How to Make a Bed Frame – Free Bed Frame Plans

Thanks for stopping by to check out the DIY Bed Frame Tutorial! In this article you will learn how to make a super simple bed frame for a fraction of what you’d pay at a furniture store. This bed frame is made out of everyday construction grade lumber available at Home Depot or your local lumber yard. The natural color of the cedar really pops with the Minwax Clear Semi-Gloss Polyurethane I used to protect the wood and give it a beautiful finish.  The plans are for a Queen size bed but you can easily modify the width to fit different sized mattresses.

DIY Bed Frame Plans
This project is sponsored by Minwax and I was compensated to create this project. I only promote products I truly believe in and would recommend to my friends and family. Minwax is one of those products. I’ve been using their stains and sealers for years. They have all sorts of stain and sealer options.

Click here to get the Bed Frame Plans!

I now have plans for Twin, Full, and Queen sized Beds!

Gather Supplies, Materials, and Tools

Shopping List:

Minwax ClearSemi-Gloss Fast Drying Polyurethane
Qty 1: Box of qty 100 – 2 1/2 inch long pocket hole screws
Qty 8: 3 inch long wood screws
Qty 1: Box of 1 1/4 inch nails for nail gun – 16 or 18 gauge
Qty 16: 1 1/4 inch long screws to connect slats that support box spring
Qty 16: 2 1/2 inch long screws screws to connect 2×2 boards to inside of rail
Rail Hardware with 1 inch long screws
Wood Glue

Please note: These are dimensional lumber measurements and how the boards are marked at your local lumber yard. The downloadable plans have the converted measurements. For example (a 2×4 board is actually 1 1/2 inches thick by 3 1/2 inches wide). * Please note some of the links in this post are affiliate links. By clicking on the links to buy a product you will be helping support more Free Projects on DIYPETE.com.

QTY 1: 4×4 by 10 feet long – headboard legs
Qty 1: 4×4 by 8 feet long  – footboard legs
Qty 9: 2×4 by 8 feet long – horizontal boards on headboard and footboard
QTY 2: 2X8 by 8 feet long – side rails
Qty 2: 2×2 by 8 feet long – rail slat supports
Qty 10: 1×6 by 6 feet long cedar pickets – 4 for footboard, 6 for headboard
Qty 4: 1×4 by 8 feet long – slats for box spring support

*Make sure to let the wood dry out prior to building. Cedar pickets especially typically have a high moisture content so let them dry a week or so prior to building your headboard to prevent shrinkage.

Tools:

Drill
Impact Drill (Optional)
Pocket Hole Jig
Miter Saw
Table Saw or Circular Saw
Orbital Sander with 120 to 220 grit sandpaper
Sanding Block with 600-800 grit sandpaper
Paint Brush
Pencil
Speed Square
Clamps (optional)
Sharpee Marker
Tape Measure

Safety Equipment

Dust Mask
Eye Protection
Ear Protection
Hearing Protection
Rubber Gloves

Approximate Cost:

Prices will vary depending on where you live and where the wood is purchased. Here is a look at the approximate costs.

Total cost for wood ( Pine ) – $98 | Total project cost using Pine or Fir: $144
Total cost for wood ( Cedar ) – $221  | Total project cost using cedar: $267

Start making your cuts!

Use a miter saw to cut the 4×4 legs down to size. Next cut the 2×4 boards and pickets to length for both the headboard and footboard. The measurements can be found in the FREE DIY Pete Bed Frame plans which you can download in PDF format.

How to make a simple bed frame
Layout the newly cut pieces for the footboard to get an idea of how it will look.

Making a bed frame
Sand the wood

Use an orbital sander with 120 grit sandpaper. Smooth out the surfaces and go around the ends to clean up rough edges. If you are using cedar pickets you’ll need to spend more time sanding them since they usually have a rough finish from the mill. Simply sand the boards until they are somewhat smooth but still have texture.

Sand a Bed Frame
It’s pocket hole time!

Use a pocket hole jig to create pocket holes in the 2×4 boards. The short boards will need 2 pocket holes on each end Three of the longer boards will need 2 pocket holes on each end. simple kreg jig projects
The perimeter boards will need pocket holes in the opposite direction as well. Simply put the board in the jig like I’m doing in the photo below. They’ll look like the pocket holes with the arrows pointing to them once complete.

pocket holes
Connect the boards

Use 2 1/2 inch pocket hole screws to connect the boards. Make sure to use wood glue on the ends of each short board.

is it hard to make a bed frame
Attach the legs to the 2×4 frame using 2 1/2 inch pocket holes screws and wood glue. I used 1 inch thick boards as spacers to prop the 2×4’s off the table. This way the frame is centered in the middle of the 4×4 legs. Please refer to my video tutorial for more information.

4x4 bed frame
Connect the top board from the underside using the 2 1/2 inch pocket hole screws.

diy footboard
Use wood glue and pocket hole screws to connect the lower board.

Wood Bed Frame Plans
Add fence pickets

Glue and nail the pickets in place. I used 1 1/4 inch long 16 gauge nails. Use 2 nails at each location. I used 4 pickets. If they don’t fit perfectly you can always cut one down in width using a table saw.

