Problem: I’m a Lazy Old Geek (L.O.G.) who moved back into a small modular home and inherited a single (AKA twin) bed (39” x 75”). The mattress was firm but the springs were soft, the bed was too soft, so I tried putting a board underneath. It helped but not enough. Also the modular home is small and had little storage room. To solve both problems at once, I decided to make my own bed frame. . These pictures show the results and some of my Geekiness.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
3 4’x8’ ½” particle boards Can use MDF or plywood.
Suggestion: if using particle board, I would advise using ¾” lumber for the top, instead of ½” I used.
6’ 1”x1/2” wood strips Used for book case
Box #8x1” Phillips head wood screws Not critical
Cost: August 2010, Grand Junction, Colorado is about $55.
Saw I used an old Black & Decker circular saw. Not recommended but it got the job done.
Drill/Screwdriver Makitas are well made, though expensive tools. The black and white one is a Makita DF030D. I didn’t have this when I made the bed frame but it’s a very nice drill/driver and so picturesque.
Step 2: Safety
An Old Japanese-American proverb say:
In battle between whirling steel and human flesh, human cannot win.
The best human can do is not lose.
Just ask my brother. He lost three fingers to a table saw.
Another Old Japanese-American proverb:
A split second of NEGLECT may lead to a lifetime of REGRET
Use safety glasses when cutting. If they’ are a used pair, they’re probably pitted and scratched. But it’s better that the glasses are pitted and scratched rather than your eyes.
Sams Club had six pair for $12.95.
When cutting wood, always be aware of where the whirling blade is in relationship to your fingers and other body part!!
Step 3: Bed Frame Overview
Guidelines: The dimensions are flexible. In the past, I made a similar frame for a full/double bed.
The bookcase headboard is optional.
The finished height depends on your height and preferences, the mattress’s thickness and if you are using a pad. Mine has a two inch memory foam pad on top of the mattress. When I was younger I preferred a hard mattress, now I’m OLD.
In other word, make this your own.
The bed frame is a long piece of particle board standing on edge with three cross pieces of particle board for support and another piece of particle board on top. The mattress goes on top. There are no box springs. I recommend using a thicker or stronger piece on top than the ½” I used. If you look at the bed storage picture, on the right side you can see where I had to reinforce the corner where it broke off just by sitting on it. The bookcase is not shown.
For the drawings, I am using Google SketchUp. I highly recommend it and it's free. If you use it, i would suggest you save often to different names as it doesn't always do what you would like it to do.
Step 4: Main Frame
The height of the frame needs to be adjusted for your specific requirements.
Some factors: mattress thickness, additional pad thickness, your preferred sitting on the bed height, softness of the mattress. I made the height 16” or actually, 17” for the head and 15” for the foot. I prefer to sleep with my head slightly elevated. This is often recommended for people with GERD (GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease). As I learned from experience with my first bed frame, this is much easier to implement from the beginning.
The length can be adjusted for no bookcase and/or bigger mattress. In other word, make it your own.
The drawing for the main bottom piece indicates 16” x91” rectangle. I am LAZY and not that familiar with Google SketchUp so kept it simple. Mine is actually 17” on the left (head) and 15” on the right (foot). Another thing not shown is: for the foot, I cut out a little triangular piece so there’s a little bit more foot clearance. This is slightly visible in the bed storage picture.
The dimensions may be hard to read. From the head of the bed, the slots are 13", 32", 51" and 71". Each slot is ½” wide to fit the crossmember and half of the height (about 8"). I marked both sides of the cut and ran the circular saw down the sides then broke off the narrow center piece. It’s good to keep the width close to ½” the width of the crossmember so there’s not much wobble.
Some thoughts on crossmember spacing:
Spacing should be closer where there will be more weight. Probably in the middle
where you sit down and your (maybe) fat belly is.
I put the first crossmember closer to the head,13” so there is more support for the head
In my case, I should have moved the last one closer to the foot as my bed is situated
where the foot is likely to be sat on.
Also think about what size stuff you want to store (width and height).
Cut and slot the main bed frame support to your own specifications. Make it your own.
Step 5: Crossmembers
If you are sloping the bed, the crossmembers will have slightly differing heights. Just measure the height from the main frame support. Again the slots are ½” wide to fit the bottom piece. Width of crossmembers is dependent on mattress size.
If you can't read the drawing, the length is 39". The distance to the slot is 19.25" from the ends so that the slot is 1/2" wide.
Cut and slot the crossmembers.
Step 6: Putting It All Together
Slide the four crossmembers onto main bottom piece, lining up the slots:
My SketchUp skills are not very good but you should get the idea.
Cut the top piece 39” x 91”, the width of the mattress and the length of the mattress plus space for the bookcase. Place it on top of the frame.
Step 7: Finishing Up Bed Frame
Probably because I had Home Depot split the top piece into two pieces for easier transportation, I used metal straps to tie the two pieces together.
I used two straps (available at Wal Mart or hardware store) on each side, one on the top and one on the bottom using nuts and bolts to tie them together. Use one plate for a drill template. Try to keep the bolt length to a minimum(3/4”?) so you don’t scrape your fingers sliding stuff in and out.
Also to keep the top board from sliding around, directly over some of the crossmembers, I drilled some holes for #8 x 1” wood screws. Make sure these go into the crossmembers so that the sharp ends are not sticking out. If your crossmembers are too sloppy, you can tighten them up with L brackets and nuts and bolts. Also if you are getting squeaks and creaks, use some more L brackets.
Step 8: Bookcase
The bookcase is 5 12” pieces of particle board. If you are a lousy carpenter like I am, it’s better to use 12” shelving boards rather than the leftovers from your 4’x8’ boards.
2 12”x18” for the sides
1 12”x39” for the top
1 12”x38” for the shelf
1 12”x39” for the back
6 ½”x1”x 8” wood strips to screw into. Two are on the base as shown, the other four are right below the top and the shelf toward the back.
Use your drill to make holes for the screws so the particle board won’t split.
One method would be to stand up the top on edge on a flat surface and screw on the sides, install the shelf and attach, screw on the back using it to keep the whole assembly square, place the bookshelf onto the bed frame and attach it from below.
If I ever redo the bookcase, I would make it a little taller. Use your best judgment. The space under the shelf can be used for less-accessible storage.
With this bed frame, you should have lots more storage which will quickly fill up if you are like me.
By the way, this should be fairly portable. It would be easier if you marked the parts for easier reassembly.