Cutting and Folding a Box Spring

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Introduction: Cutting and Folding a Box Spring

One of the most frustrating things when moving into a new apartment or house is trying to get those awkward pieces of furniture up the stairs. Box springs are the worst; they are bulky and inflexible, and it's just plain impossible to get them around some corners. Stores will sell you a pair of "split boxes" that are half as wide, but they will set you back a couple hundred bucks.

If you don't mind performing a little surgery, you can fold the box spring in half, making it much easier to move around. After rebuilding it, the box spring will still have all the structural integrity and support that it started out with. Here's what you'll need:

  • flathead screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Scissors
  • Wood Saw
  • Rope, cord, or twine
  • Power drill/screwdriver
  • Wood screws
  • Some lumber that's the same thickness as your box spring's wood; 1x2's are probably good. You need enough to make four boards that span the four central crosspieces.
  • Staple gun or upholstery tacks and a hammer

Step 1: Remove the Staples on the Long Sides

Using the flathead screwdriver and pliers, remove all the staples from the underside of the box spring, along the long sides. Don't remove the staples on the short ends. Chances are, the fabric dustcover on the bottom is attached with a different, redundant set of staples from the top fabric. There are seriously a ton of staples here. Fortunately you can get the most tedious part of the job done first.

Once you're done, the fabric shouldn't be attached to the wood frame at all on both long sides.

Step 2: Cut the Dust Cover and Frame

Find the center of the box spring, and cut the dust cover with your scissors or knife. Tuck each half of the dust cover into the springs on either end to get it out of the way.

Moving the top fabric out of the way, saw through the wood frame on each side. Your box spring is finally flexible! If all you need is to be able to bend it around a corner, you can skip the next step.

Step 3: Fold It in Half

Using a doorframe or other straight fulcrum, carefully bend the box spring in half along the exact middle of the top side. Guide the top fabric to slip off the corners of the wooden frame. Once the thick steel wire is partially bent, move it against a wall and fold it the rest of the way. This is a good job for two people, to keep it from springing back and hitting someone.

Have one person hold the box spring while the second person ties it shut with rope or twine. Now you should have a nice, compact package that is easy to transport up stairs, around corners, in the back of a vehicle, etc.

Don't leave it in this state for too long, though. It's possible that the wire would lose its springiness and be warped upon reconstruction.

Step 4: Reconstruct the Frame

When you have the box spring in its desired location, lay it face down on the floor and push the middle down to flatten it out again. You'll notice in the pictures that I cut off the corners of the frame that were jutting out, to get past a sticky corner. This is okay since we're reinforcing those sections anyway. Stand along the bend in the wire to flatten it out as much as possible.

Cut four pieces of wood long enough to span between the middle four crossbeams. Fasten them to the crossbeams with the wood screws, adjacent to the cut rails. You'll notice that I split the wood pretty badly, but I put in enough screws that it felt secure. I couldn't find my drill bits in the moving chaos, but I should've spent a little more time looking. Always pre-drill your holes, kids!

Step 5: Reattach Top Fabric and Dust Cover

Using a staple gun or upholstery tacks, fasten the top fabric and dust cover to the frame. Pull the fabric tight before fastening. You don't need to attach them separately; one staple or tack through both fabrics will do.

In retrospect, staples are the better choice because they are easier to remove if you ever need to move the box spring again. I used tacks because they were handy at the time.

Once you're finished tacking the fabric in place, you're done! Enjoy your bed!

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user

Thanks so much for this. Followed the instructions, am typing this on the bed in the upstairs bedroom where it belongs. Now how long until I get over the fear the boxspring will just split at any moment?

Great idea! Saved my son and his new bride a few hundred dollars. One suggestion from my wife: instead of cutting the fabric on the bottom remove it from one end back to just past the middle, then reattach it intact. We've found that cats love to crawl up inside the bed if there is any opening. Even if it is a small one they will make it big enough to crawl through.

