Bed Frame-Knockdown, No Fasteners or Glue




Introduction: Bed Frame-Knockdown, No Fasteners or Glue

This is an instructable for a breakdown bed frame.  When coming up with this design I wanted to meet a couple of self-imposed requirements.  First I wanted the frame to break down into easily managed (and moved) pieces without the use of tools etc..  Second I wanted it to look (at least somewhat) like real furniture (read-"not stacked up on cinderblocks").  I wanted to achieve these two main goals whilst also keeping it relatively inexpensive. 

The following is what I came up with.  There are many ways this could be improved, but this project served as a functional proof of concept for me, and I will make some changes the next go-around. 

This frame was made to accommodate a queen-size mattress, but obviously the dimensions can be adjusted to suit your needs, or use the techniques for any number of other projects.  I also made a couple of bedside tables in similar construction, for a later instructable.

*Please leave a comment if you have a suggestion that could improve this instructable, it is my first and I put it together rather hastily in order to submit it before the close of the WOODWORKING CONTEST, please vote if you like it!

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Step 1: Recommended Tools

In most of the case other tools could be substituted.  This whole frame could be built with hand tools, if you had the time.  Here is what I used. 

-Circular Saw
-Jig Saw
-Oscillating Tool
-Orbital Sander

-Tape measure
-Square (speed/framing)
-Hand Saw
-Rubber Mallet

Step 2: Material List/Cost

I used standard dimensional Hem/Fir framing lumber found in your local HomeDepot/Lowes etc..

2"x10" @ 8' in length-7 pieces  ~$50

2"x6" @ 8' in length-5 pieces  ~$24

Various sanding discs ( I only went to 120 grit)  ~$10

Finish of your choice (I used stain with shellac top-coat) ~$20

So Final Cost ~$100.00

Step 3: Cut/Assemble Base

For this step you are going to cut four (4) lengths of 2"x10".  You need two (2) pieces cut to 63" in length, and two (2) pieces cut to 43".

These four (4) pieces are going to be joined into a rectangle that is going to hold up the upper portion of the bed frame.  The corners of this rectangle are going to be joined with one large and somewhat brutish through-dovetail joint per corner.  The dovetails are cut in a way that they prevent the shorter boards at the head and foot of the bed from separating from the boards forming the longer side of the rectangle, or the sides of the bed.  The longer sides are going to be held in place not only by the dovetails, but by the lap joints formed with the notches cut in the 2"x6" cross-supports above.

After cutting my pieces to length, I needed to start to cut the joints that would hold the whole thing together.  First I cut the notches in the tops (2"x10" will be standing on edge) of my 63" pieces.  The size of my notches is going to be 1.5"x1.5" (or just slightly  larger, they need to allow the width of your 2"x6" within them).  The layout is going to be the same on both of the 63" boards.  There will be a total of ten (10) notches cut in this step, five (5) in the tops of each 63" - 2"x10".   I centered one in the length of the board, and then made two (2) on either side at 13-1/8" on center.

Next I cut the dovetails into the ends of each board.  I cut the tails on the ends of my 63" pieces, and my sockets in the ends of the 43" pieces.
I'm not going to go into the details of cutting a dovetail joint, but it is easily found with a quick search.  To cut the dovetails I used an oscillating tool (rockwell sonicrafter), a hand saw, and cleaned them up with a chisel.  There are many ways to do this.

Assemble the rectangle by tapping the dovetails together with a rubber mallet, your fist, or a hammer and block of waste wood.  The dovetails may require some small adjustments as you go to assemble them, you want them tight-so adjust in small increments with a chisel.

Step 4: Cut 2x6 Cross Supports

For this step I started by cutting five (5) 2"x6" to 69" in length.  These five (5) pieces are going to be exactly the same, I will describe how I made one.

On the top of the board (the board will end up standing on edge, so top will be one of the 1.5" edges) I cut two 1.5"x1.5" notches.  I cut these notches leaving 3" between the notch and either end of the board.

On the bottom of the board I cut two (2) more notches, also 1.5"x1.5", this time leaving 13" between the edge of the notch and the end of the board on either side.

What remains is ornamental.  I cut a simple 45 deg angle on the bottom corners of my boards and them chamfered the edges with a router.

