Instructables
Picture of $15 bed frame

We picked up a free mattress and box spring from Kijiji the other day as we are having relatives over to our new house in a couple of weeks. On it's own, that was ok except the mattress would be to close to the ground and would be very uncomfortable to get into or out of. So I built a bed frame for the box spring to sit on. Here's how I did it.
 
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Step 1: Materials and measurements

Picture of Materials and measurements
Firstly measure your box spring. This isn't particularly important at this stage, but it does make sure you aren't making a mistake when buying materials. The box spring was 53" by 74". I also measured our existing bed to see how far off the ground the top surface of the mattress was, to see what's reasonable. Turns out that's 25". Deduct the height of box spring and mattress means the top of the frame needs to be 10" off the floor.

Next buy your materials. I'm using construction grade 2 by 4s. They look ugly, but that doesn't matter as my wife will tack a skirt round the box spring and frame to make the whole thing look pretty. They are strong enough to build houses from, so they should be able to withstand building made into a bed. You will need:

7 x 2 by 4s
1 box of 3 inch screws (and if you want to, a drill bit to drill pilot holes. I didn't but I'm lazy that way)
1 piece of plyboard big enough to cover the headboard.

Also, you will need
1 1/2 inch drill bit
1 screwdriver. You will probably find a power screwdriver/drill is the way to go.
My Variation.

I have several 18" Rubbermaid storage bins I wanted to put under the bed so I made my legs 18" and 21 1/2". In the end this left me with an approx. 38" bed height. Since this is a spare/ craft room, having a bed at table height actually works for us. If someone was going to be sleeping here regularly, I would replace the box spring with a sheet of Plywood. As it is I need a step to get in, just make sure I'm fully awake before getting out.

I had an old headboard which I used, I did have to put the legs on the outside of the frame at the headboard end to give me an attach point but it worked. The wheels on the legs of the headboard are 7" off the floor

Suggestions for future builders.

I added a small L bracket, screwing the frame of the box spring to the frame itself. Yes its a little Belt and Suspenders, but better that than having the box spring slip between the frame rails in the night. (insert your favorite What kind of wild guests are you expecting Joke here)

Pre-drill everything. I put a 1/8 drill bit in my drill press and put two holes in the short legs, two in the overlap bit of the long legs, two at the ends and middle of the head and foot frame. Knowing I had perfectly straight starter holes allowed me much confidence and speed in the confined space of the bed room.

I set up a backstop and assembled the legs in the shop. Much faster than trying to do it in confined bedroom space.

Much has been said about the advantage of a chop saw. Let me add my bench sander. I rounded off all the cut edges and prettied up less than perfect bits.

I did make use of some recycled 4' lengths of 2x4 I had on hand, so I only had to purchase the 5 frame lengths from the lumber yard. Each cost over $3 each so I was well over the $15. The 3" screws are a stock item for me so under $20 anyway. By using an existing headboard I used a total of 52 screws. That's all that's holding this frame together. If anything gets loose in the future, (which with such long legs is a possibility), I might unscrew the loose bit and shoot in some PL Premium Glue. As it is, give me an hour and everything goes back to being reusable lumber.

My Mistakes.

Measure twice. I had the headboard in storage in the garage so when I measured it and found it was 54", I was sure that's what the box spring had measured. Turns out the box spring is 52". I may remove the foot end frame piece and narrow it a little, or just live with the 1/2 lip only I will notice. We shall see.

The Photo's explained.

1. The frame completed with headboard attached. At least one speed clamp recommended. Or an assistant.

2. Storage bins going under.

3.Finished project. Step is a hinged storage box with padlock hasp made out of 3/4" plywood. 13"x13"x16", and once used to keep "the books" for a club.

