DIY Workbench Ideas

The Seven Best Work Bench Plans For Any DIY Homeowner

Are you looking for DIY Workbench Ideas but not sure where to begin? If so, you’ve come to the right place, as this guide includes our seven best and simplest workbench plans for homeowners to build.

Choose your favorite workbench plan from this list, grab a few tools, and follow the step-by-step instructions to build your workbench in one day. 

How to Build a DIY Workbench

While there are a hundred variations of wood workbench plans, most are take-offs on a few similar and basic designs.

Below, we’ll find the two most common and popular DIY workbench ideas.  The “Classic” and the “Cheap” DIY workbench plans. And each of these workbench plans can easily be adapted to fit any Basement, Garage, or Workshop. 

How hard is it to build a workbench? We think (by DIY standards), building a workbench is one of the most straightforward DIY jobs you will accomplish.

Step One:   Determine the Best Size for the Workbench 

The first step in building this DIY workbench is to Confirm the size of the bench that suits your space.  (Our instructions are for a typical workbench size – 30″ deep x 60″ long).

Step Two:   Determine Your Budget

Now determine how much money you can spend to build your workbench.   That can be determined by how elaborate you’re workbench is (Drawers vs. No Drawers, Shelves, No Shelves, etc.).  Once that’s done, you’re ready to start building your workbench.

Step 3:   Buy Building Materials for DIY Workbench

While every set of workbench plans will be different, there are some common materials you’ll need to build most of them. 

Materials needed to build your DIY workbench:

  • 2 x 4 lumber for framing
  • 7/16″ – 1/2″ plywood sheet (4×8)
  • 3-inch galvanized deck screws
  • 1-1/2 -inch drywall screws
  • Pegboard and pegs
  • 1×10 for backboard (some designs, optional)
  • Wood glue
  • Fluorescent light fixture (optional)

Step 4:  Assemble Tools For Workbench

In addition to the raw materials, you’ll need a few standard woodworking tools to measure and cut the boards for your new workbench. 

If you have a decently equipped workshop, there’s a good chance that you already have most or all of these tools. 

These are the essential tools you need to build a workbench:

  • Circular saw
  • Cordless drill
  • Clamps
  • Miter saw
  • Safety glasses
  • Straightedge
  • Tape measure
  • Lumber and hardware materials

The Classic Workbench (Approximately 7 – 8 hours)

classic workbench - best home gear

This classic workbench design is an excellent option if you need something sturdy and reliable that isn’t difficult to construct.

As workbenches go – This is one of the workbench designs we often recommend, and it can be used in just about any workshop or garage setting.  The estimated material cost for the “classic workbench” is approximately $90

Step 1: Construct Top and Shelf Framing

DIY workbench top - Best Home Gear
How to build Workbench Top – Courtesy Familyhandyman.com
  • First, make the framing for the workbench Top. Cut the 2x4s in advance and “dry fit” to ensure the measurements are correct and square.  Cut (1) piece of 2 x 4 as an intermediate support for your top (above).
  • Next, using 3″ exterior deck screws, wood glue, and 2x4s – assemble the top “framing plan.”
  • Complete the workbench top assembly by adding a Plywood top (The lead photo above shows an optional hardwood top): 
  • For the plywood Top – We recommend using  (1) piece of 3/4″ MDF plywood. Attach the plywood to the top of the framing by countersinking 1 1/2″ drywall screws.  MDF plywood will provide a smooth and practical finish to work on for most projects. For added protection, add a coat of clear varnish to make stains easier to clean up.

Note:  If you need a rougher top (for doing metalwork as an example), you can use two layers of 7/16″ – 1/2″ OSB plywood instead.  OSB (oriented strand board) is rough and ready to take all the abuse – but it isn’t the best-looking finish.

Note:  Your finished workbench “Top” should measure 30″ wide and 60″ long overall.

Optional: Add hardwood boards to the top of your workbench assembly to improve durability and appearance.  If you plan to do so, you can eliminate one piece of plywood from the top assembly.

