Strong and Tough Platform Bed DIY

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Introduction: 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 www.myplatformbed.com. 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

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

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")
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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

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

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


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

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!

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.

2 People Made This Project!

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46 Comments

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

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

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.

1 reply

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.

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.

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 air...am I right? Or does it matter?

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

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

4 replies

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

Is that the correct name for those slats?

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).

thanks for clearing that up, nice project.

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.

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.

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.

1 reply

Good thinkin' Batman.

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.

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.

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!

bed01.jpgbed02.jpg
1 reply

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.