It is true that during a move, the greatest obstacle has got to be the stairs. It doesn’t matter if it is the flight of stairs inside your own house or the public stairs for apartment residents, it still poses a great challenge. That is why you should always entrust that tough feat to professional removalists who can handle the chore for you almost effortlessly due to their experience. Leave it all to them while you settle the easier tasks.

1 reply

Are you actually posting on a DIY website to convince people not to do things themselves? It would be much more constructive to offer your expert advice as a professional mover so that people can do things themselves more easily.

Great tutorial. Super helpful. Never would have expected the wires in the box to bend to that degree. Advice if you're thinking about this: get the right tools and this is way better, easier and cheaper than buying a split box spring. Pre drill the holes! May want to buy a 6" clamp, too.

You helped us save over 100 dollars in wasted money. Instead of buying a split boxspring and paying to have it delivered, I performed surgery on the existing one. OMFG, it was perfect. Other than getting a huge scratch from a prematurely unfolding boxspring, it went nearly flawlessly. I bought a Dremel Multi-max, which allowed me to speed through the wood with little resistance and no measuring. :) Thank you for the perfect Instructable. A+++++

Has anyone tried this with a SULTAN ATLÖY boxspring from ikea??????

Excellent tutorial! I'd post my own photos but you nailed it. I have a very tight stairwell with a sharp 180 deg turn in my new house and there was no way my queen size box spring was even close to getting upstairs. Whole process probably took 2hrs to complete.

Hi! I'm so excited to try this. I was wondering once a queen size box spring is folded if it will fit into a normal sized car. Has anyone tried this? I am also probably going to move a few more times in my life and was wondering if there was a way to put it back together again where i could easily take it apart again while maintaining all the support of the box spring. I know some people have posted about this but I'm not exactly sure what they did. Maybe if they could list parts or post a picture.

Thanks!

Just got done finishing up with my queen box spring. This instructable is GENIUS! Everything worked just like the instructable said it would.

Worked like a charm! We didn't need to completely fold, only needed to bend just enough to get up the stairs in our new house. This really did the trick. The box spring is now upstairs - haven't reassembled yet. I'm thinking of getting some metal brackets for the reassemble instead of wood, in case is needs to come back downstairs someday.

Thanks for this. The furniture store was going to take our box spring back and for an extra hundred trade us a fold able one.

Turned out ours was easier to cut, it was only slats and some cardboard, no springs.

We are going to use the metal bars instead of the wooden 1 X 2's when we reassemble, so when we have to move it downstairs again. We can take those off and fold it again.

You know, I have to admit I've never understood the purpose of a box spring. I suspect they're a purely American thing - I can't remember ever seeing one when I was growing up in Europe.

What, Americans are so wimpy that one mattress isn't good enough? :-P

5 replies

The box spring really just gives the mattress something firm to rest on higher off the ground, and easier for old bones to get out of bed in the morning. I'm sure that it is a relatively recent invention. 100 years ago people were still sleeping on mattresses stuffed with straw.

I'm not sure myself, but old ones with the wood frame removed can very as very nice dirt road graters. (dueling banjos) :P

Do you use bed slates more? I'm getting some that roll up nicely and throwing out my box spring

Yes, slats are fairly common these days. I think our old beds used to have a sort of net made from stiff metal springs - something that would give a little, but only a few inches. Some beds have a stiff metal latticework, or even just a wooden board to rest the mattress on.

I completely agree. I'm an American and I don't understand it! Mattress seller: You HAVE to buy this box spring thing. One mattress just isn't enough!! You should be higher off the floor than you are now!! BUY IT!

Oh yeah, and mine had 8, yes, 8 support bars and 4 of them were double boards. crazy! haha

I live in a tiny basement apartment in Chicago and both myself and roomate have queen box springs. Thank you SOOOOOO MUCH for saving us several 100s of dollars on not having to buy a new bed or a collapsible box spring. Thanks!

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