Today we want to share with you one of our very first DIY’s, a modern bed-frame that is super easy to build and low enough to allow tiny people to get in and out with ease. We decided to build this bed when our daughter Chloe began to spend more and more time sleeping in bed with us. A queen bed is not enough for two adults and a baby, and the height of our old mattress was just too difficult for our tiny toddler to climb in and out of. So we began shopping for a king size. We found a great online retailer, DIY Bedding, who supplied us with all of the materials we needed to “build” our own organic latex mattress. We were hesitant at first because of the cost compared to traditional mattresses, and because we wouldn’t be able to go and see the bed before purchasing it, but decided to take the plunge because all of the local options were at least three times the price.
The day that bed arrived was so joyous! It came in several pieces, each latex slab was packaged on it’s own. We also bought a “ticking cover” and a wool pad. The process of assembling it was fairly easy: we had to lay out the ticking cover, flop each layer of latex together, and zip it all up. Then we placed the wool cover on top. This was about four years ago, when ordering beds online was not so widespread, so we were a bit sceptical. It has been one of the best purchases we’ve ever made though, because holy cow that thing is comfortable.
After assembling the mattress it sat on the floor for far too long because we just couldn’t settle on a frame. We were still living in Nova Scotia, which didn’t have an Ikea at the time, so that ruled out a lot of the more affordable low profile beds. After a lot of debate, we decided to give DIYing a frame a shot, since it would end up costing us only $150 and would take a few hours to build. Tom was pretty hesitant at first, as he still wasn’t very confident in the DIYing department, but once I drew up a detailed plan and got him to work out the various measurements he started to feel a lot better about the whole thing. Tom is the kind of guy who likes to meticulously plan every detail of a project before diving in, whereas I am more of a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of girl. Together we actually make a pretty good team, since we even each other out.
For the bed, we decided to make life a little easier for us by choosing “select” pine over construction grade. That meant less sanding, and less worry about the boards warping as they are generally kiln dried. We also decided to use L brackets to secure the four corners of the bed together, since we were still not really sure how to do angled cuts *blush*, and we just thought it would be easier. In retrospect, we both agree that we probably should have done the angles and secured things with pocket holes, but hindsight is 20/20, and there is something so charming about the imperfections of our first DIYs.
We used Minwax Dark Walnut stain for the colour, and sealed it with three coats of Minwax Polycrylic as we wanted something a little less smelly. At the time we were still very concerned about VOCs, so we decided to do all of the cuts and staining first, and then assemble the bed a few months later after it had done most of the off-gassing. This had the added benefit of allowing the wood a bit more time to settle, therefore minimizing the risk of any warping.
This bed was easier to assemble than even an ikea frame. We had all of the cuts done for us by the great people at Home Depot, as we didn’t have any power tools of our own yet and were still somewhat intimidated by making cuts. All of the supplies fit into our tiny mazda sedan too!
Below you can find the shopping list for the project, as well as a hand drawn sketch of the assembly. Note that for our bed we decided to lay the mattress differently than most people do. Traditionally, a King bed is 76″ wide by 80″ long, but we wanted those extra four inches of space for a little person, so we turned the mattress accordingly. If you’d like your king to be longer than wide, then you just need to switch the length of the support beam and rails 🙂 If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to ask!
2 – 1 ¾” * 5” * 77” (the sides of your frame)
2 – 1 ¾” * 5” * 82” (the sides of your frame)
2 – 2”*2” *77” (the rails that sit inside the frame and support the slats)
6 – 4”*4” * 8” (the feet and supports for the frame)
15 – 4” * 1” * 81” (for the slats)
1 – 2” * 4” * 77” (for the middle support beam)
4 L brackets
Minwax stain in Dark Walnut
120 and 220 grit sandpaper
2” wood screws
1” wood screws
For the headboard
4 – 5” * 1 ¾ ” @ 82”
3 – 1” * 4” @ 32” for the support beams that hold the headboard together
Minwax Stain and Polyacrylic
1” wood screws
220 grit Sandpaper
To finish the wood:
For the finishing stage, we sanded all pieces with 120 grit and 220 grit sandpaper. Then we stained the frame and headboard with two coats of minwax, sanding with 220 grit following each application. Then we covered each piece with three coats of polyacrylic, sanding in between each coat. We didn’t bother doing much of a sanding for the support beam of slats, just a single run through with 220 grit to eliminate any splinters.
To make the bed:
Cut your four sides, 2 @ 77” and attach it to the two 2” * 2”* of the corresponding length. We placed our support rails only an inch from the top of the sides, so that our mattress would be mostly out of the frame.
Place the 4”*4” legs under the support beams at each corner of the bed, and screw through the side support beam into the legs. The support beams should be resting on the legs.
Now attach your 82” width pieces to the side boards with two L brackets for each corner.
Now connect your side and length frame pieces together with two L brackets in every corner.
Take your 2”* 4” * 77” support beam, and screw on two 4”*4”*8” legs each ⅓ of the way down the board. Attach the support beam to the frame with an L bracket at either side.
Take your 15 slats and spread them out onto your support beam each 2.5” -3” apart, and then take any long piece of fabric and staple it to the slats to prevent them from sliding around. Screw your first and last slat into the support beam.
Now your bed frame is assembled!
For the headboard:
Take your four stained and finished 5* 1 ¾” and lay them flat. Then take your 3 1” * 4” * 32” pieces and lay two about 4” in from the start and end of your headboard. Place one in the middle of those two. Attach each to the headboard with 1” woodscrews. Place your headboard up against the wall and either screw it into the frame of the bed, or into the wall. We left ours unattached from the bed-frame in case we ever decided that we wanted to switch the orientation of the bed, making it 77” and 82” long.
And there you have it! A handmade DIY modern bed-frame for $150! Even now that our skills have greatly increased, we still love this frame to pieces. It is simple, clean, and looks so sharp in our space. It is definitely something that I can see sticking around for many years to come.
Thanks for reading!
Josie and Tom