A Soft Industrial Pipe Bed Frame




Pipe bed frames are economical, modular designer DIY bed frames. Here I describe a mechanically robust yet elegant design which uses 3/4" black pipe nipple, plus wood slats. The design here fits a queen size 6'6" mattress and a 6'1/2" gent who can easily mount the bed without descending or climbing during the approach, but the dimensions of the components can easily be tweaked to your specifications.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Components

Pipes (all 3/4" black pipe nipple):

2 of 6'8" custom cut and threaded 3/4" pipes for the length of the bed
4 floor flanges for legs
4 of 12" pipes for legs
2 of 4" pipes for footer
2 elbows for footer
1 of 60" pipe for footer
2 of 7" pipes for header
2 reverse thread joiner   unions
2 three-way joints for the header
2 of 8" pipes for header
2 straight unions (to provide a small ledge for the header board)
2 of 18" pipes for header
1 of 60" pipe for header

1 5' 6" header board of your choice
11 of 11" wide (nominally 12" ) 5' 6" wooden slats
half-circle pipe fittings (pictured) for fixing the pipe to the header board/bed slats, with #8 x1/2" phillips flathead screw 

Step 2: Headboard

Pipe bed frames can easily be assembled from the component list and pictures shown, but take caution to screw each pipe in as tightly as possible using a pipe wrench. Insufficiently tight pipes will break under load since the pipe tappers at the threads.

A key component in the assembly are the pipe joiner components you can use to bring two pipes together using reverse threads (pictured), which avoids unscrewing one pipe while attempting to screw in the other side. Even so, screwing the header on does not constrain the geometry too much. Therefore, I pushed the header side up against a wall before fixing the slats in place, which makes the geometry rigid.

Step 3: Wooden Slats, Weight Distribution and Treatment

An important consideration in the design of the bed frame is the weight distribution. High-end mattresses distribute the weight well. But if you don't want to take chances, I recommend putting a 2 x 4 up the middle underneath the slats, held using wood screws, to distribute the weight among its neighbors.

Mold can grow on untreated wood left near an open window in San Francisco. To prevent this, I stained all the slats and the 2x4. Stain doesn't prevent mold per se, but it helps, as does wiping it down with bleach once a year, or treating with polypropylene (although I don't like the glossy finish of polypropylene as much).

That's it! With the exception of the 6"8" custom pipes that can be cut and purchased at a plumbing store, the remaining components are standard ware at local hardware stores. As you can see from the description of the assembly, it can be assembled in a couple hours (minus staining of wood), easily disassembled for a move, or modified to suit your changing needs. Ciao!

3 People Made This Project!


  • Made with Math Contest

    Made with Math Contest
  • Cardboard Speed Challenge

    Cardboard Speed Challenge
  • Multi-Discipline Contest

    Multi-Discipline Contest

22 Discussions


1 year ago on Step 3

Realmente esta muy bonita para adorno, pero de funcional no tiene nada ya q el tubo a la primera se va a doblar con el peso del colchon y de las personas aun mas para eso seria pro lo menos de 1 Pulg y con un soporte medio. Estan excelentes sus ideas pero realmente siento q en muchas solo serian de adorno para los usos q deberian ser y no serian de uso real.


3 years ago

I have a couple question:
1st : What would happen if i used black iron versus galvanized steel? Like would I have to clean the black iron and seal it to prevent rust?
2nd: what would happen if I used 1/2 inch diameter pipes versue 3/4 inch? Would it be weaker?

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

Did you ever try the 1/2 in diameter pipes? If so, did it work out?


3 years ago

Would anyone be able to give guidelines for how to convert these measurements for a full size bed?


5 years ago on Introduction

Just as an FYI to anyone planning on working with this sort of pipe - it has a black coating on it which comes off on your hands and anything else it touches. I built a media bench and small coffee table with this piping and bowling lane and washed each piece of pipe and fitting with soap and water before working with it. Just so you know what you're getting into. You can get this pipe (its usually used for natural gas) in galvanized steel finish as well which I believe is 'dry', but it's silver in color. Anyhow - go to your hardware store with a paper towel and wipe a piece of the pipe to see what I mean before diving in head-first.

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

I got mine at HD. It's coated in the black stuff, like you said. The guy at the store suggested using vinegar and/or Dawn to remove it. I got frustrated with the amount of work his solution required, and discovered that Goof Off takes that stuff off like magic.

Also, it'll rust like whoa, so I covered it with a clear coat of spray paint. I did let it rust a little first, though, because it looks cool.


4 years ago on Introduction

Legitimate question: How squeaky and creaky is this frame when you're doing a bit more than just sleeping on it? I love the asthetics but I'm not looking to wake the house.

T sexy

5 years ago on Introduction

I want to try this with a king. I'm adding the extra bar for the middle. This is the first one I came across that doesn't have those expensive Kee Klamps. I have one question. What is a reverse thread joiner union ? I have looked everywhere and I can't find it. Other than that this is fantasic !!


5 years ago on Step 3

One could use teak oil or wax finishes to prevent mold.

In Center they need one more set legs because it's possible to bend the piepe.

But very niece idea cong.


The whole thing just seems like it would be rickety. Especially having only a single cross member along the top of the headboard. All the concern has been about the Z-axis. Does this thing flex in the X & Y from lateral motions?


5 years ago on Step 3

Looks like a good start, however I would have a couple of cross pieces (by thirds), and then a down-T with an additional floor contact for added stability.


5 years ago on Introduction

Cool idea. I want to make a similar but smaller version but make it as a 'hammock' instead for my dogs to use outdoors. Thanks for sharing!


5 years ago on Step 3

I'm not too sure about this. You need more than the friction from the pipe hangers to hold the slats in place. Also, you need something to prevent the box springs from sliding sideways off the frame. Finally, I doubt the pipe will last long before it fails. I think you could steam punk it up some and make it more stable at the same time. Aren't shakes common in SF?


5 years ago on Step 3

What's the over all cost of this project and where can the pipes and fittings used in this project be purchased ?

Thanks in advance

3 replies

Reply 5 years ago on Step 3


The black pipe can be purchased at Home Depot, Lowe's, Menards, or any home improvement store. Costs for a 3/4" x 3' piece at Home Depot is $10.78 (online), 5' is $14.99, 6' is $15.97, 10' is $13.27 (different mfg.). The store will cut them to length and pipe thread them for free.


5 years ago on Introduction

What a wonderful Idea, Thank-you for sharing.

I've wanted to do this myself, just couldn't see where to start, your plans will help greatly.

Thanks again.