How to Make a Bed Frame out of Pallets

J5 Tactical Flashlight

How to Make a Bed Frame out of Pallets

Pallets can be modified for a lot of different uses, and making a bed frame is one of the more interesting ones that I’ve stumbled upon recently.  All you need are a couple of pallets that are in good condition and some other common items, and you’re good to go.  Let’s look at one example that illustrates how easy it is to put a bed frame together while making good use out of some material that is just sitting around and collecting dust.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 9.12.57 AM

Required Items

4 pallets that are similar in size

12-16 brackets or hurricane straps that are 4” long

1 piece 4×8 piece of plywood

Approximately 80 wood screws

Drill with screwdriver attachment

Wood glue

Paint or stain

Keep in mind that you can improvise as you go based on the materials that you have on hand.  The essential parts of this project are the pallets and fasteners.  You can also improvise on the size of the bed by connecting additional pallets and adding more plywood as well. 

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 9.12.57 AM

Getting Started

The first step is to remove the top horizontal boards on two pallets and the bottom horizontal ones off the other two.  The aim is to stack the boards atop each other by lining up their respective crossbeams and securing them together.  This will not only make the frame taller, but it will also create spaces along the sides to insert drawers later.  You could also skip this step and stack the two sets of pallets together and secure them in place to create the frame as well.  However, you won’t have any storage space when finished.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 9.12.57 AM

Adding the Plywood

Cut the plywood into pieces that will fit between the crossbeams and the inside-bottom of each pallet.  Glue them in place and add some weight as necessary to create a good seal.  Sand down the edges of the plywood as well as around the outside perimeter of the pallets.  You want the surface to be as smooth as possible to prevent getting cut, poked or snagged by splinters, nails or any other type of protrusions.  This will also help to protect your mattress and bedding.

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 9.12.57 AM

Painting and Attaching the Pallets

Once the pallets have been prepared and sanded, you can either paint or stain them now or wait until they are attached.  If you paint them now, you may find it easier to get into some hard to reach places.  It may also be easier to work with the individual pallets as opposed to trying to maneuver the entire frame later on.  You may also want to consider treating the wood in order to slow decay and prevent insect problems down the line.

When the time comes to attach the pallets, place one over the other so they are sandwiched together.  Align the the center crossbeam in each set and attach one bracket on one side about an inch or two from the outside edge.  Attach the another bracket to the opposite side near the corresponding outside edge.  Repeat this for the other segment you are creating.  Next, attach another bracket near each outside corner of each pallet until you have a total of four brackets and four connections. 

Finally, join the two pallet sections by placing brackets on either side of the outer crossbeams the form the border of each section.  Place the brackets vertically so they will secure the top and bottom portions of each pallet section.  Ideally, you want to have four brackets for each connection, two on one side and two on the other.  However, you can get by with using two brackets, one one each side, if the connection is secure and the frame is sturdy.

All you need to do now is place the mattress on top, and you can start enjoying your new bed.  Keep in mind that this project will produce a twin-sized frame, and you can scale up with more sections in order to accommodate larger mattresses.  You may also want to consider adding some reinforcing pieces of 2×4 throughout the frame in order to prevent the pallets from sagging and promoting better weight distribution. 

As you can see, there’s plenty of room to improvise, but this example gives you a general idea of what to expect.  Try it for yourself, and see how you can take advantage of this project now as well as during a time when you need to be self-sufficient.