How to Make a Teacher's Podium With Shelves

Podiums make teaching and speaking more comfortable.
Lecturn image by TMLP from

Teaching is one of those occupations where you spend a lot of time on your feet, and being organized is a must. A stylish wood podium with shelving for notes can take some of the stress out of your day.

Podiums make teaching and speaking more comfortable.
Lecturn image by TMLP from

Things You'll Need

  • Finishing Nails
  • Wood Stain
  • Sandpaper
  • 24-Inch Piece Of Half Round
  • Tape Measure
  • Hammer
  • Locking Wheel Casters
  • Screws
  • 3/4-Inch Plywood, Interior Grade
  • Clear Acrylic Finish
  • 8-Foot Board 1 Inch-By-3 Inches
  • Circular Or Saber Saw

Measure the intended user. The speaker side of the slanted notes top should be the same height or slightly lower than the person's bent elbow. The audience side should be roughly 6 inches taller than that.

Cut two sides, 18 inches wide by the measurement for the audience side of the podium, as described above.

Mark a point on the inside edge of one side 1 inch down from the top, and in toward the speaker 3/4 inch. On the speaker side, mark a point 6 inches down from the top. Use a straight edge to connect the two points. Measure the line. Cut one piece of plywood 22 1/2 inches wide by the measurement of that line.

Cut the front piece 24 inches wide by the audience side measurement, as defined above. Cut 2 shelf units 22 inches by 17 1/4 inches. Cut the bottom 24 inches by 18 inches. Cut 6 pieces of 1 inch by three inch woodstock, 16 inches long.

Measure and mark the line for the desk surface on the other side piece. Decide placement of the 2 shelves, measure and mark, making sure the two sides are the same. Making sure space is left for the front, and a small lip above the planned placement of the desk top, nail the 1 inch-by-3 inch support pieces onto the sides at the marked lines.

Stand the front and right side at right angles to each other, with the front extending to the outside corner of the angle. Nail the edges together, making sure the shelf supports are on the inside. Repeat with the left side. Tack the shelves and desk surface in place with finishing nails.

Lay the unit on its face, and nail on the bottom piece of plywood. Attach casters using screws. Stand the unit up and lock the casters to keep it from rolling while you work on it.

Glue and nail with small finishing nails the piece of half-round wood stock to the bottom lip of the desk to provide a rest to keep papers and books from sliding off the stand.

Sand all corners and edges, checking for splinters, nails that missed their mark, and other potential hazards. Correct as needed.

If desired, stain the wood with a water-based wood stain or leave plain. Seal the wood with a clear acrylic finish.