Bed Frame




Introduction: Bed Frame

After looking and looking around the shops for a decent, well made wooden bed under $500. we found that everything sucked!

they were either hugely expensive $1000+ or made so cheaply that extra legs had to be put in the middle to support the mattress.

So we decided to diy our own!

I appogise for the lack of photos, once i get into a project, I forget to stop every now and then and pick up the camera. I will try and describe the steps as well as i can.

Step 1: Study Existing Designs (take Sneaky Photos at Stores)

This is the first step of the project, it involves ninja skills including

* Sneaky ninja cameraphone photography
* Dodging pushy salespeople
* Staring at the ridiculous prices and not collapsing when your realise you can build it for 1/4 of the price!

but seriously, most salespeople are happy when you tell them you are lookin to see if a bed will fit your decor, and ask if they mind if you take a photo.

ive attached some of the designs that we liked, and a couple of the ones that i thought were pretty abysmal.

Step 2: Design

Take parts that you like from all the bed that you took sneaky photos of.
and measurements from your matress

Sketch designs on a piece of paper untill you decide on something you like

Model it using your favourite modelling application (sketch up / autocad etc)

take measurements from modelling application and compare to design on paper to make sure there are no design problems.

Check design with girlfriend, even consider doing a quick render to see if she likes it. At this point you may be required to go back to the 1st step several times.

Print off 3d model, and parts breakdown
step complete.

for our design, we used a combination of Designs and came up with something that myself and the girlfriend both agreed on.

The last picture is the closest to what we ended up with, as we liked the idea of having lights and a powerboard integrated into the head of the bed.

Step 3: Detailed Plan Pictures

this step was added after the first instructable was created, I was told i needed to show some more detail on the design i used, so here it is.

Step 4: Visit Bunnings / Big Box Hardware

This is the point where you go to your local big box store and spend half the day looking for decent pieces of pine.

For this design, i used

I have tried to convert to imperial, but am not 100% sure on the conversions, YMMV

6x 70 x 70 x 1.2m    (3 x 3)
1x 19 x 190 x 2.4m  (3/4 x 7 1/2)
1x 19 x 140 x 2.4m  (3/4 x 5 1/2)
2x 19 x 120 x 2.4m  (3/4 x 4 12/16)   (heaboard support)
3x 12 x 133 x 2.4m  (1/2 x 5 4/16)     (headboard lining)

3x 70 x 70 x 1.2m     (3 x  3)
1x 19 x 190 x 2.4m   (3/4 x 7 1/2)
1x 19 x 140 x 2.4m   (3/4 x 5 1/2)
2x 19 x 120 x 2.4m   (3/4 x 2 12/16)

2x 19 x 190 x 3.0m   (3/4 x 7 1/2)
2x 30 x 70 x 3.0m     (1 3/16 x 3)

Center Support
1x 19 x 70 x 3.0m (3/4 x 3)

15x 19 x 70 x 2.4m (3/4 x 3)

Screws/ Fixings
1x box    8g x 40mm  Time
2x Pack 5/16" Tee Nuts(Blind Nuts)
4x 2" 5/16" Zinc Bolts
4x 4" 5/16" Zinc Bolts
1x assorted little screws

Lights were purchased from ikea
Janso Lights @ $30 ea

Step 5: Cut and Assemble

Sorry i didnt get any pictures of this happening (its kind of hard using a chop saw and a camera at the same time)

Tools used
Ryobi chop saw
GMC Table Saw
Ozito Electric Plane
Ryobi Cordless drill
Bosch Corded drill

Basic Assembly instructions.

Leg Assy. (Picture 1)
cut 3 of the long leg lengths in half to make 6 half height legs (for the foot of the bed)
3x 70 x 70 x 1.2m   -  >    6x 70 x 70 x 0.6m

notch out 2 of the long legs and 2 of the short legs to support the sides.
notch out 2 of the long legs and 2 of the short legs to take the main head and foot supports
see second picture - copyright

use long screws to bolt the legs into a L Pattern, making sure the one without a notch is in the corner.

