How ’bout we talk beds.  Specifically the beds Ben and I built for our boys.  You already saw them in action and we’re so happy with them.  At the beginning of the room make over, I threw out the idea of getting Ikea beds.  Sadly, Montana doesn’t have an Ikea.  So we had three options.  One, wait until our next trip to Minnesota.  Two, buy the beds and pay shipping to get them here.  Three, build something.  After crunching the numbers we realized building would be almost the same price as the Ikea bed and slat system.

To make two extra long twin beds we needed:

Three 4 by 4 by eight foot pine posts (we ordered four because we worried about the look.  Good thing we did because one corner was completely gone on one)

Six 2 by 8 by eight foot pine boards

Two 4 by 8 foot OSB sheets

Six 2 by 4 boards

6 inch long screws


We cut four posts at 20 inches long for the footboard and four more at 40 inches to make the headboard.  Then cut four 2 by 8’s to 39 inches to connect the posts together.


Two more 2 by 8 rails at 81 inches make up the sides.


Ben drilled staggered pilot holes in the posts.  The screws go completely through the post and in a few inches of each 2 by 8.


Each rail connects to the inside of each corner post.


To support the matterss Ben cut 2 by 4 boards in half length wise and nailed them into the rails.


Four more 39 inch 2 by 4 pieces go across, resting on the rail supports.


Which holds the OSB in place before putting the matterss on.


Oh, I should mention I sanded all the pieces with 120 grit paper before giving it two coats of Minwax Polycrylic.  Between coats I sanded with 400 grit paper, just to smooth the raised grain.


Now for the headboards.  Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of this because we both had to stretch the upholstery fabric.  Ben cut a sheet of 3/4 inch plywood to 19 by 39 inches, then nailed more cut 2 by 4 strips to all outside edges.  Two by 2 pine would also work.  Then we wrapped a foam matterss pad (cheaper than foam by the yard!) over the front, top and bottom, leaving the sides clear.  Then we stretched the fabric over, stapling to the back under sides of the frame.


Three inch screws from the back into the posts hold the headboards in place.

All the lumber cost $120, another $12 for the fabric, and we already had the screws, foam, and clear coat.  So, basically the same price as the Ikea beds, without hauling or shipping, but these beds are twice as beefy.  They’re extra long twin instead of a normal twin, too.  And took only two days to make.  Can’t say that about some Ikea items.  Ha!

13 thoughts on “Build-A-Bed

  1. Wonderful beds! Do you use bunk bed mattresses with built-in springs/support? Love the style and simple lines!

    1. Hi Carolyn!

      Thank you for your compliments! These are normal mattresses, just getting support from the OSB platform. So they’re a little softer, but they are on the firm side.


  2. Great idea on the foam mattress pad. We used the foam mattress pad to add padding when we made our dog a bed.

    1. Hey Lisa!

      Using a foam pad in a dog bed is super smart! Did you cut it down or just fold it to fit? The mattress pad worked perfectly for the headboards, too.


  3. They look great! I love the solid mattress bed because a) they can’t break the bed by jumping on it and b) toys and stuffies won’t fall through the cracks. They’re going to have a fun room!

  4. My dad made bunk beds for my brother like that when we were little, exactly with the OSB under piece. Warning, the OSB and/or the mattress is going to get moldy. Trust me! The mattress (and boxspring) need air circulation, that’s why platform bed frames and Ikea have those spaced rails/slats because mattress can’t be places on solid surfaces. Picardy Project just dealt with a similar issue, they had their mattress on the floor and when they moved the bed, the rug under it was moldy and had to get thrown out.

    Maybe simply drilling some little holes on the ISB will solve this?

  5. 14 AUG 2015: Found you on Pinterest. I’m planning on making this bed this weekend, but I don’t see how you fastened the rail supports – I’m assuming they are screwed in from INSIDE the bed frame – otherwise, the screw heads would show on the exterior side of the frame – which would mess up the cosmetic appearance of the bed. Did I guess right ;-)?

    1. Hi Lance!

      Sorry this is late, but you assumed correctly! The rail supports are screwed into the side rails from the inside, hiding the screws. Then the cross supports are set across, with the plywood on top. Glad you found this tutorial useful!!! 🙂


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