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.
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.
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.
this bed, which i’ve aptly named the bed project, has been a LONG time in the making. it is only missing the last step: the upholstery of the topmost grey layer on the left half.
the purple satin tufted headboard is also a diy project of mine. the middle pillow cover was made by my mother. next up in the room decor queue are some bright purple acrylic diy lights to replace the grey ikea lamps.
sometimes projects take longer — much longer — than anticipated. one such project is the bed project, aka the bed project from hell. well, today, on my first day off that came consecutively after another day off, i managed to get back into a woodworking mood. it helps that i no longer have people over after a rash of houseguests, but the two consecutive days off were the clincher. thanks dear employer, i couldn’t imagine getting things done without this highly esteemed gift: the weekend. (if that sounded sarcastic, it wasn’t, i love my job and yes i do love my new two consecutive days off!)
pictured above: what i finished today is the right hand frame of the bed, all of this will be covered with foam and dark grey fabric and will fit on the frame/legs that i completed months ago.
pictured below: the frame (that came with a mirror) that will be the frame of a purple tufted satin headboard mounted landscape-wise behind the bed.