DIY Cedar Bed Frame
Build the headboard

Lay out the boards for the headboard.

cedar bed frame plans
The headboard is made using the same methods we used for the footboard. Drill pocket holes and connect them to form your frame.

how to make a headboard
Prop the frame up with 1 inch boards (spacers) so the frame is centered in the middle of the 4×4.

DIY headboard plans
In addition to attaching the top 2×4 board from the underside with 2 1/2 inch pocket screws I added two 3 inch long wood screws from the top on each end going through the 2×4 and into the 4×4. You could fill the holes in with wood putty to hide them if you’d like.


Attach the cedar pickets. I used 5 full pickets and ripped a 6th picket down to about 2 inches in width on my table saw to get a perfect fit.

cedar picket bed frame
Make the rails

Cut the 2×8 boards down to the length noted in the plans. Cut the 2×2 board to the same length.

bed frame rails
Connect the 2×2 to the 2×8 using 2 1/2 inch long wood screws and wood glue.  The 2×2 board will hold the box spring in place.

bed frame rails
Here is what the headboard and footboard look like prior to finishing with a Minwax sealer.

cedar bed frame plans
Seal or stain / seal your project

Now it is time to choose a finish for your project. For the DIY bed frame I chose Minwax Clear Semi-Gloss Polyurethane. This is an oil based sealer that will bring out the rich colors of the wood. The knots will darken and the wood will have a warm glow to it. For those of you who like a more raw type finish I’d highly recommend the Minwax Waterbased Polyurethane. I used the Minwax Waterbased Polyurethane on my recent DIY barndoor project. Apply the sealer with a good quality brush. Wear a respirator while applying the sealer or make sure to be in a very well ventilated area.


Brush 1 coat of the Minwax polyurethane on the headboard, footboard, and rails.


This product is very easy to apply. Brush back and forth and don’t get it on too thick. If you have a few drips here and there simply brush them out.

how to seal a bed frame
Lightly sand between coats

Allow the sealer plenty of time to dry. Dry time will vary depending on the temperature and humidity. I was able to do a light sanding with 600-800 grit sandpaper after about 12  hours. Sanding lightly will smooth out the surface and remove rough areas.

sand after second coat
Apply a second coat of sealer

After sanding, apply a very light second coat of sealer. Let the final coat dry and keep the bed frame out in the garage for a few days to air out before bringing into your home.

second coat of polyurethane
Add bed frame rail hardware

Attach rail hardware. I found some super affordable bed frame rail hardware here. I measured 1 3/4 inch down from the top of the 2×8 board and put a mark. Next, I placed the rail hardware at the mark and close to flush with the end of the board. It can be flush or about 1/16 of an inch in to help give a more snug fit. Attach using 1 inch screws. The middle hole is for a set screw that can be used once the hardware is installed and the frame is assembled.

 

bed frame hardware
The lower part of the rail starts 9 inches up from the floor. Use some of your left over 4×4 board to make 9 inch spacers to prop your rails off the ground and hold them at the desired height. Then grab the L shaped piece and put it over the flat plate of the rail. Next, slide the L bracket up so the buttons move into the small groove and closer to the 4×4. Then use your pencil to mark on the 4×4 where the bracket should be placed. For more clarification please refer to the DIY bed frame video tutorial.

How to add cedar bed rails
Attach the L bracket to the 4×4 with three 1 inch wood screws. Make sure the head of the screw is flush with the bracket.

best bed rail hardware
Test fit the hardware. It should fit firmly in place.

installing bed frame hardware
Here is a look at the final product while airing out for a couple days in the garage. I test fit 4 wood slats that will help support the box springs.

diy pete bed frame
Install DIY Bed Frame

Carry the headboard, footboard, and rails into the bedroom.


Attach Rails

Attach the rails to the footboard and headboard. Simply lift into place and line the buttons up with the holes. Push down on the rail to lock it in place. Use a rubber mallet to help if needed. I’d recommend using a Sharpee marker to mark the boards in case you ever move and need to re-assemble the bed frame.

bed frame hardware rail tutorial
Secure wood slats

Evenly space the 1×4 wood slats. I’d recommend pre-drilling 1 or to holes on each end of each slat. Then attach to the 2×2 using 1 1/2 inch long wood screws.

how to set up a bed frame
Here is a look at the inner side of the footboard.

wood footboard tutorial
The slats are spaced evenly and are ready to help support the box springs.

Slats for DIY wood Bedframe
Put the box springs in place.

wood bed frame with box springs
Enjoy your new bed frame!

wood bed frame

Thank you for taking the time to look through the DIY Pete Bed Frame Tutorial. I hope it inspires you to take action and make some DIY projects for your home! Please post project photos below and share this post with your friends and family. Cheers from Montana! – Pete

Download the FREE Bed Frame plans to get started today!

  • JD

    Hi Pete, I was going to attempt to make a california king bed, what should the inside dimensions of the frame be?

