Create your own MALM Occasional Table without MALM

Materials: Rationell boards, EKBY Shelves

Description: 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.

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. Plus, it looks pretty simple, so I have been toying with the idea of building my own for some time now. Here’s a short step by step:

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

– 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

First I took my measurements and made sure the end product would fit around my bed.

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

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

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)

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.

~ Eesha Muneeb, Singapore

Jules Yap