Paisley and Cypress {Sawdust and Embryos}
Make an old tray into a gorgeous decorative mosaic tray using just about ANYTHING as the mosaic! {Sawdust and Embryos}

Wall-mounted Secretary Desk for Kids

So if you’ve been following my blog for a bit, you know that we overhauled the twins room and DIY’d pretty much everything in the room (including that stenciled wall and those fainting couch beds!).

Twins' room transformation {Sawdust and Embryos}

Naturally, we made our way around the room, giving it our touch. You can see why this is my favorite room in the house. That papasan chair turned canopy? I still hang out in there, ok?

Little girls' room transformation {Sawdust and Embryos}

There’s one wall in this room that has remained unchanged, and looking a little neglected. Since their closet is fairly small, I thought about placing a smallish armoire here.

BEFORE pic in the girls' room transformation {Sawdust and Embryos}

But after making some serious organization tweaks (like these) to their closet, that was no longer necessary. And given their love for drawing, I thought it would be perfect to put a little desk on this wall with some shelving above. I loved this inspiration pic I found… and knew I could build something similar!

Desk inspiration for the girls' room... from The Land Of Nodsource

There were a few things that I wanted to be different though. I wanted there to be some depth to the desk so there could be a little storage inside, and I wanted there to be a bulletin board on the back wall… among other little tweaks. So I designed this:

We had some leftover 2×4’s that had been sitting outside ever since we build this, so they were pretty grody-looking. So I planed them down a tiny bit, and they looked like brand new pine! Then I rounded the corners a bit with the router (optional!) and cut my boards to size. The dimensions I used are in the building plans above, but you can use whatever dimensions fit for the space you’re wanting it!

children's secretary desk1

I drilled some pocket holes and assembled the frame of my desk!

Frame for CHildren's Murphy Table 'Secretary Desk' {Sawdust and Embryos}

Then I cut down some 1/4” plywood (cheap mahogany underlay) to size and glued / stapled it onto the back with my AirStrike. I didn’t have a piece big enough to cover the whole back, so I did it in 3 smaller pieces. I wouldn’t normally do this because the back isn’t very sturdy. But since it’s going flush against the wall (and will have cork covering the seams on the front) it’s no biggie!

children's secretary desk1-001

I sanded the whole thing down real good, and applied some wood putty here and there to make everything smooth. Then I painted white (RustOleum paint’/primer in one) and I affixed some cork squares to the back with this 3M spray adhesive. This stuff is FUMEY, so use it outside (and still wear a mask).

children's secretary desk1-002

I cut some 1×4’s down and added a slight angle on them to make the shape of a ‘Trapezium’. I totally just googled that… I have NEVER heard of that shape before. But it totally is! You thought I was SO SMART for a sec, didn’t you?!

Make a children's secretary desk or 'murphy table' {Sawdust and Embryos}

If I had to actually do my own math, I would probably never build anything of substance. So the obvious fact of the matter is that Nick measured out those evenly spaced Trapeziums and conveniently marked them for me. Then I glued them onto the back and bottom of the ‘desk’, and finished the deed by putting a lonnnng brad nail or 5 up through the bottom of each.

Children's secretary desk (or 'Murphy Desk') that folds up when not in use! {Sawdust and Embryos}

Finally, I cut the actual desk part to perfectly fit the same dimensions as the outside of the frame of the desk! As usual, I recruited one of the littles to do some sanding. Because they don’t know that sanding sucks yet.


Then we simply attached the desktop to the frame with a piano hinge, and put eye hooks on either side with a tiny chain. We made sure to cut the chain length so that when the desk is open, it lays at a perfectly right angle with the frame, making the desktop completely level.


I painted the bottom face of the desktop with chalkboard paint, and nailed on a simple frame (2×4 that get ripped to 3/8” thickness, and routed edges). I didn’t get a photo of this process, but it’s pretty straight forward. Here she is all assembled and ready to be affixed to the wall!

Children's Secretary Desk... or 'Murphy Table' {Sawdust and Embryos}

Kid's Wall-Mounted Secretary Desk or 'Murphy Table' {Sawdust and Embryos}

And here she is open!

