Introduction: Pipe Dream Bed

Picture of Pipe Dream Bed

An bed made from iron pipe. The design is simple yet sturdy. Not too pricy, simple to make, easy to adjust/disassemble, this bed will give your room an industrial feel.

Step 1: Acquire Materials

Here are the required materials

  • 1 1/2" schedule 40 iron pipe: Available at plumbing/hardware stores. Rather heavy. You can buy 10' lengths and then cut it yourself. Note that 1 1/2" pipe is not actually 1 1/2" in diameter. Its really closer to 1 7/8"!
  • Hacksaw/pipecutter/chopsaw: For cutting the pipe down
  • Couplers: You can buy these from mcmaster carr, they are used to build railings. They are sometimes called "speed rail" or "speedrail". Search the online for "speedrail" and order the couplers you want. I got mine for free and they were all of the "4 outlet crossover" kind so I used only those but theres more suitable configurations.
  • Allen wrench: for opening & closing the couplers
  • Plastic pipe-end covers: get these at the place with the pipe, they protect your floor
  • 1x8 wood panels for making the slats, and 2x4's for holding the slats together

Step 2: Prep

Picture of Prep
Measure your matress and couplers to determine how long your pipe pieces have to be.
For my queensize matress and couplers i needed:

  • 4 x 57" for the head and tail of the bed, including the headboard and tailboard
  • 4 x 42" for the 4 legs
  • 2 x 87" for the lengthwise pieces

Cut and deburr your pipe.

Step 3: Headboard

Picture of Headboard

Slide the couplers on the pipe, and make up your headboard, it doesnt have to be in its finished shape but having a square will make it easier to assemble the whole thing. Use the allen wrench to tighten down the couplers

Step 4: Tailboard

Picture of Tailboard

Do the same for the tailboard

Step 5: Frame Assembly

Picture of Frame Assembly

Have a friend or two help you hold up the head/tailboards while you slide the lengthwise pieces in. Now you should square the design, make sure it's level, and get it into a final configuration.

Step 6: Slats

Picture of Slats

Use the 1x8 wood to make slats that will form the support for your mattress. use three 2x4 pieces to hold the slats together, use woodscrews to hold the whole thing together

Step 7: Done!

Picture of Done!

Add your mattress & sheets. Now take a nice nap.


bevin.chu (author)2014-09-27

Looked up the price.

Apparently the 1" crossover fittings are about 11 USD each.

One could make a simplified version of this bed using only 8 crossover fittings.

bevin.chu (author)2014-09-27

Looked up the price.

Apparently the 1" crossover fittings are about 11 USD each.

One could make a simplified version of this bed using only 8 crossover fittings.

bevin.chu (author)2014-09-27

Very good design!


Because you used only a single type of pipe fitting, the "crossover." This has at least three advantages.

1. It simplifies the process of ordering the parts. No need to sit there and figure out that you need "x" number of this part and "y" number of that part and "z" number of that other part.

2. Having the pipes crossover makes the pipe length much less critical. You can even cut them slightly longer, then adjust them until they are the proper length for your mattress, allowing the ends to overhang slightly. Just so long as you cap them so that you don't get scraped by the raw ends.

3. If you decide to get a different size mattress one day, you can buy new pipe and reuse the exact same fittings.

If I decide to do a DIY pipe bed frame, this is the one I will go by!

workmi (author)2014-05-01

I crate steel bed too :) On my site (

thekage91 (author)2012-02-25

You are a BIG..!! I consider you very much

AK1928 (author)2011-09-25

yes how much did it cost. and also can you make it with 1" diameter iron pipe.

Dark_gentlemen (author)2011-06-14

I saw up in comments people asked how much ti did cost but seeing not reply to it I'm wondering how much it cost ya to make. I'm kind of a gym nut so I'm a little shy of 300 lbs so I'd need to put in middle support but just wondering about how much I'd be looking at spending

whosdadog (author)2008-08-17

This is mine. It took me about an hour. I used 1' pipe and I actually got home depot to cut the pipes for me. I used different fittings that made the cross bars equal with the ling bars.

PerfectionLost (author)whosdadog2010-10-15

How have the 1" pipes held up? Do you think you could go smaller?

