Introduction: Strong and Tough Platform Bed DIY

Picture of Strong and Tough Platform Bed DIY

DIY platform bed with approximately $60-$90 that definitely will last. Made with plywood, 2x6's, 4x4's, and castors (wheels). More pictures available at You will need:

Materials Needed:
3 - 2x6 Boards 10' feet long
1 - 4x4 Post 32" inches to 40" inches long
1- 2x4 Stud
12 - Hex Bolts 3/8 by 6" inches long
12 - Hex 3/8 Nuts
24 - Cut Washers for 3/8 Bolts
1 - 2x4 Stud framing support bracket (pictured)
8 - Screws; 1 1/2" inches

Tools Needed:
Carpenter Square
Tape Measure
Miter Saw (Recommended)
Electric Drill with Phillips Drill Bit
Long 3/8 Drill bit (6" inches or over)
1- 9/16 Socket Wrench
1- 9/16 Wrench
Wood Glue

Step 1: Making Legs

Picture of Making Legs

We start by cutting the legs of the platform bed. This 4x4 wood I found outside, discarded. Find a scrap one or buy, cut yourself or cut to size at the lumber store.

Cut 8" in length if you want castors on it, 10" if you do not. You may opt for shorter legs (no shorter than 6.5") or longer ones.

Step 2: Cut Your Head/Foot and Side Boards

Picture of Cut Your Head/Foot and Side Boards

With my cut I am cutting one inch bigger to play it safe. I am fine with a platform bed approximately 1 inch bigger than the mattress, if you prefer the platform structure even out with your mattress, cut exactly as your mattress is. With your 2x6 board cut:

Mattress Size: Long Side Board Cut: Short Head/Foot Board Cut:
Twin two 75" boards (or 76") two 39" boards (or 40")
Full two 75" boards (or 76") two 54" boards (or 55")
Queen two 60" boards (or 61") two 80" boards (or 81")
King two 76"/78" boards (Kings varies) two 80" boards or (81")
My particular platform bed is Full Size. There's a popular quote in carpentry that goes as "Measure twice, Cut once". Be careful with your measurements. From this point on, there will be more measurements needed and I recommend a Carpenter's Square for straight and even lines to cut from ($2.99 yellow plastic tool pictured above)

Step 3: Attach Short Boards to Legs

Picture of Attach Short Boards to Legs

The entire platform bed will have a 1/2" gap from the top, nothing will obstruct that 1/2" inch gap all around the platform bed. This is done in advance to secure support beams/boards (plywood or wood strips) at the end of the project.

For your short (head/foot) side boards you want the edge of the legs and board to even out, as shown in picture above. Remember to maintain a 1/2" inch gap. See previous picture #2.

Step 4: Attaching Long Side to Bed

Picture of Attaching Long Side to Bed

We apply the same 1/2" inch gap from the above and will be drilling for two bolts on each ends. This time the edges of the leg and board will not even up. It'll be off by 1 1/2" inches (thickness of my 2x6).

Next, make measurements to locate where the first hole is on the leg and draw an "avoid line" on the board, just for reference. If you measure from the top of the leg, remember to account for the 1/2" gap. Draw a line 3" inches from the edge because you will be drilling 3" away from the edge into center of the leg.

With your "avoid line" and by the 3" inch mark, drill a hole and insert a bolt between 1 1/4" to 1 1/2"inches from the top and another one 1 1/3" to 2" inches from the bottom.

Step 5: Install Center Support Beam

Picture of Install Center Support Beam

Installing the center support beam for the platform bed, begin by marking the very center of both sides (head/foot side) of this bed. Also mark for our 1/2" inch gap to find where the 2x4 support stud beam should go.

Then trace lines around where you want to install the 2x4 Stud support bracket and disassembly your platform bed so you can drill on screws better and hammer in some built in notch on the support bracket.

Do the same for the opposite side, then measure the length from that stud support bracket to the other support bracket on the other side and cut a 2x4 stud of that length. That measurement should be within an inch or two of the length of your mattress size.