Step 2:   Build Workbench Legs

  • Next, build the workbench legs, then install the legs on the workbench.
  • The best way to do this is to create two separate leg assemblies, each consisting of two 2 x 4 legs and a pegboard brace.
  • When laying out your work, keep the leg assemblies about 1/8″ narrower than the top framing – as the finished Leg Assembly will fit inside the Top Assembly.
  • Note: For this project, we follow the standard workbench height of 36″; however, you can shorten your workbench if desired.  
DIY Workbench Legs - Best Home Gear
Pegboard Sides For Workbench Legs
  • To make your bench 36″ high, cut the 2 x 4  legs at 35″ in height. (The Top is 1″ in height)
  • (Note: The 2 x 4 legs will be braced by a pegboard, which can be used to hang tools and add much stability to your workbench.  
  • After you have (4) 2 x 4 legs cut for height, cut (2) pieces of pegboard @ 26 7/8″ comprehensive (1/8″ narrower than the inside Top Framing) and 20″ in height, pegboard helps add stability to your workbench and holds up under the weight of whatever tools and materials you may put on it.
  • Next, lay (2) 2 x4 legs on a flat surface, and using wood glue and drywall screws, attach pegboard sides to the top of the workbench legs.  Repeat on the other side.
  • Each finished Leg Assembly should be 26 7/8″ Wide x 35″ High.

Step 3: Attach Legs to “Top” Frame Assembly

Lay your assembled “Top” – Upside Down on a flat surface. Attach the (2) legs inside the “top” frame assembly. With the Pegboard side “Up” closest to the Top.

Using construction adhesive and 2 1/2″ deck screws, attach both legs to the top frame with the peg side on top and firmly secure the legs inside all four corners and the Top assembly.

Step 4:  Install Workbench Shelf

Lay the workbench on one side to install your shelf. (See Below)

Workbench Shelf Construction:

  • Install a shelf for your workbench by building a 2 x 4 frame assembly 26 7/8″ wide (same as leg width) and 56 3/4″ long.  Attach (1) 1/2″ plywood to the shelf frame assembly with wood glue and drywall screws.
  • To make this step easier, turn the workbench on one side and screw the shelf into place at the bottom and inside of the pegboard leg assemblies.
  • When completed, your overall workbench measurement should be 30″ wide x 60″ Long x 36″ High.
workbench shelf - best home gear
Attaching Shelf To Workbench Legs

Step 5:  Add Top Boards (Optional)

If you build a more “upscale design,” – you can add 1″ x 6″ hardwood boards to the top of your completed workbench. Hardwood will sustain a more significant impact than plywood, and indoor workshops provide a more pleasing design.

Step 6:   Attach the Back Brace and Small Shelf.

  1. You can install a simple back brace to add a back and a shelf for items like nails, screws, glue, etc..  This will also stabilize the back of the workbench and keep items from rolling off the back of your bench.
  2. We recommend a 1×10 pine board with a 4″ top shelf and 4″ side legs attached to it for support.  Simply cut a 1″ x 10″ the same length as your workbench. 
  3. Next, attach the 1 x 4 shelf to the 1″ x 10″ (allowing 4″ for the height of the top), and fix the back brace to the backside of the top frame assembly.

Step 7:   Stain and Finish as Desired

You can stain your finished workbench to make it look nicer in your shop space. If you plan to spoil it, Sand all the pieces you cut before assembling the bench. 

Follow your staining with a durable Semi-gloss varnish to seal and protect the wood and make clean-ups easier. 

Paint is also an option; you can leave your finished workbench as it is. 


 

The “Cheap Workbench” (Approximately 2 Hours)

Let’s say you want a very inexpensive workbench that you can put together with minimal effort and less time than the “Classic DIY Workbench” requires.

If that’s you, we suggest considering this cheap workbench plan. This particular cheap DIY Workbench is one of the easiest we’ve ever come across – and it can be built for under $70.

But don’t let price or ease of construction fool you, as it’s still an excellent workbench that will give you years and years of good use. 

Cheap Workbench Ideas - Best Home Gear
How To Build a Cheap DIY Workbench – With Optional Top Shelf/Pegboard Backer

As with the Classic Workbench plans,  the first step in building the “Cheap Workbench” is to build the necessary framing for the Workbench Top and Shelf (below).