I'm going to make one of these soon and want to know if I can get the smaller lighter pipes. I was thinking about splitting the long beams and dropping a support down on both sides also.

whosdadog (author)PerfectionLost2010-10-15

As long as you have a support in the middle, smaller pipe should be fine. The pipes on mine do bend slightly (the very middle sags about a half-inch when i sit right on top of it) but I have no supports in the middle. Just make sure you can get smaller fittings before you get the smaller pipe.

frenzy (author)2010-09-28

These fittings are hard to source, you can get them off the Internet but the minimum fittings come to about 130 bucks OUCH! I'm attempting to source something that is easy to get a hold of AND cheaper.

fearmonger12 (author)2010-08-03

I ma looking to redo my old room. I thought the industrial feel produced by the Pipe Dream Bed was cool and am thinking about doing my room more industrially, but need to do it on a budget. I am looking for other projects that are similar to this (nightstands, dressers, etc.). If anyone knows any good tutorials, please tell me.

omegpirate (author)2010-07-30

i bet i could figure out a way to put a lamp in one or two of the posts... for late night reading. and a shelf for the books. this is the perfect modular bed frame!

joe murphy (author)2010-07-28

this bed is a dream. until i get round to build it (i still need the fittings , have the pipes )its a pipe dream

ladyada (author)2006-01-01

after breaking 2 futons...i personally guarantee that this bed will take any and all abuse you can give it.

nubiana str (author)ladyada2010-03-31

I understand just what you mean children, a husband, and two dogs futons and other poorly made bedding just don't hold up this look s like it can withstand it all.

meowzebub (author)2009-09-16

why isthe 2x4 attached on edge? wouldn't it be sturdier (as well as easier) to use a heavier screw into the "4"" side? pardon if this is a foolish question, I'm totally self-taught, very basic carpenter.

Womperman (author)meowzebub2010-03-24

Due to the Physics of material deflection. The thicker an object is in the direction of the net force, the less deflection it has thus making it the stronger configuration. 

village_idiot (author)2010-01-06

 Great instructable!

Will the rather small feet, and the (I'm assuming) weight of the bed (plus occupants) cause any damage to floors? I'm getting an apartment in Chicago, which tend to have poorly built wooden floors.

3yE (author)village_idiot2010-02-19

Well, only you can judge it from any other furniture or marks which are there. If you are conserned, extend the feet with say small and/or thin sheets of metal, wood, hard paper laminate, plastic, whatever.

3yE (author)3yE2010-02-19

Actually and oh, plastic caps should be enough - as long as this plastic is softer then the material your floors are made of. If you can find a material which scratches the plastic easily but not your floor, then you know the plastic caps are softer.

If not, you can put some tennis balls over the plastic caps. Or glue some fleece or heavy cloth onto the caps.

If you decide to follow my last suggestion - softer material like some 3mm or 6mm plastic or hardpaper should be a good idea. Then leave the plastic caps off and briefly use a hole cutter to cut a groove into the sheet into which the pipe will lock and thus stay centered.

And if the floors are really bad (i.e. made of hardpaper with a thin veneer), expect to replace them after a couple of years of normal use anyway.

taria (author)2009-03-26

how much did it cost total for the whole thing? sometimes people say "not to pricy" and it turn out to be over a 100 bucks. that to me is pricy..LOL

a.nony.mouse (author)taria2009-07-19

if you can walk into a furniture store and find a bed for less than $100, let me know.

taria (author)a.nony.mouse2009-07-22

no no, I meant over a 100 not me I could find a used bed for under 100 but it wouldn't be as cool as this one. I hope I didn't sound nasty or something.

a.nony.mouse (author)taria2009-08-22

no, in fact i'm starting to think it was myself who sounded a bit nasty, and i see i misread what you wrote... sorry.
what i meant is, if you could find a bed for less than $100, that would be really awesome, and i'm sure i wouldn't be the only one who would love to know where!
again, sorry! i really didn't mean it that way

komecake (author)a.nony.mouse2009-11-01

 Actually, Walmart and quite a few other places sell bed frames for that cheap. Even Ikea has one or two. You'd be surprised! I still like this idea though. It looks very "green". :)

taria (author)a.nony.mouse2009-08-26

it's okay sweetie, no harm done. I don't hold a grudge over something like this. so your okay.

zjgz (author)2009-09-06

Ahhh, I love the industrial feel of this bed. I'd like to know how much a bed like this would generally cost though. Anyone know?

a.nony.mouse (author)2009-07-19

the bunks at BLFAC, from which i just returned, were partly made out of iron pipes, and i've been wanting one since! thanks for the instructable!

jiaola (author)2009-04-22

that bed does not look to be very sturdy in the middle. looks like the wood will bow or sag in the middle of the bed.

mmattson (author)jiaola2009-07-02

I agree, but I will move the lower pipes on the headboard and footboard to th inside to provide the support that is lacking.

porcupinemamma (author)2009-05-31

This is such a fun looking bed. Could plastic plumbing pipe be used?

jobradfield (author)2009-03-29

how much did it cost to make?