4. It's creator for scale. Rubbermaid makes 12" storage boxes too, don't they?

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hassonmike made it!1 month ago

This project worked out very well. It is solid and simple and inexpensive! I made some slight modifications to allow for my wider mattress, and also lowered the legs to only 6" off the ground to be easier on the puppy. I also stained it to match an existing headboard that I had. Cost of materials, stain included, was about $30, much better than the $200+ for beds from a store, and they probably would not last as long as this one will.

This was definitely a success! Thanks for this instructable!

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cknecht2 months ago
great and sturdy bed I took out the box spring and replaced it with OSB to save money thanks!
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DaboJones2 years ago
Thanks for posting this,
I did this one over the weekend - 2 hours (THANK ALL THAT IS HOLY FOR THE SPEED OF A COMPOUND MITRE SAW). I haven't put in a headboard yet, but I'm going to do something a little different with that part.

Thanks again to you and instructables. Now I sleep like an adult, on a mattress on a boxspring on a frame on the floor. 30 inches off the floor, actually. I may have to install a step.
stormthirst (author)  DaboJones2 years ago
You're welcome.

The compound mitre saw is an awesome tool. I only did the headboard like that because I wanted to get something put in place quickly. Once you've got the basics down, you can modify to add the headboard you want, and even a foot board.

Any ideas on what you're intending to do with the headboard? I'd considered using stair parts - two newel posts, a 2x4 at the bottom and a hand rail at the top., with some spindles in between.
sdavidoff2 years ago
Well I am going to give it a run tomorrow. Wish me luck. I am actually going to refinish in a dark Mahogany! Will let you know hoe it all goes.


Thank you, Mr Stormhirst :)


Shani
gibbon3 years ago
I modified your plans for a full size mattress:

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duggerpato3 years ago
Is this really $15 though? 2x4's around here are $2.53 per 8 foot board. Ply board can be $5 to 10. box of screws for that many legs, around $6. The wood itself could be $15 give or take. The assembly costs a little more. So technically it's a $15 bed frame, but it probably costs more ;)

I'm just giving you a hard time. It's well done, and I actually needed it to get ideas for how to made a headboard for my kid's bed, so thanks for the help. Good Ible. I gave it a 4.5 star rating. :)
stormthirst (author)  duggerpato3 years ago
I managed to get the 2x4's in a sale at (I think) $1.98 CDN. So I was playing a little fast and loose with the costs.

BTW Tony, the only guest so far to sleep on it says it was very comfortable
Like I said, it's a good instructable.
vincent75203 years ago
Nice job ! …
I like the cat too !: if a cat feels comfortable on a bed it only means it's well done !…
jmulherin3 years ago
this is a great idea!
Creativeman3 years ago
Good job, and excellent instructable!
MsJaxFla3 years ago
I love this bed frame. The only thing I think is lacking is that you did not put the bed on rollers that lock, so when Mystery upchucks under your new bed frame, your wife can move the bed easily to clean such up. Oh yeah and for your wife to tell us how she made the new head board cover. I know how to do it, but everyone does a tadge different and I like to know how others do it quick and easy.

Nice job, and so glad you had good pictures, cause I did not understand your type written instructions..... and I have made a bed frame before myself, by myself. Glad you did this one instead of me, but unfortunately .... I plan to make one more bed frame and head board in my life time , then I am DONE.

Thanks, you have inspired me to do my next one!
cmetzger3 years ago
Very nice. Looks safe and sturdy. And who is the awesomely talented kitteh?
stormthirst (author)  cmetzger3 years ago
The talented Kitty is Mischief. Who regularly reminds us of why we called her that :D
emorning3 years ago
If you wanted to get real fancy I would paint it with some Krylon paint. I think Krylon looks good on raw 2x4s. A coat of dark brown followed by a coat of black would make that thing look like it was from IKEA.
blkhawk3 years ago
A very simple, inexpensive and elegant way to provide quick bedding for people living in poor countries or for quickly replacing lost furniture in a disaster. Thank you for taking the time to post it. Great work!
stormthirst (author)  blkhawk3 years ago
Thanks :)