diy hairpin leg desk | how-to

if you don’t already know, i’m absolutely head-over-heels in love with interiors (hence, my pinterest page), and last summer i’d been dreaming of having my own mid-century modern, hairpin leg desk for months. unfortunately for me, a desk like the one i’d been pinning cost about $500 (outside of my budget for a desk). so, thanks to the internet, i was able to find plenty of diy posts about how to make my own.

the process is actually pretty simple– all you need are screws, a piece of wood (and stain and varnish if you like), something to screw the nails into the wood (preferably a hand drill), hairpin legs, a free afternoon, and a bit of patience! ;)

m  a  t  e  r  i  a  l  s 

  • 4, three-prong 28″ hairpin legs in raw steel
    • (i ordered mine from http://hairpinlegs.com and they cost about $20/each. i chose 28″ because that was how high i wanted my desk to be, but they sell legs at an assortment of lengths, so feel free to adjust to your needs. it’s also easy to make a coffee table or entryway table with different leg lengths!)
  • 1 block of pre-cut wood from home depot (cost about $20)
    • (i chose a piece that was already as wide and as thick as i wanted, and then i asked the guy in the lumber department to cut it custom to 38″ to fit in the space. my desk is 17.25 x 38″)
  • 1 can of varathane wood stain in traditional cherry from home depot (cost about $15)
  • 1 can of varathane polyurethane in semi-gloss (to add a protective coat to the desk–i didn’t want my desk to feel glossy and this was perfect for me)
  • sandpaper
  • hand drill
  • box of screws (make sure your screws are not longer than the height of the wood of your desk!)
  • drop cloth
  • paintbrush and/or rag to apply the stain

varathane wood stain photodiy hairpin lesk instructions photo diy hairpin lesk instructions photo hairpin legs diy photo diy hairpin lesk instructions photo

first, sand the wood to get it to your desired smoothness. (*tip: don’t forget the corners!)
then go ahead and add the stain! use your brush/rag to apply it and to wipe off any excess. once its dry, add the coat of poly for protection.

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next, use your drill to begin attaching the legs! it helps if you measure and mark where you want leg to go (at an equal distance from the edge of the wood). one helpful thing i learned from the tutorials i read was to remember that hairpin legs slant outward, so if you don’t want your legs to go beyond the edges of the desk, you need to make sure you leave space around the corners of the wood (don’t line up the steel plate with the edge of the wood). my legs are about 1.25″ from the edge of the wood (as pictured below).

diy hairpin leg desk photo how to diy hairpin leg desk photo

anddddd once your desk is dry and the legs are installed, that’s it! you can stand it up and you’re good to go!

i chose raw steel legs so that my desk has more of an industrial look. the great thing about hairpin legs is that they’re easy to unscrew and reattach to a new project! (maybe a bigger desk?… ;))

diy hairpin leg desk photo

the finished product!

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to this day, it’s still so special to me that the desk i use to edit photos, send emails, skype with brides, and do all the other things necessary to run my business, is a desk i built with my own two hands. never underestimate the power of what you can accomplish! this was my first major diy project and now i see why they’re appealing! ;) i can’t wait to share more photos from my space, now that i’m moving out of it and into my first apartment on my own! i created a separate instagram just for interiors where you can view my favorite spaces and behind-the-scenes of my journey into turning my new place into a home over at instagram.com/thislittlespaceofmine.

i hope this is useful to you! xo