Build a Bed


We’ve had plans to make a bed frame for awhile. Big plans.

Of course I love most things on Ana White’s website. If you haven’t seen her site, you definitely should- great DIY build plans that are all free. I had something like this in mind for our queen bed: Because storage is a perennial problem in my life and I will forever blame it on the design of where I live and lack of storage space [however, I am proud to announce that I donated of 3 garbage bags of stuff yesterday].

Now let me fill you in on the situation we had going on that necessitated a new frame. I’m sorry that I was so antsy to get this deathtrap out of our house that I did not take a picture of it for posterity, but I will describe it to the best of my ability.

Our old bed:

Metal frame, nothing fancy. You know the kind- it folds in on itself. Brown, ugly. On risers to accommodate our suitcases underneath…Wait, google can help me out!

You've seen this before...but not like ours.

You’ve seen this before…but not like ours.

That! But held together with zip ties. Yep. Because last time we moved, we damaged the metal clamps I got with the bed when I bought this frame in 2009. And despite ordering 2 different types of replacement sets on Amazon, neither of them would hold the bed together properly and finally Mr. Pandercraft decided that zipties would do an ok short term job.

Except by short term we apparently meant the entire year and a half we’ve lived here. A year and a half of rolling toward each other every night because surprise, zipties are flexible and let the bed bow in the middle. A year and a half of going to bed hoping we didn’t go crashing to the ground in the middle of the night (hey, it only happened twice!).

No more. Either we’re getting old or this setup was aging our backs and finally, after 2 months of what we’ll call “planning” but was really us avoiding doing any work outdoors in Chicago winter, we were ready. I had a 3 day weekend and it was time to get our build on.

If you looked at the plan link above, you can tell I had my usual ambitious “I can make that!” attitude on. I started out like this:



I should have taken a picture of myself at Home Depot the first day we went. After 10 minutes, the aisles on aisles of plywood, 2x4s, and other seemingly random sizes of wood combined with the cost to make my dream bed had me more like this:

After 10 minutes at Home Depot

After 10 minutes at Home Depot

All of that to say we did NOT follow the Ana White plan I wanted. At all. Plywood is surprisingly expensive, and as we all know, I’m cheap at heart. In my frustration I finally told Mr. Pandercraft to just do whatever it was he kept trying to explain to me with words and no pictures. This is a photo-heavy blog because I am a visual learner. Verbally explaining projects like this to me is like…so pointless I don’t even have a good analogy for something equally pointless but funnier.

Anyways, now that I’ve laid out the background lets get to work.

Things you will need:

A plan (harder than it sounds, trust me)

Tape measure


Wood Screws

Wood glue (Gorilla works great)

Coarse sandpaper

Your bed measurements- a queen bed is 60” x 80”

Appropriate lumber for your plan-

1 inch thick “pre-finished shelving” section wood for your base box. We bought 10 total:

8 cut to 60 inches

2 cut to 80 inches (your long sides of the frame)

4 of whatever you want to use for your legs (don’t forget to include your mattress and boxspring height in this calculation)

Paint or wood stain (optional)

Saw (for experienced DIYers only)

Beer (notice that this comes AFTER sawing and anything else dangerous)

[Altogether it cost about $70 for the materials]

Note—If you DO want to ditch your boxspring, I would recommend standard 2x4s, not the type of slats we used. At 1 inch thick you are going to have quite a bit of flex. A 2×4 will not.

Step 1: Build a box

Take your two long boards (80”) and two of your shorts boards (60”) and make a box out of them. We used some Gorilla Glue on the ends, then screwed them together- 2 screws at each corner, then we went around and put a third screw in each just to make it super secure.

Box making.

Box making.

Step 2: Add your support slats

Be sure not to spread these too far apart from each other.

We had to go back to the store and get two more slats.

We had to go back to the store and get two more slats.

Complete box with supports

Complete box with supports. Under our bed actually isn’t so bad… suitcases, box of Christmas decorations, and our air mattress. I was pleasantly surprised.

Step 3: Attach your legs

We bought two thick, oval-shaped boards meant for building a deck, because I liked the shape. They happen to be pressure treated. I just got them because they were aesthetically pleasing and sturdy. We had them cut to 29” because we originally hoped we could ditch our boxspring. Nope, wrong. That’s why we ended up borrowing our landlord’s saw to cut them down further.

File this under do as I say, not as I do.

File this under do as I say, not as I do.

I really recommend letting Home Depot cut your stuff, but if you have a saw and want to do it yourself, do as I say, not as I do- wear appropriate eye and ear protection. That means safety glasses and ear plugs. Don’t be a dumbass. Even sunglasses are better than nothing. Losing an eye could really impede your DIYing future.

See those black marks? He tried to cut some thin rounds for me (another project I have in mind…) but it was too dangerous and I was getting nervous he might lose something important. Like his hand.

Blurry because he still doesn't get how to use my camera....

Blurry is his signature photo style. In his defense, my camera is complicated.

We didn’t use glue for this part, just the screws, because our doorways are pretty small and I was worried that we may need to take the legs off to get it back out. I drilled 3 screws in each leg in a triangle shape (if you put them side by side in a line it is much less secure and will wobble). We Mr. Pandercraft sanded the legs before we put them on.

I bought some nice antique white paint but decided it was too much work to paint I kinda liked the natural wood look.

That’s basically it in a nutshell: make a box, add support slats, attach the legs.

And you have a bed frame!

And you have a bed frame!

There’s enough of a lip that if we really wanted to later, we could add a headboard. Our mattress feels a lot firmer now (which I don’t think I’m thrilled about) but wow, I haven’t slept that solidly in a year and a half.

Did I mention that I also then got a new futon chair for super cheapz and it took us 2 hours to figure out how to re-assemble it? My husband really is a champ. And now my office is super awesome.

It turns into a bed!

It turns into a bed!

And….I have lots of scrap wood. I sense a new project coming on.

One response »

  1. This was a very funny story Ashley!!! Now you just need a bigger bed-spread to hide your suitcases when you put them under there.

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