Introduction: Plastic Bottle-legged Bed

Picture of Plastic Bottle-legged Bed

Six years ago, I had to make a bed base so our mattress wasn't sitting on the floor. I had lots of plastic bottles that needed recycling, and an idea.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

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The reason this bed is so primitive is that I had just moved countries and had no power tools with which to make one, except my first purchase, a cordless drill. That's all you'll need, because you can get the plywood cut to size when you buy it (home centers and lumberyards all have panel saws for exactly this purpose). 
5/8" (or thicker) plywood cut to the size of your mattress. This will probably involve two sheets. Buy the cheap stuff or recycle some, no one is going to see it. Measure your mattress carefully first! Keep the offcuts for future projects.
Lots of plastic bottles. They don't have to be the same brand, but do need to be the same height and diameter, made of PET, and have plastic lids. I used 710 ml bottles of Canada Dry - the previous owner of my house was clearly a fan. You could, of course, make a higher bed by using bigger bottles.
Screws - at least 77, shorter than the thickness of your plywood. I found a box of 1/2" self-tapping square drive screws, so used them. You'll also need 2-3 longer screws.

Step 2: Join the Plywood

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If your bed is bigger than a single, you'll be using two pieces of plywood. Butt these together, and join. I had some mending plates lying around, so used those, but pieces of wood or nailing plates would work fine too. Make sure you leave the good face of the plywood facing up. 

Step 3: Mark Out the Leg Positions

Picture of Mark Out the Leg Positions

I ended up with an eleven-legged bed, because I had a mountain of soda bottles to get rid of. 9 legs is probably plenty. Each leg is made up of 7 bottles. Make yourself a template by balancing 7 lidless bottles upside down on a piece of paper, and trace around each neck. Put one in each corner, middle of edge, and center of bed, as shown. The extra 2 at the head of the bed as shown here are probably unnecessary and reduce the amount of storage under the bed for suitcases etc. 

Step 4: Screw the Lids to the Plywood

Picture of Screw the Lids to the Plywood

Remove the plastic liners from the lids. Drill a hole in each lid, then screw in place. Repeat 76 times.

Step 5: Add the Legs

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 Screw the bottles into the caps, starting with the central one for each leg. Hold them together by duct-taping the six outer ones together.

Step 6: Ready to Go

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Your bed base ought to look something like the picture below. It is very light, and has no bracing to speak of, so you'll have to screw it to the wall. Otherwise it will wobble like crazy and probably end up failing. I drove some deck screws at 45 degrees through the plywood and into some wall studs.

Step 7: Round Corners

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Round the corners to avoid skinned shins. Or just add some padding.

Step 8: Add Mattress

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The completed bed base. Add a valance before putting the mattress on top, unless of course you WANT to see the funky legs...


AndrewKFletcher made it! (author)2014-11-19

Filled mine with sand and cement mix and cemented a threaded bolt into them for securing to a bed base. Need about a week to set solid.

makendo (author)AndrewKFletcher2014-11-19

Nice. Now those are heavy duty bed legs!

foobear (author)2013-11-08

Are you still using this bed? How have the legs held up over time? Thanks for the idea

makendo (author)foobear2013-11-08

Yep. Great.

doo da do (author)2013-03-31


Dingo the clown (author)2009-11-22

Very sweet idea. I think that with all the crashing and jumping around my girlfriend and I do...we would need to position the bottles in more of a "Bed of nails" pattern.
Our bed is on the floor and it still gets treated like a shark attack is happening.
Maybe the whole wood plank should be filled in with Full bottles.
They could be filled with sand, marbles, plaster...liquid Mercury...detergent?

Goedjn (author)Dingo the clown2011-02-08

Dry ice. About a tablespoonful. Although I don't know how good a seal you'd get around the screws. You might have to add a washer and some extra gasket material. But that should re-pressurize the bottles nicely.

aadball504 (author)2010-07-15

Sweet I am thinking boat

Moralito (author)2010-06-02

 Maybe using steel washers inside the caps, it will be a lot more stiffer and add epoxy glue to the bottle's thread. Even try pressurizing the bottles? 

EggHead101 (author)2010-05-03

Very well done.
I wonder if a 1"x2" strip screwed around the outer bottles, all the way around the the whole thing would help stiffen it up a bit. Like a frame around the entire leg assembly.

thefutureisnow (author)2010-04-28

 Perfect for college students or anyone living on a very tight budget.

lycoris3 (author)2010-03-07

idk if this would work, but if you waterproofed the wood, could it float if you put edges on it about a good 3 inches?  Just a thought in case u use it on a boat.

makendo (author)lycoris32010-03-08

 It would certainly float, but the bottles only provide about 55 liters of buoyancy, i.e. just enough to support a small adult. Completely cover the base with plastic bottles and you'd have a decent raft, though.

lycoris3 (author)makendo2010-04-02

awesome!  I just might do that so I can sleep on the water, thanks!   (evil laugh!)

sickdog74 (author)2010-02-26

Very cool, I like it!

makendo (author)sickdog742010-02-26


buteman (author)2010-01-24

If you added another circle of bottles round each leg, but the other way up, so the lids rest on the floor and just taped them to the others I think it would be more stable. You could use the bottles which would be reducing the space for storage anyway.

makendo (author)buteman2010-02-26

Thanks for the suggestion - it would be more stable, but would also require 132 more bottles! If you have bottles galore, sure, why not.

luvit (author)2010-02-24

 i'm guessing. you moved to canadia?

makendo (author)luvit2010-02-24

 Good guess, Kurt :)

anhtuan (author)2009-12-19

It is very simple but nice design . thanks

Kaiven (author)2009-11-16

Awesome. Now pretty much anyone can have a bed. And because of the wood base, a cheap headboard may be attached? ANy ideas on how to make a recycled one of those?

makendo (author)Kaiven2009-11-16

 No headboard ideas of my own, but others have had them - a search for "headboard" throws up ones on this site made from books and hockey sticks, among others. Both look much better than plastic bottles, that's for sure!

molittr (author)makendo2009-11-19

On our king size I used a full sheet of plywood turned length wise.  With a plywood base a few Heavy duty L-brackets top and bottom should hold it fairly steady. Rest the headboard straight on the floor for more stability. Drape a blanket over it for padding or use fiberfill and material and staple it on.

