Introduction: Pipe Loft Bed

Picture of Pipe Loft Bed

I have been daydreaming of my very own full sized loft bed since my freshman year of college (~3yrs ago). During finals week, I decided that I could have it all: a dog, vanilla bean ice cream, AND the perfect bed for a pole vaulter. Note that I was only lacking one portion of my equation for happiness. I discovered the instructables website while searching for pictures of homemade beds. This instructable is a spin-off of ladyada's Pipe Dream Bed:

I like that iron pipe gives an easy-to move, sturdy base material for this bed. Thumbs up, ladyada.

I used webbing to suspend my mattress/box spring in order to make the sleeping platform very swingy. If you want a more stable platform without the use of a box spring, please look at other instructables because I am only recording what I did. I haven't made a ladder for this yet and I will also be attaching a Navajo-style loom on one end. Having this tall bed creates space for reading/knitting/weaving/sewing/yoga in my room. It is also strong enough to do pull-ups and Bubkas and other strengthening exercises for pole vaulting.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

3 Ratcheting straps with a high working load (1000+lbs) I think that mine are 1500lb straps.

2 lengths of webbing: 12-15ft does the trick.

1" diameter pipe is used:
for legs-
3 lengths 58"
1 length 56.5"
2 lengths 55"

for head and foot-
2 lengths 53.5"

for sides-
2 lengths 75"

8 T's
4 L's
3 Unions* (these are used to join the pipes in a square)
7 close nipples* (Just look for an incredibly short, double-threaded length of pipe.)

2 10' lengths of cable
8 cable clamps

1 pipe wrench to tighten the joints
1 talan wrench-see pic. This is used to grab the pipe and tighten it in its socket. Very useful!

*Thanks to Wyle_E for sending me the correct names!

Step 2: Getting Started...

Picture of Getting Started...

The fine employees at your local pipe store will assist you with the cutting and threading of lengths free of charge if you purchase their ten-footers. The pipes will be dripping oil afterward so wipe them down really well, okay? I stuffed paper towels in the ends at the store in order to avoid oil drops spoiling my vinyl interior:)

Note: Be careful of any burrs at the freshly cut ends or just keep a band-aid handy for the inevitable sliced finger.

Step 3: Everything Is in Order.

Picture of Everything Is in Order.

Now that your pipes are cut and cleaned, lay them out in your room. Commit the pipes and couplings to memory. Close your eyes and imagine how awesome this beast will look in your room. You are ready to begin.

Disregard the super-short pieces. They were in my original design for safety but I like to take a walk on the wild side so I left them out :)

Step 4: Putting It All Together.

Picture of Putting It All Together.

We are assembling this on its side.

1. Begin by placing a T on the end of one of your side pieces.
2. Add the nipple and join another T above that.
3. Add a 58" leg to the bottom of the first T and continue with the U shape of the legs (58", L, 55", L, 58")
4. Add the 53.5" piece to the side of the top T.
5. Repeat 1 and 2 for adding the T's.
6. Join the T and step 4 with the Union. It's spinny--allowing the union of 2 stationary pipes.
7. Add the other long side pipe to the lower T.
8. Place a T on the end of this and add a T to the top.
9. Add a T to the other end of step one, then add another T above it.
10. Place the 53.5" pipe onto the side of the top T.
11. Create the legs (bottom T to 58" to L to 55" to L to 56.5").
12. Add the Unions to join the leg to the bottom T and the 53.5" pipe to the side of the top T.

13. Pat yourself on the back, go grab a snack. You have done well.

Step 5: Turn It Over.

Picture of Turn It Over.

Turn it rightside up.

Cross the cables on the long side that will be closest to the wall.
See pic for placement and example of how the cable clamps look.

Step 6: Cross Cable Support.

Picture of Cross Cable Support.

Wrap one end of one of the first 10' cables around the bottom frame of the legs toward the L coupling and secure it with 2 cable clamps.
This should probably be the side that you plan to have facing the wall.

Stretch the cable diagonally over the upper corner of the opposite end, loop and secure with 2 clamps.

Do the same with the other cable so there appears to be a big 'X' on the long side against the wall.

Step 7: Setting the Webbing...

Picture of Setting the Webbing...

Perch your box spring precariously on the top of your bed. Don't let it squash you.

Place the three racheting straps perpendicular to the long sides of the bed, evenly spaced.

Tighten the straps so that they hang down a bit lower than you want the bed to be.

Ease your box spring onto the straps and even them out by using the rachets.

Throw the mattress on top of the box spring. I know that you are tempted to get on the bed. I advise against doing so until the stabilizing straps are in place.

Make any final adjustments to the height before adding the lengthwise webbing that stabilizes the sleeping platform. These are tied tightly from the head to the foot of the bed. Space them 1 to 1.5' from the edge of the mattress.

Enjoy your new tall bed and the extra floor space that a loft bed gives. I hope that my instructable serves you well.

