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Follow these steps to learn how to build your own platform bed, with helpful tips that make this DIY project a breeze. Cut from plywood and customizable to any size mattress, this platform bed plan eliminates the need for a box spring and adds lots of storage options.
Cut the Wood for the Base
Cut the 3/4-in. plywood into smaller sections to create the side-case bottoms/tops (A), dividers (B), side backs (C), end-case top/bottom (D), and the end-case back (E) (Project Diagram, Cutting Diagram and Cutting List). If you are building the queen- or king-size bed, there is an extra divider, and it’s used in the end case.
Tip: Each size bed has a different Cutting List and Cutting Diagram. These photos and instructions are for a queen size; included in these instructions are the variations to build full and twin sizes
Frame the Base
Align the ends of the tops (A) and the bottom panels (A) of the side cases on sawhorses and lay out the divider locations. A framing square will help transfer the marks onto both plywood sheets to ensure proper alignment during assembly.
Several plywood edges on the tops/bottoms (A) and dividers (B) will be exposed in the final project and need to be covered with a veneer edge tape (Project Diagram, Drawing 1) to create a finished look. After marking the edges that need to be covered, cut veneer tape pieces an in. longer than those edges.
Use a household iron, on the cotton setting, to activate the glue, and press the veneer into position on the edges of the panels. A piece of painter’s tape can secure the veneer until you activate the adhesive.
Sand Down Veneer Edges
Allow the veneer tape to cool for a few minutes, trim the edges with a utility knife, and sand the panels and edging. A sanding sponge creates a softened edge on the veneer to reduce any sharp edges. A random-orbit sander with 180-grit sandpaper smooths the plywood panels.
Apply glue to a divider (B), position it against the bottom (A), and clamp in position (Project Diagram, Drawing 1). Each divider will be secured with three screws and glue. To ensure a square assembly, drill a countersunk pilot hole and drive a screw 1 in. from the front edge of the panel, and then use a square to ensure the dividers are 90 degrees to the front edge of the bottom (A); secure with the remaining two screws. Repeat for the other dividers.
Complete the Case
Glue and screw the top (A) to the case (Project Diagram, Drawing 1). Secure the side back (C) to the dividers and top/bottom (A) using screws but no glue (when finishing the case it will be easier to remove the back to access the inside of the case). The case back attaches flush to the headboard and one end of the case; the remaining opening near the foot of the bed is covered by the end case. When the first case is complete, assemble the second side case and then build the end case using these same steps.
Cut Headboard Panels
Cut the headboard panel (F), stiles (G), and rail (H) to size (Project Diagram, Cutting Diagram and Cutting List) and assemble using glue and screws (Project Diagram, Drawing 2). Cut the 2-in.-wide veneer edging and iron in place on the headboard. Trim and sand away the excess.
Trim & Sand Veneer
Trim the veneer with a utility knife after the glue cools and sand the assembled headboard smooth.
Cut Side & End Rails
Cut the side rails (I) and end rail (J) to length and sand smooth (Project Diagram, Cutting Diagram and Cutting List).
Cut Side Supports
Cut the side supports (K) from 2 x 4s, the slats (L) from 1 x 4s, and the platform (M) from 3/4-in.-thick plywood (Project Diagram, Cutting Diagram and Cutting List). The plywood needs no edging, and the parts do not require a finish.
Tip: For a twin-size bed, no slats are needed under the platform. For a king-size bed, you’ll need two platform pieces to cover the larger opening.
Apply the Stain
Remove the case backs from the base cabinets and apply the stain of your choice to these parts, then stain the headboard assembly and the rails. After the stain dries, apply three coats of satin polyurethane. After each coat cures, sand the clear finish with a 320-grit sanding sponge, wipe with a tack cloth, and apply the next coat. When the final coat cures, reinstall the case backs.
Attach Side Supports
Apply the side supports (K) to the back of the side cases (Project Diagram, Drawing 3) -- the top edge of the 2 x 4s should be 1 1/2 in. below the top of the cases and flush with each end of the case side backs (C). For the twin-size bed, the slats will not be used; position the side supports 3/4 in. below the top edge of the case.
Add Side Rails
Add the side rails (I) to the side cases. The rails should be flush on the headboard end of the cases and overhang the side and footboard end of the cases by 1/2 in.
Attach the Headboard
Move the components into the bedroom and position the cases at the bed location about a foot from the wall. Slip the headboard into position so it extends 1 in. beyond the side cases and 1/2 in. beyond the side rails (I) (Project Diagram, Drawing 4). Drill two 3/8-in. holes through the side case dividers (B) and the headboard assembly. Connect the headboard using 1/4-20 connector bolts and nuts tightened using two Allen wrenches. Tightening the connector bolts will square the bed assembly.
Attach the End Rail
Install the end rail across the foot of the bed between the side rails so it overhangs the end of the bed by 1/2 in. (Project Diagram, Drawing 4).
Install Slats (Queen Bed Only)
Rest evenly spaced slats (L) on the side supports and place the platform (M) on the slats (Project Diagram, Drawing 4).
Note: The twin bed does not require slats.
Add the Finishing Touches
Slide the bed against the wall and add the mattress.
Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes, and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors, or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures.
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