Crafty Desk


When I was in the Marketing world, my mentor and I had a favorite phrase: R & D, baby­. Research & Development? Read & Distribute?? Nah…Ripoff and Duplicate. We found something we liked and used it as a starting point for what we needed. It’s a useful little practice for when you’re lacking inspiration or direction…like when I needed to reorganize my craft room/office.

One room serves as my office as well as my place to be crafty—scrapbooking, sewing, garden planning, photography stuff and kids’ stuff all battle for prominence. I have to say at the moment, my kids’ stuff is winning. Especially the school projects I can’t bear to throw away. But I digress…

I wanted one big work area to spread out on, especially for assembling scrapbooks. I came across this, the Holy Grail of serene crafting. The light shone down. The heavens sang. And it was good.

I drooled. I could spread out my stuff! I could get so organized!

The poster was even kind enough to share where she got these magnificent pieces, and which ones they are. Oh, Ikea. I cruised right over to the Ikea site and proceeded to seek out this vision of organizational perfection. It added up to $1140.00

Thud. Crash. Gulp.

After wiping away a tear or too, I wondered if I might be able to cobble together something similar for a much lower [i.e., free] price. A few years ago, I inherited one of those semi-inexpensive, put-it-together-yourself desks from a friend. It was OK, but then doors stopped working, and the space for the monitor was on the wrong side for me. I took it apart, but stashed most of the pieces in the basement. I couldn’t bear to just toss it. Its large smooth work surface would do nicely for this project. And I even liked the color.

In search of legs that could also act as storage, I noticed that we had amassed a collection of those cheapy white melamine bookcases in varying widths. All were the same height (or close), so I hauled them up the stairs and started assembling.

Repurposed Desk

Crafty Desk

Et voila!

Not nearly as gorgeous as the example, but FREE!

Disclaimer: It hasn’t been this clean since the day I assembled it. I doubt it will be ever again. However, since this is a blog about reusing stuff, not about how tidy I am, I took the liberty of making it look as good as I could. I now have to go put all the junk back on it, so I can get out the door.


Legs—children’s dressers, bar stools with flat seats, old kitchen cabinets.  Surface—old hollow core doors (those cheapy ones that aren’t wood. They also don’t slam very well), folding utility tables whose legs have broken, long shelves (place two or more side-by-side)


Lisa Hensley is a mostly-native Montanan, living in Missoula with her husband, two young boys, two cats (boys), one tiny dog (a girl!) and 4 fish (probably boys). She spent more than 10 years in the Marketing and creative field, but is now Director of Household Operations for the Hensley group. When she’s not herding kids or doing laundry, she’s shooting photos, gardening, baking, reading or taking classes—sometimes all at once. She serves on the Board of Directors for Home ReSource, which fits in nicely with her tendency to repurpose pretty much anything.