Thanks for reading!


reptedjess (author)2012-12-02

I really want to do this. I even have some ideas on how to improve on it, but I am scared that it wouldn't be stable enough to share with someone that I would want to ravage

Squash (author)reptedjess2015-01-20

I, too, have the same concern. Hmmm, what's your improvement ideas?

anasdad (author)2013-04-20

Nice Instructable. You can also stabilize it by using standard round flanges, that you can cut for a corner fit by using a band saw, chop saw, etc.
Good posting!

GummiBear (author)2012-03-14

Nice Bedskirt ~Star Wars~

batz13 (author)2011-09-05

Just wondering how much it would be price wise to build this.

dvnfntn (author)2011-07-07

Would this hold someone between 250-275 lbs?

triumphman (author)2011-06-18

FYI: Wood is also less expensive, all that pipe (black cost more than galv.) Black pipe is more expensive cause it is required (safety codes)here to connect gas to your hot water heater and furnace! It was discovered that galvanized leaked gas through its pores under pressure. The black for some reason does not leak. So it cost more! Go figure! Anyway wood is more estetically pleasing and you can attach many things to the posts. Pictures, hooks, hangers, nails, screws, jewelery, signs, strings, ropes, canvas, lace , skeeter netting, just to name a few. Have fun ! Be safe!

triumphman (author)2011-06-18

No way! This bed will collapse if you even just roll over. You are in for some serious hurt dude! Forget about a two-up situation! I'll pass on this. The pipe & joints are too fragile! Try it out and see. I made one and it collapsed the first time I got up in it! I'm only 185 lbs. Go for the 6x6 or 8x8 wood post model, it will stand under all situations. I built one using bolts, nuts, washers. Awesome!

anfractua (author)2011-03-07

I'm seriously thinking about making this when I move in the next couple months. About how expensive was it to make this bed?

watermelon (author)2008-01-05

Yeah, and if you are going to instruct people to put oily rags in the laundry mat dryer why not go ahead and tel them to pour toxic waste into the sewer?

Xxyoung1771 (author)watermelon2011-03-07

Please notice she said dryer not washer, i
Driers don't go to the sewage system. ;)

uberchoob (author)watermelon2008-01-05

wow..... someone here has a little more baggage than they should be boarding with.

Do you see the "jk" after it? That means "Just Kidding"

GalateaofTor (author)2010-03-05

I believe you meant "discard" instead of "disregard".

geckoLove (author)GalateaofTor2011-02-11

Disregard as in "ignore the short pieces you see in the photo that were not called for in the materials list"

catchphrase (author)2011-01-02

I've been doing a mockup in Illustrator, but then realized I was drawing a part that I wasn't sure existed or was readily available. It's a fitting that connects 4 ends together but not a cross fitting. Looks like a seesaw molecule:

Has anyone seen a fitting that looks like this? If not I suppose stagged t-pipe fittings at alternating angles along the main axis would work. Or perhaps a 'slip on pipe fitting'.

Also, it looks like the larger diameter fitting that could be useful for feet of the pipes is called a 'pipe offset' though I'm having trouble verifying that online at local store websites.

Also, stumbled across this wild looking thing:

Thanks for the Instructable! Got me thinking about how to construct my own version. :)

mista.v (author)2010-10-14

How much did all the piping cost?

raith2006 (author)2010-09-21

ok i'll bite. Why a loom?

mae-kitty (author)2010-09-20

LoL forget using a mattress, i would just use straps the whole length of the bed and sleep on that xD. It seem funner. AWESOME bed BTW

bunycraft (author)2008-01-05

Looks like way fun... I would want more straps though. Not willing to live that close to the wild side, lol. I always wanted a loft bed.

jeff-o (author)bunycraft2008-10-21

Do you even need the box spring, I wonder? It seems to me that its main purpose here it to prevent the webbing from digging into the mattress - a task that could be done equally well with a layer of plywood. By removing the height of the box spring you'd also get a bit more headroom.

nerdologist (author)jeff-o2008-10-23

You're right. I used a box spring because that's what I had. If you wanted, you could use plywood or build a platform or something.

jeff-o (author)nerdologist2008-10-23

Oh, definitely use what you have first!

mysss (author)jeff-o2010-09-14

Thanks for clarifying--that's important to note if you don't have a box spring! (i.e., if you're using a college-provided bed)

Charlie13 (author)2010-09-13

how difficult is it to unscrew these cables. this bed seems ideal for the college dorm but i was wondering when i need to move every year

TFElite (author)2010-09-08

Just wondering, but how much wight can this hold? I'm 6'2, and a bit on the bulky side, but this is a great idea, 'cause my room isn't too big, and my bed currently takes up at least half of my bed. I'd just like a bit of more room.

theMoot (author)2010-09-04

i have the exact same star wars sheets!

itstemo1 (author)2009-03-05

I might make this. But I will probably do some Mechanic of Material deformation drawing before placing my weight on it. I might need hard thicker piping

Fretka (author)2009-03-05

how easy is it to get into and out of? AND does it move a lot or is it pretty stable? I love this idea !!!

