Note: If you’re clicking over from Ana-White.com, you should know that the process here differs slightly from the exact plan you saw there. Instead of a 2″x4″ for the center slat support as described in that plan, here we used a 2″x6″ board – which turned out to be a bit of an overbuild and pushed the height of our mattress up unnecessarily. So the Ana-White.com plan includes a cheaper and just as functional 2″x4″, with a single 2″x8″ leg. The building instructions are all very similar, however, so this post should still be helpful for you!
I know, it’s been a while coming. After sharing our unsuccessful bed shopping, over the summer we decided to take things into our own hands and make the perfect bed frame to replace this sad scene:
Now, we have this (after painting the entire room Behr’s Gray Area) – our bedroom isn’t completely finished yet, but it’s WAY better than empty, white walls and a mattress on the floor:
And the best part? Since we already had all the tools we needed, the whole project only cost about $80!! So we’re sorry this little recap has taken so long – it’s been an busy few months for us. But, we hope it’s been worth the wait…and better late than never, right? So here’s how we did it…
We started by cutting our lumber (you can see the cut list in the budget breakdown below) – we used 2″x8″s for the visible bed frame, then 2″x4″s screwed to the inside of the left and right side 2″x8″ boards to hold up the slats our mattress would eventually rest on. Everything was attached to four tapered 2″x4″ legs, and a center slat support was made from a 2″x6″ board and a few leftover 2″x4″ legs.
So the first step for this little adventure was to taper our 2″x4″x”18″ legs. Which was by far the most stressful part. We Googled a bit, and came up with a DIY jig we could use to make perfectly symmetrical legs:
We just attached two scrap 2″x4″s together in an L-shape, then used a wood screw near the inside corner to form an adjustable resting point for whatever boar we want to taper. If you can’t picture it, here’s how it works:
Theoretically, this was a great idea – and eventually it ended up working out just fine. But getting to that point was a longgg journey that happened to involve a lot of fighting between my dear fiance and I. Mostly, we argued over whether to remove the blade guards from our little table saw (which had to be done in order to fully slice through the 2″x4″s). Chris thought it was dangerous – and I did too, considering that this was the first time either of us had ever used a table saw to begin with – but we knew there wasn’t an alternative because the guards aren’t hinged high enough off the base to allow a 4″ tall piece of wood (like our jig) to pass through. So, eventually we stopped yelling and sacked up, and – CAREFULLY – cut each of the leg tapers. We did one side on each first, with the screw measured out half an inch, then readjusted the screw so it was a full inch out and cut the other side of each, leaving us with a half inch taper on each side:
After all our cuts were made we actually moved on to finishing all our exposed pieces, which included all four legs (the tapered 2″x4″s) and sides (the 2″x8″s). Since we planned on assembling the bed in our bedroom, this was a necessary step before assembly (we didn’t want to be stinking up the house with stain/polyurethane). And it turned out to be the step that took the most time – some aggressive sanding with course, then medium, then fine grit paper, then a coat of stain, then several coats of polyurethane with fine-grit sanding in between each one – which was several weeks in the making. But the time and effort were worth it for a smooth, glossy, perfect “dark walnut” finish.
When the finishing was finally done and we were ready to assemble our bed, we had to first pre-drill all our pocket holes using our new Kreg Jig. There are plenty of pocket hole jigs available, but the Kreg Jig seems to be the most popular and easiest to use, so we bought the starter kit and it worked great. We drilled two holes in the top and bottom of the left and right side frame and slat supports:
Then we attached the unfinished 2″x4″ slat supports to the left and right sides of the frame, using 2.5″ wood screws spaced about 3″ apart – we measured and marked carefully before actually attaching so that the unfinished rail supports sat 1 inch from the bottom of the frame sides (note that the plan on ana-white.com has been modified so this distance is 1/2 inch, though). I also started with a bead of construction adhesive, just to be sure those suckers aren’t going anywhere:
After both side slat supports were attached, we moved on to attaching the four legs to the frame. At first we struggled, but then we realized that flipping everything on its side let us use the floor as a “level” for the sides and legs (making it way easier to line everything up properly). After that it was a simple matter of attaching everything using 2.5 inch Kreg screws in the pre-drilled holes:
Since our floors tend not to be the most level/uniform surfaces on the planet, I did have to improvise at some points to keep everything as square as possible. The solution was just a few scraps of cardboard wedged under low spots where needed:
Once we had both sides done and all four legs attached, we knew we had to move upstairs (everything at this point had been done in the kitchen), since everything thereafter would make the bed too big to fit through any doors. We leaned the old mattress against a wall, and had just enough room to lay everything out. This time, we flipped everything over yet again so the sides were completely upside down. This just made it easier to attach the top and bottom frame portions to each leg, again using 2.5 inch Kreg screws in already-drilled holes:
Then we put together the center rail support, which was just a few scrap 2×4′s attached to the center 2×6 (for the instructions on ana-white.com, the center support is a 2×4 with one 2×6 leg):
The center rail support got attached to the rest of the frame while everything was still upside-down, and we just used a few of the actual rails stacked on each other to support it at the right height:
In our case, we miscalculated the height of the legs, so we actually had to shave down our 2×6 center support a bit (don’t worry, this problem is fixed in the plans posted on ana-white.com by replacing the 2×6 with a 2×4):
The final step was to flip everything over and attach all the mattress rails. Easy peasy, but at this point it was getting late and Ralph did not appreciate that his bed was not snuggle ready:
Luckily it only took a few more minutes to put the mattress on top and make the bed for him!
So that’s how we did it, folks – and we are loving the results! It’s definitely a solid build, and the perfect minimalist design for our cozy little room. Below you’ll find our total budget breakdown, and full plans can be found at ana-white.com!
Final Budget Breakdown:
- 2x8x12 ($11.17) (x2) – $22.34
- 2x4x10 $4.52 (x2) – $9.04
- 2x6x10 $6.74 (x1) – $6.74
- 1x3x8 furring strip $1.45 (x14) – $20.30
- Stain $10.77
- Poly $10.77
- Screws $2.05
- Total: $82.01
This post is linked up with:
Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Feature Friday
The Shabby Nest’s Frugal Friday