Plastic Bottle-legged Bed

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Introduction: Plastic Bottle-legged Bed

About: Analog maker dabbling in digital manufacture

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

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

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

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

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

 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

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

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

Step 8: Add Mattress

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

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83 Comments

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

1 reply

Yep. Great.

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?

1 reply

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.

Sweet I am thinking boat

 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? 

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.

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

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.

2 replies

 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.

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

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.

1 reply

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

 i'm guessing. you moved to canadia?

1 reply

 Good guess, Kurt :)

It is very simple but nice design . thanks

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?