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Rad Dad Project: standing desks for tots!


Our first blog of the new year (that started over 3 weeks ago – yikes!) is a Rad Dad Project that was inspired by one of the fastest growing trends of 2017 – standing desks! J wanted to build a standing desk for himself (that blog will come later this year), but like the sweet man that he is, he was more inspired to build the girls a fun and kid friendly standing desk first. The ultimate goal was to create a good learning and creative workspace with storage for supplies and materials as well as different modes/areas for learning and art. In one of his most creative designs yet, J incorporated a mutli-functional tabletop, a magnetic backboard, AND a whiteboard. He built it as a double desk top because, you know…twins ;) And he also designed it so it can be easily disassembled and moved since we frequently move (because, you know…ARMY).

Here’s his design notes and plans, and you’ll see how they play out over the next few pictures of the build.

He started with poplar wood because its strong and has a nice straight grain so it’s good for furniture.

First he and the girls assembled the frame of the desk and the legs.

I think the leg design is extra brilliant because adjustable so that it can grow with the kids, but also super stable.

We’re really into gray, so we knew that we wanted that to be the base color of the desk, but to make it a little more fun for the kids, we added a few fun pops of color on the inset details.  We used Valspar Color Radiance for the Gray - it's a paint and primer spray that has an absolutely BEAUTIFUL coverage and finish, and we put a layer of Rust-oleum Gloss Protective Enamel just to be safe (because KIDS).  For the pops of color we used Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch Multi Purpose Spray Paint in a Berry Pink, Seaside, Sun Yellow, and Grape - the colors are very bright and the finish is a perfect gloss.

The top/back part of the desk is another crazy cool design aspect of this desk. Each top is built within a box that is reversible and removable. The main board is closer to the front part of the box frame, since it is sort of like a wall to hold the magnetic and dry erase board portions. When you flip it over, the back is then recessed so there is a lip (kind of like a large tray), so it’s a great space for activities like painting and play doh that we’d rather have contained to one area.

In order to make the top/back portions of the desk reversible and removable, J drilled two dowel sized holes at the front and the back of each desktop so each of the finished back pieces can be moved to sit at the back of the desk or the front of the desk, depending on how much desk space the kids want for activities.

For the finishing touches, J cut and secured a thin layer of clear acrylic to the desktops so that the wood is protected from toddler wear and tear.

We also repurposed an Ikea TV stand from our last house to go under the desk and provide storage for all the girls school and art supplies. We added their old Skip Hop play mat so they can stand on a little padding. Oh and of course, we put a Scout & Indiana logo on some acrylic between the desks because BRANDING ;)

The girls love their new standing desk and I love that I don’t have to worry about them tripping over or falling out of chairs. It’s become a fun space that J and the girls share for reading and very important work ;) J’s currently in the design phase of his own standing desk, so we’ll be sharing that as soon as it’s done too!




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