Bed project documentation part 3: Upholstery

Posted in projects on September 4th, 2008 by fabienne



This post is the third and final piece documenting the Bed Project, wherein I designed and built my own bed.

The last step to completing my bed was upholstering the entire particle board box. I purchased enough sheets of one-centimeter-thick foam from a local foam store. The foam store employees agreed that foam thicker than 1 cm is difficult to upholster using just a simple staple gun. Using a regular staple gun from the hardware store, I covered the four box sides of the bed. I tried to not staple anywhere that would be visible or touchable on the top or side of the bed. Instead, I stapled on the inside edge of the boxes where the mattress would hide the staples and under the lip of each empty-bottomed box side. The bed in it’s partly upholstered state is shown here below.

Next I covered the foam with grey tweed upholstery fabric which I bought at a fabric store specializing in furniture fabrics. I simply used the staple gun in the same manner as described above so as to hide the staples. The material does fray a bit on some edges. I folded the fabric once and tucked the fraying edges under before stapling. Where I had a seam in the fabric, I sewed using a whip stitch by hand after stapling. Pressing the seam after stitching makes the seams almost invisible. For each corner I mitered the fabric and cut away the excess bulk before stapling down. Here is a final view of the bed after finishing the upholstery with just the mattress:

Behind the bed you can see a bright purple tufted satin headboard which I also built myself. I first detached a silver frame from the mirror with which it was purchased. I kept the backing sheet of particle board from behind the mirror. I cut a five centimeter thick slab of foam to the size of the frame with regular scissors. I then measured out a diagonal grid of my tufting pattern and poked holes completely through the foam. To tuft, I pulled the purple satin through to the back of the foam through each tuft’s hole and anchored the fabric with a rectangle of cardboard, shown here:

I worked my way from one end of the foam to the other to keep the fabric as taut as possible on the finished tufted side:

I squished the finished fabric tufted foam up through the frame and pulled the fabric tight on each edge:

Then I flipped the whole thing upside down and put the saved piece of particle board backing on the back. I stapled the backing board back into the frame and trimmed the purple satin to a few centimeters:

Folding the fabric over on itself and gluing it to the backing board with a hot glue gun was the final step.

The purple satin headboard is hung on the wall behind the bed and makes for a comfortable place to lean and read a book in bed. That wraps up my Bed Project documentation on how to design and build your own bed with a minimum of tools. I hope with this series you might be inspired to design and build your own modern designer bed.

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Bed Project documentation part 2: Practical woodworking

Posted in projects on September 3rd, 2008 by fabienne

This is part two in a series of posts documenting how I designed and built my own bed.

Once I finished my design, I set off to the hardware store to buy some particle board and some two-by-fours to construct the frame of my bed. I figured that a frame of two-by-four “beams” slotted into each other would support a sort of box construction built in particle board. A few sketches of the beam frame are shown here below:

The frame of beams extends longer on one side for the bench on the right side of the bed. There is a center two-by-four that adds support to the center of the mattress. All of the notch cuts for the slotting parts of the two-by-fours were made with a standard jigsaw. The final frame is shown here below (the far side of the frame is partially obscured by the particle board box on the bench part of the bed):

The particle board boxes for each side were constructed separately following the measurements in my digital file [SketchUp format]. They were cut with the jigsaw and drilled together using large wood screws and a power drill. The bottom of each box was left open to reduce the overall weight. The “boxes” were then slotted onto the two-by-four frame to add strength to the construction. A before slotting / after slotting series of photos are shown here below:

On the outsides, the frame slots completely over the two-by-four frame, shown here in this image of one of the outside corners:

I tested the fit of each box side as I went. Some adjustments were necessary even with precise measurement. Here is the completed frame with all four particle board boxes assembled (without the metal legs) in my workroom:

I then reassembled first the two-by-four frame in my bedroom and attached the metal Ikea bed legs at this point:

Next I secured the boxes on top of the frame with more screws and added slats to support the mattress:

The next post on the Bed Project will wrap up the series with notes on upholstery and final photos of the finished bed.

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Bed Project documentation part 1: Inspiration

Posted in projects on September 2nd, 2008 by fabienne

In the beginning, I saw some ad pages in some magazines. I thought “gee I really hate bumping into a hard bed, I want something completely padded, but modern looking”. I also knew that if my design were sound, I could build it myself DIY style, and still have it look professional. So these two images were my jumping off point for what I would eventually build. (Click through the images for the designers’ sites.)

I dubbed it the Bed Project, and off I went. I drew some mock-ups in SketchUp of my own version (screenshots shown below). You can grab my final design in the SketchUp file format here. I decided that the mattress should be more flush with the bed frame than in the beds I had clipped as inspiration. My idea was to also include enough clearance underneath the bed to allow for a robotic vacuum cleaner. To keep metal milling out of my DIY craziness, I sourced some 20cm metal bed legs from Ikea (the tallest version of these). In my final design, I kept the large bench on the side. The bench has turned out to be a great place for a laptop, as well as a spot for magazines and breakfast trays. In the next installment of the Bed Project documentation: practical woodworking.

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