Step 6: Glue/Nail on Support Rail

Picture of Glue/Nail on Support Rail

My support rail is long and thin (scrap wood 1/2" thick) cut into two 4' feet strips and pre-drilled (with a small drill bit) in four places ready for screws. I apply glue to one side of the support rail and screw onto the inside of the board with my 1/2" inch gap in mind. Pre-drill your rail and use 1 1/2" inches screws.
Note: If you select a wood strip support system instead of plywood, make your support rail the entire length of the side boards. You can't afford gaps with a wood strip support system.

Step 7: Install Castors, Cut Plywood, Tighten and Enjoy!

Picture of Install Castors, Cut Plywood, Tighten and Enjoy!

It is fairly easy to install castors, just flip over the platform frame and pre-drill your four holes where the castor is centered then screw in small screws around 1" inch long.

You must already know we're almost done here! The last thing to do is get some support for the mattress and you. I am using plywood because they're still light and won't buckle too much as a wood strip support system might. Measure the sideways length of the inside right above on top of your new support rails and cut sheets of plywood of that size. I made two sheets of plywood with their standard width but the third sheet I had to cut to fit.


VijayB51 (author)2017-03-01

Has anyone made a full bed with 2x4 rails and a 2x6 center support? Will the rails support the weight?

Queenplatform (author)2017-01-10

can people post when they are finished because I want to see how up to date this project is

padberg87 (author)2011-05-12

Awesome instructable! I used this as a basis for my design. I lowered the inside frame so that the mattress sits 1 inch below the top of the 2x6. An old metal bed frame donated its casters to make it easily movable. Seems pretty sturdy.

skater75 (author)padberg872016-08-28

How did this idea of placing the mattress 1 inch below the top of 2x6 work overall? Worked in the long run?

Was 1 inch good enough or you would rather make it 2-3 inches below? Having the mattress "framed" by the sides looks to me better than just placing the mattress right on the top of the frame.

skater75 (author)2016-08-28

I will try to make one in the following weeks. I am just thinking of putting the mattress (Brooklyn Bedding, Full XL, 54x80x10) 2-3 inches below the top of the sides 2x12. So the mattress is being framed, so to speak. I guess having the mattress right on the top of the frame makes the mattress susceptible to moving off the frame edges. Whereas having the mattress "framed" makes the entire bed more stable.

busymommy made it! (author)2016-03-26

Ignore the messy bed; teenage boy. ;)
Made this full-size bed in 2 halves so we could move it from garage to bedroom (first picture is left 1/2 completed). Used (3) 4" long bolts with wing nuts through 3 drilled holes to attach left & right halves. Worked great! No wheels. 2 X 12's outside; 2 X 10's inside. 4 X 4's are same height as 2 X 10's. We used 3/4" plywood for the deck/platform. This sucker is STRONG.

The corners are just a smidgey bit warped -the big box home improvement store picked & cut the lumber for me, & it was less than ideal & short on a couple of pieces. Also we discovered that our garage floor is warped, haha. Oh well, not picture perfect but very VERY functional & strong.

We have made a 2nd one as well for twin 'B', & both guys love their super strong industrial beds.

So far, these are the ONLY bed frames our sons (now 18) have not broken. They are average size 18 year olds with profound, non-verbal autism that bounce, hop, and jump on their beds when emotional, so we needed an industrial-strength solution.

I have more detailed plans that I drew up; I may try to find those & post them a bit later.

busymommy (author)2015-12-09

I'll be using 2 X 12's, sitting directly on the floor (no casters, no legs extending below the 2 X 12's. I'll use plywood for the deck, & I understand I need to drill holes in the deck so the mattress can breathe. My question to anyone here, is should I drill some smaller holes in the 2 X 12's so air can circulate under the frame? I guess I'm thinking I'm not sure adding holes to the plywood deck will help any if the frame is sitting straight down on the floor like a solid box with no I right? Or does it matter?

PetiteWeb made it! (author)2015-06-29

Thanks for the inspiration! We built this bed for my daughter this weekend. From start to finish, including building, sanding, priming, and painting, it probably took us about eight hours. We used 23 inch legs to facilitate being able to store full size storage bins underneath. Total cost was under $150... could have been less if we didn't paint it, or used paint we already had and if we used plywood, instead of 10" wide boards for slats. We bought all our supplies at Lowe's. Overall, it seems like a good design and like it should hold up to my daughter's use for many years to come! We may try building another one soon for our older daughter, with shorter legs and wheels!

