Hey there! This bed frame was my most recent project and I’m really happy with how it turned out. I designed it in Sketchup first which really streamlined the building process.
This bed frame is meant to not have any box spring mattresses – just put down a bunch of 3/4″ wooden slats for your pillow top mattress to sit on. One of my favorite features is the center rail and leg to give the mattress more support (we have 4 kids and they like to jump on beds)!
I used bed frame hardware brackets from Rockler.com which allows the bed to come apart easily. They feel nice and sturdy and lot the rails to the head and foot boards nice and tight.
I used some thick Poplar slabs we had to make the headboard legs/posts as well as the two turned legs at the foot of the bed. Everything else was construction pine boards from the store and a sheet of 3/4″ plywood for the headboard panel.
I’m not going to go into details with measurements and such as this post will serve mostly as a way to get ideas for your own built and design – honestly, the more detailed posts take me many many hours to do and since I don’t make money off this blog I can’t put that much time in. Also, having 4 kids at home for all these quarantining months (and now online learning) has me burnt out.
I got to use my new Grizzly bandsaw heavily on this project and it was so fun to finally cut down these Poplar slabs and put them to use! I cut out the two posts and leg blanks.
I turned the two legs to get me motivated to keep going.
Next I cut down all my lumber for my 4 sides that encase my mattress. They ended up being 5-1/2″ tall.
I did LOTS of sanding to 150 grit and then a final sanding later on to 180.
Here’s the fun part! I used my doweling jig to attach the legs to the footboard rail. I used 1/2″ x 2″ dowels and really looooong pipe clamps to hold everything.
Next I glued and screwed in some strips on the side rails that would hold my wooden slats for the mattress tos it on. I made sure there was enough room on the ends of the rails for the bed hardware to screw on.
I made 3/4″ dados for my headboard pieces. The left piece is the bottom rail that the plywood sits into and the right piece is the cap of the headboard. I also did grooves on the sides of the legs for the plywood to slide into.
At this point I drilled holes for dowels to go in the headboard rails – the wider one as well as the smaller one that has the dado in it.
Prep all pieces by sanding up to 150 grit.
Here’s all my pieces ready to go. I glue the doweled pieces together to the legs first, butter up the grooves with glue for the plywood to slide into and then screw the top cap on.
For the top cap and small bottom rail, I wanted to be able to screw through them into the plywood so I recessed the screws with a 3/8″ forstner bit and plugged them afterwards.
I cut thin strips of wood for the trim detail on the center panel and ran then through the table saw with the blade tilted at 45-degrees to bevel the edges.
I glued them and tacked them down with a few nails. I didn’t want the trim to split so I pre-drilled very small holes in them before punching the nails through.
Making the center leg was by far the most rewarding part of this build. I glued up the blank with the gap for the center stretcher missing, but to turn it I used a tight fitting piece of strap wood. This center leg is nice and beefy! I glued it in the center of the stretcher.
I attached the hardware before my final sanding because I wanted to be able to sand away all my pencil markings after I remove them.
Here I sanded everything to 180 and dusted really well to prepare for finishing.
I stained everything with Varathane Wood Stain in Golden Oak – I diluted it 1:1 with Mineral Spirits.
I wanted to try my hand using my own Wipe-on Polyurethane and found the recipe online using a 1:1:1 ratio of Boiled Linseed Oil, Oil-Based Varnish (I had Spar Urethane on hand) and Mineral Spirits.
You wouldn’t believe it but a few hours after applying my first coat of Poly we had a torrential down pour that came out of nowhere. I put the bed up on blocks and put a canopy over but water still splashed everywhere on the bed. I’m pretty grateful I got that first coat of oil on because it really protected the bed. A few more coats of Poly and I was good to go. I honestly wasn’t impressed with the wipe-on Poly. I made sure to mix the can while I was using it but it left the bed with splotches of sheen – It may have also been because of the knots/variances of the wood accepting the wipe-on mixture differently. Who know – I’ll probably only used this type of varnish for hardwoods in the future.
Once the bed frame was up in our room I screwed some construction braces for the center rail to slide into.
Once we had the wooden slats down (from our old bed) I drilled in some holes for 4 dowels to poke out to keep the first and last slats from sliding around.
I love how the bed turned out and it feels so good and sturdy. I am inspired to fix up the rest of our room now…
… possibly paint the walls (previous owners painted them yellow, yuck!) or maybe even paint the night stands.
Once important design feature of this bed was that there was a big enough gap underneath to allow us to store stuff underneath – it’s 8″ from floor to rails. I made 2 large wooden trays that slide in/out easily (we don’t have a basement or much storage space, ha)!
I hope this post inspired you somehow. Happy building!