Introduction: GroundFX Bed

Picture of GroundFX Bed

Throw away your clumsy old steel frame bed. You deserve a bed that looks like it’s floating! And glows! And is impossible to stub your toe on! And most importantly - that you built with your own hands. You may have seen something like this online before, but I’ve made some improvements that make it easier to assemble, stronger, and easier to move.

I built this bed on one unseasonably warm day in November. It requires a minimum of tools, and can be done by only one person. It is designed to come apart into pieces small enough for a single person to carry into a house and assemble.

The bed in this Instructable is queen sized, and designed for use with a box spring. If you don't have a box spring, simply cut a piece of plywood, fibreboard, MDF or particleboard to lay across the "ladder" sections.

Step 1: Tools and Supplies

Picture of Tools and Supplies


  • Mitre saw
  • Electric drill
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Sander
  • Lots of clamps
  • Pilot drill bit for #8 construction screws
  • 1/2" drill bit
  • Impact driver (optional)
  • Planer (optional)
  • Drill guide (optional, but recommended)
  • Dowel centre kit (optional, but recommended)


  • 2x4x8 pine : 12
  • 2x6x8 pine : 8
  • 2x10x5 pine : 2
  • 1/2” dowels
  • 2.5” #8 wood screws
  • 3” #8 wood screws
  • Wood glue (I recommend Titebond III)
  • rope light (single colour, or RGB)
  • cable clips

A note on "dimensional" lumber available from DIY stores like Home Depot: a 2x4 is actually about 1.5"x3.5". I recommend using the pre-planed pine rather than the construction-grade spruce. It costs a bit more, but it's easier to work with, has no surface marks, and has nice square corners.

Step 2: The Ladder Sections

Picture of The Ladder Sections

The box spring rests mainly on three "ladder" sections. These are what you'll build first. Before you start, be sure to measure the dimensions of the box spring. In the case of a queen size bed, the outside dimensions are approximately 60"x80". Therefore, you will need six 2x4 pieces cut to 60" in length. In addition to this, ten more 2x4 pieces cut to about 14".

Construct two ladder sections consisting of two 60" pieces and three 14" 'rungs'. One rung on each end, and a third centred in the middle. Construct a third ladder that uses four rungs, again with one rung on each end and the other two evenly spaced (ie. at 20" and 40"). This third ladder is going to be the foot of the bed, where the extra rung helps support the overhang.

The classic "glue and screw" method works well here: simply run a thick bead of glue along the end of the 14" rung, position it, and drive in two 3" screws to pull the pieces of wood together. The ladder sections should be reasonably square.

Step 3: Head and Foot Bed Rails

Picture of Head and Foot Bed Rails

The bed rail serves to keep the box spring from sliding around, and provides a nice finish free of visible fasteners. In this step we'll attach the rails to the head and foot of the bed.

Cut two 2x6 pieces of lumber to 60" in length. One of these should be glued and screwed to one of the three-rung ladders, and the other to the four-rung ladder. WATCH OUT!! Drive the screws from the INSIDE of the ladder, so that the screw heads will be hidden. Also be sure to use 2.5" long screws here, so that there's less chance of the screw point breaching the far side.

Step 4: Side Rails

Picture of Side Rails

This is probably the trickiest and most time-consuming part of the build. Here we're going to drill and attach the side rails of the bed. The side rails basically hold everything together, but do so in a way that can be disassembled!

This is accomplished by using dowel pins. The dowels both align the various pieces and serve as structural support. Fortunately, they're one of the easier joinery techniques. A hole is drilled in one piece of the joint, a dowel centring plug is inserted, and the second piece is pressed against the first. The dowel centre presses an impression not the second piece of wood, which can then be used as a drill guide.

On the head and foot ladder sections, drill two dowel holes into the end of each 2x6, and one dowel hole into the end of each 2x4. The holes should be about half the length of the dowel pin. I recommend using a drill guide for this, so that the resulting hole is as perpendicular to the surface of the wood as possible.

The side rails are each about 83" long 2x6 lumber (80" for the box spring plus 1.5" on each end to overlap the head and foot rails).

