[Editor’s note: We loved this post so much, we decided to bring it back with step-by-step instructions so that you can build your own.]

My older son recently started school and needed his own desk for doing homework. I wanted to make something nicer than a simple tabletop with legs, and realized that I could also build in a bit of fun for when the homework is finished.

Both my boys and I still had space travel on our minds from our summer trip to Kennedy Space Center. For this desk project, I decided to go with a NASA theme. I researched the Apollo Program as well as NASA’s Mission Control Center, and designed my own console roughly based on those. I say “roughly” because the actual Mission Control does more monitoring than controlling, and isn’t awash in the whiz-bang rocket noises young kids appreciate.

I took great liberties and made more of a “space-themed” play console than an accurate simulator. My goal was simply to provide some extra ideas and sound effects for my two sons to play “Space” together.

The desk resides under my son’s loft bed (which I also built), and stays closed until the homework is finished:

Mission Control Desk Closed

When playtime begins, the lid flips up to reveal the Mission Control console:

Mission Control Desk Open

This is not an incredibly detailed guide giving all measurements and telling you which part goes where. Instead, I’ll give you step-by-step guidance regarding the major parts to aid you in your journey of learning and making.