Need a functional workbench but don’t have the space? Make a DIY wall-mounted folding workbench with this step-by-step tutorial.
Digging through my scrap wood collection (see how I store my scrap wood), I came across some pieces of pegboard from our previous home that I had forgotten about.
I had just relocated a lot of garden tools to the shed, and there was an empty wall in the garage that would now be perfect for the pegboard.
After mounting the pegboard and hanging up some tools, the wall still looked a little empty. I had a vision of mounting a heavy-duty folding workbench to the wall.
This was the perfect location, and if the workbench folded, we could still fit the car in the garage.
Moreover, I was also in desperate need of a good workbench. I had been using the driveway and garage floor for all my projects.
The lack of a completely flat and level surface made projects more difficult. So I embarked on this bucket list project of building my own folding workbench.
Installing The Pegboard And French Cleat Shelves In The Garage
Before I made the DIY folding workbench, I wanted to prepare the wall. The wall would consist of pegboard and some creative French cleat shelving.
Mounting The Pegboard
First off, the pegboard needed to be installed above where the DIY folding workbench would go.
I had to create a slight gap between the wall and the board to allow the hooks to be inserted.
I used some scrap 1 x 3 wood leftover from a prior project to create the gap.
Using my table saw, I cut the wood in half lengthwise to make 1 x 1.5 strips and screwed them to the studs behind the drywall.
Here’s a picture of the wall showing the mounted strips in preparation for the pegboard:
Then I hoisted up each 2 x 8 pegboard sheet and screwed them into the wood strips, using washers to secure the board. It all just seemed too simple, and I needed more of a challenge.
After, I hoisted up each 2 x 8 pegboard sheet and screwed them into the wood strips, using washers to secure the board.
It all just seemed too simple, and I needed more of a challenge.
Adding French Cleat Shelves
I then remembered some French cleat shelves I recently built in between the two garage doors. We had wasted space in between our two garage doors – just a small vertical space. And, we use every bit of storage space over here, so I mounted vertical French cleat storage boxes/shelves.
French cleat shelves are portable shelves that are very sturdily mounted to the wall – and can be removed from the wall by simply lifting. I like to use wooden boxes to mount on the French cleats because they are so practical for building.
I love French cleat shelves, or modular shelves, because they are so practical for building – you can take the box shelf off the wall and into your workspace very easily.
So I quickly made 4 shallow box shelves and rigged up a French cleat system for them underneath the pegboard.
You can see in the picture below I used some old beadboard for the bottom of the French cleat shelf boxes.
Here’s a picture of the French cleat shelves, along with the pegboard and my fancy tool collection. You can just lift those French cleat boxes off whenever you need:
Creating The Folding Workbench Design
With the pegboard and French cleat shelves installed, I could start on the DIY folding workbench.
To come up with the design, I first did a lot of research on existing workbenches, especially folding ones.
I was initially considering one that folded up to cover the pegboard when not in use.
A nice feature of that design was that it left below the pegboard intact. So, I could make use of the space for shelving in the future.
I ended up ditching that idea because it would hinder my ability to get tools off the pegboard when the table was folded up.
The extra space below the pegboard was not worth that inconvenience.
Thus, I decided my workbench would fold downwards.
Many fold-down tables I came across had built-in legs at the front that swung down. I wanted to make my table free of legs to give a more roomy feel, and also allow easy access to the floor when the table was down.
Sweeping up a sawdust-covered floor is a lot easier with no table legs in the way. So finally, all my research culminated into a custom design, which I created in TinkerCad.
Here are the TinkerCAD diagrams of the table in the up and down position:
As you can see in the diagrams of the DIY folding workbench, I planned to have the table supported with 3 wall-mounted legs.
Each leg would rest on hinges, allowing them to swing inwards and lay flat against the wall.
With the legs folded in, the tabletop (also resting on hinges) would fold downwards to lay on top of the legs.
I really liked this floating workbench design and was eager to start work on it.
Constructing The DIY Folding Workbench
With the design finished, I was excited to start the DIY workbench I had always wanted.
The workbench construction consisted of 3 main parts – tabletop, legs, and wall mounts. Once completed, I would need to secure the pieces to each other with hinges.
So first I started with the tabletop.
Building The Workbench Tabletop
For the DIY floating workbench tabletop, I opted to use several planks of 2 x 8 and 2 x 4 wood for the top, much like a picnic table.
I liked the look because it blended in well with my existing garage shelves (including a sliding shelf behemoth I made a few months ago).
To assemble them together, I used a number of techniques.
First, I drilled 10 pocket holes along the length of each board. I used the Kreg Pocket Hole jig to precisely drill all the holes.
Then I applied construction adhesive to the sides of the planks, clamped them together tightly, and fastened them to each other with 2.5″ pocket hole screws.
WOOD CLAMP TIP
If you’re really getting into some woodworking projects lately and don’t already have a variety of wood clamps, I would strongly recommend getting some. For years, I never had the need for any.
Then about a year ago, I had to borrow a neighbor’s 3ft bar clamp to help hold some warped wood in place while I drilled it down. I was hooked ever since.
Now I’ve accumulated a host of clamps ranging from 3″ C clamps to 3ft bar clamps. For the bar clamps, I always try to get them in pairs because many clamping scenarios are better with multiple pressure points.
A lot of bar clamps also convert to spreaders, which let you “spread” a certain distance between two pieces of wood (never thought I’d use that feature, but trust me, you’ll run into a scenario where you’ll want to pry apart two pieces of wood).