Very carefully align the ladder sections with the side rail, and using the dowel centres transfer the hole positions over to the side rails. My kit of centres only had two of the 1/2" size, so I had to work in pairs. With the hole positions marked, drill the dowel holes. Be sure to limit the depth of the holes made on the side rails! I like to use a piece of masking tape to mark the depth right on the drill bit. Do this for both side rails.

The dowel pins may now be inserted into the ladder sections. Squeeze some glue into the hole then press in the dowel. Be sure to clean up any glue that squeezes out of the hole. Then, line up the side rails with the dowels and fit them together. Naturally, you don't want to put any glue onto the side rail hole, or it will be impossible to disassemble the frame!

Finish the job by driving 2.5" screws from the insides of the ladder sections to the side rails.

Step 5: Build the Platform

Picture of Build the Platform

The bed frame rests on an elevated platform. The platform is made of two stout 66" long 2x10s, and some 2x6 lumber to tie them together. The length of those 2x6 pieces will depend on the size of the bed. On a queen bed they're about 24" long. Too long and the lumber will be too visible from the side. Too short and the bed will be tippy.

As before, glue and screw the lumber to form a nice, simple rectangle.

Step 6: Attach the Frame to the Platform

Picture of Attach the Frame to the Platform

The frame is attached to the platform by screwing them together at four points.

Set the frame on top of the platform, so that "head" end of the platform is flush with the outside face of the "head" rail. The majority of one beam of the "foot" ladder should align with the other end of the platform. Left-right centre the frame on the platform.

There's no way our 3" screws will be long enough to fasten through the frame rails to the platform, so we'll need to counterbore the holes. Using the 1/2" bit, drill a 2-2.5" deep hole in 4 or 6 locations. Then, drive a 3" screw into each.

Step 7: Build the Headboard

Picture of Build the Headboard

You could attach nearly any headboard to this bed. In order to maintain the aesthetic of the design, I chose a simple stack of spaced-out 2x6 boards.

Start by fastening the headboard vertical supports to the bed frame. The length of the vertical support will depend on how tall you want the headboard to be. Four 2.5" screws per vertical support is enough. As you can see in the pictures, I attached them to both the frame and the platform, right down to the ground.

The horizontal sections are made up of three 63" long 2x6 pieces, spaced 3" apart. I used some scrap wood as a spacer: simply place the spacer, set the horizontal board on top, then screw it in place with 2.5" screws. As you may have guessed, drive the screws in from behind so they won't be visible. Then stack the next horizontal piece on top and repeat!

Step 8: Finishing

Picture of Finishing

Once assembled, the entire frame can be sanded with an electric sander. I also used a placer to add a chamfer to any edge that would likely be stepped on or touched frequently. You may choose to leave it as-is, or round the corner.

I left the wood of my bed "natural" and unfinished. By all means, paint or stain the wood to your liking!

Step 9: Add the Rope Light

Picture of Add the Rope Light

Being so close to Christmas, it was easy to find a section of LED rope light!

Using wire clips (the type used to fasten electrical wiring to wood studs), run the rope light around the circumference of the platform, as high up as possible.

I have my rope light connected to a timer, so it turns on and off automatically each day.

Step 10: Disassembly/Assembly

As I mentioned in the intro step, this bed is designed to be easily disassembled and moved.

  1. If necessary, remove the mattress and box spring. Unplug the rope light.
  2. If not already done, mark joint locations using letters or numbers to make reassembly easier.
  3. Remove the headboard by loosening the eight screws that secure it to the frame and platform
  4. Remove the remaining screws that attach the frame to the platform.
  5. Remove the screws that attach the ladder sections to the side rails.
  6. Slide the side rails off.


ddaveiga made it! (author)2017-09-12

I made TWO of these beds, but modded them to my liking. The first two pics attached, I added platform "wings" and made an ebonized wood finish:

Warm Water / Brass Brush followed by 120 grit sand paper, then 180 grit
1 Large Bottle Speedwell SuperBlack India Ink
1 Gallon Zinsser Bullseye Shellac Clear (I mixed black dye) (1 THIN coat)
Varathane Wood Grain Enhancer (White) (spread aggressively)

For the second bed, a California King, I just added 5/4 pine and did a Varathane Kona stain and oil poly. Both came out AWESOME.

