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Constructing a Folding Workbench with Storage

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 scrapwood), 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.

How to Build a DIY Folding Workbench that Mounts to the Wall

Building a DIY Workbench that Folds When Not in Use
 
 

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:

Plain garage wall ready to build DIY folding workbench that mounts to the wall

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 bxoes. 

​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:

Pegboard with tools organized for DIYer with a folding wall mounted workbench underneath

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:

How to Build a Folding Workbench

How to Build a Wall-Mounted, Folding Workbench in One Weekend

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 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:

building the tabletop for the DIY wall mounted folding garage workbenchBuilding a folding workbench that mounts to the wall - constructing the 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 table top (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 leg room, 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:

Building the legs of the DIY folding workbench that mounts to the wall to save space

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:

Building Wall Mounts for the DIY Folding Workbench

For the horizontal 2×4 (that the table top 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):

Securing the Workbench Tabletop to the Wall with Forstner Bits

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 table top.

​Here’s a picture of the workbench legs mounted with some hinges. Once again, I used a level to ensure accurate alignments:

Attaching Hinges to the DIY Folding Workbench that mounts to the wall of the garage

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 table top to the wall mounts:

Using Heavy Duty Hinges to Attach the DIY Folding Workbench to the wallHere 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 table top hinge when folded inwards:

Using Heavy Duty Hinges to Attach DIY Folding Workbench to Wall Mounts

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:

How to Round the Tabletop of the DIY Folding Workbench that mounts to the wallFinally, 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.

How to Build a DIY Folding Workbench that Mounts to the WallHow to Build a DIY Folding Workbench that Mounts to the WallHow to Build a Workbench that Folds

The folding workbench was just the beginning of our garage plans.

We also installed an exhaust fan for ventilation in the garage. I added a boxing station too – that stows away when not being used!

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 costed 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.

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65 Comments

  1. Nice design, an improvement would be to make the right-most support swing left so that you don’t use any additional wall space when folded down. It would require either the middle suport to me recessed or the outer supports (and table-top) moved further out from the wall to cover them.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion! I considered that but the extra space the third leg took up wasn’t a big deal for me, and I wanted the legs sufficiently spaced to evenly distribute the weight of the table.

  3. You Sir, are a genius! I’ve always appreciated the work of clever carpenters who can make wonderful things with only some spare wood and their imaginations! It reminds me of my grandfather who was also very clever, and solved many problems in his tiny workshop! I really enjoyed this story!
    Peace!

    1. Thanks for the awesome feedback! I do love building things from scratch and doing tweaks here and there from daily use. What’s really been a huge help for me lately was building some of my more complicated designs in software (like TinkerCAD) before cutting any wood. I can build and see my idea virtually, and when I’m happy with the result, I hop into the garage and get my hands dirty. Thanks again!

  4. You could run a tie bar with pivot holes bolted across the bottom of each folding support to create a 1 touch open/close system for that bench. I like the heavy duty construction, but the fact that it still packs away quite tight to the wall. Great Job!

    1. Great suggestion! I’ll consider something like that for future upgrades. It would be a nice timesaver to just grab the exposed (when table folded down) leg support on the right and swing open all the legs at the same time.

  5. This is so awesome! I have had the same problem for years…small two car garage with no room for a workbench. This changes everything! I can’t wait to build this and start working on more projects.

    1. I’m glad you like it! The garage floor and driveway was my work bench prior to this build. Btw, the removable French cleat shelves have turned out to be really useful when I need to fold down the table – if there’s a clutter and I don’t feel like putting it all way, I just grab a nearby box shelf and fill it up temporarily, toss it back on the wall and fold the table down. Very convenient.

  6. This is an excellent idea. Thanks for sharing it.
    Did you consider putting cleats on the underside of the top, alongside each of the supports, to lock them in place? That is, if the top can be lifted a little higher than its resting position, then once the supports swing out into position, lowering the top would secure the supports in place without the barrel latches because the cleats would keep them from moving out of position. Combine that with Will Wassell’s tie bar suggestion and opening and securing the bench would be a matter of lifting the top, swinging the right hand support into position, and lowering the top. (Without the tie bar, getting each support into the right position might be too awkward.)

    1. Underside cleats are a great idea. If I had thought of that, I may not have bothered with the bolts. I’ll keep that design in mind for future projects though. The garage is pretty much my creative outlet, so lots of crazy contraptions have yet to be built.