Top and Shelf for Workbench
DIY Workbench Frame

Step 1:  Build Workbench “Top” Framing (30″ wide x 60″ long)

  • You will need two 2″ x 4″ frames, one to match the size Top you require – We recommend an optimal size workbench of 30″ wide x 60″ long.  This will allow you to get all the plywood you need out of (1) 4′ x 8′ sheet.  
  • You will need approximately (12- 16) 2″ x 4″s – depending on whether you build the Upper shelf for the overhead light (See step 5 below)
  • Note:  To save money, you can use (1) piece of 7/16″ OSB exterior plywood for the top and the lower shelf.  If you use only one sheet of plywood, add intermediate supports (see video) to add stability.  (not required for a double-layer plywood top).

Step 2:  Build Workbench “Shelf” Framing (24″ x 60″)

  • Repeat the above steps – But instead, build the Shelf framing.  We recommend it be 24″ x 60″ long, which allows leg room under the bench.
  • Next, take the framing for the bottom shelf and screw it onto the legs at your desired height. To make it easier, consider using a solid object like a cinder block or paint to hold the frame at a uniform height while attaching it. 

Step 3:  Attach (4) 2″ x 4″ Workbench Legs

workbench legs

After the Top and Shelf are completed, attach to the “Top” (4) 2″ x 4″ x 35 1/2″ high legs to the Top frame. 2 1/2″ deck screws are the best option here, though nails will work as well. 

Step 4:  Attach Plywood To the Workbench

plywood top workbench

Now it’s time to attach the 3/4″ MDF plywood to the workbench’s top and bottom shelf. For attaching the plywood, we recommend using drywall screws.

You use 1 1/2″ drywall screws, secure 7/16″ – 1/2″ OSB plywood to the Top & Shelf frames.  If you own a Brad nailer, this is also a rapid method of securing the plywood.

Step 5:   Build Workbench Top Shelf/Light Frame

  • For this step – We recommend building a 12″ x 60″ extended Top Shelf –  With (4) 72″ legs.  This size will accommodate an intermediate shelf, pegboard, and a 48″ standard overhead “shop light,”  – As shown in the Photo above for Cheap Workbench.
  • This particular work table plan calls for a top-shelf – mounted high behind the main body of the bench. Use 2x4s to build a top/overhead light frame, and add plywood to complete, following the similar construction pattern to the top and bottom shelf.
  • You can order this best-selling 4-Foot Shop Light from Amazon to finish up your new workbench.

Step 6:  Attach Legs to the Top/Overhead Light Shelf

  • Using another 4) pieces of 2×4, construct legs that will support the top shelf. You can set the height as desired, depending on how high you want the top shelf to sit above the main workbench surface. We recommend 72″ height.
  • Add (1)  1″ x 8″ pine shelf halfway between the Workbench top and Top shelf.

Optional: Add (1) piece of 24″ x 60″ pegboard for stability and tool storage.

Step 8:  Secure the Top Shelf to the Workbench

Finally, you can complete the construction by screwing the top shelf assembly to the existing workbench you built earlier.

Step 9:  Stain or Paint the Workbench

Per your preference, stain & varnish or paint your completed workbench to protect the wood.

A step-by-by-step Assembly for a “Cheap Workbench.” 


Five More DIY Workbench Options:

 

The “Built-to-Last Workbench”:

DIY Workbench - Best Home Gear

The “built-to-last” workbench plan is also an excellent option for a garage. While not the cheapest bench to build, this extremely sturdy, practical, and easy workbench includes (4) handy drawers.

For most homeowners, this built-to-last workbench design checks all the boxes essential for a suitable garage workbench. 

If you’re looking for something tough enough to stand the test of time, this workbench plan is probably the ticket. 

The 2″ x 4″ (Simple) Workbench:

2 x 4 workbench - Best Home Gear

 2x4s are the woodworking world’s workhorse boards, so it’s not surprising that workbench ideas use 2x4s exclusively in their construction. 

This type of bench is cheap and straightforward but rugged enough to endure hard use over time, and best of all, the materials will cost less than $50.