Head and Foot Assembly (Picture 3 Green)
screw the bottom cross beam into the notch, attach the top piece, and install braces to support the headboard cover.
screw the bottom cross beam into the notch, attach the top piece, and install a brace to support the top seat.

Side assy (Picture 3 Red)
attach the runners for the slats to the main lengths, then fit into the notch and bolt to legs using tee(blind) nuts. this is to allow for easy removal.

center beam assembly (Picture 5 - 7)
create beam holders using offcuts from the legs, they should be notched to allow the center beam to sit flush with the runners for the slats. using this method requires no fasteners (for the center beam) for easier disassembly.

Slat Assembly (Picture 8)
Cut slats to size, space evenly, using scrap pieces, Staple hessian webbing to the top and then flip the whole lot over  and the build is done!

please comment if any of this makes no sense and i will try to illustrate the points better

Step 6: Stain and Varnish

This is the point where we make the bed look like the ones we saw in the shops.

we used Cabots Water based Stain  - two coats for a nice dark look

And then Cabots water based gloss - one coat, light sand, one coat, light sand, then a coat diluted 50% with water.

Step 7: Complete

So this is what we ended up with, An extremly sturdy bed, with integrated lighting and power board.

we are both extremely happy with the bed, and she is even considering tasking me with some bed side tables next!

P.S. Please note that the soft toys are not mine, they are an addition by the girlfriend.

Step 8: ShopBot Challenge!

I Would love to have a CNC Machine, and one that can handle a full sheet would be beautifull!

a CNC machine would allow me to bring my autocad drawings to life, without relying on my innacurate hand tools.

Just thinking of the possibilities now, and they are amazing!

im already planning a gear clock and some name plaques for people!

Autocad 2012 or inventor would be a great upgrade from autocad 2010 Im using at the moment!

This step will be removed after the contest is finished.

Step 9: More Detailed Drawings

Here are some more detailed drawings of the plan that we used, if you would like anything specific, please leave a comment.

ShopBot Challenge

Participated in the
ShopBot Challenge

2 People Made This Project!


  • Tinkercad to Fusion 360 Challenge

    Tinkercad to Fusion 360 Challenge
  • Trash to Treasure Contest

    Trash to Treasure Contest
  • Science Fair Challenge

    Science Fair Challenge


shakirra russell
shakirra russell

3 years ago

This is a beautiful design!
I am a student doing a major project. I am also making a bed and your instructions have just helped me with starting. so thank you!


3 years ago on Step 9


This is a really neat design. Can you send me the CAD files?
I would like to do something similar at home.


