Beds usually need bed frames to elevate the mattress and foundation off the floor. The bed frame is also a means of attaching a headboard and a footboard. If you need a bed frame for your bed but haven't found one that works for you, you might want to consider building your own. You can build a DIY bed frame using basic dimensional lumber and easy-to-connect threaded pipes—all available at your local home center.
The Basics of DIY Bed Frames
At its most basic, a bed frame is a metal or wood structure that is slightly larger than the mattress or foundation that it carries. Its sides and legs are partially hidden by the bed covers. A headboard and a footboard may be attached to the head and the foot of the bed.
|Bed Mattress Sizes (U.S. and Canada)|
|Twin||39 inches||74 inches|
|Twin Extra Long||39 inches||80 inches|
|Full||54 inches||74 inches|
|Queen||60 inches||80 inches|
|King||76 inches||80 inches|
|California King||72 inches||84 inches|
Mattresses in the U.S. come in set sizes; this DIY bed frame project is built around a Queen-size mattress with a box spring. If you choose to build a DIY bed frame around a different size, you can do so by changing the cut lengths in relation to the Queen size provided here.
Adjustable, too, is the height of the bed frame. The legs of this bed frame are 12 inches high. Threaded pipe can also be purchased in 6-inch, 10-inch, or 18-inch lengths if you choose any of those as your bed height.
For an industrial look, purchase black cast-iron metal pipes and flanges. All of the metal parts are screwed together by hand, with no need for pipe wrenches. For ease of assembly, all screws are driven straight in. But if you care to hide the screws, drive in the screws with a pocket jig.
Equipment / Tools
- Carpenter's square
- Circular saw
- Cordless drill
- Electric miter saw
- Tape measure
- Carpenter's pencil
- Drill bits
- 9 1/2-inch threaded cast iron or galvanized steel pipes, 1-foot long
- 18 1/2-inch threaded cast iron or steel flanges
- 7 2x6, 8 feet long
- 6 2x4, 8 feet long
- 1-inch screws
- 2-inch screws
- 3-inch screws
Cut the Boards
With the miter saw, cut the 2x6 boards. Two of the boards should be 80 inches in length, three at 83 inches in length, and two at 63 inches in length.
Dry-Fit the Boards
On a flat, dry surface, lay out the boards so that the two 63-inch boards are at the head and foot of the bed frame. Then, place the two 80-inch boards lengthwise so that the two 63-inch boards are at the ends.
Screw the Outer Frame Together
Screw the four boards together with three of the 3-inch screws at each corner.
Drill a pilot hole for each screw to avoid cracking the wood.
Dry-Fit the Bottom Boards
With the outer part of the bed frame screwed together, square it up with the carpenter's square. Lay the three 83-inch boards lengthwise: two at the sides and one directly in the center. The side boards should meet the very edge of the outer frame.
Attach the Bottom Boards
Attach the three bottom boards with 2 1/2-inch screws. For the two side boards, use several screws spaced about every 12 inches along the length of the boards.
Attach the Flanges
Do not turn the bed frame over yet. With the cordless drill and the 1-inch screws, attach nine of the flanges to the bottom of the bed frame. Each flange will receive four screws. There should be three flanges on each of the 2x6 bottom boards, spaced evenly.
Experiment with the placement of the two flanges at the foot of the bed frame. Placing them slightly closer toward the head will disguise them. Placing them closer to the foot will expose them and emphasize the industrial look.
Build the Bed Frame's Legs
Screw the nine pipes into the flanges. Hand-tighten them. Finish by screwing the remaining flanges onto the pipes as feet.
Cut the Slats
Turn the bed over so that it is resting on its feet.
The side-to-side inner dimension of the bed frame should be 60 inches. Cut the six 2x4 boards to 59 3/4 inches.
Dry-Fit the Slats
Space out the six 2x4 boards equally down the length of the bed frame. Make sure that the two outer slats are at the very head and foot of the bed. This is necessary to support the head and foot sections of the box spring.
Attach the Slats
Secure the slats to the bed frame with the 2-inch screws. It is only necessary to place one screw on each end of a slat.