    • DIYPETE

      The inside dimensions for a california king would be 85″ long and 73 1/2″ wide. Good Luck!

  • Tom

    How do I actually download the plans from gumroad?

    • DIYPETE

      If you click on one of the images near the top that say queen size, twin size, or full size, you will be brought to the gumroad page for the plans. Once on that page, click the button that says “I want this” and you will be able to download the plans

  • Martin Contreras

    Looking on plans for a kitchen island

  • Caitlyn Peterson

    Hi pete I was wondering if you could tell me the dimensions for a full size bed frame? Ive been trying to figure it out but I don’t want to mess it all up.

    • DIYPETE

      Hi Caitlyn,
      Full size beds are 54″ wide by 74″ tall so the frame for a full be should be 55″ x 75″ on the inside to fit the bed.

      Cheers!

      • Julie Grodsky

        hi there! going to attempt for a full bed as well! would you mind sending a converted list for lengths of wood pieces? The bed in your tutorial looks like a full!

        • DIYPETE

          I have just updated the post with plans for full and twin sized mattresses! you can go directly to the plans for a full on my Gumroad here https://gum.co/ERVCb Cheers!

  • Chen Katz

    Hi Pete,
    Thanks for the great and clear plans!
    i want to build this bed for me and my husband but we want to make it stronger so I am thinking about adding another one or two legs in the middle. can you suggest how to do it?

    thanks,
    Chen

    • DIYPETE

      Hi Chen,
      You could attach short sections of 2×4 that are the exact distance from the support underneath to the ground.
      Cheers!

  • Michael Barnett

    Hi Pete, I’m interested in modifying this to make a loft bed for my daughter. How high would you suggest I install the rail hardware from the floor to have adequate room below the bed for a desk, dresser, play area, etc?

    • DIYPETE

      Hi Michael,
      This won’t be a totally satisfactory answer but I think the height is highly dependent. You should try to make it as high as you can to give you daughter about 12″ of head room underneath. But you also have to make sure that there is enough room up top for her to get up onto the bed and move around.

      I do have a project for building a bunk bed coming in the near future!

      Cheers!

  • Thomas J. Fulnecky

    Hello Pete! I really like this bed. I am planning on building a Queen and a king size bed. I have a problem here in Thailand 4×4 is hard to get it has to be milled and it costs a bunch. i have to put two pieces of wood together to come close 3×3 the rest of the wood I can get. What type of table saw do you have? I have a Stanly the table top is not that big I do not like it. What would you suggest to up grade to a larger top? My miter saw does not come forward like yours. I wish I would have thought this out before I bought it. Do you have any DIY projects building out door chairs? Thanks for your help..

    • DIYPETE

      Thomas,
      Two boards attached together should be an adequate replacement for the 4×4 legs, as long as they are securely attached.

      I have a ridgid 4512 table saw and I like it, but they are only available at Home Depot so I don’t know if you will be able to access one in Thailand. You will have to do some research and see what is available to you. Also, you could build a table for your table saw so that it has a wider cut table surface for your material.

      As for a miter saw, it’s ok that it isn’t a sliding miter saw. If the board is too wide to cut you can always flip the board around after you initial cut and cut from the other side.

      I have done several outside chair projects:
      Patio chair – http://www.diypete.com/diy-patio-chair-plans/
      Double patio chair – http://www.diypete.com/how-to-build-a-double-chair-bench-with-table-free-plans/

      Hope this was helpful! Cheers!

  • Matthew Marsiglia

    Great straight forward instructions. I plan on making 2 of these bed frames. Which kreg jig did you use for this?

  • Mike Samms

    how long e the 4×4 legs

  • John

    Thanks for the write-up, I went with “premium” brackets and it was pretty easy for the most part.
    https://www.amazon.com/Premium-No-Mortise-Rail-Brackets-Complete/dp/B01LXAF4DQ/

  • Jason Prater

    Mind if I ask what program you use to make your plans with?

    • Absolutely Jason! I use Google Sketchup – (the free version) It works great! Cheers

      • Jason Prater

        BTW Great job on the bed, I’m planing on making one based of this. You do some great work sir. Thanks again.

        • DIYPETE

          Thanks Jason!

  • Aye Uje

    Woooah… NICE

  • Nicholas Rudelich

    Cant wait to get started on this project, have needed an actual bed for years. So Im guessing for a king size just ad 16 inches to the horizontal pieces? I LOVE this blog.

    • DIYPETE

      Thanks Nicholas! Yes, the modifications are pretty straight forward. I’d add additional strength to support the larger mattress. Cheers!

  • John Allwine

    Do you have any concerns about wood expansion? It seems the orientation of the 2x4s (laid flat) and the pocket screws could lead to cracking over time. I have very limited wood working experience, but have been reading about it and am just curious.

  • Joey Appleby

    I finished my bed a few days ago, but when I went to paint the bed this morning, one of the 4x4s has warped quite a bit. Is there anything I could do to bend it back? Perhaps with rachet straps? Its only the lower part of the headboard 4x4s.

  • srm330

    What size bed is this?

    • LonnieG

      Queen