Mr Rancher
Mr Rancher

10 years ago on Step 6

My father having been a carpenter until his death at 78 in 2009, was a fan of shellac. Of course over the years, he would always try other protective coatings, but found none had the long lasting trait as shellac.
I'm just putting this out there as an FYI as I myself have come to use only shellac for my final coat, and a lot of times as my coloring too.
I use Binzer Shellac, available at Home Depot, Lowe's, etc.
But I support small business, so I choose to buy mine at local lumber yards, not national ones. I don't eat kale, I wear deodorant, etc. But I do support local people in my community.
So anyway, about shellac....
It doesn't yellow, it doesn't delaminate (peel) and? comes in COLORS now.
I usually choose 'original' when I'm coating a nice wood that I don't want to stain, like Maple, Shedua, Oak, etc. Or I'll use the Amber color for softer/colorless woods like Pine, Bass, etc. The colored shellacs are not like straight up paint either. They tint. Meaning, the more you apply, the darker the result.
Shellac also works just fine with pure stains like Minwax and the like.
I myself will still use a stain when I want one, but I ALWAYS finish it with a few coats of shellac, regardless.
If for those reading this, have never worked with shellac or even wood for that matter, this is how I do it:
Just like painting a car or chroming a bumper (I've done both), your finished result is a direct reflection of how much sanding you do in your prep work.
Sanding. If unfamiliar, when buying sandpaper, you will go with the ISO/FEPA Grit designation on the package. You can look up grit sizes on wikipedia.
You don't have to be such a neat-freak as I, but, depending on the type/condition of the bare wood, I usually start with 280 to 320 grit and work my way up to 600 to 800 and sometimes 1200, or maybe even higher.
I really take advantage of the wood when I'm working with a hard wood because I'll definitely go to 1200 and sometimes even as high as a 1500 grit. See, with hardwood, you can do this and end up with a GLASS like surface. With a softer wood, the problem lies within the grain. One grain is sturdy, which is where a tough sandpaper will come in, but the other grain in it is very soft. If you are not careful (especially when you either sandblast or torch-affect wood), you will end up with valleys between the harder grains.
Hard wood does this much less as the harder grains are tighter together.
Just whatever you do, ALWAYS SAND WITH THE GRAIN.
I myself, will make all my measurements, cut out my pieces, dry fit them to the point that all I have to do is bolt/glue them together, then I take it ALL APART and THEN do my sanding. I mean, think of this, just how effectively do you think you can sand the inside corner of a 90 degree angle and STILL sand with the grain OR reach every area to be sanded?
Once it's sanded, then I fit it all together again, making sure any areas affected by the sanding can be remedied, if any.
So, once you have sanded and assembled your project, you may now use the stain you want to use if you chose to do so.
Stain is also something I try to do BEFORE assembly as well.
Then you put on your first coat of shellac. You can put your 2nd coat on after only 30-45 minutes (maybe even sooner)!
Yes, the can will say otherwise, but trust me....use it and you can watch it dry before your eyes. The first coat is always a "soak up" coat. Meaning, the wood will just soak that sucker right down inside. I usually let my first coat sit for a couple hours to make sure a barrier has been created between my wood and the next coat.
After a couple of coats (usually 4 or more for me), let it dry for 24-48 hours. This is a hardening phase for the next step.
The next step:
Ok, you see your project that you diligently sanded and didn't stop until you had changed the color of your entire skin with sawdust (You DID do that, right?)
You see the gorgeous grains jumping out at you from the shellac you've put on it. You think it's done, because WOW, it sure is pretty.
And guess what? CAN stop at this point and enjoy that super shiny, super deep finish (like lacquer paint, it deepens with more coats). But, I?....never do.
See, I'm not a fan of a shine on wood, but that's a personal choice.
I take steel wool, use 4 ought. Sorry, old man language there. Use #0000 Fine steel wool. You can find it from wood supply stores to auto paint stores.
(#0000 steel wool is also great for scrubbing bug guts off of glass and good on rusted bumpers too)
Then, take that steel wool and start to "polish" the shellac.
You will notice it starts to get a bit dullish. This will give you a satin finish.
It's not a choice for everyone, or every project, but I like it, so I do it a lot.
But again, not for every project, it's a personal choice, but man it looks good.
Remember, DO NOT POLISH TOO HARD! "Allow" the steel wool to work for you.
I mean, don't be so light that you don't make a difference, put in some effort, just don't "dig in" with your hand.
If you've never worked with shellac, it's colors, sanding, or steel wool, I STRONGLY, I DICTATE you have bought a "practice piece" of wood before you build your project.
Not some scrap piece either. Make it a GOOD size piece, like a 3 foot long 2x4 or other sizable amount.
Reason is (especially with stains), you may pick out a stain (or shellac color) that you like, and on a small piece it really does look nice. But once you apply it to your finished project, it's just way too much, overpowering, ugly, whatever.
So do yourself (and your project) a favor, PRACTICE on a piece before your project and USE a good size piece.
Remember that wood working is like getting to Carnegie Hall....
Practice, Practice, Practice.
On shellac itself:
What my Dad and I came to reason behind shellac's quality is that, since it's "a resin secreted by the female lac bug", it means it's ORGANIC, just like WOOD.
Like Coffee and Chocolate. Why are they so good together?...well they're both a type of bean/seed. It's just logical that shellac and wood work so well together.
Now, when you ask for shellac (if you can't find it yourself), you will ultimately run into someone (salesperson or shopper) who will praise poly's and the like. I don't dislike polyurethanes, I just find them inferior to shellac.
You will hear, "This one is cheaper!" or "This one is just as good!"
Think of it. Would you want to hear those two sentences if you were in the market for a spouse? Kinda funny, huh? Apply those to "wife hunting" and THEN see how it sounds.
Yeah..."Shellac for me buddy, but thanks for your input."
You can't replace the best.
Almost forgot. As a prop to the author, Cabot's Water Based Stain was a good choice. It's one of my favorites.....(and works well with shellac).
Hahaha, one MORE thing. In the past I've used instant coffee as a stain.
Just like any dark stain, use it thinned and sparingly at first, apply more if you want it darker. Just an FYI for the crafty and ones that want to really bow your audience over with some added coolness.
As I type this, I am looking at a pipe holder-tobacco humidor my father made in high school in 1949 that he finished with shellac. It still looks brand new.
So, list of pros for Shellac:
Won't delaminate
Won't yellow
Dries FAST
Can use with anything
Available in shades/colors
Available in cans or sprays (how cool is that?)
Lasts forever
Natural and Organic