BoxOfSugar (author)2015-02-09

I just made this. Easy. Hard part was drilling through the 4x4, it kept angling a bit.

tatagatha (author)2007-12-06

I've made two almost identical beds. The first when I was in HS with very long legs. my bed ended up 4 feet in the air as some sort of half loft.

Looking back it was a little over built. So, most recently I made a more delicate version using white pine 1x6s for the sides. Once glued with the running support rails(1x2) they turn quite strong. I made L shapped legs with 1x2 to give it very light feet. I'm happy with how it turned out. Then I sprung for the lyred slats from Ikea. Check it out.Check it out.

I can see the main advantage

jreit (author)tatagatha2013-09-02

thanks! just the modification I was looking for. nice work!

shooby (author)tatagatha2008-07-01

Is that the correct name for those slats?

tatagatha (author)shooby2008-07-01

The slats I used were the Sultan Lillaker from Ikea. I thought I had used the Sultan Liared slats.. and then I that turned into lyred in my head, which I then made up as an adjective. If I were to give it a definition, it would mean a gentle bend in laminated wood (think lyre like the harp).

shooby (author)tatagatha2008-07-02

thanks for clearing that up, nice project.

Izzy1665 (author)2012-11-10

I like this instructable a lot. Nice and heavy duty. My old box frame is nothing more than a pile of wood scraps under my mattress these days (guess we tumble too much). We have had a couple of king-sized waterbeds over the years and each time the waterbed went out the door, I made sure the wood frame stayed in a corner of the garage so I will be using those 2x8 in my construction. Why pay for more wood??? Thanks for posting this nice DIY.

rjlewis74 (author)2012-05-30

This is a sturdy looking design. I'll be making a couple twin beds using this instructable for my two boys. this would be perfect for them. Nice job on this.

jimbarbera (author)2007-12-06

I recommend perforating the plywood base by drilling several large (~1") holes. Space them 6" apart in a diagonal grid. This will allow the mattress to breathe and prevent moisture buildup.

kazots (author)jimbarbera2011-09-19

Good thinkin' Batman.

Narlo11 (author)2011-06-05

I did mine using a stainless steel carriage bolt. I find the hex heads to be unsightly. Then I polished the bolt head. And used red cedar 4X4 as posts and used a red stain and then polyurethane. Also if you can cedar all round.

rktompsett (author)2011-03-13

Why treated 4x4's? The bed is in the house, not outside, or damp locations. I'd just use standard non-treated lumber. As for slats, go with sheet plywood.

teeps (author)2008-02-27

Here are the results of my successful attempt! Couple of suggestions: To the author: add plywood to your supply list. To builders: 1 try and find some clamps for securing the legs to the rails when you drill 2 LABEL LABEL LABEL your combos of leg/rail. You will not get perfect drilling on every side so you want to put it together just as you drilled. There is an example of this in my second photo (the sharpie "C"). Woot! New bed!

purpulhaze (author)teeps2011-03-04

Did you use plywood or slates? The feet on yours looks longer. Are they? May be a bit late to ask since I had them cut to 10" but I bought 10' so I have plenty left over.

teeps (author)purpulhaze2011-03-06

Plywood and yes my legs were around 24 inches.

purpulhaze (author)2011-03-04

So the mattress doesn't sit inside the frame right? It sits on top?

purpulhaze (author)2011-03-03

I like this simple approach. Hats off to you sir! Has anyone came up with a way to add a headboard...?

camp6ell (author)2007-12-04

i don't understand the comment in step 6: "You can't afford gaps with a wood strip support system."

3DMHuff (author)camp6ell2010-10-11

Three years later... Wood slats can shift and possibly move to where they fall through the gaps. Say you use 1"x4" wood slats and to save money you cut a 2"x2"x8' into 6" strips. After a few tumbles with with the person of your chosing or a pillow fight or two, the 1"x4" could "walk" it's way off the 2"x2" making the other slates take up the additional preasure. Depending on how far apart you had the original supports, they could fail. And if you have my luck, it will happen while you are tumbling.

prospector (author)2010-02-02

Next time you might want to try using a cedar 4 X 4 instead of the pressure treated one - cedar smells nice and has less icky chemicals in it.

