$15 Bed Frame




We picked up a free mattress and box spring from Kijiji the other day as we are having relatives over to our new house in a couple of weeks. On it's own, that was ok except the mattress would be to close to the ground and would be very uncomfortable to get into or out of. So I built a bed frame for the box spring to sit on. Here's how I did it.

Step 1: Materials and Measurements

Firstly measure your box spring. This isn't particularly important at this stage, but it does make sure you aren't making a mistake when buying materials. The box spring was 53" by 74". I also measured our existing bed to see how far off the ground the top surface of the mattress was, to see what's reasonable. Turns out that's 25". Deduct the height of box spring and mattress means the top of the frame needs to be 10" off the floor.

Next buy your materials. I'm using construction grade 2 by 4s. They look ugly, but that doesn't matter as my wife will tack a skirt round the box spring and frame to make the whole thing look pretty. They are strong enough to build houses from, so they should be able to withstand building made into a bed. You will need:

7 x 2 by 4s
1 box of 3 inch screws (and if you want to, a drill bit to drill pilot holes. I didn't but I'm lazy that way)
1 piece of plyboard big enough to cover the headboard.

Also, you will need
1 1/2 inch drill bit
1 screwdriver. You will probably find a power screwdriver/drill is the way to go.

Step 2: Cut the 2x4s

Cut two of the 2x4s to (in my case) 52" long to form the bottom and top of the frame.

2x4s aren't 2 inches by 4 inches - they are 1 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches because the lumber mill starts with a piece of wood 2" by 4", and then planes it down to smooth out most of the rough parts. To make sure the frame fits the bed, you need to subtract double the width of the 2x4s from the length of the bed. The bed is 74", so you need three 2x4s at 71" long.

We also need legs for the bed, which can be cut from the offcuts from the 52" and 71" frame pieces. The top of the frame needs to be 10" off the ground, so cut 9 pieces all 10" long. To make sure the legs are sturdy, I'm doubling the legs up. So cut some more legs that are 10", less the 3 1/2 inch depth of the 2x4, meaning cut 9 more legs at 6 1/2 inches.

Finally cut one 2x4 in half to make the frame for the headboard. The 2x4s are 8ft long, so you'll end up with approximately 4ft high headboard.

Step 3: Build the Basic Frame

Place the bottom and top pieces of the frame on the floor, roughly parallel and just over 71" apart. Place the three 71" beams at either end of the top and bottom pieces, and one in the middle.

Put two screws into the end of the bottom beam and one of the 71" beams, giving you approximately a right angle. Repeat this for all four corners, before screwing in the middle beam.

Step 4: Build the Legs and Attach Them to the Frame

Pairing up each of the 6 1/2" and the 10" legs, you should end up with a stack of 9 legs.

Starting at the corners, place four legs under the frame at each corner to get it level. Screw through the 10" half of the leg, and into the frame. Once the corners are done, repeat the process attach the remaining 5 legs to the middle of each side and one in the centre of the bed.

Step 5: Attach the Uprights for the Headboard

Screw in the uprights for the uprights to make up the headboard. Three screws should do it.

Once that's done, measure up and cut the horizontals to complete the headboard.

Step 6: Attaching the Horizontals for the Headboard

Take your 1/2" drill bit, and measure 1 1/2" from the tip. Mark that off with some tape. I've only got 3" screws, I counter sunk the screws 1 1/2" inside the uprights of the headboard.

Mark up where your horizontals will go for the headboard, and drill two holes with the marked 1/2" drill bit. Then when you screw in the 3" screws through the counter sinks, you'll have an 1 1/2" of screw in the upright and another 1 1/2" in the horizontal. Do this for both horizontals, at both ends.

Once that's done, measure and cut another upright to go in the middle of the headboard, and attach a piece of ply board across the front of the head board.

And that's it!

(You could also get your awesomely talented wife to do some sewing)

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25 Discussions

My Variation.

I have several 18" Rubbermaid storage bins I wanted to put under the bed so I made my legs 18" and 21 1/2". In the end this left me with an approx. 38" bed height. Since this is a spare/ craft room, having a bed at table height actually works for us. If someone was going to be sleeping here regularly, I would replace the box spring with a sheet of Plywood. As it is I need a step to get in, just make sure I'm fully awake before getting out.

I had an old headboard which I used, I did have to put the legs on the outside of the frame at the headboard end to give me an attach point but it worked. The wheels on the legs of the headboard are 7" off the floor

Suggestions for future builders.

I added a small L bracket, screwing the frame of the box spring to the frame itself. Yes its a little Belt and Suspenders, but better that than having the box spring slip between the frame rails in the night. (insert your favorite What kind of wild guests are you expecting Joke here)

Pre-drill everything. I put a 1/8 drill bit in my drill press and put two holes in the short legs, two in the overlap bit of the long legs, two at the ends and middle of the head and foot frame. Knowing I had perfectly straight starter holes allowed me much confidence and speed in the confined space of the bed room.

I set up a backstop and assembled the legs in the shop. Much faster than trying to do it in confined bedroom space.

Much has been said about the advantage of a chop saw. Let me add my bench sander. I rounded off all the cut edges and prettied up less than perfect bits.