8bit (author)2009-01-09

So, you know, a bed can be a very active place sometimes. Will this design handle the rigours of athletic activity, like . . . wrestling?

EmDiz (author)2008-10-21

Question for you - why did one of the legs have to be shorter than the rest? I'm thinking about setting this up, but want to measure a bunch cut once. Thanks

Dorkfish92 (author)2008-10-09

Here is mine! I couldn't wait any longer, so last night I threw the air mattress that I've been sleeping on onto the pipe bed. Surprisingly, it did not fold in half and I slept rather well. Any ways, I got my real mattress today. Yay!

Finished with mattress

With air mattress

nerdologist (author)Dorkfish922008-10-11


nerdologist (author)nerdologist2008-10-11

BTW- love that you are using the underbed space to hold a couch. AND cool table :)

Dorkfish92 (author)nerdologist2008-10-11

Thanks! Just to let anyone else know, the "swing" wasn't as much as suspected. It's more of a "sway" and it's just while getting onto the bed. One more thing, if you use an alarm clock, don't do like me and leave it on the other side of the room. It's pretty hard to jump down from this bed when you first wake up (didn't turn out so good for me)

Dorkfish92 (author)2008-09-21

Building mine this week! I'm using galvanized steel because all the local black iron pipe is VERY rusted. I'm also making it a twin so it will fit in my new room. I'll should have pictures posted by this weekend if it's finished.

nerdologist (author)Dorkfish922008-09-30

I am glad that you opted to use galv. pipe. It will serve you well. I live in the Northwest and used black pipe--it works, but i have to inspect for rust on occasion(and fix it if it's there). If you want, you can make your own instructable about your twin bed and just link to mine. I am sure that others would benefit from your experience.

Dorkfish92 (author)nerdologist2008-09-30

I didn't document it while i built it, so I can't make an Ible. Maybe I can send you pictures and you add them to the end of yours? Or I'll make a slide show. I just put a rope ladder at the end of it and finished the reinforcement with 3/16 in. cable. I'll send pictures when I get a mattress put it. Thanks for the Instructable!

nerdologist (author)Dorkfish922008-10-01

I think that a slide show would be good, then ppl can PM you if they have questions about measurements. I can add a link to your show to the end my 'ible and everything will be copacetic.

Dorkfish92 (author)nerdologist2008-10-01

Cool. I'll make one as soon as I get a camera. I'll add a link to this Ible in the slide show.

Dorkfish92 (author)2008-09-26

You may want to specify what length the closed nipples are. I was at Lowes buying my supplies and they had lengths from 3-7 inches. I bought 3 in. I hope they work! I'm starting building mine tonight.

nerdologist (author)Dorkfish922008-09-30

The closed nipples are just a joint. They don't have a length because they actually close the joint so that your "T"s are on top of each other(if you are really strong). I am only kind of strong, so I had about 1.5cm of close nipple showing.

Dorkfish92 (author)nerdologist2008-09-30

Yeah, I went back and replaced them with the small nipple pieces. They had them at Home Depot but not Lowes.Now the bed is even ( it was crooked with the 3 in.)

phoenix124 (author)2008-01-20

great instructable... i've been thinking about building a PVC loft bed... it'd be light and easy to move and since i'm going to be moving into an apartment in college soon, thats kinda important to me. equally important though, is not falling 4 feet through the air in the middle of the night. do you think it'd work, if i used a truss system for extra support? if i ever get a working bed, i'll totally make an instructable :)

I would not advise a PVC bed, it's not rigid enough and also can shatter. IF you were to make one of PVC it would have to me much more complex to actually be stable, and may not be even then.

lol yeah, the more i think about the more i think i'de probably end up plummeting to my death some night :) it'de be almost impossible to make it sturdy enough... lol but that fact alone makes me want to do it all the more ;-) i was kinda thinking about some of the crazy complex stuff i've seen with bamboo... possibly use something like that for a guide??? idk... IF (and thats a big IF :-P) i do indeed make it ans survive it i will totally post pics

hcold (author)phoenix1242008-09-30

Hah! I totally thought "bamboo bed" when I saw this Instructable. Something along the lines of the bamboo/carbon fiber bike (

I'd love to see it.

jonathon (author)phoenix1242008-07-23

YES! Bamboo! Nature's PVC. I think there is now a bamboo plank product, so it would not have to be totally gilligan's island. Any of these pipe structures should have strain relief or be designed to swing.

jonathon (author)phoenix1242008-07-22

PVC is also terribly toxic!

phoenix124 (author)jonathon2008-07-22

lol im not planning on eating it :P

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to sew, knit, invent, read, play old school video games, eat vanilla bean ice cream, make my dog pull me places on my ... More »
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