If there’s one thing that I’ve built more than any other thing, it’s been beds. Throughout the years, as our kids have graduated from cribs to beds, we’ve always struggled to find beds that we liked. It seemed that the ones we liked were all too expensive, and the inexpensive ones all felt so flimsy. I wanted beds that my kids could jump on. Heck, I wanted beds that I could jump on. Better yet, how about a bed that we could BOTH jump on?
So, rather than continue looking, I decided to build my own. I started with a couple twins, after which I did a queen and a full – all following the same basic idea. Some of our friends liked the beds, so I build them for them as well. To make a long story short, I’ve built plenty of beds.
The good news for you? The Farmhouse Bed has withstood the test of time at our house (and others) and now you can have the plans for free!
Before we start, just a note. Although my designs all have dimensions, when I’m building anything, I always measure EVERYTHING before I cut to the designed dimension. I’d rather have something fit perfectly where it goes than be built to the dimension on the drawing. So when it comes to putting trim pieces in place, always measure before blindly following the dimensions on the drawing. If you’re more accurate than me, you might not have a problem with that, but otherwise, don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Well, shall we jump in? Alright, let’s do it!
Step 1: Go Shopping!
I have always built these beds out of pine. Yep, regular old pine. That means that a quick trip to Home Depot or Lowes will set you up with everything you need to begin building. You’ll need room for a 4×8 piece of OSB board, but once you’ve got a way to get it home, head out and get the following:
|2||4x4 post, 8 feet long||A|
|2||2x6 board, 8 feet long||B|
|4||1x6 Board, 6 feet long||C|
|1||1x4 board, 6 feet long||D|
|2||2x4 board, 8 feet long||E|
|1||1x2 board, 6 feet long||F|
|3||2x2 board, 8 feet long||G|
|1||1/4 ” x 3/4” trim, 6 feet long||H|
|24||2 1/2” wood screws||J|
|14||2.5” lag bolts, 1/4” diameter||K|
|1||4’x 8’ sheet of 1/2 inch OSB board||L|
|1||Quart can of Minwax stain||-|
|1||Quart can of Minwax polyurethane||-|
|1||Quart can of Minwax pre-stain wood conditioner||-|
|As Required||High density foam paint brushes||-|
The table above is based on the Cut List below. Please keep in mind, that while the Cut List might show some exact dimensions, many of the pieces should be cut to fit, as outlined in the instructions below. This is true of any pieces that are going to be installed in a location that is already assembled.
When selecting your boards, always try to get boards that are as straight as possible. We can handle a little warping, but in general the straighter the better. I lay my boards on the ground and turn them on each side – trying to select the best possible boards. For this project this will be especially important for the 1×6 boards (C).
I used Minwax products for this build, although I’ve had good luck with other brands before as well. Pick whatever you’re comfortable with. If you’re unsure, you can’t go wrong with Minwax.
I’ve used foam paint brushes to apply stain in the past, and it’s OK, but requires patience and time. This was my first project using a staining pad, and I must say – USE ONE. It was unbelievable how much faster I was able to apply the stain. If you opt to apply the stain using a foam brush, you will need a separate brush to apply the pre-stain wood conditioner, the stain, and each coat of polyurethane. I generally apply 3-5 coats of polyurethane, so get as many brushes as you think you’ll need.
Step 2: Prepare the Bed Posts
Begin by using the 4×4 posts (A) and cutting each one into a head post and a foot post. They should be 47.5″ and 20.5″ in length respectively.
Once the lengths are correct, mark the area you want to notch. This will be where the 2×6 boards (B) will attach to the posts. The notches should be begin 11.75″ from the bottom of each post, and be 5.5″ wide and 1.5″ deep – corresponding to the width and depth of a 2×6.
Notching can be done using a table saw, hammer and chisel.
First, set the table saw’s blade to a height of 1.5″. Next, securely hold the post against the saw’s miter gauge with both hands. Align the saw blade to the beginning edge of the desired notch space. Slowly push the post until a single pass has been made. Repeat this step, moving the post over each time, leaving slices of wood approximately 1/4″ in width. Continue this until the final cut is made at the other end of the notch space.
SAFETY WARNING: NEVER hold a board on both sides of the blade as you try to cut with a table saw. This will likely result in the board binding up and flying back at you.
Once the cuts are complete, use the hammer and chisel to clean out the slices of wood, leaving a great little notch. There is no need to get the inside of the notch perfectly smooth. When the 2×6 posts are inserted and bolted in, you won’t be able to see this part anyway! To see this process in action, watch the short video below.
When your notches are complete, make sure the 2×6 boards (B) fit into each notch.
Step 3: Build the Head Board
Begin by cutting two pieces of 2×2 (G) into 27″ lengths. Select which post will go on which side of the bed, and then (using wood glue, of course) screw the 2×2 (G) board into the head board posts (A) as shown in the above diagram. There should be 19.5″ of space below the 2×2 board (G), and 1″ above it.