      1. Thanks for this description. It looks great and I’m planning to adapt it to make a similar style fold-away desk for my son. On the suggestion of cleats under the table top, how thick a cleat would it need to be to be effective? My plan is for a smaller work surface, likely 36″ x 24″ with just two supports on the ends, which would fold in to each other in the middle. The tie bar is a great idea with all supports folding the same way. Any thoughts on how I might create a similar easy-open mechanism with two supports both folding into the middle?

  7. Thanks for the inspiration, copied you plan on a smaller scale to make a work bench in a smaller garage. Wish I had that much real estate to play with!

    1. I hear you, my previous home had a 1/4 size garage (the rest was converted to a room). The design is pretty scalable though, just reduce the number of legs accordingly. It could probably go as small as one leg too.

  8. I see this in my backyard as a potting bench!! Great idea and easy to follow plan! Thanks for sharing at the DIY party!

  9. I LOVE this idea and build! We are having a shop built on our farm right now and I would love to add this to it! I love that you shared detailed pics!

    1. Thanks Laura! Ash LOVES the workbench. It’s such a space saver and we can still get both our cars in the garage. He’s already making plans for another folding work station.

  10. I love projects like these. It’s perfect for those of us who need space to work, but don’t have room to spare for a ‘workshop’ area. Thanks for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

    1. Thanks, Leslie! We love that we can get both cars in the garage and Ash still has his dream workspace 🙂

  11. Thank you so much for linking at #overthemoon! I look forward to seeing what you share every week. Please come back for #WonderfulWednesday or #ThursdayFavoriteThings. Don’t forget to comment your link #’s so I can be sure to visit and you get a chance to be featured! Pinned and shared.

    1. Thanks Charlee! We are loving how much space it saves 🙂 Ash is already working on creating another folding workspace

  12. I love this and totally need to make it! Pinning and sharing, thanks for linking up to #HomeMAttersParty

  13. That’s such a brilliant idea. All that extra work area without compromising on space and I loved the way you explained everything Ash. May I ask why the legs swing towards the right instead of the left towards the garage door?

    1. I’m glad you liked the project! As for the swing direction, its a matter of preference. I had future plans for the area to the left of the table, and if the legs swung to the left, it would interfere with my plans. So I made the legs swing to the right.

  14. I definitely need to make one of these! Thank you for sharing with us at last weeks To Grandma’s house we go party, you will be featured in the next party opening tomorrow morning 🙂 Have a great week!

    1. Thanks so much, Tarah!! We were so excited to see the feature 🙂 Have a great week!

  15. This is a great idea. I’d love to have a folding work bench. Thanks for sharing the tutorial with us at Snickerdoodle. Pinning.

    1. Thanks, Beverly! We love having a folding workbench – Ash is working on his next folding station too. We are going to squeeze another one into the garage:)

  16. A folding workbench is a fantastic idea. Excellent tutorial. Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm.

    1. Thanks Sharon – we love having a folding workbench in the garage. Love getting our cars in too 🙂

  17. Hello! I wanted to let you know I’ll be featuring your workbench at tonight’s Funtastic Friday Link Party!

  18. I used your design in building a folding workbench in my garage. It was exactly what I needed for my 1 1/2 car garage and it turned out as very good. Thanks so much for your innovated design and construction details. I did some mods like a glued and screwed plywood topped with masonite for the top. Extremely useful. Thanks again.

  19. I know it’s over a year later but I did use your design and it worked really well. Like you, virtually everything I used were reused items, like 10″ boards from an ice rink I don’t build anymore [global warming?]. The counter was recycled from a basement office we tore down years ago. Habitat – for hinges except the gate hinges that I paid full price for!!
    The only problems I had was with allowing space for the hinges. I had to add a 1/4 inch filler to bring out the horizontal 2×4, else the table top would not fold completely vertical. The same with the gate hinges. I will have to raise the height of the legs about an eighth of an inch to make their top edges flush with the bottom of the table top.
    I had to have both legs fold inward so, for the middle support, I will have to come up with something else, perhaps a hinged 4×4??

    All in all, a very satisfying project.

    Thanks for sharing.

  20. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have limited space in my basement, not to mention a floor that is far from level. My house is over a hundred years old. I’ll have to build a frame to make this work, but your method for the legs is beyond amazing for me. As it is, I spend about 45 minutes every time I have to set up a work table to get it level. This is phenomenal.

  21. Thanks for sharing, Just moved into a place with about half the garage space I had so having to use every square inch of wall space. Don’t have enough room for bench top this size but will use your methods to build a “2-leg” bench. Much appreciated.

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