House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

8 DIY Roll-Top Desk Plans You Can Build Today (with Pictures)

roller desk

roller desk

Roll-top desks were very popular in the 70s and 80s, and are still used in many households today. Their appealing factor is their ability to hide everything on the desk by sliding down the built-in cover, making the room feel tidier and more orderly. Many desks are refurbished or remodeled for a modern design.

Learning how to build roll-tops desks can be quite complex, especially the roll-top piece. We’ve gathered a list of designs, from complete builds to remodels that you can DIY. We hope you’ll find a design that’s best suited for you!

divider 8

The 8 DIY Roll-Top Desk Plans

1. DIY Roll-Top Desk from Instructables

DIY Roll-Top Desk
Image Credit: Instructables

This roll-top desk is a complete build from scratch. It features tons of drawers and cubbies, as well as a pull-out platform that creates additional workspace. Made from oak and oak plywood, polished to a gloss, this desk is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship when finished.

2. DIY Desk Makeover from the Thinking Closet

DIY Desk Makeover
Image Credit: Thinking Closet

If you’ve got an old rolltop desk already, this desk plan is a great way to refurbish it into a fresh, modern piece of furniture. Some new paint, new hardware on the drawers and cabinets and some stencil detailing make this desk look entirely different. Add a corkboard and some other modifications, and it’ll be suited for any office needs.

3. Mission Style DIY Roll Top Desk from Stan’s Plans

Mission Style Roll Top Desk
Image Credit: Stan’s Plans

Another design built from scratch, this roll top desk involved several different cuts of wood, including hardwood and soft wood of various thickness and dimensions. As with all roll-top desks, this design includes a large number of drawers and cubbies. However, this roll-top desk has much more cubbies than typical, so you can easily organize all of your office supplies!

4. DIY Refinished Roll Top Desk from the Daily DIYer

This refinished roll top desk will brighten any room with it’s simple and aesthetic design. This plan used a smaller roll top desk, but you could use any old desk as a base model to work from. With a fresh coat of paint, new handles and contact paper on the interior, you can make an old unwanted desk into something that will look great in a modern office or bedroom.

5. DIY Lego Rolltop Desk from

DIY Lego Rolltop Desk
Image Credit: LiveLikeYouAreRich

This roll top desk design is a great way to make a Lego playspace for the kids! It incorporates big Lego baseplates that are cut to fit into the desk and glued in place. Lego baseplates can also be added to the top of the desk to increase building space. When not in use, the rolling top conceals the Legos for a quick tidy look. Legos can be kept in the drawer of the desk, so your kiddos have everything they need to have a great time building!

6. DIY Old-Fashioned Writing Desk From

DIY Writing desk
Image Credit: stansplans

Another old-fashioned, mission-style writing desk with a roll top cover, you can make this one from scratch yourself with the right tools and skillset. Honestly, it’s less of a rolling top and more of a folding cover, but we thought it was a nice alternative. This DIY plan calls for oak to provide long-term stability, with the drawers and cubbies carved out of poplar.

You could adapt it for other woods as necessary or cut out some of the extras to make the desk easier to build.

7. DIY Roll Top Desk From ACutAboveWoodworking on Youtube

This detailed multipart Youtube tutorial goes through the nitty-gritty details of how to build your own roll top desk from raw materials. This is definitely a deeper dive, so those looking for a quick set of plans might want to pass. If you have a vast collection of woodworking tools, experience, and nothing but time, this might be just the thing for you.

A few commenters note that the plans used by the video are inconsistent depending on where you download them, so be wary when following along with this video series.

8. DIY Advanced Roll Top Desk From Dempsey Woodworking

Roll-top desk
Image Credit: Dempsey Woodworking

Bored by the plans presented so far and need a challenge? This old-school plan from Dempsey Woodworking has photos of every construction stage but lacks a detailed step-by-step guide. However, if you’re confident in your skills and have built a desk or two, the plan is very legible and not that hard to follow.

Still, we emphasize caution because the tambour portion of the rolltop is difficult to construct without instructions. If you get confused by that part, there are other guides out there to build the rolltop.

You might also be interested in: 

Featured Image Credit: Baloncici, Shutterstock


Related posts

OUR categories

Project ideas

Hand & power tools