Introduction: IKEA HACK: Articulating Tablet Mount

Picture of IKEA HACK: Articulating Tablet Mount

Browsing on a tablet is great; there's nothing like digging into your favorite site while getting comfy. I find the longer I browser the more supine my posture, eventually my pose self-levels to lethargic mass lying on my back with the tablet above my face, making my arms tired. It would be great if I could combine my thirst for Internet and laziness so I can nerd out online while on my back. So I hacked an IKEA desk lamp into a tablet mount for bed time browsing.

You can easily make your own on the cheap. Articulating tablet mounts only need 3 readily available components to work, a tablet holder with a tripod mount, a mini tripod to act as a connector to the articulating arm, and an articulating arm from a desk lamp. There's countless variations for each of these, all of which can be inexpensive, so you can customize your tablet mount to suit your needs. You probably have some of the components on hand. I made this one for under $20.

Here's how I made it.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
  • Articulating Arm: TERTIAL articulating work lamp from IKEA - $8.99. This lamp is ubiquitous, and this design can be easily modified to suit your needs.
  • Tablet Holder: They make all kinds of tablet holders, the one we want is a variety that has a threaded connection embedded that allows it to be mounted to a camera tripod. Tablet case with tripod mount (1/4" - 20 threads) - price varies depending on tablet.

  • Mini tripod: There's plenty of types of these small and inexpensive tripod mounts.
    The type we are looking for has a ball joint on the attachment end that allows a free range of rotation. We only need the rotating head part, like this one for $4.

Step 2: Disassemble Lamp

Picture of Disassemble Lamp

For this project we only need the articulating arm of the lamp. This IKEA lamp only had two small bolts attaching the lamp head to the arm, after removing the two bolts there was a retaining clip around the switch which released the light fixture from the lamp housing. The electrical wires were clipped and the light assembly was separated from them the articulating arm. The electrical cord was then pulled out through the lamp. I saved this light fixture for use on a future project.

Step 3: Disassemble Tripod

Picture of Disassemble Tripod

The only part we need from this cheap tripod is the swivel head. This model had telescopic legs that were removed from a screw in the base.
This swivel head will act as connector piece between the tablet and the arm, allowing the rotational freedom to position the tablet into any angle desired.

Step 4: Arm to Tripod Conector

Picture of Arm to Tripod Conector

This IKEA lamp uses a pinion to swivel the lamp head. While this works for casting light we need greater movement for positioning a tablet for viewing. Luckily we can use almost all the existing hardware to make the connection from arm to tripod mount.

Removing the adjustment knob from the arm that holds the lamp attachment we can see there's a plastic collar that wraps around the pinion that held the light. We can use this plastic collar to wrap around a new machine screw, this machine screw matches the threads inside the tripod mount where we removed the legs from. Insert the plastic collar with a machine screw back into the arm and install the adjustment knob.

The machine screw can now be screwed back into the base of the tripod and tightened. It may get a little tight with the adjustment knob and tripod mount, so consider using a small washer to give you some room if needed to tweak the adjustment knobs when getting the arm into position when using.

Step 5: Mount Arm Anchor and Attach Tablet

Picture of Mount Arm Anchor and Attach Tablet

This lamp comes with an anchor foot that can be secured to most table edges or night stands. Just make sure you're anchor point can hold the weight of the arm when it's fully cantilevered out, otherwise you might end up with the tablet falling on your face.

Next, attach the threaded tablet back into the tripod mount on the articulating arm and you're ready to start surfing the web from the comfort of your back.

Step 6: Lie Back and Surf

Picture of Lie Back and Surf

With the arm securely anchored in place you're ready to lean back on your favorite chair, or lie back in bed and enjoy surfing the information superhighway with no more tired arms.

This project can be modified in countless ways to suit your needs and tablet size. Some larger tablets may cause your articulating arm to sag, luckily there's tightening knobs to help hold everything in place. If you're still having sagging trouble you might look into stronger springs which counterbalance the arm.

Happy surfing!

Have you made your own articulating tablet mount? I want to see it!

