Ikea Hack: Painted Branch Bed Frame




This hack requires a very inexpensive twin Fjellse Ikea bed frame, paint, and free branches from the great outdoors.

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Step 1: Materials and Tools


1. Twin Fjellse Bed Frame

2. Branches- around 5/8 inch - 1 inch thick

3. Latex Paint- in various colors of your choosing. Satin finish or higher gloss finishes work well for furniture.

4. Bare Wood Primer

5. Clear Coat Spray Paint

6. Sandpaper- coarse

7. Tack Cloth

8. Wood Glue

9. Aluminum Foil

10. A scrap of fabric, decorative rope, or beads


1. Paint Brushes- I used a synthetic 1 inch, 1.5 inch, and 2 inch brush. I also used a very small brush for touch ups.

2. Handsaw

3. Surform

4. Glue Gun

Step 2: Prime and Paint Bed Frame Parts

Start by painting the individual pieces of the Fjellse. Synthetic brushes are best for water based paints like latex paint. You won't need to paint the three headboard spindles that the Fjellse comes with. We're not going to use those. You also won't need to paint the inner facing sides of the bed frame, as shown in the last picture, because those will be covered by the mattress.

1. Use a tack cloth to remove any particles from the bed frame pieces before each coat.

2. Apply one coat of bare wood primer, brushing with the grain of the wood. Let dry.

3. Apply your latex paint, brushing with the grain. Let dry.

4. Apply a second coat of paint if desired.

Step 3: Construct the Headboard

Following your Ikea directions, construct just the headboard of the bed frame, leaving out the three center spindles. Another adjustment you'll need to make is to flip the top horizontal piece so that the groove and holes are facing upward. Do the same for the bottom piece, flipping it so that the holes are facing downward. These holes are used for attaching the spindles, which we are not using. Turning the holes away from the center will prevent them from getting in the way of gluing the branches to the headboard.

Here is the link to the Ikea instructions for the Fjellse: Fjellse PDF

Step 4: Fit the Branches to the Headboard

Figure out how you want your branches arranged. Then use a hand saw to cut the branches down. It's better to cut the branches too long than to cut them down too short; you can always make them smaller. After sawing away, use a surform (a tool like a cheese grater, but for wood) to shave the branches down to a more exact length and angle. Making sure to constantly check the length of the branch with the headboard, so you don't shave away too much. You want the branches to fit snugly.

Step 5: Sand the Headboard

Sand the headboard wherever it's going to make contact with a branch. You can see in the first picture where the headboard was sanded away around where the branch was glued. Ripped pieces of sandpaper held between your fingers work well for sanding these small areas. This step helps the glue adhere better and gives you a marker for where the branches go.

Step 6: Paint the Branches

1. Start by peeling off any loose bark.

2. Wipe your tack cloth over each branch before priming, and between coats if necessary.

3. Apply a coat of bare wood primer. Let Dry.

4. Apply a coat of latex paint. Let Dry.

5. Spray clear coat to seal any parts of the branch that weren't covered by paint and prevent paint from peeling.

Step 7: Attach the Branches

Use wood glue to glue the branches in place. Glue them to the spots that you sanded onto the headboard in step 5. Wipe excess wood glue with a damp cloth. You'll see that most of the branches will fit snug enough that they will stay in place as they dry. However, some of the angled branches may have less tension and will need to be secured in place as they dry. Aluminum foil works well for this. Check the drying time of your wood glue and let dry.

Step 8: Touch Up the Headboard

Use a small brush to paint over any visible glue, sanded areas, or scratches.

Step 9: Cover the Top Holes

Now we need to cover up those spindle holes on top. I used a fabric scrap but you can use whatever you want: buttons, decorative ribbon, small sea shells, beads, etc.

Step 10: Construct the Bed

Follow your Ikea instructions to finish constructing the bed frame. That's it!

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    20 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Lovely! Creativity is a sing of intelligence they say.
    That is why I love IKEA's flat pack furniture. Assembly is an art I would say!
    Nice result you got there.


    4 years ago on Step 10

    Lovely! I've been wondering what to do with my stick collection!


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    You could also attach a sheet of plywood behind it (wall side) painted in a contrasting color to avoid the head entrapment. This would add strength.

    It look super cool. I'm going to show it to my daughter as we are remodeling her bedroom.

    Great job!

    Adding more branches closer together could fix this problem if have young children in your household or maybe keeping the headboard flush against a wall.

    Cheese Queen

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Very attractive!

    An unclamped wood bond is not very strong however; I foresee a problem with the branches coming loose if you're not using a fastener, but this would still work well in a guest room.

    2 replies
    BH92Cheese Queen

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    if you drill a big hole( big enough for the head of the screw, 8 mm for example) and drill a hole( like 4 mm or so) into the center of the big hole into the middle of the branch, then you could put in a screw and cover it with a home made plug, made of a wooden rod( the same size as the big hole)...


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Very helpful! The branches are in there pretty well, though. I think they look less sturdy than they are, that's the comment that people who have checked it out in person have given me.

    eric squat

    5 years ago

    Nice. New favorite.


    5 years ago

    very nice..looks beautiful..if the branches were thicker or more densed..it would b more nice


    Omg this is awesome!! I have to try this. You definitely deserve to win. Great job!


    So good! You did a great job selecting colors too! Thanks for sharing your project.