Now these cross supports can be placed onto your base.  The notches in the bottoms of the 2"x6"s should line up with the notches in the tops of your 63" 2"x10"

Step 5: Cut and Assemble Top of Frame

This step is almost identical to cutting the base pieces.  First I cut four (4) pieces of 2"x10" to length.  I needed two (2) at 83" in length, and two (2) at 63".

These four pieces were also joined into a rectangle using a through-dovetail at each corner, and I notched the bottom side of the 83" boards with a series of 1.5"x1.5" notches that corresponded with the notches we made on the base, total of five notches per 83" board, one in the center and then two on either side 13-1/8" on centers.  This new, larger rectangle then is placed on top of the 2"x6" cross-supports I made in the last step, in a way that the notches all align, and slide together to form a half-lap joint (not really HALF but same idea), and the whole thing locks together.

Again, getting the dovetails and all the joints to accept each other may take a little fine-tuning.  You may want to label your various joints as you go, since there is a good chance they will only work in the spot you adjust them to, depending on how tight you are keeping them.

I ran the router around all the top edges with a chamfering bit, just to knock the milled corner off and dress it up a little.

Step 6: Disassemble, Sand and Finish

After I had everything fitting together ,and looking like it was going to work,  I disassembled the whole thing and began to get it ready for stain/finish.

First I sanded all components to remove any mill stamps, my pencil marks and any other imperfections that could be easily removed.  I only sanded to 120 grit,  take it to the level you see fit......more sanding/finer grit=nicer finish.

Then I stained everything with a wipe on stain, I think it was Minwax Provincial.

After allowing the stain to dry I began to apply the shellac, by brushing or padding on (I recommend padding after trying both), allowing to dry, lightly sanding  with 220 and re-applying until you achieve the finish you want.  If you do use shellac, beware it dries very quickly, which is great when working under time constraints (why I chose it), but makes it necessary to be very aware of drips/pooling, as you can't go back and brush it out once you get the whole piece covered.

Step 7: Interior Plywood Support

Cut two (2) pieces of 3/4" plywood to 30"x80" , drill a series of 1" holes 12" on center and staggered (for ventilation) and drop into your frame, where they will rest on top of the 2"x6" supports.  I am currently using the frame without the plywood, but I think it is a necessary addition.

Step 8: Final Assembly

Now just tap all your parts back together and put your bed in! 

This is entered in the Furniture challenge contest, so please vote if you like it.  Also feel free to give any suggestions as to how to better construct this instructable, this is my first, and I put it together rather hastily.  Thanks

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1 Person Made This Project!


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11 Discussions


Question 2 years ago on Step 8

I think you did a wonderful job for your first instructable,
I am interested in your ideas on what you would tweak in the construction or design in future beds.
the only thing that brings pause to my mind is the cross members jutting out to catch a shin.


2 years ago

My son and I made this (no pictures, alas), but scaled it down for a twin mattress. Thanks for the instructable.


5 years ago on Introduction

Me and my bf want to make a bed this summer (no screw, glue, nails). This tutorial seems great! Hope to be back here in a few months with the results. Thank you


5 years ago on Introduction

Cool build. Wonder if I can pull it off with 1X boards. 2x boards are just too expensive in my country. In fact, my cheap bed frame is made with 1x boards, but it's a regular one.

cheap bed frame.jpg

5 years ago

Had a blast making this one. Thanks for the guide!

14, 11:02 PM.jpg

Lincoln Logs for grown-ups! I love this design. I've been looking for some bedframe ideas for my son who just moved out.


8 years ago on Introduction

This looks absolutely awesome - I'm going to get a chippy to make me one as I'm not handy enough to knock one up myself - I take my hat off to you!! Well done and thanks for sharing


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

I'm sure you could manage, really not that much to it. Where would you find a "chippy" anyway?


8 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for the great design Zhoit, I just finished one of these and now my wife wants another! It is perfect for us because we couldn't fit queen size box springs up the stairs of our new house so our mattresses have been on the floor for 2 months. They had a sale on 2x4's so I just used six of those instead of plywood and it raised the mattress a little higher which was nice, it makes it easier to make the bed and harder to knock your elbows on the frame.


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

Awesome! Glad it worked out for you, and it looks great. You may want to try rubbing the joints with some paraffin wax if you find it squeaky. Mine got squeaky after finishing it with shellac, but a little wax and the problem was solved.