Editor Update: IKEA has recalled its KULLEN and MALM chests and dressers, among other products. Since writing this tutorial, I returned the set shown here for nearly $300 – and they even came to pick it up. If you believe your IKEA dresser or other product is eligible for a recall, get information on IKEA.com.
The IKEA dresser I owned has held up well… with a little bit of maintenance.
All too often, I need to repair a drawer bottom that bows and separates from its track. This happens when I cram too many socks into a non-expanding space. Unfortunately, that wasn’t what happened this time.
What I had encountered was self-inflicted and could have been prevented, and it wasn’t something I was sure I could easily fix. The particleboard partition between two of my IKEA MALM drawers cracked.
See that piece of trim that fits between each of the drawers? If you own one of these dressers, you’ll know that the drawers fit together pretty seamlessly. On the IKEA MALM, a thin piece of particleboard serves as a partition between drawer fronts. The partition on most dressers adds structural support while adding a finishing detail so you don’t have line-of-sight to the drawer contents.
How did this happen? Well, I tried to lift the entire dresser by the partition, which I thought was much, much stronger. Don’t attempt to transport particleboard furniture by its weakest point.
Left wondering what to do next, I removed the drawer above the broken partition and took a closer look.
Fortunately, my partition broke pretty cleanly and exposed the hardware without disrupting it. I was left with a broken piece of particleboard and a piece of hardware called the Cam Lock.
Repair an IKEA Dresser Partition
The simplest fix was to apply wood glue to the back of the particleboard and clamp it back into place.
Once reinforced, the Cam Lock bit fit right back into the existing hole and could be tightened in place.
I let the wood glue dry all day, then removed the clamp and put the drawer back into place before bed.
Remember: Partitions aren’t supporting beams. If your particleboard is shattered beyond a simple re-glue, consider rebuilding a new panel out of plywood (or something slightly more maleable, like cork) and clamp it in place just like I did here.