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.
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.
I now have plans for Twin, Full, and Queen sized Beds!
Gather Supplies, Materials, and Tools
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
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.
Impact Drill (Optional)
Pocket Hole Jig
Table Saw or Circular Saw
Orbital Sander with 120 to 220 grit sandpaper
Sanding Block with 600-800 grit sandpaper
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.
Layout the newly cut pieces for the footboard to get an idea of how it will look.
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.
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. If you need help understanding Kreg Jig settings, check out my buddy Ty's free resource and Kreg Jig settings calculator here.
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.
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.
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.
Connect the top board from the underside using the 2 1/2 inch pocket hole screws.
Use wood glue and pocket hole screws to connect the lower board.
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.
Build the headboard
Lay out the boards for the headboard.
The headboard is made using the same methods we used for the footboard. Drill pocket holes and connect them to form your frame.
Prop the frame up with 1 inch boards (spacers) so the frame is centered in the middle of the 4×4.
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.
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.
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.
Here is what the headboard and footboard look like prior to finishing with a Minwax sealer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Test fit the hardware. It should fit firmly in place.
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.
Install DIY Bed Frame
Carry the headboard, footboard, and rails into the bedroom.
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.
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.
Here is a look at the inner side of the footboard.
The slats are spaced evenly and are ready to help support the box springs.
Put the box springs in place.
Enjoy your new 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!