Wall-mounted 'Secretary Desk' for kids! {Sawdust and Embryos}

Children's Murphy Table for crafting... folds up when not in use! {Sawdust and Embryos}

To affix this baby onto the wall, we put 3 pocket hole screws on the bottom ledge, and 3 went straight in through the cork just under the top ledge. This thing ain;t goin’ nowhere! I used on the top corners to keep the desk closed wh it isn’t in use.

Wall-mounted 'Secretary Desk' for kids! {Sawdust & Embryos}

I propped up some garage sale frames from my stash on top, and loved how it looked… so I added 2 more 2×4 shelves above it that span from the closet trim to the doorway trim. We routed a ridge in the top side of each shelf for a little nook for the picture frames to settle into and make them less likely to fall off….and affixed these to the wall with 3 pocket holes.

I took all but a couple frames out to the garage and gave ‘em a good coat of white, and popped some pictures in to see how they look!

children's secretary desk1-003

My friend Chelsea from Two Twenty One added a string of Instagram shots of her little guy below the picture ledges (here), and I loooooved that look! And I have so many instragram pics that I adore but haven’t gotten printed yet. So I went for it! These tiny clothespins are from the scrapbooking section at Walmart.

String some instragram prints below a shelf or picture ledge {Sawdust and Embryos}

And here’s the reveal of the full wall! I’m obsessed with everything about it!

DIY fold-down children's desk with storage inside, and chalkboard on outside... FREE PLANS! {Sawdust and Embryos}

I’ve got tutorials coming for that DIY Butterfly Clock and the cute kid chairs… but for now, let’s look at this fold-down ‘Secretary Desk’ for the littles.I love that all the messiness just folds right up inside,.. out of sight when it’s not in use! Although that color-coordinated messiness is awesome too.

Fold-down Children's table with storage inside, and a chalkboard on the outside! {Sawdust and Embryos}

Build your own Murphy Table for kids... it's like a wall-mounted secretary desk with all that storage inside! {Sawdust and Embryos}

DIY fold-down children's desk with storage inside... FREE PLANS! {Sawdust and Embryos}

Here you can see how it fits in with the rest of the room. Don’t mind the crooked rug.

Little girls' room by Sawdust and Embryos

You know I love it when beauty and function collide, and I feel like this wall has both to the extreme! And our girls love to spend many hours sitting here making art and chatting together. It’s the best to listen to their 4-year-old conversations through the baby monitor.

As always, if you build something similar with our building plans above, be sure to send pictures!


And be sure to check out all the other fun DIY’s that went into making this room perfect for our twins. You can see why it’s my favorite room in the house!

Stenciled Herringbone Accent Wall {Sawdust and Embryos} DIY Roman Shades {Sawdust and Embryos}
DIY Tufted Fainting Couch Toddler Bed TUTORIAL (Sawdust and Embryos) DIY Vintage-esque Starburst Mirror Tutorial (Sawdust & Embryos)
End Table Tulle Chandeliers {Sawdust and Embryos} Heirloom Dollhouse Transformation {Sawdust and Embryos}
Papasan Chair turned into Dreamy Reading-Nook Canopy for kids room! (Sawdust & Embryos) DIY Pinwheels using scrapbooking paper and vintage buttons {Sawdust and Embryos}


And thanks for pinning!

DIY fold-down children's desk with storage inside, and chalkboard on outside... FREE PLANS! {Sawdust & Embryos}

Pumpkin Cinnamon Sugar Soft Pretzels


Happy Fall!! Its Meghan from Cupcakes with Sprinkles and this month I'm super excited about these pretzels! I hadn't ever made pretzels before so I was really nervous, but turns out its pretty easy. These are soft and chewy (just like a pretzel should be), sweet, with a hint of pumpkin and lots of cinnamon. And they're even better when you dip them in the frosting we'll make too! So lets get our stuff and make pretzels!   In a medium bowl, combine the warm water, honey, and yeast. … [Read More...]

Shading with Stain… Giant Sunflower Art!