I’ve also got a few 90-degree clamps, which are a godsend for building bookshelves (or any other scenario where you need to secure two pieces of wood perpendicular to each other).
I even use an awesome Kreg face clamp to keep two pieces of wood perfectly flush for joining (also use it for the pocket hole jig to keep it in place as well).
Alright, enough rambling about my love for wood clamps.
Finishing The Workbench Tabletop
Finally, I ran 3 perpendicular 2 x 4 supports underneath the tabletop for additional strength. These supports also serve as stops for the swinging legs, so the spacing of them was actually determined by the positions of the legs on the wall.
Here are pictures of the top and bottom of the DIY folding workbench’s completed tabletop:
The floating workbench’s tabletop was very heavy but sturdy.
The surface and edges were a little rough, so I planned to sand it down in the end and then route the edges with a rounding over bit.
Constructing The DIY Workbench Legs
Each leg consisted of 2 pieces of 2 x 10 planks, cut to 27” in length. I secured the planks to each other, similar to the tabletop (with pocket holes and wood glue).
I did notch the corner of each leg structure with a 45 degree cut for a nice angled design.
This would give me more legroom, and also eliminate a pointed edge to get snagged on.
Here’s a picture of one of the legs being worked on. The DIY folding workbench was already becoming very handy, even just resting on some sawhorses:
The next task was to bolt 2 x 4 mounts into the wall studs. I used 3.5” lag bolts for the fasteners and made sure they were perfectly level.
I completed the wooden mounts:
For the horizontal 2×4 (that the tabletop will hinge to) that connects to each vertical support, I used 5 fasteners to secure it.
I used 3 lag bolts to attach to each vertical support and two 6″ TimberLok screws in between the vertical supports to attach it directly to two additional wall studs.
For the lag bolts, it was essential that they were flush with the surface of the wood.
Up until recently, countersinking lag bolts was not a clean and easy task for me.
This was until I bought a set of Forstner bits that made the task a breeze.
Unlike regular drill bits, Forstner bits are specially made to cut flat bottom holes to precise depths.
Here is a picture of one of the bolts up close countersunk with a Forstner bit (note the gap around the bolt head to allow room for the socket spanner):
Finally, with the 3 main project segments completed (table top, legs, mounts), I could start attaching them to each other with hinges.
Prior to a Home Depot trip for all the lumber, I stopped by the local Habitat for Humanity Restore.
I was in luck because I picked up 12 used door hinges for a mere $3. Home Depot was selling a pack of brand new ones for $23.
I highly recommend the Habitat stores if you happen to live near to one. They can sometimes yield big savings for your DIY projects.
Definitely give the Habitat for Humanity Restore website a look to see if they have a location near you. You’ll definitely save!
Attaching The Workbench Hinges
Attaching the hinges went on fairly easily. I used three of the regular door hinges for each leg. Then, I used 3 heavy-duty hinges for the tabletop.
Here’s a picture of the workbench legs mounted with some hinges. Once again, I used a level to ensure accurate alignments:
I positioned the table in place, and attached it to the wall mounts with the 3 heavy-duty hinges.
I used two types of fasteners for the hinges. For the wall mount connection, I used four 1/4″ lag bolts per hinge.
For the table top connection, I used Simpson 1.5″ structural screws (these screws are amazing for all sorts of projects due to their anchoring strength, so I always have some on hand in the garage).
To prevent the doors from accidentally swinging shut while the table was down, I attached a small bolt lock on each leg to lock them into place.
Here’s a picture of one of the heavy-duty hinges used to fasten the tabletop to the wall mounts:
Here is the bolt lock in action to secure the swinging legs.
Note the rectangular notch I had to make on two of the legs to account for the heavy-duty tabletop hinge when folded inwards:
Final Touches On The DIY Folding Workbench
The floating workbench was practically complete at this point. The tabletop just needed a good sanding, and the edges needed a nice routed cut.
I used a 3/8″ radius round over edging bit with my plunge router.
Here’s a picture of the tabletop corner once routed (looks very professional, doesn’t it?). I love the look that routing gives:
Finally, I finished the DIY wall-mounted, folding workbench.
Confident in its strength, Eileen and I both sat on it to prove that it was a sturdy design. The table did not even budge.
The folding workbench was just the beginning of our garage plans.
And, if you’ve been following along, you know about my love for technology. I built and mounted a garage computer (from scrap wood) to help me while I’m building!
We also added a DIY screen door from our garage leading into our mudroom.
Eileen painted the garage walls. She found two gallons of high-quality blue paint at the Restore. And, she painted the wooden pegboard a much nicer color. Stay tuned for an updated picture!
For the future, I have cabinets I found at the Restore to mount to the wall, and I’d love a rolling workspace too one day.
Time And Cost
Lumber and materials cost around $150. I completed the entire project over the weekend.
Overall, the DIY folding workbench was a much-needed addition to my garage workshop. I will be using it a lot in the very near future.
We are already enjoying how much space the floating workbench saves. We love that we didn’t compromise any of our garage space while also finally having a place to work.
If you are in need of a workbench or are looking for a folding solution for your workspace, this DIY folding workbench is completely do-able and you will love the results.
Three-Year DIY Folding Bench Update
Three years later, the folding workbench is holding up great! It looks just as great as the day I built it.
We are loving how easily the workspace converts – as we can quickly get the car back in the garage when we need to. I wouldn’t have made any changes to the original design or construction.
I have done a lot more garage projects since but nothing beats the workspace that this folding workbench provides.