How to bend plywood

In this article we show you how to bend plywood to make a mobile desk for a young child.



Designed for a 7-year old who loves to draw, this mobile desk has no glue or screws. The simple design is simple yet strong and is easily movable. You have the option to add glue if you feel it necessary.

This plywood desk has a simple design that is achieved by bending the plywood. You will find details below on how this was done - and you would be surprised at how easy it is to bend plywood.

A simple system was designed to allow for a roll of paper to be fitted onto the desk. This is guaranteed to keep your young one occupied for hours on end!

For seating, a simple stool was designed to match the plywood desk / drawing table and a handy holder was mounted for crayons or pencils.


1 of 500 x 1450mm 18mm veneered plywood

Nylon rope, 2 metres

Oil or sealer to finish

OPTIONAL: Dowel for paper roll


Drill / Driver plus assorted bits

Circular saw

Wood chisel

Sander plus 120- and 180-grit sanding pads

Jigsaw and fine-tooth blade

Circular saw or table saw

Strap clamp

Tape measure and pencil



1. Use a circular saw or table saw (cut depth adjusted) to cut the grooves as detailed in the diagram above. The grooves should not go entirely through the board and stop 4mm shy of the top veneer layer.

2. The cut grooves allow you to gently bend over the plywood. Wrap the frame with a strap clamp to make it easier to bend the plywood to shape.

3. The next step is to make all the cuts for the paper holder and pencil container. If you aren't adding these you can skip this step. Drill out the holes to the required width and clean out with a chisel.

GOOD TO KNOW: Use a sharp wood chisel for clean edges.

4. Cut out slots for threading nylon rope to hold the top and bottom assembly tightly together. See the video below for a more detailed explanation.


Once your table (and stool) is assembled, apply a suitable oil or sealer to protect. You will find a variety of solvent-based and water-based sealers at your local Builders store for a natural or tinted finish.