3DMHuff (author)prospector2010-10-11

And the Cedar will help keep the bugs away to some extent.

rapidprototyping (author)2010-07-04

we all need new beds

rickjgarza (author)2010-03-28

Just finished this today and wow.... took me very little time since I had them cut everything for me at Home Depot. The wife is very happy and even the dog tested it out. Thanks for this great instructable!

kimwim (author)2009-12-15

M son made this bed 2 weeks ago, wonderful instructions! Thanks so much for posting it. We got the to go under the mattress.

kimwim (author)kimwim2009-12-15

ps. We used the only non-treated 4x4 for the legs available, cedar. It's quite nice.

komecake (author)2009-11-01

  What fun is that???

shannabelle72 (author)2009-04-19

Ummm... not all of us have a Big Lots where we live.

plzspoilme25 (author)2009-02-26

yes ur wood is dangerous filled with chemicals and such....but i dont think i seen anyone complain on the loft beds????? like the idea still to hard for ME to build...and i'm betting a bit heavy to try to move?

dredawg (author)2008-08-26

Thanks for the great instructable. So great I had to make one for myself, and I must say it turned out pretty awesome. I did a few things slightly different than you did it. First was to put 2- 2x4's crossways instead of 1 length ways. Oh I also used liquid nail adhesive instead of wood glue. Also I made mine 60"x80" (queen size). All said and done it cost me about $90-$100 CAD and roughly 10 hours to complete, including picking up the materials. ( a few to many blunt breaks too i guess :D). Thanks for the inspiration.

trz (author)2008-02-28

You make me proud, Teeps! If we could get 12 more people to do this, by university standards we could start up a fraternity. Thanks for your feedback on additional materials. Looks like you had much better a workspace. Let me know how much you paid for your bed.

gnomedriver (author)2007-12-06

Great project. However, the treated timber is a bit of a worry. This may be a repeat comment and Robbtoberfest and others have posted comments on this but ya gotta think of ya health first and foremost. There are some chemicals in that stuff. Designed for outdoor and ground contact where untreated woods would soon rot and come under attack from insect and fungi. At the moment there is a bit in the local news about carpenters and timber workers coming down ill with repertory illnesses. Take care with it and wear a mask when cutting!!

themostbob (author)gnomedriver2007-12-07

If it's old enough (<2003), the treated wood was treated with extremely toxic chromated copper arsenate, and sawdust would be quite dangerous to be around and breath. Not sure I would want it under my bed, either, but ymmv. I like the idea, though. I'd probably try to put some protection on the sides for the floor for when I move it through a doorway on its side.

MD_Willington (author)2007-12-05

Another way to make the support rails in the sides is to use a table saw to notch out the top of the 2x6.. or setup a jig and use a router to remove the material to form a notch, you can also use a router to "bull nose" the squared end cuts. I had a custom futon made when I was 16, we made our own frame for the futon out of 2x6's and 1x4's...

robbtoberfest (author)2007-12-04

This is nice, thanks for the idea. I have only one issue, the treated lumber 4x4s; aren't they a health risk?

Get a can of cheap sanding sealer and seal them, job done, no worries...!

camp6ell (author)robbtoberfest2007-12-04

they used to be impregnated with arsenic chloride, but haven't been for several years now... so it's probably ok if your wood is new... then again, maybe they'll decide in a few years the less nasty stuff in it now is just as bad as arsenic... if you're still concerned, and assuming you can't find any untreated lumber, i would seal the treated 4x4s with several coats of paint or varnish or something before building the bed. they're pretty much hidden, so it wouldn't take away from the aesthetics really.

!Andrew_Modder! (author)2007-12-03

thats pretty gangster!!.. LOL no, i really like it :-D! I love making big things (like bed, shelf, etc.)..

trz (author)!Andrew_Modder!2007-12-03

Thanks for all of your interest! This Platform Bed DIY (Ikea LILLEHAMMER hack?) has been Featured on the front page! Please rate this DIY!

ahead (author)2007-12-02

This a nice project. I could use a new bed.

GorillazMiko (author)2007-12-02

these beds are really nice, now i know how to make them! (favorited)

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