Ok, so it’s been a little while since I’ve done a major building project. Laree and I have been looking for a queen sized bed for one of the children and haven’t found anything that we like or want to spend the money on. So here’s my next project!
I’m doing a variation of a plan from Ana White’s website. While the basic construction of the headboard and footboard are the same (except for the height of the headboard), I’ve modified the rail system and built it to accommodate a box spring.
As with the table, I built a SketchUp 3D model of the bed which you can download here so you can see the assembly as well as exact measurements. If you don’t know how to use SketchUp but want to learn, I’m developing a series of videos on the basics!
I’ll try and detail everything as well as some optional items and techniques.
- (4) 1” x 8” x 8’ Untreated* Pine Board (For Panels)
- (8) 1” x 4” x 8’ Pine Board (Trim for Panels)
- (2) 4” x 4” x 8’ Beam (Posts)
- (4) 2” x 4” x 8’ Boards (Top of Panels and Siderail Boxspring Supports)
- (6) 2″ x 4″ x 8′ (For Boxspring Supports)
- (2) 2” x 6” x 8’ Boards (Top of Headboard & Footboard)
- (2) 2″ x 8″ x 8″ Boards (For Siderails)
- (16) 4 1/2″ or 5″ Screws**
- Bed Rail Fasteners
- (18) #8 1 3/4″ screws (for bed rail fasteners)
- 1 1/4″ brad nails (for nail gun)
- Chop/Miter Saw
- Skil Saw
- Measuring tape
- Carpenter’s square
- Drill with 3/8″ bit, 1/2″ bit & #8 counter sink bit (here are some options)
- Nail gun
- Wood glue
- Sander & sandpaper
- Chisels (for mortising the bed rail hardware)
- Biscuit Joiner (this is optional and I’ll discuss it more below. What’s a biscuit Joiner anyway, you ask?)
*Note that untreated 4″ x 4″ posts can be hard to find at Home Depot & Lowes. I found a local lumber company that was able to get them for me.
**You can find these at Home Depot in the fastener section. There are a couple options that I’ve found which you can link to here and here. You can also use lag bolts as well. I used the GRK Fasteners in this project.
- (8) 1” x 8” @ 25” Headboard Panel
- (8) 1” x 8” @ 15” Footboard Panel
- (8) 1” x 4” @ 58” Trim for Panels
- (2) 4” x 4” @ 49” Headboard Post
- (2) 4” x 4” @ 21” Footboard Post
- (2) 2” x 4” @ 65” Top of Panels and Posts (recommend taking an exact measurement before cutting)
- (2) 2” x 6” @ 67” Top of Headboard and Footboard (add 2″ to the measurement taken above)
- (2) 2″ x 4″ @ 82″ Side Rail Box Spring Support
- (2) 2″ x 8″ @ 82″ Side Rails
I’ve also created a printable PDF version of this plan that also includes the accompanying bench, which you can purchase for $5 (it’s about 22 pages in all). It’s all the info from the blog posts, but I’ve compiled it for easy printing and included shopping lists, cut diagrams and helpful pictures. Basically, if you want a handy printable version so you don’t have to get sawdust all over your computer, you might consider purchasing this download. Note that this is for the queen version. If you’re looking for a king version, you can get it here.
My first step was to create the panels for the headboard and footboard. Since the panels were 8″ (actually the boards are 7 1/4″ in width – see this page for nominal lumber sizes) my miter saw wouldn’t cut them all the way through, so I had to use a skil saw. It’s a bit of a challenge to get the panel boards cut exactly square, so use a guide, clamp everything down and take your time.
Once the panels are cut, then I cut the trim. I found its a good idea to measure the panels before you cut the trim. Turned out that not all my panels were exactly 7 1/4″. A couple of them measured slightly wider (I used cheap lumber from Home Depot) so I needed to trim about 1/4″ of one of the panels using my table saw to get the panels exactly 58″.
Also, before assembling the panels, I sanded the edges to get a slightly beveled edge.
