Building a Guest Bed Part one

Building a Guest Bed Part one

I needed a bed for a guest bedroom, I wanted to use a small double mattress to keep a little extra space in the room. Small double bed frames are a little trickier to find, so I decided to make my own. With some extensive online research I eventually stumbled upon low waste bed plans on instructables [link]. They looked easy to follow and judging by the comments many people had built and succeeded.

So one trip to the local builders yard later, I had a stack of CLS 2×4” and PSE (plane square edged) 1×4”.

bill of materials:

  • 2×4”
  • 4×1”
  • 5x50mm wood screws
  • 5x80mm woodscrews
  • 120 grit sandpaper
  • 180 grit sandpaper

tools: drill, tape measure, pencil, mitre saw (or hand saw), screwdriver bit, drill bits, square, countersink and tea.

Firstly I set about cutting the wood to size, I made a mistake and need to go back to get another 2×4” – measure twice and all that!

Once everything was cut as per cut list, I planed the sharp edges of the 1×4” just using a block plane and sanded everything with some 120 grit sandpaper. This is optional but does improve the finished look.

Then I moved upstairs to begin building, I started by making up the rectangle of 2×4”. Firstly I marked up where I wanted the screws to go on the shorter 2×4” and pilot holed and then countersunk them. Then I clamped the wood in place using a block in the corner and 2 clamps and sunk in the 5x80mm screws. This was done on all four sides. Then I checked the squareness to the frame, measure diagonally across the frame to check everything is square. Once I was happy I proceeded to start marking up the slats and screwing them on, I didn’t bother to square a diagonal slat to the frame as I was building indoors on a flat floor and with the frame not needing any real squaring up.

I marked the slats – 2 screws each side into the 2×4” and I measured 9cm each side and made a mark, this way I could ensure that the slats were even each side. I pilot holed and countersunk the holes and after fitting the slat to the end, worked across, using a piece of scrap 1×4” as a spacer clamped to the previous board to ensure everything was spaced nicely. I continued until all ten slats were fitted. Ensure that each end board overlaps the frame by a little to make the frame exactly 180cm long. The end boards were screwed down into the shorter 2×4” as the longer has screws running through that they would hit.

Once these were all fitted I turned the bed over and began preparing the legs. I cut the from 1×4” and clamped one piece vertically in a workmate then clamped the other piece on top. Then I pilot holed and countersunk the screws.

Once all four were complete I moved back to the bed frame and began the process of fitting them. Ensure that all the screws are facing towards the end of the bed or out to the sides for aesthetics. I choose toward the ends. I marked up eight holes in each leg and piloted holed and countersunk the screws in at 45ish dergee angles – use a scrap 1×4” piece to ensure spacing between the slats and the leg. I marked up all the legs the same and then when complete flipped over the frame. Then all to do was a quick sand over on the slats to remove a few pencil marks and complete.

Things I learnt:

A blunt countersink is worse than useless

Countersinking screws to exactly the same depth is difficult

Cutting to a line and getting exactly the same size wood takes practice – much easier to use a stop!

Clamps make life much easier

Quick plane of the edges of the wood and a quick go over with 120 grit sandpaper really improves the appearance of the finished bed.

The height of the bed was too tall for my liking, so I cut the legs at 18” – this still leaves plenty of room for storage boxes under the bed.

Things to do next – I think I might add a head board to it fixing directly to the legs like some other people have!


Small Double Size – UK

Small Double Mattress Size 120cm x 190cm

2×4” ends at 90cm x2

2×4” sides at 167cm x2 sides

2×4” centre support at 167cm x1 centre support (optional)

1×4” slats 110cm x10

1×4” legs at 45cm or as tall as desired x8

actual size of finished bed – 110cm x 180cm

UK Double Size – UK

UK Double Mattress Size 135 x 190cm

2×4” ends at 105cm x2

2×4” sides at 167cm x2

2×4” centre support at 167cm x1

1×4” slats at 125cm x10

1×4” legs at 45cm or as tall as desired x 8

actual size of finished bed – 125 x 180cm

Part 2 is here