Oh, years ago I messed up a chest of drawers. I placed a heavy TV on it too soon. I still have the dresser, but now there are TV footprints in it.
PLEASE allow the shellac to dry hard, I mean a solid week or two, before placing anything on top of it. It may sound like overkill, but if you're gonna have something for the next 40 years, what's two weeks? Do you really wanna stare at TV footprints for 40 years?
(I do this with ANY coating, paint or otherwise, it's a good habit to follow, it was just during a move and I allowed it to rush me).

I hope this comment is helpful. This is NOT a criticism in anyway. Wood, like anything handmade, is personal, from design to completion.
I just wanted to put this info out there for those who may find it useful.


Reply 5 years ago

wow I never Knew that was how you make your things Babe! I love you.


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

It sounds like you could make a good instructable about working with shellac.

Mr Rancher
Mr Rancher

Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

Thank you.
I've never put an instructable onsite. Wonder how I'd go about doing it without photos?
I mean, I know ME, I like
I wouldn't want to bore the audience, ya know?


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction


I whole-heartedly agree with your making this into an instructable! I'm wondering if you might consider just using stock photos to illustrate your instructable. Taking your own photos would be best, but second-best would be a few free images that you could use royalty-free.

Some good places to find free, royalty-free images:

I've written an instructable for how to find free images:

Anyway, I hope you do convert this great comment into an instructable!

Mr Rancher
Mr Rancher

Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

I'll be darned, a site for royalty-free pics.
Now what are the odds you'd read this thread and have that kind of info?



Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

I hope you find it useful. You might be able to enter a few keywords and find a picture that helps explain each step of your instructable, or at least perhaps adds some interest or "pop".

I'll be waiting anxiously for your instructable!


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

Great stuff.
I also use it in creating a "French" polish on pieces make in a lathe; it takes allot of the elbow grease out of the work.
Here is a link that shows and explains French Polishing with Shellac.


7 years ago on Introduction

THANK YOU! Think I succeeded in bribing my hubby to make this for us!


Reply 5 years ago

well i have some beds if you want me too sell you them. or maybe just one. I was just wondering cause i understand hubby i love my hubby.


6 years ago

Hello, new to woodworking. I am not able to figure out how you made the headboard - or maybe more specifically the filler/lining? Any more detailed info regarding that would be greatly appreciated. It seems like just one large chunk of wood, but I'm not sure if I'm missing something. Thanks.


6 years ago

I'm thinking of doing a more basic version for my two kids, and only a single, what I'm wondering is for the slat runners did you use a planer to get the lip?


7 years ago on Introduction

Hey. Reading how you designed your bed frame, I can tel you are likely an engineer. What specifications did you use to decide not to use the 5th leg?


7 years ago on Introduction

Can you upload/share you SketchUp files so I can download/edit the design?


7 years ago on Introduction

Anything you would have done diferently looking back? Also, what size mattress does this take?


8 years ago on Introduction

Great job man! I'm looking to build my own but I really like that headboard. There wasn't much detail for the headboard so I would like to know where you found this plan at?? Please and thank you


10 years ago on Introduction

How about using American measurments for those who don't use metric! Unable to see how you linked legs from limited pix! Nice Job though!


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

uh...there are conversion calculators available freely on the net :)