Overall, the tutorial was clear and understandable. I had a lot of fun making these beds. Both took me a total of 40 hours total. Great Instructable. Thank you!
MinWax Helmsman Spar Urethane Spray (Water Based / Clear Satin)

Splitfir3 (author)2017-09-08

Very nice project. I have something similar in mind but due the everyday sruggle I never got a grasp of the full concept I wanted. Your tutorial kinda opened my eyes. Thank you very much.

AshKetchum114 (author)2017-04-26

Awesome project man! And very thorough. I know cost will vary upon location and availability of materials, but I was curious as to what you have invested in it. Any response is appreciated. Thank you!

jeff-o (author)AshKetchum1142017-04-27

Hmmm, the wood was a bit over $100 since I opted for pre-milled pine. The LED lights were $20.

wolfarkas (author)2017-04-08

Hey, great Instructable! Very well documented and explained for beginners.

One small suggestion is for your screw placement - When placing screws aligned with the grain (as in your vertical supports for the headboard) you should stagger them when possible so they're not putting pressure on the same grain line. This reduces the likelihood of causing a split in the wood.

Love the project!

crazy_thiago (author)2017-03-28

Prettynice project, if u lean or stand on the side of the bed, does it tip?

jeff-o (author)crazy_thiago2017-03-28

I have to stand on the edge and jump to make it move. I'm about 185lbs.

LeandroJ7 (author)jeff-o2017-03-30

Amazing project. I'm worried about stay in one side of the bed. I have the habit to sit in one side to put my tennis every morning, and have some concern about overload joints, or even tip entire bed. You already did this test on yours?

jeff-o (author)LeandroJ72017-03-31

Here I am balanced on the edge with all my weight. It doesn't tip unless I jump. Like you, I sit on the edge every morning to get dressed and it's never a problem. Thanks for your concern!

kbbaktha made it! (author)2017-03-28

Here is two pics of floating bed I built for my grandson

suzeruser (author)kbbaktha2017-03-29


kbbaktha (author)suzeruser2017-03-29

Thank you.

jeff-o (author)kbbaktha2017-03-28


kbbaktha (author)jeff-o2017-03-29


addictedToArduino (author)2017-03-29

This is the coolest bed ever! Good job!

jf_blanco (author)2017-03-28

My 2 cents. This led stripes or ropes, call it as you like, usually smells very bad when turned on. It is better to install a non plastic covered led stripe ;-)

JoshuaV7 (author)jf_blanco2017-03-29

Same here, I have never had any smells coming from LED strips

jeff-o (author)jf_blanco2017-03-29

LOL, I'm not sure what LED strips you're using, but these ones had no odour. :)

gworld520 (author)2017-03-28

Nice project good instructions looks great I would definitely go king size I;m a big boy 250lbs I'll add extra width n lenth to the base for the extra platform size that should compensate.Good job Thanks

jeff-o (author)gworld5202017-03-29

Nice! I'd love a king size bed!

sniffydogs (author)2017-03-28

Love it! Very original!

jeff-o (author)sniffydogs2017-03-28

I can't take credit for the original concept, but thanks!

Oldchugger (author)2017-03-28

I like it, might try and see if I can add a motion sensor so that when the feet touch the floor the lights turn on.

It's a great looking bed.

sslady77575 (author)2017-03-28

I love this being able to see when you getup at night.

jeff-o (author)sslady775752017-03-28

It's a nice nightlight, though I've set mine to turn off at 1am. Even so, the light level is low enough that it doesn't disturb my sleep.

AlbertoM4 (author)2017-03-28

Impressive project! Thank you for sharing. For those of you concerned about the tippy problem, you can widen the base, paint it similar color as the floor and it Will never be noticed.

joeynovak (author)AlbertoM42017-03-28

Also, unless you have a concrete floor, you could easily drive a screw down through the carpet and pad into the sub-floor. When the screw is removed, I doubt anyone will see the tiny hole it may leave.

jeff-o (author)AlbertoM42017-03-28

Yup, or fasten the headboard to the wall.