Share a picture of your version of this project in the comments below and be awarded a 3-month Pro Membership forInstructables!


bphick made it! (author)2017-01-02

Here is the build I made. Sorry I cannot seem to order the slides in a more logical order. Each slide is labeled with points of interest / modifications.

mikeasaurus (author)bphick2017-01-03

These are great improvements to the design! The interface between the swivel head and articulating arm is easily the most delicate, your solution is smart!

bphick (author)bphick2017-01-02

I also shielded the cutting threads of the tripod attachment screw (where it is held by the arm) by putting a metal tube of the exact same diameter that IKEA originally used with the part, and Epoxied the tube over the threads of the screw. My screw is a bit long as pictured, but can be reduced easily.

baronworm (author)2015-04-26

I followed you steps and it worked nicely for several weeks... until it didn't. :(

The plastic collar (pictured in step 4) broke. As one might expect, I had no luck finding an equivalent part at the hardware store. At this point my only option seems to be to buy another IKEA lamp just to get another tiny plastic collar.

I'm okay doing that (as it's only an $8 lamp) but sooner or later that collar will break again.

Has anyone else faced this same problem (the plastic collar breaking) and come up with a better solution?

bphick (author)baronworm2016-12-28

Thanks for pointing this out. In advance of building, I opened the plastic retainer and used it as a template to make a sheetmetal liner to take the stress off of the plastic. I could see the plastic flexing prior to using the sheetmetal. Now it looks good, straight and stress free. Images to follow after the room is cleaned up and I can take "pretty" pictures of it.

bphick (author)bphick2017-01-02

Images are now uploaded.

chriscccccc (author)baronworm2015-11-03

mine broke too so i took an piece of aluminium sheeting laying in the garage and i cut it into the right shape and drilled some holes and atached it using some old screws an boom now it wont break again

bphick (author)chriscccccc2016-12-28

Similar to what I did, except thanks to you and the comment above, I did not have to suffer the break. Thanks!

mikeasaurus (author)baronworm2015-04-27

Glad you tried it out, and sorry it broke.

This could probably be solved by drilling new openings into a small piece of plastic or wood.

jlovitt made it! (author)2016-01-25

I made this for my wife's kindle fire as a Christmas present for her. Instead of getting a tripod mount I made a flat loop of black insulated copper wire that the tablet case drops through at the top, and a small loop to hold the bottom left corner. I also did not remove the wiring, but instead bought a socket to plug converter, plugged the plug to USB converter into that, and it allows her to power the tablet while it is in the mount.

ChrisB735 (author)jlovitt2016-11-30

Wondering if you would be so kind to provide a picture of the back of the tablet? So that I can see how you used the insulated copper wire. Thank you

jlovitt (author)ChrisB7352016-12-14

Yep. Sorry about the delay. The wire loops through the existing vent holes on the lamp (I may have had to drill them out just a bit) and I have a long straight section at the top that doubles back on itself. The tablet holder and attached case lay over that long section. Then there is a twisted section of wire that goes down to make a loop that bends around the bottom corner.

mikeasaurus (author)jlovitt2016-01-26

Very clever use of the existing cord, it looks great!

Thanks for sharing a picture of your version, enjoy the Pro Membership!

Eh Lie Us! (author)mikeasaurus2016-08-02

I've had the cord idea for a while. Use the same power source that was put there in the 1st place. Also, what about keeping a light on the other side (LED, perhaps) so one could read a book or work on some other project. Just flip - one side is a tablet, the other side is a light.

CashMaker made it! (author)2016-11-16

Nice project, I have a lot of fun during do it.

mikeasaurus (author)CashMaker2016-11-16

Looking good! Bedtime browsing has never been better. :)

QuincyB4 (author)2016-08-03

I would have put a usb charging port on it the though...

mikeasaurus (author)QuincyB42016-08-03

Great idea! You should make it and put the USB charger in there, too. I'd love to see your version

Crimson13 (author)2016-08-02

I'd like to post that after 2 years, I still use my ikea lamp arm mount daily! This is one of my most used projects I've done from Instructables. For pics of my arm, scroll down in the comments.

mikeasaurus (author)Crimson132016-08-02

Glad it's till going strong. This kind of project is my fave, it never goes out of style!

