Craft table or desk too short? Try this!

Phyl CampbellStarred Page By Phyl Campbell, 22nd Sep 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>DIY>Building & Remodeling

It's a common problem. People hunch over at a table to type, make crafts, or assemble puzzles because they cannot find a table of adequate height. They might try putting the table on blocks or boards, but it is unsteady. Here is a quick (less than 10 minutes), fairly cheap (less than $10, or $30 if you need to buy a tool) solution using PVC.

The problem

Here's the problem -- due to personal preference and lack of funds, I'm cheap. I'm also trying to sell my house, so furniture I didn't think I'd need a month ago I put in storage or got rid of. But I'm not comfortable with my laptop on my lap. It gets too hot. I don't type well, and I can't see the screen. A card table is too tall and takes up too much space. A breakfast table doesn't have enough surface area, and the supports get in the way of my feet. They're also usually too short. But when my son was one, I bought him a folding table that was just right for him then. It is about half the length of the average square card table. It's about 20" high, making it great for kids or as a coffee table, and OK for some light desk-usage, but not a good desk for posture for the long term. I saw a commercial on late-night for a TV tray that would go to 17 different positions, and I almost bought it, but then I noticed that all 17 positions were still shorter than what I wanted.

I've looked for years to find a table that would adjust without me spending a lot of money on it. And then someone on ehow pointed me to PVC. I wouldn't have found it if I hadn't been actively searching for it, so I thought if I were having a problem, others might benefit from the solutions I've found and improved upon.

The best benefit to this table is that I can sit on my couch and work on my laptop, but when I get a call to show the house or when I have company over, I can fold up the legs and slide the table under the couch. If you are in a similar situation, but don't have space under your couch like I do, you can quickly tuck a folding table behind the couch, in a closet, or behind a door. The PVC extenders slip on and off in seconds.

Options for cutting pipe

If you're like me, you want to acquire all the supplies and then figure out how to use them. That may not work in this case, which is why I put this section here instead of after the directions. Don't let fear of cutting pipe stop you from tackling this project. (Cutting 9" off 4 pipes took me less than 5 minutes with this tool.)

The ehow article recommended using a hacksaw to cut pipe to the desired length. But if you're a little clumsy (like me) and could see doing many of these projects in your lifetime, invest $20 or less in a PVC cutter (see image) at your hardware store.

To use a PVC cutter, stretch the handles WIDE to open the mouth, insert the pipe where you want it cut, then squeeze the handles. Each squeeze will ratchet the mouth of the cutter to the pipe. It still takes a bit of hand strength, but it beats the slipping and sliding of a hacksaw. And your result will be neat lengths of pipe -- nothing wasted!

Another alternative is to have the hardware store cut the pipe for you, but if you're not sure what height you want, you risk cutting too long or too short and still not having a size you are happy with.


  • Find the folding table (or table with skinny legs) that you want to elevate.
  • Measure the legs from the point where they connect to the table or the table leg hinges that allow them to fold into the table. The PVC length you choose must exceed this measurement. You also need the PVC mouth opening to be wide enough for the existing table legs to fit inside. One inch pipe worked for me.
  • Acquire PVC from the hardware store. To protect your floor / make the table slide easily, acquire PVC caps.
  • Cut the PVC to desired length, either by cutting two longer pieces in equal halves or some equivalent.
  • Remove the table's original leg-caps (feet) if the PVC won't slide over them.
  • Slide the PVC legs over the existing legs.
  • Smile and enjoy your new table!

Height Choices

When I went to the store, I found 2', 5', 10' and 20' lengths. I bought two 5' lengths and cut them in half, and it made a standing table. A standing table was nice, but not what I wanted. I cut 9" off the four legs, and the result is in the image for this section. Perfect!

For my every day use, I prefer the shorter table. However, I think if I wanted to put the 9" parts on the table legs first, and then the ones I'll use more often, I could have a standing table, too. If the two pieces did not have enough support, I could go buy connectors. Alternatively, for what I spent on PVC (just under $10), I could buy two more 5' lengths, cut them in half, and have different pairs of legs for the different heights I wanted.

In the future, I'd like to notch holes in the PVC so I could use a pin system to raise and lower the legs. But the holes would need to be pretty exact across 4 legs, and I'm not that great with a drill (I could buy perforated pipe, but that's pricier, and I'm not sure the pin holes would be big enough or I could buy pins small enough and sturdy enough). If a reader has other suggestions, I'm all eyes for reading and learning from him/her!

Other DIY articles

I've created several DIY articles to make things work better for my time, effort, and energy. Here are a few you might find useful.
Bulletin Board
Dishwashing 101
Always Late
Stuff a Recliner
Making and embedding video for WIkinut

You can write about DIY, too! Join Wikinut and get started by clicking on my link.


Adjustable Table, Craft Table, Desk, Pvc, Table Height, Work Station

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
23rd Sep 2013 (#)

Very clever! Very clear instructions. Nicely done article. A star definitely earned.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
23rd Sep 2013 (#)

Thanks, Jerry!

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author avatar Delicia Powers
25th Sep 2013 (#)

How creative!!!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
25th Sep 2013 (#)

Thanks, Delicia!

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author avatar Clarence Schreiber
1st Oct 2013 (#)

It is very interesting way to do it. I great to bring the table a little higher for you. Great job.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
20th Jun 2014 (#)

Thanks Clarence! So sorry I did not respond sooner. I haven't seen you posting lately -- hope all is well!!

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author avatar snerfu
19th Jun 2014 (#)

Woo! What a way to move Phyl. Now that the table has raised its legs, I guess it is time to go to work.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
20th Jun 2014 (#)

Thanks Snerfu! Raising this kiddie table to card table height was certainly one of my better ideas.

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