Take it from me, building a bed – even a DIY king size bed with upholstered panels – is NOT as difficult as you might think. With plans from Rogue Engineer as my jumping off point, I was able to build this Rachel Ray knock-off for about $255 US!
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It is just plain embarrassing how long this project took me – all because I was too intimidated to try! As you may or may not know, I have been sleeping on the floor for the past 6 months. Not the floor exactly; but a mattress, on boxsprings on the floor – ie. no bed frame, headboard or footboard. I have been saying for months that I was going to build my own king size bed, but never took the leap to actually start the project.
Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Particularly since it ended up being a relatively simple build, thanks to plans from Rogue Engineer. (I am linking to his project throughout this article so you can get detailed steps for his project – but my bed ended up being different enough that they warranted plans of their own).
I started by pining over this Rachel Ray Highline bed I’d seen online:
Isn’t it gorgeous? At over $2,000 CDN it was a little out of my league, plus I am one of those people that NEEDS a ceiling fan – so a canopy bed was out.
I found building plans for a DIY king size canopy bed over at Jamison’s site: Rogue Engineer:
With his measurements as the basis, I was able to come up with a version of Rachel Ray’s bed – but not without a few problems along the way – first up being I couldn’t find 4″ x 4″ posts in the same wood as the rest of the wood I’d need for the bed. Because I planned to stain my DIY king size bed in the end, it was important that all of the wood I used matched so that the stain would take the same on each piece.
I ended up using plain construction lumber from Home Depot – which is spruce – and laminated (used carpenter’s glue and clamps) to glue two of the 10′ 2″x 4″ boards together. (you’ll actually need two sets of these, so glue up the other two while you’re at it.). These will be cut to 65″ and 34″.
Yup, clamped on top of the boards without putting wax paper underneath, so my boards stuck to my workbench.
I know! I’m an idiot.
Once I was able to remove the laminated 2″ x 4″s from my workbench, I ran them through my planer to get them as close to 3″ x 3″ posts as I could.
As a capper for my headboard and footboard, I ripped the 6 foot 2″ x 4″ boards down to be the same width as the bedposts – in this case 3″ wide by 76″ long.
I attached these using 2 ½” pocket hole screws (on the underside), 5″ from the top of the tall bed posts.
I cut my 5/8″ plywood down to 76″ wide and drilled pocket holes every 6″ along the back of two sides and the top.
Before attaching my plywood to the bedposts and capper, I used 2″ x 2″ boards to act as a spacer. This gave me approximately a 1 ½” gap space from the plywood to the front of the bedposts (for the upholstery we’ll be adding later).
I screwed the plywood backer in place using 2 ½” pocket screws.
Repeat this process with the footboard pieces:
(2) laminated 2″ x 4″ posts cut to 34″ long
(1) 2″ x 10″ cut to 76″ long
(1) 2″ x 4″ (ripped to 3″ wide) cut to 76″ long
Start with the 2″ x 10″ board and attach it to the bedposts with 2 ½” pocket screws 6″ from the ground. I inset the 2″ x 10″ about ¾” of an inch – or centred on the 3″ post.
I forgot to add my capper until a later step, but you can see here how the headboard and footboard for your DIY king size bed will look:
There isn’t much to the side rails really; you’ll cut two of your 2″ x 10″ boards down to 80″ long.
Glue and screw your 2″ x 2″ boards (cut to 78″ long) to the inside of each rail…
Careful with this step though – where you glue and screw the 2″ x 2″ board will depend on the depth of your boxspring. In my case, I had a low profile boxspring (only 5″ high), so I had to attach the 2″ x 2″ boards slightly higher than the lower edge of the rail. The goal here is to have your boxspring sit even with the top of the rails so it will be hidden. To do that, measure the height of your boxspring, add ¾” and that is where you should place your 2″ x 2″ boards (inset 1″ from either end of the rail). The extra ¾” is to account for the dept of the 1″ x 4″ supports.