Booglybear made it! (author)2016-04-17

I loved the idea so made one for my mum's comfy chair. The side cushions are supported by metal pipe approximately 20mm diameter. I filed a couple of grooves in the underside of the mounting bracket so it would hug the pole when in place. It worked a treat and mum loves it. This was my first attempt at a project from Instructables. Now I'm hooked!

mikeasaurus (author)Booglybear2016-04-18

Great idea adding it to a chair. For your first project from Instructables, you did awesome! Glad you're hooked, and hope to see more of your creations soon.

Thanks for sharing a picture of your build, enjoy a 3-month Pro Membership :)

ischaramoochie made it! (author)2015-11-14

made one from scratch :D

Looks great for late-night reading!

Thanks for sharing pictures of your version, enjoy the Pro Membership!

chriscccccc made it! (author)2015-11-03

i made one !!! thanks for the idea i made mine using an old broken articalating lamp arm whitch didnt have an anchor so i had to improvise using an 2 l bottle an some string .

mikeasaurus (author)chriscccccc2015-11-03

That's resourceful!

Thanks for sharing pictures of your build, enjoy the Pro Membership!

CharlesE15 made it! (author)2015-10-13

I found your idea after building my own and then thinking about making more to sell... here's mine. The arm came from a desk lamp with magnifier that died. The holder is made from rosewood. I designed the fit to accommodate my ipad mini 3 and its stock cover. The bolt connection is the original hardware that held the lamp fixture, so other than the ipad holder, no other parts were needed. Took about an hour (not including drying time...)

mikeasaurus (author)CharlesE152015-10-13

That looks very nice, I love the grain of the rosewood.

Glad you reused from pieces to make yours, I really like it. Thanks for sharing pictures of your build, enjoy the Pro Membership!

William V-M made it! (author)2015-08-14

I made mine with an old telescope tripod and some Lego it can hold my iPad an a book.

mikeasaurus (author)William V-M2015-08-14

Using the tripod is a smart idea, this means you can take your book or tablet anywhere!

Thanks for sharing a picture, enjoy the Pro Membership!

silkroadquilts (author)2015-08-06

Hey, do you have this for holding a book?

Maybe you can modify my design and show us how to make it hold a book?

Marianne818 (author)2015-08-06

Wow.. this would be awesome to make! I have a Nexus7 and love to watch movies or listen to music while I knit but I have yet to find a comfortable way to make this happen. I have the lamp.. dang it I gave my late hubby's mike stands away. I hope to make this soon!!

Nymeia made it! (author)2015-07-30

since we are renovating the bedroom and have to sleep at the attic.
unfortunattelly there is no TV cable connection so i was looking for another solution and here it was :D

one trip the Ikea for the lamp and i remembered i had a tablet holder for in a car :)
only had to go to the hardware store for an M5 bolt and my creation was born :)

My wife is super happy! thank you so much for this instructable!

mikeasaurus (author)Nymeia2015-07-30

Looking good. I bet bedtime browsing is so much better now!

Enjoy the Pro Membership!

Leei1337 (author)2015-03-23

This is the one I made using Lego as a connector

mikeasaurus (author)Leei13372015-03-23

That's a smart idea!

Thanks for sharing your version, enjoy the Pro Membership

creuset (author)2015-02-13

Sorry, couldn't edit the last post, but I'll make some corrections. First, I just figured out to raise the boom mic (duh, like every rock concert I've ever seen). In the prior post, it should have read that I thought the comfortable max was 53 inches. Now it's more than decent at 60 inches high with the boom going horizontal across the bed. (See picture attached.) As you can see in the pictures, the boom now is actually taller than the Levo. I used a big jar of peanut butter (for now) to test out as a counterweight. The other handy thing I forgot to mention about the boom mic is there are already clips in place to run slim cords along the whole pole/boom--perfect for a long micro usb cord to the tablet.

creuset made it! (author)2015-02-13

Hi there, Mikeasaurus! I originally bought a very well-reviewed (and deservingly so) high end Levo tablet stand. About $189 (but with a student discount, 25% off if you order direct).

For that much money, the stand almost costs more than the tablet, and thus, I stumbled across your inspirational instructable. I followed the instructions and even found one of those lamps from Ikea (now $12.99). After taking apart the Tertial to a non-returnable state, I was able to test it out bedside. However it was definitely not strong enough to support a 10 inch tablet (16 ozs (20 ozs with cover) and clips (8 ozs). I liked what jpagano did with the boom mike. So I found a highly regarded boom mike for $25 on on Amazon:

and also these handy clips and integrated tablet holder also for $25.

