Tuesday, July 9, 2013

DIY Bed Frame

Recently my parent's gave me their queen sized mattress. This was a big upgrade from my previous, full sized mattress in so many ways. For example, on my old mattress, when I wanted to roll over, I would grab a spring and have to pull myself - Yeah. It also didn't have a box spring; just two mattress on top of each other, so that was another huge upgrade. Anyway, so with a new mattress, I obviously needed a new frame but they can be expensive. For a quick fix, we went to home depot and bought those cheap cement blocks to put under the bed - it got it off the ground and that was fine by me.

July 5th, since it was my birthday and I had some time on my hands, I really wanted to try my hand at making a frame for it... So I did just that (Happy birthday gift to myself)! First off, here's my before picture (with the new mattress but the same head/ foot boards from my full sized bed):

1 old mattress off to the left (we sold the other one)
As a person of the internet, I've seen lots of DIY bed frames but the ones that I especially liked didn't have any plans or how tos so I opted to make my own. However, I'm more of a plan in my head kind of person, so drawing really isn't one of my strong suits. Well, here's the idea I had:
Nothin' too fancy
The idea is that instead of building the entire frame and, since I live in an apartment (not wanting to attach it to the wall), I would put L brackets (is that what they're called?) on the bottom corners of each to be sandwiched between the cement blocks and the box spring. That is, the weight of the box spring and mattress would hold up the frame. This would mean, however, that whatever materials I got would need to be much lighter than a typical frame. With all this in mind, we set out for good ole' Home Depot.

We walked around the wood section until I found some wood that were light, were about the right size (6' pre-cut wood, though eventually I wanted them to be 5.5'), and were cheap. $1.88 per board cheap.

Hard wood cedar is what the tag says; I think they're usually used for fences

Since they weren't exactly 1/2 foot tall, we bought one more than I originally planned to for both ends of the bed making our material list as follows:
  • 14x 6' hard wood cedar boards ($1.88 each)
  • 3x fence boards (I'm not entirely sure on the size but they were longer than those pictured and approx. $3.00 each)
  • 4x L brackets (in the fencing hardware section around the corner)

Since I live in an apartment, I also had to buy everything to assemble them together:
  • box of screws (I already had some at home with my Ikea tool set)
  • 2x sanders
  • hand saw
  • Wood stain (Dark Walnut)
  • 9' x 12' plastic (to try and conceal the mess that I knew was to come)

Overall, I spent $50-60 on the entire frame and materials. Not bad, huh? When I got home, we transformed our little dining room (which we're using as an office/ craft space) into a workshop.

Skitter, one of my cats, wanted to see what all the commotion was about
 First step was to measure all the boards and cut them to size. The thinner, cedar ones were cut down from 6' to 5.5'. Then the longer ones were cut down so I had 2x 4'8" (for the headboard) and 2x 2'8" (for the footboard). Once finished, we got to sanding.

Jeremy, my boyfriend, was a huge help
Actually, what ended up happening is while Jeremy was sanding the boards, I would stain the ones that were all done, in hopes of speeding up the process.

As a note, if you're doing this inside your house: Be prepared for lots of sawdust everywhere! Okay, well it wasn't really that bad throughout the apartment but the dining room definitely needed cleaned at the end of the day.

Back to the staining: for the headboard, I only stained the front sides and edges of the boards to save time, stain, and dry time. It's not like anyone is going to see them anyway. After 1.5 hours of working hard, this is what we had:

The eventual headboard
All but a few boards cut, sanded, and stained. At this point, we took a short dinner break to let the stain dry. Most of the boards were fine but we were pretty exhausted from speeding through everything (The goal was to have the bed done by the end of the night so we could actually use it). Next up was piecing it all together.

First we laid out the back planks on top of the bricks we used earlier to cut the wood (I stole them from under the bed so I wouldn't have to cut up my floor) and then organized the 9x boards on top.
We started with placing the top and bottom boards first

Then all the rest were put in place
We measured every which way to ensure that everything was just right: The bricks were measured out so that, with the boards laying on top of them, they were in the same positions they would be under the bed. Centering the planks on those, then ensuring that the boards started exactly 8" from the bottom, we started screwing in each of the boards. Now this step probably took us the longest because I forgot to charge the screwdriver battery ahead of time. Occasionally I would get impatient and just hand screw them in but that really took the energy out of me.

With the boards being a tad taller than I thought, as mentioned earlier, the did end up being longer then the back boards holding them together but only by 1-2 inches. Next up was placing the L brackets. We lined them up with the boards (no measuring required this time) to ensure that it would fit snugly between the cement block and box spring, then screwed them in place.

With that all done, we repeated the process with the footboard. This time it went much quicker: Not as many boards, the screwdriver was charged, and we knew what we were doing.

The final step, then, was just putting it in place. Here you can see how the sandwiching of the bracket works:

Board isn't pushed in all the way but, when it is, the back board will be right up against the cement block

And, viola, we're done!

Here's a picture from the night we finished
And here's a picture I took this morning
So, $60 of materials and roughly 6 hours later, we had a whole new bed. Oh, I forgot to mention that I also bought all new sheets and such to go with the new bed. I bought my old sheets when I first moved in over 2 years ago and they were definitely showing it. The duvet cover was from Ikea and the rest of the sheets were from Target. Oooh! the bed sheets are not only a higher thread count than my old sheets (325) but, since they're organic they'll get softer over time (yay!).

And there you have it: a DIY bed frame for under $100 that can be made in under a day. I'll eventually complete the frame by putting in side boards but for now, on my budget, this will do just fine :) If you have any questions or comments about the process, feel free to comment below. Until next time, dear readers, live long and prosper.


  1. That looks nice Ariel! Good job!!!

  2. Way to go. I'm very proud of you. You have become an amazing woman!