Shelf Help is no longer shipping orders

Frameless Desk Bases

Are you ready to have the perfect desk?

This free template will help you build professional level custom desk bases, designed to fit your space, needs and style. Top with any countertop or build your own out of wood planks.

I built this desk ALL by myself!  It was so easy to do, and it looks 100% professional.  We get TONS of compliments on it, and it is a permanent piece that will be with the house indefinitely.  We have been using it for a couple of months and it looks fantastic and we couldn't be happier.

This template has all the details so you can build your own too and save tons!

Matching Wall or Hutch Cabinets

Don't stop with the desk - might as well create an entire wall system to store it all! We can help with matching wall cabinets with this template.


Step 1: Design Your Bases

Use our free online configurator to design your desk bases.  The configurator will figure all the math and shelf placement for you, it is a tool that will save you tons of time and errors.  USE IT!

You can customize to any width, below is the standard recommendations.

  • Height = 28-1/2" (for standard 30" desk height with added countertop)
  • Width = 16" (can be modified up to 36" wide before shelves may start to sag)
  • Depth = 24" rip
  • Number of Shelves = All bases require one shelf for the bottom.  Order additional shelves for the open shelf base or the cabinet door base if more shelving is desired


Step 2: Building the Carcass

You can either cut your own plywood pieces based off your configuration, or order from Shelf Help through the configurator.  If you cut your own, you will need to finish the front edges of the plywood with edge banding.

If you order your precut pieces, they come edge banded and sanded, so you can skip right to building.

I recommend four 3/4" pocket holes on each end of the shelves to attach to the sides.  Leave a 5-1/4" gap underneath (to fit with 5-1/4" base moulding) - or adjust to match your baseboard height.

Optional shelves can be mounted at any height or use a drawer slide for a pull out printer as done here.


Step 3: Bay Supports

You'll need some bay supports to tie everything in. This reduces your plywood pieces (reducing cost) and adds structure.

I recommend 1x3 or 1x4 (furring strips are fine!) at the top, and a 1x6 piece at the bottom.

The inside bay supports at the top are equal in length to the shelves. 

The front 1x6 bay support is on the outside, so is the total width of the cabinet.  I recommend measuring and cutting to fit, as this piece is visible from the front of the cabinet. You can screw or nail and glue it in place.  The purpose of the 1x6 is to bring the base moulding out 3/4" so door and drawer faces don't stick out past the base moulding.


Step 4: Optional Door

You can add a door to the base.  I recommend ordering doors, but you can also build your own.

  • The door height is 1/2" smaller than the overall height of the space on the front of the cabinet. 
  • The door width is 1/2" smaller than the overall width of the cabinet.
  • I recommend Full Overlay Frameless Concealed Hinges.  


Step 5: Optional Drawers

You can add drawers as well.  Here's what I recommend for drawer placement so you can use off the shelf boards for the drawer faces (1x6 and 1x12 drawer faces).

I recommend 20" or 22" drawer slides.  Here is a video showing how I install drawers.


Video of Building Desk Bases

Here is the video of me building this desk.