The original plans didn’t call for biscuits between the panels, but I wanted to give the headboard and footboard both a bit of additional stability. I used #10 biscuits and glued the panels together. You could also use pocket holes to attach the panels firmly, but I chose biscuits because I didn’t want the holes in the back of the panels. Either way will work, particularly if you’re going to paint the bed. A biscuit joiner is kind of expensive at around $160 (here’s the DeWalt one that I bought), but it’s turned out to be a great investment that I use on almost every project that I do.
Next step is assembling the panels. Glue and nail the trim to the panels. Then its time to cut the 4×4 posts for the headboard and footboard.
I could not find untreated 4×4 posts at Home Depot or Lowes, so I went to a local lumber shop (it was a little hard to find) where I was able to order them. I read several posts on the internet about not using treated lumber for the bed, which makes sense to me since I don’t want me or my family sleeping that close to all those chemicals!
Be sure to pre-drill holes into the 4×4 posts. If you’ve got access to a drill press, that will help you keep the holes for the lag bolts at exactly 90°. A drill guide is a cheaper alternative and the next best thing. If you don’t have either, make sure you use a drill that has a level in the handle and take it slow so you can make sure to get a straight 90° hole. I countersunk the lag bolt holes so I can fill in with wood filler so they won’t be visible.
Now its time to attach the 4×4 posts. This is another part that can be pretty tricky. Unless you have a clamp that’s large enough to clamp the full 65″ (I don’t have one) you will find that when you try and screw the lag bolts into the headboard, you get some unsightly gaps between the posts and panels. It’s not possible, unless you’ve got superhuman strength, to hold the posts tight enough against the panels to get a tight fit. Remember to also use glue. I used four 5″ lag bolts for each post.
Once the posts are tightly attached to the panels, then measure, cut, sand and attach the top 2x4s and 2x6s for the top of the headboard and footboard. When looking at plans on the internet, I ran across some considerable discussion about what type of bolts to use and where to get them. I used four 5″ GRK fasteners for each post. You can find these at Home Depot in the fastener section (here and here are a couple options). You can also use lag bolts as well. I countersunk the screws and will fill them in with wood filler so the holes aren’t visible.
Once the headboard and footboard are assembled, it’s time to start working on the bed rails.
I measured and measured and measured, then cut! Fortunately, we have a couple other queen sized beds so I had some actual box springs to measure to make sure I got the correct length with a little wiggle room (remember the 2×6 on top of the footboard will extend an inch or more to the inside so you’ll want to compensate for the box spring and mattress length.
One of the big differences between my plan and the Ana White plan is how I attach the bed rails. I wanted a bed that we can disassemble with relative ease (any way you cut it, this is a heavy piece of furniture!), so instead of bolting the rails to the posts I am using bed rail fasteners. You can also find these at a Woodcraft or Rockler store if there’s one near you. This also means that I was meticulous about the width of the headboard. I bring this up because if you read the comments on the original Ana White plan, there’s some discussion about the precise width of the 1x8s used to make the panel. Using my plan where I attach bedrails, the actual 7 1/4″ width (not 7 1/2″ as stated in the plan) works out perfectly. That’s because we’re putting the hardware in the middle of the posts, not bolting the rails to the inside of the posts.
The complicated part of using the bed rail hardware is that I need to create a mortise for the hardware.
My next steps are in a new post that you can find here. And here’s the rest of the story:
- Part 1 – Making the Headboard & Cutting the Bed Rails
- Part 2 – Bed Rails and Supports
- Part 3 – Finishing the Bed
If you’ve found this post helpful of if you’re making a bed of your own, I’d love to hear your comments. Thanks!
If you like this plan, you can either print out this entire blog post or purchase my PDF print version for $5.
The print version includes a handy shopping list, cut list and lots of diagrams of the project (it’s about 22 pages in all). You certainly don’t need it to build the bed, but if you want a nicely formatted printout to use in your workshop/basement/garage and to take to Home Depot or Lowes when shopping for supplies, you might consider it. Note that this is for the queen version. If you’re looking for a king version, you can get it here.
Check out my readers’ projects here!
- Ronnie’s farmhouse bed project (& Christmas Tree Defender).