DIY Drafting Table

Back to the drawing board, literally, on an adjustable drafting machine with rails at the top and bottom.

Making your own drafting table is a rite of passage for engineers, architects, interior decorators and draftsmen. Collect your materials, and under an hour you can have a drafting table of your own. With your a basic table set up, you can add drafting tools to meet your needs. including drafting machines or a mayline. Once you have experienced making your own drafting table, you will know how to make another if your needs outgrow your first.

Select your drawing surface at your local lumberyard. Look for a smooth impermeable surface, such as high-pressure laminate or medium-density fiberboard. Determine your maximum drawing size and add a few inches to each dimension as a margin of safety. Cut your board to this size. Alternately, a flush solid core wood door can provide a combination of desktop and drawing surface.

Unroll the vinyl mat at room temperature. Allow it to lay flat for a few hours to rest and lose some of its curl.

Apply the double-sided stick tape to the vinyl mat along all four edges and diagonally. Avoid overlapping the tape. Position the taped mat on the drawing surface and apply pressure to the mat to adhere it to the board.

Install an optional hinge and adjustable hardware that would allow you to angle your drawing surface. Typically, 30 degrees is a comfortable maximum.

Mount the drafting board atop file cabinets or a desk. Using one file cabinet on either end creates a base for your drawing board that doubles as storage space.


Work slowly to avoid air bubbles when attaching the vinyl mat.

Try a test fit with removable double-sided stick tape.

For a portable board, attach a handle to the top and add fasteners to secure the stands during transport (if equipped).

Straightedges, maylines, T-squares and drawing protectors are optional and should be installed as per the manufacturer's instructions.


Sand or prepare your board if it is unfinished. Eliminate all high or uneven spots to prevent telegraphing of the drawing surface to your drawings.

Be sure to use a minimum 1/2-inch-thick (or greater) board material to maintain rigidity.

About the Author

Jennifer Ramirez is a school district administrator with more than 10 years experience as a tax professional. She has extensive experience in the field of mathematics and science and maintains a blog about cooking and sustainable living. Ramirez holds a Master of Science in elementary education.