IKEA Hack Standing Desk

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My husband and I spend quite a lot of time working on the computer, and we could feel it in our backs and necks. He did some research to find a perfect desk chair, but instead, he stumbled across another idea.

A standing desk. It is supposed to be better for your health to work standing than sitting as well, as it would improve your productivity. 

He did some more research, and long story short, we decided to give it a go. There was one, but. The cheapest standing desk cost around $200. There was no way we could afford that.

So he came up with an idea to hack our Ikea MICKE desk and turn it into a standing desk. This is how the Ikea hack standing desk solved our problem.


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The process was pretty straightforward. We got a piece of ply sheet from our local wood recycling center for $10 and a big roll of Fablon for around $35.

We used the ply to cut the sides out and the Fablon to make it pretty. We had plenty of the Fablon left, so I plan to use it to upcycle some of our old furniture as well.

But if you don’t want to go the Fablon route, you can always paint the ply or just make the legs out of 2x4s and paint/stain them as well.

Below you’ll find the step-by-step process of how we did it. If you have any questions or something isn’t clear, just let me know in the comment or shoot me an email 🙂

Measure and cut

Before we started, we had to determine how tall the desk is going to be. And because my husband is much taller than I am, we had to consider that as well. 

The optimal height for a standing desk would be when your forearm and arm form a 95-100 deg angle without your palm touching the surface. It’s crucial to get that right so your wrist won’t suffer while typing for long periods. 

Since we couldn’t make a desk with a changeable height, the solution was the keyboard shelf we previously installed from the old desk. This way, I could use the shelf and my husband the top surface.

I know that this isn’t an optimal solution for everyone, but since usually there will be only one person using the desk, you can just measure the height from the floor to the top of the desk.

Then we moved to cut the ply to size. From that one big sheet, my hubby cut out two smaller ones to be the support for the desk, measuring the same as the originals(width) and the calculated height minus the height of the desktop.

Disassemble the desk, Copy and drill the holes

The next step was to disassemble the desk and measure and copy all of the existing holes. The ones from the top and the ones on the side from the drawer runners and locks. Then drill the holes.

Sand and clean the ply

Now was the time to clean the ply and sand it a bit with medium-coarse sandpaper. I used a sanding sponge, and it took me all 5 minutes to do it.

Then I wiped the dust off thoroughly, making sure nothing was left. I let them dry, and they were ready for the sticky back plastic.

Stick the Fablon on 

Now to the fun part. We unrolled the Fablon and put the ply on it. Because it has lines at the back, it was pretty easy to measure and cut to size. We wanted one piece to go all around the ply vertically. 

Tip #1. Make sure you leave a margin for the sides and top so you can wrap the plastic over the edges.

Starting at one point, I removed a bit of the back paper and stuck the Fablon to the surface, just about 1-1.5 inches. Then my husband was pulling the back paper, and I was smoothing the Fablon onto the surface using a soft cotton cloth.

Tip #2. Don’t stretch the plastic; otherwise, it won’t go on evenly. And make sure you’re removing all the air bubbles that can form underneath it.

We didn’t have much problem with it on the first side, but then the bottom of the ply wasn’t perfect, and I think I stretched it too much, and it was skewed a bit. But we managed to fix it as you can unstick it and put in back on again.

This time I used a hairdryer, and with warm air blowing on the surface, it was much easier to do. 

I cut the sides and fold them over the edges. The second one went even quicker.

Next, we had to reveal the holes. My hubby went and cut the plastic with a sharp knife like you’re cutting a pizza. I used a pen then and pushed the plastic into the holes. Or you can use a punch if you have one.

All that was left was to repeat the process with the keyboard shelf. But since it got late we left to be done later. I actually did it months after the desk and it only took me around 45 min. I managed to finish it while my son was napping, score! 🙂

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Reassemble the desk 

Putting it all together was relatively easy. We just retraced our steps, and it was done.

Have a look at how it turned out. I was pretty impressed. One afternoon that saved us loads of money, and the final result looked very nice indeed.

I hope you liked this quick hack, I’ll be upcycling all of my living room furniture soon so there will be more posts coming 🙂 If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to help. And don’t forget to pin it to your Ikea hacks board, thanks!

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