DIY Campaign Desk

Hello! I am back from Haven and learned SO much and met so many amazing bloggers.  At first I kept thinking about how my three blog posts only juuuuust qualified me to be there, but by the end I was so energized and inspired that I was feeling pretty good about what I have so far.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

So luckily, I have been working on our study, where I plan to do all of my bloggy things. The first thing I did was find a good desk. I wanted a cool midcentury one, but all of the ones I found on Craigslist that I liked were a little too expensive, so I switched tacks. While looking, I found a white World Market Josephine desk for $50 and I remembered the campaign-style desk from Caitlin at Desert Domicile and decided to do a little makeover of my own. Here is my inspiration – a vintage campaign desk from Circa Who:


DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

DIY Campaign Desk


  • Plain desk
  • 20 flat corner braces – I used these  ($2.47/pack of 4)
  • One campaign pull – I used this one ($20)
  • Two finger campaign pulls – I used these ($8 each)
  • Dremel and router bit – the router bit does not come with the Dremel so you need to buy it separately
  • Goggles and a mask. Seriously, sunglasses and your shirt over your nose don’t count on this one.
  • Drill and drill bit set

First I gathered my hardware. It took me a little while – like a week or two – because I was being super picky and this project is all about the hardware. The big campaign pull I finally ordered was a little expensive, but I really think it makes the piece, so I think it was well worth it. It would have been better to use three of the same pull, but then it would have been REALLY expensive.

Once I had everything together, I held the bracket up and marked the holes. Then using a drill with a small bit, I made pilot holes and screwed on the brackets. One important note – on the corners, the placement of the brackets means that the screws will run into each other. I ended up removing the two screws in the vertical leg of the bracket below so that I could use all four screws in the bracket on the front, where missing screws would be more noticeable. I did the same on the right side of the desk as well. I went with four each on the sides and then four on each side of the front, basically creating the illusion of side drawers. I also put one on each side of the small middle drawer. You can see the placement in the top picture or further below:

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

Once the brackets were on, things really started to come together buuuut that meant the easier part was over. The next step was to rout out the spots for the inset hardware. Full disclosure – this was my first routing project and while the Dremel absolutely did the trick, it took some time and serious concentration. To start, I traced the back of the large pull on to a piece of paper, cut it out and taped it on to the middle drawer. I also taped a shoebox to the underside to catch sawdust. Why not just put down newspaper you ask?  Honestly, the shoebox and tape were closer to me, and seemed like they might catch more sawdust before it spread out.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

Then I traced the shape onto the drawer with a pencil and routed out that area. This is the point where I should have put on goggles and a mask, but it wasn’t until I was sneezing and had dust (thankfully nothing worse) in my eye that I thought to do it. The routing took endless stopping and checking against the pull until it was as deep enough everywhere, while making sure not to go outside the line. It definitely skipped out on me a couple of times and left marks, but someday I will get around to patching them. I am not saying it’s beautiful behind that pull…

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

Next, I marked the places to make the holes for the bolts using the same paper cut-out of the pull. Using a drill bit large enough to fit the bolts, I drilled the holes then screwed the bolts to the pull, fed it through the holes and put on the nuts.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Upd

The process for the side finger pulls was almost the same, but with one important difference – where the bolts for the center pull went through the routed out area, the screws connecting the side pulls to the desk do not. I carefully marked where the screws went and then routed out the space inside.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

Those pulls had screws that required pilot holes, so I switched back to the small drill bit, made the holes and then screwed in the pulls.

At that point I thought I was done, but then noticed that a lot of my inspiration pieces have hardware on the feet too. Since I was using 2 in. brackets, only one fit per foot but I think that was just enough.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

So there you have it. It was not super fast – I watched 1.5 movies while I did it, but I was figuring out a lot as I went along. I am SO pleased with how it came out. The study is slowly becoming one of my favorite room in this little house of ours, and I will be sharing a bunch of the other projects in here – including the built-in bookshelves we are working on which are now lovingly know as the F**king Bookshelves.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

And the obligatory before and after. Ignore the maze of cords on the wall. As crazy as it looks, it is a vast improvement over the jumble on the ground. Organizing the router and all of that other important junk could be a post in itself.

DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up DIY Campaign Desk by Just Something I Whipped Up

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11 thoughts on “DIY Campaign Desk

  1. Very nice job, Julia. Would love to see your pad. In the Bacon family, the apples don’t fall far from
    the tree with creative projects of one kind or another. GOOD GENES!

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