Upcycled Bunk Bed Workbench




This solid wood workbench is great for beginners or anybody looking to save money. It is made from a discarded bunk bed frame and extra screws I had laying around. It does not require any power tools except for an electric hand drill. I tried to avoid using nails and wood glue because I may need to take it apart and move it in a year or two.

Step 1: Materials and Tools


I often see these older style bed frames dumped on the curb when people move, this one came from across the street. Otherwise you can find them for pretty cheap at Goodwill or at yard sales. Bunk beds are a good source material because they are solidly made, have many matching pieces, and often have six side rails. You could also use two similar twin frames with additional scrap wood.

-2 matching or compatible headboards (front and back of the workbench frame)
-4-6 side rails or plywood/MDF sheet (benchtop) 
-Bed slats, headboards, footboards, or other scrap wood (frame supports and bottom shelf)

Wood screws and nails- Many screws can be re-used from the original frame, but more will be needed.


Pry bar
Electric hand drill
Pliers- Great for removing wire nails
Hand saw- Minimal sawing required

Step 2: Disassembling and Modifying Headboards and Side Rails

This step is very dependent upon the type of bed frames and scrap wood one is using. Use your best judgment and reinforce as necessary.

1. Disassemble the top bunk headboards. These will be used for the frame supports and shelf.
2. On the remaining headboards, saw out the middle rungs. These will be the edges of the shelf.
3. Cut three bed slats the same length as the frame supports.
4. Separate the slat-bearers from the side rails so that the rails can lie flat.
5. Cut two slat-bearers the same length as the middle rungs. Cut the remaining slat-bearers into six equal pieces.
6. Nail the slat-bearer pieces to reinforce interior of headboards as shown.

Step 3: Assembling Bench Frame and Shelf

1. Affix frame supports on the top corners with wood screws.
2. Affix frame supports to lower sides with wood screws.
3. Attach bed slats, make sure to screw into slat-bearers and not rung edges.
4. Lay shelf pieces on the bed slats with shorter middle rungs on the edges.
5. Affix middle rungs to bed slats with wood screws. I did not screw down the middle shelf planks, they were already snug and I like being able to access underneath the bench.

Step 4: Attach Benchtop

1. Attach top middle frame supports, making sure to screw into slat-bearer, not rung.
2. Place side rails on top of bench frame with equal overhang on each side.
3. Affix each side rail with wood screws.

There are many other ways to assemble the benchtop. However I was late to meet up with some friends at an Irish pub so this way was the quickest.

Step 5: Finished!

1. Test structural integrity with spouse documenting.
2. Enjoy a nap anytime.

Thanks for checking out my Instructable!

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    13 Discussions


    I like it a lot.
    I love to see good timber being re-used rather than end up in a landfill I have made quite a few things from old bunk beds myself some of them are in this 'ible.
    I am planning a new bench which will be outside in a gazebo as my current workshop is far too small, at least in the milder weather I will be able to get on with some of the larger projects so I think I may start with a bench similar to yours.
    Thanks for the ideas.
    Rated :-)

    2 replies

    Thanks! It is always sad to see perfectly good material sitting in the rain waiting for the garbage truck. You made some great pieces, can't wait to see your bench.

    Hope to be starting the new bench soon, we reorganized a bedroom today & the old bed should yield just enough timber to do the job.
    I also rescued some quite large offcuts of 2" thick hardwood worktop a couple of months ago some of which I plan to incorporate into it for an end vice.
    As my workspace is quite small I'm planning a 5' x 2' bench with a 3' x 3' drop down section hinged off the back wall & supported by steel rods which will slide out of the main bench, this means I can have a good sized work area & still keep the outside door accessible so I don't have to haul materials though the house & incur the wrath of my better half :-).
    I still have a lot of preparation to do clearing the old bench out & moving a few things around as the room also provides a home for our dryer, chest freezer & larder fridge.
    I will be taking pictures & hope to post an 'ible in a few weeks.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I wish this had been posted a year ago. I tried to give a perfectly good bunk bed set to the Sally Ann and they refused to take it, told me the dump was just up the street. I was so pissed I did exactly that. Never giving to 'charity' organizations again. (I tried to give them 2 perfectly good TVs about 4 yrs. ago and got the same response).

    2 replies
    Covert Koalaspin498

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I have been in that situation, sorry to hear that. It is the reverse in my area, Goodwill is picky while The Salvation Army accepts just about anything.

    spin498Covert Koala

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    My apologies to the Sally Ann, you've reminded me that it was in fact Goodwill that refused the items both times. What was more infuriating was the fact they are using a Municipal Gov't recycling centre to get donations.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is a super idea - a great way to reuse quality wood instead of just dumping it. Can't wait to see what else you can come up with! :)