Now, as you can see from the pictures, the range is a lot farther into the center of a queen bed and absolutely more sturdy than the ikea lamp. With a good counterweight at the other end of the boom mike (bag of sand. e.g.) it might be pretty solid. One of the major weaknesses is it is simply not high enough off the bed. At a decent range into the bed (and not standing straight up) a fair height is about 63 inches, barely a few inches from my eyes. As you can see from the pics which compare my boom mic against the instructable, the levo is quite a bit more comfortable (and adjustable). I'm sort playing with the idea of sleeping on the floor to make this work, but may just decide to keep the Levo.

In summary (in case this helps anyone going through the same process):

Levo $189 (or $149 with student discount): really solidly designed and manufactured. Your precious tablet will never fall into your face, and it is plenty high enough for a variety of uses. The only downside is I wish it could adjust the tablet as easily as one of those dentist's reflector lamps (which are quite pricey, even used). There's no ball joint in the levo (with good reason I'm sure), but with practice I'm getting the hang of moving it around to the right tilt.

Ikea desk lamp instructable: $38 for me ($13 ikea lamp + $25 clip/joint). Gave me the right ideas, but was not strong enough for anything heavier than my cell phone. It may need stronger springs, but it does tend to droop dangerously on its own, especially when extended into the bed. Probably better suited to a desk.

On stage boom mic + Grifiti Noodle tablet mount and clip: $50. Will need a counterweight for the 1-2 lbs of my tablet/clip and does not go high enough for my current bed. I'll continue to play with this for a few days to make it work--maybe get a taller boom?

Was it worth it to spend about $60 extra for parts I'll have to return or lose money on? As the Levo is so expensive, it probably is worth it. And plus the enjoyment of taking the ikea lamp apart was pretty fun.

Thanks for the ideas, mikeasaurus. And one good trend is that it seems like many good tablet holders and clips are coming out which are practically ready off the shelf.

Rishiraj ji (author)2015-01-25


i dont have all those things but please i want 3-month Pro Membership

please give me

dayindenver (author)2015-01-24

What a fabulous idea!! I've nearly chipped a tooth many times from the tablet as I fall asleep.

gkwintenberg (author)2015-01-19

Have been looking for something like this for an age and a half! Great and easy 'ible sir. Sorry for the low quality pictures: p

mikeasaurus (author)gkwintenberg2015-01-19

Glad you made it; looking good!

Thanks for sharing your version, enjoy the Pro Membership.

JamesL18 (author)2015-01-15

We've been working on a product idea for this too. It's a little different than the traditional design, but offers more grip that minimizes vibration.

mikeasaurus (author)JamesL182015-01-19

That looks good! Are you making a commercial product, or just something for you?

Joefer (author)2014-11-03

Hi! I happen to make an actual 'STAND' for my smartphone using a combination of tripod and monopod ('selfie' stick). I bet this will work with tablets/ipads, too - just add the mount. Add a bluetooth speaker and you have a mini home theater system! Portable, highly-maneuverable and wireless!

mikeasaurus (author)Joefer2015-01-19

Good hack. With the tripod you can get a few different levels of height; nice!

Enjoy the Pro Membership!

Joefer (author)Joefer2014-11-03

if you want this to work with tablets though, i suggest you make use of a better monopod, those with tightening 'screws' per segment for added stability. Add Rubber sucking discs to the tripod's base, too. I might consider doing an ible but i'm not very good with paper works :)

Susitna (author)2014-11-20

That is just what I need to hold my Nook when I am recovering from knee surgery next Febuary. I think I'll try to make a 2nd one to hold a needlework frame.

Englishbydesign99 (author)2014-11-02

Great idea just what I was looking for. It occurs to me also that if you swapped out the tripod head for a swivel hot shoe adapter, you could mount a camera to this light arm also.


About This Instructable




Bio: I'm Mike and I make crazy things at Instructables HQ in San Francisco. Follow me and try a few of my projects for yourself!
More by mikeasaurus:Router Planer10 MORE Woodworking Tricks the Pros UseSliced Wood Coasters
Add instructable to: