There appears to be nothing Jenn Largesse can’t make. She’s the author of the excellent DIY blog Build Basic, and this DIY bed frame project is typical of her excellent work. It’s attractive and well designed, using tongue and groove planks for a charming beadboard look. This DIY bed frame is a fun project, too.
Just follow Jenn’s step-by-step instructions.
DIY Bed Frame Tutorial
When The Home Depot challenged me to create something using their 1 x 6 Tongue and Groove Pattern Stock Boards, I couldn’t stop brainstorming and writing down the endless possibilities. The way the boards lock together make them look like one seamless panel, while the groove detail creates the illusion of much thinner individual boards.
Finally I decided to make a DIY bed frame, and went back and forth, even on building day, on whether to orient the “beadboard” horizontally or vertically—both looked amazing. In the end, the simple twin bed frame comes together quickly enough that you’ll have plenty of DIY time leftover to decide on the direction of the detail.
- Miter Saw
- Pneumatic Nail Gun
- Pocket Hole Jig
- Right Angle Clamp
- (5) 1 x 6 in. x 8 ft. Tongue and Groove Pattern Stock Board
- (2) 4 x 4 in. x 8 ft. Post
- (7) 1 x 6 x 8 ft. Boards
- (2) 1 x 4 x 8 ft. Boards
- (1) 1 x 5 x 8 ft. Boards
- (2) 1 x 3 x 8 ft. Boards
- (2) 2 x 3 x 8 ft. Boards
- (2) 3 inch zinc-plated corner braces (2 pack)
- Wood glue
- 1¼-inch Coarse Thread Pocket Screws
- 1¼-inch Brad Nails
- 1 x 6 Tongue and Groove Pattern Board – 10 @ 34½ inches
- 4 x 4 Leg (Footboard) – 2 @ 29¾ inches
- 4 x 4 Leg (Headboard) – 2 @ 50¼ inches
- 1 x 3 Gusset (Footboard) – 2 @ 20¾ inches
- 1 x 3 Gusset (Headboard) – 3 @ 31¼ inches
- 1 x 4 Rail – 4 @ 34½ inches
- 1 x 5 Cap – 2 @ 43½ inches
- 1 x 6 Side Rail – 2 @ 76 inches
- 2 x 3 Cleat – 2 @ 76 inches
- 1 x 6 Support Slat – 10 @ 40 inches
Step 1 – Prep the Boards
Using the cut list above, cut the posts and boards to length. Using a pocket hole jig, drill two pocket holes at the ends of each 1 x 4 rail. Additionally, drill four pocket holes along the length of the footboard gussets and two of the headboard gussets.
Step 2 – Attach the Top Rail to a Footboard Leg
Lay a footboard leg on the work surface. Apply wood glue to one end of a 1 x 4 rail, and then position against the leg so that it sets flush with the top of the post. Using a drill/driver and 1¼-inch pocket screws, fasten the rail to the leg. I’m using Kreg’s Right Angle Clamp, which nestles into a pocket hole to hold the rail against the leg, but you can just as easily clamp both pieces securely to the work surface to hold them in place.
Step 3 – Attach the Bottom Rail to the Footboard Leg
On the inside of the leg, mark a line 20¾ inches from the top of the post. Apply wood glue to the end of a 1 x 4 rail. Position the rail against the leg so that its bottom edge rests on the line. Secure the board using 1¼-inch pocket screws.
Step 4 – Attach Both Rails to the Second Leg
Mark a line 20¾ inches from the top of the remaining footboard leg. Place the leg alongside the exposed ends of the rails attached in steps 2 and 3. Apply glue to the end of each rail, and then position them against the leg. Screw each rail to the leg.
Step 5 – Join the Tongue and Groove Boards
To create the beadboard “panel”, lay two 1 x 6 pattern stock boards side-by-side with their patterned face up. Now slide the boards together so that the tongue of the first board sets into the groove along the edge of the second board. Add two additional tongue and groove boards in the same way for a total of four boards.
Step 6 – Secure the Tongue and Groove Boards
Flip the joined tongue and groove boards over so that their patterned face is down. Adjust the boards lengthwise until their ends set flush. Apply glue to the backside of a footboard gusset. Position the gusset on the assembled boards along one edge, with the pocket holes facing outward. Using a pneumatic nail gun, drive two 1¼-inch finish nails through the gusset and into each tongue and groove board. Repeat on the opposite end to secure the second footboard gusset.
Step 7 – Place the Panel
Apply glue to the backside of the footboard rails and to the ends of the assembled panel. Place the panel face down onto the rails. Position the panel so that it runs flush with the top edge of the upper rail and the bottom edge of the lower rail.
Step 8 – Secure the Panel
Using a drill/driver, drive 1¼-inch pocket screws through the pocket holes in each gusset and into the footboard legs.
Step 9 – Add the Cap
Flip the assembled footboard face up on the work surface. Apply wood glue to the top of each leg and gusset. Position the 1 x 5 cap against the top of the assembly so that it runs flush with its back edge. Adjust the board lengthwise until there is equal overhang at each end. Using a nail gun, shoot 1¼-inch finish nails through the cap and into the legs and gussets. Fill the nail holes with wood filler.
Step 10 – Assemble the Headboard
Repeat Steps 2-9 to assemble the headboard, this time using six 1 x 6 tongue and groove pattern stock boards, and marking the line for the bottom rail at 31¼ inches from the top of the legs. For added stability, nail a third, centered gusset on the backside of the headboard.
Step 11 – Nail the Cleats to Side Rails
Apply a bead of wood glue to the face of a 2 x 3 cleat. Place the cleat onto the face of a 1 x 6 side rail, flush with its bottom edge. Flip the assembly over. Using a scrap block to steady the rail on the cleat, nail through the face of the 1 x 6 rail and into the 2 x 3 cleat to securely join the parts. Repeat to create the second side rail assembly.
Step 12 – Add the Corner Braces
For this bed, we’re permanently attaching the side rails to the headboard and footboard using corner braces. If you’d like the rails to be removable, opt for hinges with a removable pin, or bed frame hardware. For our assembly, attach the 2½-inch corner braces as shown using a drill/driver and the wood screws provided with the braces.
Step 13 – Attach the Side Rails to the Headboard and Footboard
Mark a line on each leg 10 inches from its base. Clamp a scrap block below each line. Rest the rails on the blocks between the footboard and headboard with their cleats facing inward. Using a drill/driver and the screws provided with the corner braces, secure the braces to each leg.
Step 14 – Place the Mattress Support Slats
Place the 1 x 6 mattress support slats onto the cleats between the rails. Evenly space the rails, and then screw to the cleats, if desired.
The Completed DIY Bed Frame
As the daughter of a Michigan carpenter and an English teacher, Jennifer Largesse has been honing her passion for instructional woodworking all her life. Her years as a magazine editor and video producer in New York City led to the launch of her blog, Build Basic. Through step-by-step instruction in her weekly carpentry projects, Jenn aims to prove you don’t need fancy tools and advanced training to create high-quality furniture and décor—you just have to know the basics!
Visit The Home Depot’s Lumber and Composites Department for tongue and groove planks and other pattern stock board for your next DIY project.
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