaquely covered, taking care to tape over the handles and keyhole
  • I sprayed a couple coats of top coat on them

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It was a lot easier to spray paint it than adhere contact paper. The paper doesn’t work on curved surfaces and peeled off after a couple days.





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  • I measured out how far apart I wanted the cabinets to extend, so that I could easily fit any chair in the well or have them pressed together to look like a piece of furniture





  • I attached my wheels to the bottoms of the cabinets, and made sure to reinforce the entire bottom of the cabinet with leftover slabs of that thick solid plywood. Otherwise, the bottom will buckle.





  • I used the commercial velcro to adhere the drawer slides to either end of the tops of the cabinets, and to attach the other part of the slides to my tabletop on the bottom.


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  • I adhered the wormwood to the tabletop

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  • I attached the wood trim to the wormwood, and stained it to match the wormwood. I made sure the edge of one side of the trim was wider than the others by 1/2 inch so the cabinets wouldn’t slide all around when separating.


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  • I used glue to adhere the glass top to the knots of the wormwood, after filing down the knots so that the glass top was level.






  • Lastly I put commercial velcro on the interior wall of the technician left side to attach my surge protector. Saves me a lot of mess to plug in on my tabletop, and I can remove it to store it so my kids won’t play with it.

As an accent table


Client view of workstation, fully extended


Tech view of workstation, fully extended


Do you have a DIY workstation that you just love? Link it in the comments below so we can all have a better workspace!