IKEA Hack - Making a MALM Occasional Table copy

So I posted earlier with a planning board about wanting to make the MALM OT myself because I found the actual one pricey and also too small to fit around my queen sized bed.
If you want specifics, just post in the comments and I'll be happy to help.

The actual MALM Occasional Table


MALM Occasional table IKEA Includes casters for easy mobility.  You can sit comfortably while reading, eating or working in bed.
The Finished Product in my room




The materials & process








Yep, I did this in my room


I like to do a lot of my work on my super comfy queen size bed, on top of the fact that due to lack of space I don't have a work desk in my room

I also like to eat while working, listen to music, put on mosturizer while watching late night movies on the laptop and basically have all my little things with me while I'm working.

Without a proper desk or work-in-bed table, I am always moving, fidgeting, fetching stuff and building a small fort of things around me every night.

So when I saw the MALM Occasional Table at a friend's place last year, I immediately sent a silent prayer of blessing to the creative minds at IKEA. They understood me.

But then, with a price tag of $150 in Singapore, I had some hesitations, naturally. Actually, I might have even bought it, except that it didn't match my bed's dimensions and it wasn't available in red, which is one of my favorite colors.

Plus, it looks pretty simple, so I have been toying with the idea of building my own for some time now. This week I saw such a simple hack on IKEA Hackers that it immediately helped me put together a rough idea of how to reverse hack the MALM OT

I might mention here that I have NO prior experience with building stuff - I actually did all of this in my room! But this is just to demonstrate how simple it is. 

The one restraint I had was that due to limited public transport options, I couldn't just buy a single plank that was the same width as my bed, so I had to join together 3 Rationell boards. I'd recommend you get one plank if you can because then you'll save a lot of time that I spent joining and reinforcing the Rationell!

Here's a short step by step:

  1. Bought 4 Rationell planks (22 inches each) from IKEA AS IS...this was a great place to find boards of all shapes and sizes!
  2. Bought 2 EKBY shelves (32 inches in height) as the side legs
  3. Bought a set of 4 castor wheels, also from IKEA
  4. Hardware store supplies:

  •    - L-stainless steel brackets x 4 to join legs to top desk and screws to fit
  •    - straight brackets to reinforce the 3 Rationells together and screws to fit
  •    - 40 inches wood slats to reinforce the Rationell and long long wood nails
  •    - GOOP Wood Glue


5. Tools: 
  •    - Hammer
  •    - Drill with drill bit to match the screw sizes (easy alternative if you dont have drill bits is to match the screws you get to the drill bit you have) A drill is a must though
  •    - Electric screwdriver (also from IKEA) and this was pretty necessary because you cannot manually screw in screws as the table will get pretty heavy and needs the sturdiness that comes from tools


6. I live in an apartment share so I had no option but to work this in my own room. First I took my measurements and made sure the end product would fit around my bed. 

7. I then worked on reinforcing the Rationell. My rookie mistake was that I thought the steel brackets in themselves would be good enough. Lo and behold it all collapsed and I had to rush back to the store to get the wood supports. I then used the brackets, the wood and the wood glue to make sure the desk stuck together as one long piece 

8. I drilled holes first into the bottom of the EKBY shelves (for castor wheels)

9. Then, with the desktop lying upside down, I drilled holes for the L-brackets and screwed the EKBY to the Rationell, supported by wood glue. I then attached the castor wheels (also added some wood glue here for good measure)

10. The final step was turning the table right side up, which was quite a task and I do not recommend doing it alone. After that I let it stand against the wall for a whole day to let the wood glue set, and tada!

So far its pretty sturdy, though it wobbles a little but its holding all the weight just fine. I think the wobbling is because of its width, which is about 66 inches from corner to corner. 

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