Make sure the pieces G and A are flush on what will be the back side of the headboard. It will be handy to use clamps or finish nails to secure the 2×2 (G) pieces into place until you get a couple of screws (J) set. Remember, you are making two posts – they are NOT identical, but should be a mirror image of each other. Make sure that the 2×2 (G) pieces are opposite the notch on each post (A).
Next, we’ll prepare the slats that will run horizontally between our head posts and foot posts. We’ll need a total of 7 slats. To do this, we will cut the 1×6 boards (C) into 35″ lengths. We will need to get two pieces from each 8′ board we bought.
For the headboard, from the front, attach 5 of these slats (C) from the front to the 2×2 pieces (G) that were attached in the previous step. You can do this using a pneumatic brad nailer and 1.5″ brad nails and wood glue. Used 2-3 brad nails per end of each slat and place them close to the edge so they can be hidden with a small piece of trim. Avoid butting the slats up to each other. Keep a small (~1/8″) gap between each slat.
Using leftover scrap from a 1×6 board (C), cut out two pieces, 4.5″ square. Center those on each post, glue, and attach with a few 1.5″ brad nails.
Cut a 35″ piece of 1×2 (F) and secure it between the posts, on top of the upper slat. Glue and attach with 1.5″ brad nails.
Using the trim piece (H), cut two pieces to 28″ (measure first to verify) and attach to the front of the slats using wood glue and brad nails.
Step 4: Build the Foot Board
Now, similar to what was done in Step 3, we need to build the foot board. Cut two pieces of 2×2 board (G), each 11 1/8″ in length. Using wood glue and the screws (J), attach the 2×2 pieces flush with what will be the back side (side against the mattress) of the posts.
Next, use the remaining two 35″ pieces of 1×6 (C) that we previously cut and attach to the fronts of the 2×2 pieces. Once again, wood glue and 1.5″ brad nails can be used.
Now – cut a 42″ piece (measure first) of 1×4 (D) and attach using wood glue and brad nails.
Cut two 11 1/8″ pieces of trim (H) and attach along the front of the slats, also using wood glue and brad nails.
Step 5: Add Side Rails
Now we get to attach the side rails – and our bed starts to look like an actual bed!
Cut the two 2×6 boards (B) to 82″ in length. Using help, if it’s available, put the bed together by inserting the 2×6 boards (B) into the notches we made in the posts. Use clamps to temporarily secure the boards until the lag bolts (K) can be installed. Before doing so, drill a pilot hole slightly smaller than the shank of the bolt, and use a paddle bit to drill a recessed hole for the bolt head. When that is done, screw 2 lag bolts (K) through each end of the side rails (B) and into the bed posts.
For the lag bolts I bought, I used an 11/64″ pilot hole and a 5/8″ paddle bit for countersinking my bolt head.
Step 6: Add Mattress Support
Now that the bed is coming together, it’s time to build the support for the mattress!
Cut 3 pieces of 2×4 (E) to 39″. Space them as shown in the picture below, and after drilling pilot and countersunk holes, attach them flush with the bottom of the 2×6 slats using lag bolts, as shown. Use 2×2 boards (G) cut to 29 1/4″ between the 2×4 supports. Attach these 2×2 boards using wood glue and screws (J). Do this on both 2×6 side boards.
Cut the OSB board (L) TO 38″ x 73″. This will fit nicely with a little give to make it easy to get in and out. As a note here, a 1/2″ thick OSB board is plenty strong, especially with the weight distribution offered by the mattress. However, if, like me, you really want your furniture to feel like it’s made out if stone, you can use a 3/4″ thick OSB board instead and then your whole family can stand on this bed at the same time!
Step 7: Finish it!
Now that it’s built, it’s ready to be finished!
Since we we used pine, it’s important to use the pre-stain wood conditioner to help the stain soak in more evenly. Following the directions on the bottle, apply the pre-stain, let it soak for the prescribed time, and then wipe off the excess.
Then, using either a foam brush or a staining cloth, Apply a thin coat of stain. It is very forgiving, so just go nuts. Get it in all the cracks. You’ll have to be persistent to get it in between the slats on the head board and foot board. Sometimes I use a smaller brush. If I notice stain pooling in between those slats, gently blow it out and use the brush to clean it up.
After the stain as has sat for a few minutes, begin wiping it off. You can use an old rag, or paper towels. Wipe with the grain of the wood, and try to get all residual stain wiped up.
Allow the stain to dry for a day, and then coat with polyurethane. This should be a light coat, applied with the foam brushes. Depending on the thickness of your coat and the temperature, the polyurethane can dry fairly quickly, and you can get multiple coats in a single day. Lightly sand wipe down between coats, and always use a new, clean brush for each new coat.
When your final coat is dry, you’ll have a beautiful piece of furniture that your grand kids will be able to use….but let’s face it, we hope OUR kids build THEIR beds when they grow up. 🙂 Feel free to keep scrolling for a couple pictures of what your bed can look like, and thanks for pinning!