The “Folding Workbench”:

If space is limited in your garage, you might consider a folding workbench that will allow you to store your tools in a compact area when it’s not in use. 

Folding benches are much easier to build than their “fixed” counterparts, and they can come in handy if you’re working in a cramped garage. 

folding workbench - best home gear
Bench in Upright position
folding bench with hinge - Best Home Gear
Folding bench in a lowered Position
leg block for workbench
Detail of Leg Block, with leg lock hardware
  • Start by simply building the workbench “Top” size you need, then add a 1″ x 4″ front rail (shown above). 
  • Next, add (2) 2″ x 2″ x 30″ legs with “foldable” leg lock hardware. You can order the Leg Lock hardware here at Amazon.
  • Install (3) “door” hinges on the rear frame of the “Top.”
  • Finally, add a wood 2″ x 4″ horizontal cleat – to the studs in your garage or workshop – and secure the hinges to the cleat.

 

Utility Workbench:

Utility DIY Workbench - Best Home Gear

 Look no further than the utility-style workbench if you’re looking for a super-simple design that anyone can build. Inexpensive, simple, and practical, this design is a no-frills answer to your garage workbench needs. 


 

Modular Workbench:

modular workbench - best home gear

Okay, let’s say you want a fancy, all-purpose workbench. The modular workbench design offers folding and sliding storage and work surfaces, allowing you to tackle big projects from a relatively small space. 

This modular workbench is more labor-intensive, but you’ll find it a fantastic bench to own once you’ve made it. 


 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:  How Do You Make a Simple Workbench?

A:  Our best suggestion for building a simple workbench is to follow our step-by-step instructions (above) for creating a “Cheap Workbench.”  To simplify and cheaper, omit the optional Top Shelf and Overhead Light.

Q:  What Does It Cost To Build A Workbench?

A: The cost to build a DIY Workbench varies based on how elaborate you wish to make the bench. For instance, Costs for benches featured in our article, such as the Classic workbench, will cost between $90-100, and the Cheap Workbench between $60-70, while the Simple (2 x 4) workbench can be built for under $50 in material costs.

Q:  What is the Best Size Workbench to Build?

A:  The most common (best) size to build a workbench is 30″ wide x 60″ Long x 36″ High. But one of the best things about building a DIY workbench is you can create it to the size that will fit your space the best. 

Before you construct your bench, measure the available floor space and build your bench based on the dimensions that the space can accommodate. 

Any workbench ideas listed here can easily be scaled up or down, so don’t be afraid to alter the designs by changing their dimensions to suit your needs. 

Q.  What Is a Good Height For a Workbench?

A:  The most common height for building a workbench is 34″ – 36″ High.  If your height is under 5′-6″ high, opt for 34″ and 36″ High for those 6′-0 or Taller.


Conclusion:

Now that you know how to build a workbench, you should have no trouble working from these various plans to create the perfect workbench for your space.

Workbenches are considered one of the more accessible DIY woodworking projects you can take on, and the workbench you build today – will make a handy working area for you for years to come.

Thanks For Coming, and Don’t forget to Leave Us a Comment or Suggestion Below!

References & Further Reading

Kevin Carroll
Kevin Carrollhttps://www.besthomegear.com
Kevin is the author and editor for Best Home Gear, and uses his 25+ years experience in Commercial and Residential Construction Management to author and publish the work for this website. In addition to publishing Best Home Gear; Kevin enjoys the outdoors in Michigan and Arizona, hiking, cycling, fishing, golf, and completing DIY projects at his Home and Garden.

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Thanks for Visiting Best Home Gear - Your One-Stop-Shop for Expert DIY Guides, and the Best Products and Equipment Reviews for Your Home.

Image of Kevin Carroll, author and publisher @ Besthomegear.com
Author and Publisher for Best Home Gear

Kevin is the Owner, Author, and Publisher @ Best Home Gear, which he began In 2018.

As a Professional in Construction, Real Estate and Property Management, Kevin uses that experience to publish Useful Articles, and help homeowners improve (DIY) their own homes, lawns, and outdoor spaces.

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