ClaudiuI (author)2017-03-28

Congratulations, it's a wonderful project. I hope that your wife/spouse/partner appreciate it. And with the Raymond idea of using mirrors, I believe will be gorgeous. If I wouldn't already have a bad....... :).

jeff-o (author)ClaudiuI2017-03-28

Thanks for the compliments!

dzynr64 (author)2017-03-28

Fantastic Instructable! Great idea and super easy to understand instructions. Thanks so much.

jeff-o (author)dzynr642017-03-28

You're very welcome!

Ludivico17 (author)2017-03-28

wow that looks good!!!!!! well done for the perseverance!!

jeff-o (author)Ludivico172017-03-28


Clbanks (author)2017-03-28

I LOVE THIS!!! I have a guest bedroom that I going to redo and this ill be the frame that I make. This looks like fun! So unique, I'm in!!!!

jeff-o (author)Clbanks2017-03-28

I'm looking forward to seeing your take on it!

thesnowtheriver (author)2017-03-28

this is great . i want one!

jeff-o (author)thesnowtheriver2017-03-28

Make one! :D

RaymondR6 (author)2017-03-28

I have a king-sized bed made in 1989 that is similar, but uses mirrors and fluorescent lamps. The mirrors reflect the floor and covers the normal platform side walls. The lamps have two 2-way switches so any side can turn them on or off. I have replaced the fluorescent lamps with LEDs but it still works as a "floating bed".

jeff-o (author)RaymondR62017-03-28


sgbotsford (author)2017-03-28

Interesting approach. Good directions. One suggestion: Do all your sanding before assembly. You will still have some touch up at the end, but it's far easier to sand when you can lay the board on a sanding bench. You do a better job on what will be the inside corners.

You still have the main ladder unit that is queen sized. This may give you grief if you have a sharp corners (stairs with flights) moving in or out. At king bed size the box units are usually paired.

My stepson made a queen bed, and ended up building two platforms that screwed together. This could easily be done here by using the same technique, but makeing two ladder boxes that were half the width of the bed. Because of the torque on the joint when sitting on the edges, however I would bolt together with 3/8" bolts and washers. 4 to 6 of them.

More ideas.

We have a box platform as the bottom layer on our bed. It rests on 4 concrete blocks. Each block is on a cut out chunk of cardboard so the block doesn't scratch the floor. Not elegant. But cheap and easy to work with.

Another approach to this: use the base unit rectangle, and two 2x4s on edge running to the edge of the box. Taper them to 1.5" at a 30 degree angle at the foot end. Run just enough past the head end to attach the headboard.. For this to work well the base should be about 2/3 in each dimension of the box.

If you have the older style wire spring base that sags in the middle, add two pieces of 3/4" OSB flooring. Dress up edges as you wish.

I've never understood the point of these box platform things except to get the bed to the typical height. Build the base unit higher, top with plywood, and put the mattress directly on the plywood. This gives the added benefit that the space under the bed is now usable as storage. (Lot to be said for making a bed that will fit a row of 15 gallon rubbermaid totes under each side.)

jeff-o (author)sgbotsford2017-03-28

Great suggestions! Yes, if you want to skip the box spring then simply lay a sheet of OSB over the ladder sections to support the bare mattress.

As far as transport is concerned, I wasn't clear in my instructions - the upper frame comes apart into 5 pieces which are easy to move. Three ladders, plus two side rails.

Meglymoo87 (author)2017-03-28

Wow! LOVE IT!! And love the idea of never stubbing my toes on it! Voted :D

jeff-o (author)Meglymoo872017-03-28


SomervilleDesigns (author)2017-03-28

If you Kreg Jig the whole thing with Pocket screws it would be even stronger. None the less it is a fabulous build. Thanks for sharing.

jeff-o (author)SomervilleDesigns2017-03-28

Sure would! If you've got a Kreg Jig then go for it :)

Darthorso (author)2017-03-28

That, my friend, is awesome. Fantastic bed, design element and night light all in one! Thumbs up

jeff-o (author)Darthorso2017-03-28


KaylaT34 (author)2017-03-28

This is so cool!

jeff-o (author)KaylaT342017-03-28

Thanks! So are you!

About This Instructable




Bio: By day, Jeff is the Jack of All Robots at Clearpath Robotics. By night, a mad scientist / hacker / artist / industrial designer wannabe!
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