Gorfram (author)molittr2009-12-17

I suppose you could bet even more stablity by also adding a footboard (attached with some serious L-brackets). That would allow you to concentrate the bottle-legs more towards the middle of the bed, freeing up some of the more accessible under-edge spaces for storage.

komecake (author)2009-12-05

  I really, REALLY like this. I have been looking for a cheap way to make a bed frame and I wasn't finding much. I don't have a zigsaw or anything fancy at home, so this is really great.

 I'd want to fill the bottles with mud or something to give it more support even though that would make it heavier. If I could make this into a futon I would be all set. Haha.

makendo (author)komecake2009-12-06

Good luck! You don't need the jigsaw, but cover the corners with something, they're pretty sharp.
Even if you fill the bottles, they're still likely to be at least a bit wobbly, and filling them won't make them much stronger (unless its with concrete). Try attaching it to the wall; HEY YOU made an early suggestion to improve upon what I did (see below), and it would definitely make a stronger connection.

fearme36 (author)2009-12-03

Mmm... ginger ale.... lots and lots of ginger ale...
Nice instructable, very creative idea.

makendo (author)fearme362009-12-06

 Thanks. Two big garbage bags worth, from memory.

spanky_98 (author)2009-11-29

hay ever thought of adding some l.e.d's make it light up  i think it would look so cool

makendo (author)spanky_982009-11-29

 I hadn't, but mickeypop did (see comments below) - 30+ years ago!

Joe22c (author)2009-11-29

Don't forget to mention:

The screws should be short, or at the very least shorter than the thickness of the plywood lest you want holes in your mattress


trebornerdnoc (author)2009-11-24

u cud put a piece of plywood omn the floor or a book good instructable :-]

mickeypop (author)2009-11-22

In the 70s I did the same, though they were glass then.

One twist though, use a few more stacks with only 6 in a circle and wire 15 watt bulbs in the center of the outside stacks.    Makes interesting mood lighting.

Pick and choose the bottle colors for desired effect.     Worked well 30 years ago.

Xial (author)mickeypop2009-11-22

That... would be awesome. Seriously.

I kind of want to run out and get a light fixture to attach to my little build now that you suggested that, simply for the neato factor... :)

Thanks for the idea!

makendo (author)mickeypop2009-11-22


thisdude (author)2009-11-20

the impressions kinda look like crop circles

shooby (author)2009-11-20

I might have filled these with sand or water, so that I could use less of them.

porcupinemamma (author)2009-11-19

Very cool!  Ingeeeeeeeeeeeeeeenious!  I was just thinking (I do that sometimes lol) What if you placed a large cardboard ice cream tub (say the size of the tubs at ice cream shops), over the finished pop bottle legs? You could then paint the tub and upcycle the design to work with the colours in your room. Thanks for sharing your idea :0)

makendo (author)porcupinemamma2009-11-19

 Thanks. Any disguise for the legs is a good idea; they're not pretty, that's for sure.

porcupinemamma (author)makendo2009-11-19

Hey, (lol) whad du ya want? fun ken ual or prudditi?  ;0) The recycling idea was the brain wave; the upcycle add- on wouldn't have mattered if you hadn't thought up the brill idea in the first place :0)

thisdude (author)2009-11-18

looks like a Macgruber raft

jgscott987 (author)thisdude2009-11-19

Lol. My thoughts exactly. Recycle the bottles and attach some 4x4 wooden legs. Much more stable for just a few bucks.

sanda (author)2009-11-19

I was just thinking  that you could use this during floods if you made in into a low-sided box, and then piled your stuff in, would it float? Instead of nailing the caps, how about gluing it  ( so there are no holes ) and secure it to a  line so it won't float away.

makendo (author)sanda2009-11-19

 It would surely float, but its carrying capacity isn't very high. 77 bottles at 710 ml is only about 55 litres, so less than a windsurfing board. 

thinkdunson (author)sanda2009-11-19

there's no way glue would hold for very long.  what you would do to plug up the holes is to put a glob of glue (you might want something flexible like silicone glue, but i'm not extremely knowledgeable on different types of glue) on top of the screw hole before you screw on the cap.

yanitho (author)2009-11-19

wow great idea i love it but i wonder if it's good for any bed "action"

makendo (author)yanitho2009-11-19

 Make one and see :)

HEY YOU (author)2009-11-19

Nicely Done!!

You could increase the unit's stability by adding a 2-3" cleat to the wall end of the bed frame screwed from the top and then screwed (bolted) into the wall rather than relying on the 45 degree screw.

Maybe your next project (and instructable) could be a night stand using 2 litre bottles.


makendo (author)HEY YOU2009-11-19

 Yep, that'd work nicely (though the deck screws have held up fine, too). The nightstand idea is a good one... if you don't mind the plastic bottle look! I think I'll leave it for someone else...

About This Instructable




Bio: Analog maker dabbling in digital manufacture
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