Tools: Jig Saw, Circular Saw, Measuring Tape, Pencil, Square, Wood Finish
Materials: 2x12" Lumber, 1/4" MDF Board
Inspiration: Was getting a new mattress, wanted to make a project out of it, wanted something that I could build easily.
Step 1: Sketch / Dimensions
I made this for a full size bed which has dimensions of 54" x 75". I angled the bottom of the frame inwards because what's worse than stubbing your toes on those bed post corners... NOTHING! STUBBED TOES SUCK!
Joinery I used throughout the design are half-lap joints.
BEWARE: The dimensions are here were changed, so do not follow the dimensions on my sketches. They were just estimates.
On the 2nd image you can see 4 different wood cuts and dimensions. I did the half-lap joint cuts with a specific order in mind:
1. Top left would be placed on ground first since all half-lap joint cuts are on the top
2. Then the left middle page one next. This will provide the outer foundation.
3. Then the next one on is the bottom right page cut (I know I scribbled to fix the design). These will go across the width of the bed frame filling in the center.
4. Last piece is the top right one. It will go down the middle. This is the locking piece since all half-lap joints are on the bottom.
Step 2: Cuts
After you've done your dimensions / sketches / CAD drawings to make sure everything WILL fit, it's time to cut!
I had the lumber cut at the hardware store to the length I wanted each piece.
Make sure where you are cutting the half-lap joints to cut slightly wider than the thickness of the lumber. Doesn't need to be a snug, tight fit for this to work. If you make it exact, you'll be adding more work later on. You'll have to hammer the joints together possibly causing you to damage the lumber and break. trust me... I made that mistake on this one and had to widen it later to make them fit.
With a circular saw / Jig saw, cut the outside parts of the half-lap joints first a little more than 6" in. Look at 2nd image. (because this is a 2x12" lumber, halfway is 6in. If you ware using a thinner / wider lumber, that distance will have to change). You want a little more than halfway because if it is too short, you'll have the lumber sticking up higher at different joints causing your bed frame not to be flat.
Once you cut the outside parts of the joint, do a few cuts in between the two. This will make removing that whole chunk out easier. Look at image 3. Then with a jig saw, cut those out so you have a clean slot.
Step 3: Apply a Finish
Put a finish on the wood to protect it. No image here sorry!
Step 4: Time to Slide the Pieces On!
If your dimensions are correct and you cut the joints wider than the thickness of the lumber, these babies should slide into each other no problem. Image 1 you can see the slots line up. You should be sliding the lumber on in the order indicated back in Step 1 with the Sketch / however you did it. Viola! you have built the base of the bed frame without using hardware!
Step 5: Place Board
Now you place your MDF board on top of the base. I have mine in 2 pieces because a typical board is 48"x96" while the mattress is 54"x75" so there was no way to get the board to be 1 piece. But now that I see I don't like having the board exposed, I would have cut it 48"x72" so the outline of the mattress hides the edges of the board and therefore looks clean as you can see in Image 2.
You might think "It'll sag with nothing support it on the edge". You are correct but I only did a 4" overhang so when I sit on the edge, it isn't enough to sag significantly. It also depends on your mattress, water beds probably won't work.
Step 6: DONE!
Congrats! You built a bed frame using no hardware!
Let me know if you have any questions / concerns / suggestions / improvements. Always looking to better my craft as well as help share with others.