I love DnD, card games, and quick board games. However, with a 2-year-old, space is at a premium. Selling this “set-up” as a storage place and part-time gaming table is a good win with the Partner.
The hack took a day, give or take a few hours. It costs around $300. The 2 KALLAX units were the biggest expense, so get those on sale, if you can.
What I like most about this gaming table is it’s got some good space. It’s tall, so the bar stool height encourages people to move and be active. Storage is KEY.
- IKEA KALLAX 2×4 (two of them)
Other materials and tools:
- 4 large, wide casters/ wheels
- Base wood board (I used a heavier wood composite since most of the stress will be on this area. Can be whatever, as it’s mostly unseen. See below for sizing)
- Long table top (I used an IKEA table top, would suggest against this. Too flimsy to cut. Local Lowes or Home Depot will have a better selection)
- 10 toggle latch clamps
- 12 (ish) Screws (3-4 inches)
How to hack a gaming table:
Build the 2 Kallax, put aside.
Cut the base board to the size of the width of the Kallax times 2, plus double the thickness of your top table. Base board should be flush with the Kallax when assembled.
Match the corners of the Kallax to the corners of the base board. Drill and screw down. Attach the base board to the top of the Kallax for ease of build.
Related: Make an arcade coffee table
Screw on casters to the “bottom” of the base board (which will be the top while upside down right now)
GET A BUDDY: Flip the build over onto the casters. Be sure they are LOCKED to avoid rolling. The Kallax is super light, but the base board should NOT be, thus the buddy system.
Cut the table top to the width of the Kallax, and the desired length. I matched the length of my table top to the depth of the Kallax + width of the table top. This means that, when stored, it will slide down even with the Kallax.
If you are looking for longer table top, just know the table top will not lay flush in “storage mode”, but there could be cool applications for a sticking up section.
Test your build so far by sliding your table top into the open space between the Kallaxs (Kallaxi?). They should be secure, but not scraping. A little wiggle is ok.
Place your table tops as desired (likely connected, but I’m not the boss of you) and mark centerlines for toggle clamps. Two on each Kallax, each side (so 4 total on each side) and one across each side of the table divide. (This holds the table top to the Kallax and then to each other)
Screw on the toggle latch clamps. The hooks should be on the table tops’ sides, the clamp parts on the side of the Kallax. These NEED to be tight when secured. The table to table clamps can be any combination you want. Getting the clamps lined up and screwed on straight while avoiding the screws already involved in the Kallax system is tricky.
And there you have it! A gaming table that has storage for kids toys (on the front) and your gaming books and boxes (in the back, facing the wall).
Looking back, I would have loved to add a large TV in the middle of the table top (for DnD maps), but the framing would have added width to the table and not have been as compact (which I needed). I wish I knew enough of building to maybe have a way to allow more of an edge on all 4 sides, not just 2. The clamps made this impossible, but I am still looking for future builds.
Also: would have loved to use swing arms to slide the table tops out from their storage space instead of having to lift them up and lock in place. But I’m not a smart man and this task was too technical for me (is that even possible?)
This hack has a lot of expanded potential. This is a great jumping off point, and I’d love to see if anyone can use it to make a more simplified/ extra version. Cause I’d love to make another one with a bit extra.
Besides this gaming table, I also made this feeding and water stand for my rather large dog.
~ by Nick Thomas from Bel Air, Md