Classroom DIY: Standing Desk

Jun 6, 2015 by

Classroom DIY: Standing Desk
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One of my favorite aspects of teaching is trying to figure out how to help my students become meta-cognitive about their learning and advocate for their individual needs. What type of learner are they-visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc.? Do they work best by themselves, with a partner, in a group? Do they need a tool to aid in their learning, such as an exercise ball, chair rubber band, fidget stick? And as of today, I can now ask them-do they prefer sitting, kneeling or STANDING as they learn?

DIY Standing Desk for $13

That’s right. I am the proud new owner of a STANDING DESK! This is something I’ve wanted for-ever. I have seen, every year, students who just want to stand by their desk while I talk. And what do I do? Ask them to please sit down. ARGH! Who here likes to sit for hours on end in PD? Anyone? Why do we ask all our students to do this, even for the duration of a math lesson?

While looking online, I saw that the price of pre-made standing desks put them waaaay out of my reach. So I took a look at what I had. A double desk that could serve as my desk area? Check. Anything else? Nope.

DIY Standing Desk for $13

Please ignore my end-of-the-year mess.


So then I focused on how to elevate the desk securely. I kept trying to picture myself building a wooden platform out of a few 2x4s and slab of plywood. But I thought it would be messy and probably expensive.

Then it came to me-bed risers. I had the custodian raise the desk as high as it would go-about 29″. Then I got on Amazon and ordered this set of 8″ bed risers. 2 days later (thanks Prime!!), they were on my doorstep. And they worked PERFECTLY.

DIY Standing Desk for $13

I put one riser under each foot of the desk. The risers gripped my carpet incredibly securely-they will not slide even when I put my full weight against the table.

DIY Standing Desk for $13

Because of the lip on the top of the risers, the desk does not slide around, nor does it tip off the risers. Again, I leaned against the table as hard as I could, and it did not budge even within the lip area.

DIY Standing Desk for $13

A teacher next door came over and was skeptical. She thought for sure it would tip over. And it did-when she pushed it with the intent to knock it over. So short of a student with the mission to knock the desk over, this standing desk is staying put!

DIY Standing Desk for $13

To make sure it was absolutely perfect, I had a student test it out. This girlie is one of my taller fifth graders, measuring 5′ 4″. I asked her to write me a short paragraph giving me feedback about how it felt to write on a table at that height. The verdict? She loved it! I’m guessing it will be the perfect height for all my fifth graders, even my shorties.

DIY Standing Desk for $13

The total cost for this project? A whopping $13! I am over the moon that I now have an option for students who would like to stand while I teach, or even stand while working on independent projects. It compliments my coffee table for students that want to sit on the floor and tables for students who just want a chair as usual.

DIY Standing Desk for $13

Do you have a standing desk (or two) in your classroom? Tell us about it in the comments!


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  1. Wow! This is really fantastic. I love that you give your students so many options and really care about figuring out how they learn best. I bet you have fewer disciplinary problems than the typical classroom. I love this idea. Keep up the great work.


  2. Amy

    I’m so in awe of how much freedom you have to create your learning space/classroom. We don’t have as much, I’m curious where your coffee table is in your room. I think I would like to have one in my classroom library… What do you think? Garage sale or diy out of crates?
    Thank you!
    Amy in 4th grade

    • katieuppman

      Hey, Amy! My coffee table is actually just a regular school table that has been brought down to the lowest ‘setting’. I was lucky with student numbers this year and didn’t need that table for seats during the day, so I was able to lower it and use it as a work station. I believe I’ll be back up to high student numbers next year, so I may have to raise it back up to a regular table.

      I think one of the reasons I was able to do this set-up is because I scrounged the tables up from storage rooms around the district-they looked pretty awful when I got them. Some are still a bit wobbly. I know for a fact I wouldn’t have gotten approval to purchase them. I originally thought I would try to find old dining room tables on Craigslist/Freecycle and paint them!

  3. I LOVE this idea! I ordered be raisers for this purpose earlier this school year…and somehow my little angels succeeded in knocking it over by the end of the first day. 🙁 Now I’m off to find a way to make it just a bit sturdier! So glad they’re working for you!!


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