Attach your iron bed rail brackets so that your rails are 6″ off the ground – which should match with your footboard.
Yes, I made a mistake or two here as well. (facepalm).
I’m not going to tell you what I did wrong so that I don’t confuse you with more than you need, but I did correct my instructions here so you won’t do what I did.
Cut your 1′ x 4″ boards to 78″ long and rest them on the ledges inside your side rails. This will allow you to measure the exact height you’ll want to cut your scrap 2″ x 4″ pieces at.
Glue and screw in place with 2 ½” construction screws.
Below you’ll see that I finally remembered to add the capper for the footboard on my DIY king size bed. Because I forgot pocket holes on the 2″ x 10″ board, I had to glue the capper on top and hold it in place with clamps until it dried.
To make re-assembling my DIY king size bed easier once it was in the house, I marked where each 1″ x 4″ support would go, labelled each support (1, 2, 3 etc) and pre-drilled holes on either end so I could just ‘line up and go’ once the bed was in my bedroom.
I sanded each piece prior to attaching them together, but if you aren’t anal-retentive like me, now is the time to get sanding – 60 grit if you are using construction lumber (as I did), then 120 grit and finally 220 grit on the bedposts, cappers, side rails and footboard.
I played with a couple of stains to try to get the same colour as the Rachel Ray Highline bed – but didn’t have great luck. The Weathered Grey wood accelerator came out too blue-purple, so I ended up using a brownish weathered stain overtop. It’s a bit more brown than I like, but it does work well with the upholstery I chose in the next step.
While your stain is drying, cut your ¼” plywood down to ~18 ½” by 36″. I’ve written approximately because the actual space between the panels would have each of them at 19″ for a tight fight – BUT, I had to take into account the thickness of the batting and upholstery that would be between each panel on your headboard.
DIY King size bed – upholstery
(4) 1″ foam cut to 18 ½” by 36″
(4) upholstery quilting cut to 27 ½” x 43″
(4) upholstery cut to 29″ 50″
I used a contact spray adhesive to hold the 1″ foam to the plywood backer, then attached the upholstery quilting and finally the upholstery itself, stapling everything to the back. For best results, staple the centre of each side in place, making sure your pattern is straight on the front and that the batting/material isn’t wrinkled, then staple the corners and add a staple in between. Continue to split the distance between staples until an entire side is attached.
Repeat on the opposite side.
I used two coats of Varathane Triple Thick Polyurethane – sanding with 320 grit between coats – to protect all of the wood on my DIY kingsize bed.
Once all four of your headboard panels are done, attach them to your headboard using 1 ¼” screws drilled in from the back. Having a friend for this step will make it much easier.
Carry all of the pieces of your DIY king size bed masterpiece to your bedroom (you’ll need extra muscles for the headboard) and put everything together. Rails into rail brackets, then attach the supports with wood screws into the pre-drilled spots.
If you did this correctly – and I finally did – your boxspring should be hidden by the side rails, and the mattress will sit above so you can easily make your bed without tearing up your knuckles.
Even though the bedposts are plain construction lumber – once laminated, planed down, sanded and stained – the seams are only really visible on the tops.
Matching nightstands will come eventually, but for now I’m thrilled with how my do-it-yourself king size bed turned out!
I could have glued the upholstered panels to the plywood backing, but by just using screws instead I have the option to easily change out the upholstery down the road.
It took 6 months for me to get over feeling intimidated about making a king size bed, and then less than a week to actually build it. Just goes to show you; “Worry is a misuse of imagination”.
Yup, no more sleeping like a college kid – I’ve got a big girl bed now!
Thank you Rogue Engineer for the tutorial on how everything comes together.
DIY King size bed Costs:
Wood & screws. $141.22
Bed hardware, stain, varnish. $98.41
Upholstery, batting & foam $100.77
TOTAL COST: $340.40 CDN. Approx. $255 US
Have a great one!