I did make use of some recycled 4' lengths of 2x4 I had on hand, so I only had to purchase the 5 frame lengths from the lumber yard. Each cost over $3 each so I was well over the $15. The 3" screws are a stock item for me so under $20 anyway. By using an existing headboard I used a total of 52 screws. That's all that's holding this frame together. If anything gets loose in the future, (which with such long legs is a possibility), I might unscrew the loose bit and shoot in some PL Premium Glue. As it is, give me an hour and everything goes back to being reusable lumber.

My Mistakes.

Measure twice. I had the headboard in storage in the garage so when I measured it and found it was 54", I was sure that's what the box spring had measured. Turns out the box spring is 52". I may remove the foot end frame piece and narrow it a little, or just live with the 1/2 lip only I will notice. We shall see.

The Photo's explained.

1. The frame completed with headboard attached. At least one speed clamp recommended. Or an assistant.

2. Storage bins going under.

3.Finished project. Step is a hinged storage box with padlock hasp made out of 3/4" plywood. 13"x13"x16", and once used to keep "the books" for a club.

4. It's creator for scale. Rubbermaid makes 12" storage boxes too, don't they?


26 days ago

Great idea. Like everyone else, I'm probably going to put my spin on it. I don't use a box spring because of a platform bed. So I'll probably make the legs longer, and have more than one stringer down the middle. My thought is to use a joist hanger inside the box for the stringers. Then run 1x4's across for slats to support the mattress.

In my case, I'll probably make the 4 outside rails stand up from the legs and the stringers to allow for a lip for the matress to sit in.


1 year ago

Awesome! building today!


3 years ago

Where can i get the wood..?..
As per the measurement what should i tell the guy who cuts the wood?..
I have zero knowledge on measurements/woodwork.. please help

1 reply

Reply 1 year ago

Where depends on what country you're in. I know in the USA, stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and Ace Hardware carry framing lumber (aka 2x4s).

The measurements are based on your mattress and boxspring. Measure your mattress length, width and height and determine how high you'd like the top of the mattress to be off the ground. This determines your legs' height as so: Preferred bed height (say 25 inches) - mattress height and boxspring height (say 13" + 11" or possibly no box spring, in which case it would be just 13" mattress).


25" - (11"+7") = 7" high legs

or 25" - 11" = 14" high legs (this would be a platform bed)

The other measurements should be simple to take based on the instructions stormthirst mentioned! Also, if you don't have a box spring you'll need some bracing across the frame, such as some 1x4 slats going across the inner rails.


2 years ago

Great plan. I will be modifying mine and I will post the pics. You say 7 2x4s. But what length? Thanks!

1 reply

2 years ago

Thanks for this instructable. I just made this bedframe today, for my younger daughters room.


4 years ago

great and sturdy bed I took out the box spring and replaced it with OSB to save money thanks!


6 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for posting this,
I did this one over the weekend - 2 hours (THANK ALL THAT IS HOLY FOR THE SPEED OF A COMPOUND MITRE SAW). I haven't put in a headboard yet, but I'm going to do something a little different with that part.

Thanks again to you and instructables. Now I sleep like an adult, on a mattress on a boxspring on a frame on the floor. 30 inches off the floor, actually. I may have to install a step.

1 reply

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

You're welcome.

The compound mitre saw is an awesome tool. I only did the headboard like that because I wanted to get something put in place quickly. Once you've got the basics down, you can modify to add the headboard you want, and even a foot board.

Any ideas on what you're intending to do with the headboard? I'd considered using stair parts - two newel posts, a 2x4 at the bottom and a hand rail at the top., with some spindles in between.


7 years ago on Introduction

Well I am going to give it a run tomorrow. Wish me luck. I am actually going to refinish in a dark Mahogany! Will let you know hoe it all goes.

Thank you, Mr Stormhirst :)



7 years ago on Introduction

I modified your plans for a full size mattress:


7 years ago on Introduction

Is this really $15 though? 2x4's around here are $2.53 per 8 foot board. Ply board can be $5 to 10. box of screws for that many legs, around $6. The wood itself could be $15 give or take. The assembly costs a little more. So technically it's a $15 bed frame, but it probably costs more ;)

I'm just giving you a hard time. It's well done, and I actually needed it to get ideas for how to made a headboard for my kid's bed, so thanks for the help. Good Ible. I gave it a 4.5 star rating. :)

2 replies

I managed to get the 2x4's in a sale at (I think) $1.98 CDN. So I was playing a little fast and loose with the costs.

BTW Tony, the only guest so far to sleep on it says it was very comfortable


7 years ago on Introduction

Nice job ! …
I like the cat too !: if a cat feels comfortable on a bed it only means it's well done !…


7 years ago on Step 6

I love this bed frame. The only thing I think is lacking is that you did not put the bed on rollers that lock, so when Mystery upchucks under your new bed frame, your wife can move the bed easily to clean such up. Oh yeah and for your wife to tell us how she made the new head board cover. I know how to do it, but everyone does a tadge different and I like to know how others do it quick and easy.

Nice job, and so glad you had good pictures, cause I did not understand your type written instructions..... and I have made a bed frame before myself, by myself. Glad you did this one instead of me, but unfortunately .... I plan to make one more bed frame and head board in my life time , then I am DONE.

Thanks, you have inspired me to do my next one!