KillerPanda (author)2009-02-23

Id hate to lie down too fast and smash my head into one of the pipes

Aud1073cH (author)2009-01-22

This reminds me of a bed prop I built in community college theatre. I used some pieces of aluminum scaffolding (with big swivel wheels), steel pipe, and cheeseboro clamps (aka. "cheeseburger clamps") The bed was a trapezoid "forced perspective" shape, and raked -taller at the head, shorter at the foot. Plywood top, and stapled on foam padding, with dressings that could be changed very quickly. It was used it throughout a dream-themed dance concert. -we also use speedrail in theatre production, to put handrails on stage. so you may also check with your local theatre production rental/sales places for the hardware. - but they buy it from McMaster Carr, so it may just be cheaper direct.

dasVerlangen (author)2008-11-25

Oh, Limor - is there anything you cannot do? Seriously, you're one of my nine heroes.

shammallamaman (author)2008-08-20
Nice instructable.
lockedupsub (author)2008-07-14

just FYI!!!!... and schedule rating like sch 40, pertains to PVC/ABS... not METAL pipe.!!! it has to do with PSI rating for irrigation/sprinkler systems!!! If "" sold IRON pipe as sch40, they jipped you :P

mooseheadm5 (author)lockedupsub2008-08-20

I am sorry, but you are incorrect. Pipe schedule has been around for over 150 years. It has to do with wall thichness. Read here:

liquidsys (author)2008-05-27

I just purchased couplings to fit the 1.5" ID schedule 40 Iron Pipe from The part number is EF40G-40 and they are $10.15 a piece. They ship out of Ohio. Hope this helps people... Also if you're in Washington, Oregon or Idaho, you can get 20' lengths of Schedule 40 1.5" ID Iron Pipe for $13.40 from Building my 'modified' version of this using lots of LED lights to put a nice diffuse blue glow under the bed... I'll write up an instructable when I'm done.

brad (author)liquidsys2008-06-10

You could save yourself a good amount of effort and money by putting blue Cold-Cathodes underneath, or just buying blue LED rope light. You'll be amazed how much trouble hooking up even a few dozen LEDs is.

liquidsys (author)brad2008-06-10

That's actually a good idea... I think 2 cold-cathods per side is actually the smarter bang for the buck. Thanks for the idea. Sometimes the most simple solutions are the ones I never think of =)

brad (author)liquidsys2008-06-10

CCFLs are a great way to do some nice, "diffused" lighting. Most LEDs are far too focused, giving you a "lumpy" glow. If you recess them slightly and have them "bounce" light off the bottom of the bed, you'll get a more even light still and keep the bulbs from being visible, assuming you have a fairly light bottom to your bed. A single white sheet wrapped around the slats would do it.

mensmaximus (author)2006-07-17

In the picture, the horizontal headboard bar may conduct the electro-magnetic waves coming from the speaker above your head, better than your head but the entire frame is acting as a refocuser of all stray e-m waves in NY city into your body by means of a heavy metal frame. Is that the buildings 220 volt 1000 amp electrical lines running behind the corner cut-out in the room which is also behind your headboard at night. I don't think a magnetic mattress would help this health hazard bed.

markstutzman (author)mensmaximus2008-06-10

I am the Keymaster. Are you the Gatekeeper?

speedmonkay (author)mensmaximus2008-01-10

Would it be safer if I wore a lead hat on my head while I slept in this bed since I would have to worry about soooo much e-m waves ? And if a lead hat isnt enough, do you think a lovely lead blanket would keep me safe ? If so, when I go to Home Depot for the supplies, I will also run next door to Linens N Things for the lead blanket. Thank you for keeping us informed of how dangerously scary this bed is.

mensmaximus (author)speedmonkay2008-01-10

Snore enhansing again?

tcabeen (author)mensmaximus2006-12-18

You said all that in only two sentences wow impressive have you thought about writing a book about it or maybe there is already so much good literature on the subject that it would be pointless I don't know I haven't looked into it. Well, keep fighting the good fight.

Mark Rehorst (author)2008-06-10

Pipes are great for beds... it is so easy to attach restraints!

Yes, PVC can be used for this sort of thing. I built a loft bed for my son about 6 years ago using 2" PVC pipe. You can see it and DL plans here:

lockdown1101 (author)2008-05-21

it's an amazing bed. The only thing I need to know before deciding whether or not to build it, is the manufacturing cost. I don't wanna spend like 200$ building a bed from scratch that will be the same effect as one from IKEA for like 50$ less

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