I think I’ve teased you guys long enough about this giant sunflower ‘stained art’ I’ve been working on. It’s finally done and ready to share! I used inspiration from the beautiful photography by Michele at Simplify Live Love. I’ve actually met her in real life, and she’s as lovely in person as she is on her blog... where she shares all the details of organic gardening, living green, homeschooling, and building a passive aggressive house! Be sure to follow her on Instagram to see more of her … [Read More...]

Fall / Autumn Related DIY Projects and Recipes


I’m finishing up a few things that I’m suuuuuper excited to share here. But alas, as I mentioned last week, I’ve not been so productive or motivated lately... so things are slow moving. Here’s an example: Nick and I went to bed at 9 o’clock last night. And then we woke up at 6. That means we slept 9 hours for no reason that is real. I painted the girls nails just now, and they’re watching an episode of Veggie Tales... so I have a half hour of down time! So I shall share a little roundup of … [Read More...]


Paisley and Cypress {Sawdust and Embryos}

Gosh you guys... I’ve been trying to write a post all week about a question I get asked a lot... HOW ARE YOU SO PRODUCTIVE?! But I keep laughing and snorting, and spraying coffee out of my nose at the very thought of having any authority on this subject. It just comes down to this: I only blog about things that I DO. I’ve never written a post about the MANY afternoons that I spend doing this: Or that day I fed my kids plain tortillas for lunch because I didn’t feel like preparing … [Read More...]

Decorative Mosaic Tray

Make an old tray into a gorgeous decorative mosaic tray using just about ANYTHING as the mosaic! {Sawdust and Embryos}

Heyyyyyy dudes! Happy Friday one and all! We survived the week, yeah?! I’m especially excited for this weekend, because we have nothing planned. Zilch. Those are my favorite of weekends, because I feel like I get to truly unwind and spend time with my family. I used to be such a people person... WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME?! Anywho! I have another fun-slash-simple project today... Contain your excitement! Ever since we shared the tutorial for our Leather Tufted Ottoman, we’ve had people … [Read More...]

One Board Challenge and Giveaway!


Good morning beautiful friends! Today I have a SUPER FUN contest to share with you. I’m not talking about a giveaway where you enter your name and email and hope for the best. We’re inviting you to roll up your sleeves and get some sawdust in your hair. Remember earlier this summer when I participated in a One Board Challenge with a handful of other Buildy Bloggers? We each used the same sized board (1” x 8” x 8’) and built WHATEVER THE HECK WE WANTED OUT OF IT. You guys were so excited … [Read More...]

Vertical Succulent Wall Planter Tutorial

Make your own simple vertical succulent planter using hose clamps and tiny terra cotta pots {Sawdust and Embryos}

I’ve been noticing a pattern in my creative projects... I’m either working on big projects like focusing on a room transformation (like the kitchen or ‘Laundry Suite’), or I’m going through phases where I kick back and work on lots of smallish projects here and there. Whenever I get comments like ‘that’s awesome, but I could never do that’ makes me feel so defeated. So throwing in some simple projects that you could go knock out in an afternoon does us all some good, right?! Group … [Read More...]

Styled x3 Challenge… THE WOODEN BOWL!


One of my fave blogging buddies, Stacy from Not Just a Housewife, has a monthly series where she sends a couple bloggers the same exact item to do with whatever they want. Each month it’s a different item, and each month it’s different set of bloggers... and each month the outcome of people’s creativity always astounds me! Stacy calls it Styled X3. So obviously with such a fun premise, I’m super excited to be a part of this collaboration this month! I was so anxious to see what item would … [Read More...]

Conquering a Crippling Fear

Helping kids (and ourselves) overcome a fear of bugs {Sawdust and Embryos}

I’ve talked about my crippling fear of crickets here on the blog before. It had gotten to the point where I would despise summertime and look forward to winter just to be able to breathe easy and not constantly fear coming upon a cricket. You guys made me feel a lot better when I wrote that post by sharing your own irrational fears in the comments. Isn’t it crazy how our minds can take over all logical thought? source I’m completely aware of the fact that crickets are harmless and couldn’t … [Read More...]