Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

January 5, 2017

DIY Walnut Plywood Bed Frame with Welded Legs

Our bedroom recently got a major upgrade, thanks to this gorgeous, DIY walnut bed frame with welded legs:


Here's what our bed looked like before:

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

For warranty purposes, we had to keep our mattress and box springs on an ugly, utilitarian metal bed frame and this bed skirt was the best way to hide it.  I liked the look, but Szuka got into this habit of snuggling up against it, which created a permanent dent where she pressed on the fabric.  I was also worried that our bedroom was going to smell like a dog's butt, so I started washing the bed skirt more, and of course it shrank, so I cut it and pinned it in place to fake the length but then the safety pins would open up and slide around. 

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

I was 100% done with this bed skirt and the warranty on our mattress had long expired anyway, so I started sketching plans for a modern bed frame.  I envisioned walnut plywood (to tie in the bedside boxes we made, as well as the walnut throughout the house, like our DIY walnut desk and floating walnut bathroom vanity).  I decided that welded metal legs, in the same size square metal tubing as the frame of our headboard, would make the headboard, bed frame and nightstands look really cohesive. 

It was a surprisingly easy project - it's basically a walnut veneered plywood box with some metal legs that Handy Hubby welded in an afternoon!  Here's how we made it, and what supplies we used.

Supplies:

As always, we began with a sketch of our design and made a materials list and cut list.  We measured the exact size of our box springs when they're pushed together and, allowing for the thickness of the material and a teeny tiny extra allowance so we can easily slip the box springs into (and out of) the frame, cut the plywood pieces to fit the box springs exactly.  The legs were designed so that they run the width of the bed, so those cuts corresponded to the plywood box we built.  The height was chosen so that the overall height of the bed would still be a comfortable reach to the nightstand.  If you make a plywood frame for your bed, the measurements will be different, which is why I'm not including our cut list.

How to Make Welded Furniture Legs:

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

We needed six pieces the width of the bed and six pieces for uprights.  Local metal places sold the square metal tubing by the foot, but we asked them to cut lengths that could fit in our truck and made the rest of the cuts at home.  Hubby marked off the lengths we needed and used a 4.5" angle grinder to cut the pieces at 45 degree angles, one at a time. 

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs
DIY Walnut Bed with Welded LegsDIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

For each of the three legs, we needed two lengths the width of the bed and two lengths the height we wanted the bed frame.  My idea was that the elongated rectangle shape would mimic the design of the headboard, while offering a nice stable support for the bed. 

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

After the pieces were cut, Hubby worked on each of the three legs individually, assembling them and holding each rectangular leg together with welding magnets, checking that they're square, and tack welding them together with our wire feed welder.

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

Then he welded the four pieces together to make the rectangular legs I designed.  He used the same 4.5" angle grinder, this time with a grinding disk, to clean up the welded area to make it less rough.  He then used a flapper disk on the grinder to smooth out the welded joints even more and prepare them for painting.

Below you can see the cut pieces vs. one finished leg:

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

No photographed: we attached the legs to the walnut box using screws, so we had to pre-drill holes through the legs.  Using a step drill, Hubby drilled out holes in both walls of the upper bar of the leg (the square metal tubing is hollow inside).  The hole next to the bottom of the bed frame is where the screw gets tightened.  There is a larger hole drilled on the other wall of the same tube to allow a screwdriver in to tighten the screw.

Once the welded legs were complete, we brought them to Hubby's Dad's workshop - with its glorious spray painting booth - so I could paint them the same matte black we used to paint the headboard and side tables.  Spraying on the paint ensured a nice, smooth finish.

How to Build a Plywood Bed Frame

With the legs done, we tackled the plywood box - with one small mistake!  After sketching the design and making our cut list, we headed to a local supplier to buy the materials.  We originally planned to use inexpensive plywood and apply walnut veneer to only the sides but we were talked out of applying veneer.  We decided to go with walnut veneered plywood instead, but we had to race to another place with minutes to spare before they closed and we mistakenly bought walnut veneered ply for the whole project, adding to the cost.  We forgot that we wanted to use inexpensive ply on the bottom, which you can't see anyway. 

Other than making that one costly error, building the box that our box springs now sit in was simple.

We took our walnut ply out to Hubby's Dad's shop and cut out the pieces on his table saw.  Hubby and his Dad cut two pieces for the bottom and four pieces for the sides.  Easy peasy - although handling the sheets was often a two-person job.

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

We assembled the bed frame in the room, because it's so large.  After laying down a protective sheet of plastic, we started with the bottom.  Because we have a king-sized bed, the bottom of our bed frame is comprised of two pieces of plywood glued together.  We placed them on the floor, with the bottom facing up, and applied glue to the edges of the plywood, sticking them together.  Then we glued and nailed some cross pieces in for added support:

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

The completed legs were then fixed in place with wood screws through the pre-drilled holes I mentioned earlier (I think this was Szuka's protest against the new bed):

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

Then we flipped the bed right side up (wow, is it heavy!) and the side pieces were glued and air nailed into place.  We left everything alone overnight for the glue to dry.

With the bed constructed, we finished the exposed edges with walnut edge banding to create the illusion of solid walnut.  This post has great tips for applying pre-glued edge banding (it's really easy).

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

After that, all that was left to do was give the bed a few coats of Danish Oil and wait patiently for it to cure so we could move our mattress and box spring back into place.  You can see we evenly spaced the legs, and they're inset from the ends so that the leg by our feet is not flush with the end of the bed.  We did this so that when we walk around the bed, we won't stub our toes on the metal. 

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

And, voila!  A beautiful new bed frame in walnut, with welded legs to match our headboard:

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

We've been using the new bed for about a month and I LOVE it!  It's so much easier to clean under the bed, plus there's no longer a bedskirt kicking around, picking up dust and doggy butt prints.  I was worried that replacing a light bed skirt with a darker wood bed frame would make the room feel darker/heavier/smaller but it's had the opposite effect: the room feels larger and airier.  Happily, Szuka doesn't seem troubled by the change after all, because she still lies beside the bed some nights even though she can't really lean against anything.



You might have noticed that I finally decided on a new duvet cover and shams (after using the other pin-tucked set for over five years).   I actually short-listed quite a few, including the Belgian Flax Linen set in Teal, the Cotton Cashmere in Heather Gray, the Ripple Texture in Stone White, the Organic Cotton Braided Matelasse in Stone White, the Organic Cotton Smocked Pleated in White, and the Organic Cotton Shadow Diamond Matellase in Stone White.  I contemplated so many different colors and patterns, but ultimately I decided that I really like white bedding.  It helps make the bedroom seem larger and also helps to create a calming atmosphere.  Because I tend to forget the bedding in the dryer on laundry day, I also love a duvet cover with some texture to hide any wrinkles - that's my housekeeping hack for the week!

I spent weeks shopping, but eventually I chose the Organic Cotton Brighton Matelasse in Stone White with matching Euro shams, from West Elm (it also comes in Platinum, a soft grey, and Slate, a rich charcoal hue).  I liked how long our last West Elm duvet cover lasted, plus I had purchased the Euro pillow inserts from West Elm so I knew that most of their duvet covers would have that particular size of shame as an option.  I am totally smitten with the texture of this duvet cover, which has a really beautiful, organic quality to it.

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

To keep warm on blustery winter nights, I also splurged on a king-sized blanket (finally).  Hubby and I both kept going back to the Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool Blanket in Shale, which is the perfect grey/blue hue and a timeless design (it's available in Queen and Twin sizes as well).  This blanket adds a really breathable layer of warmth and on those frigid nights when we need it, neither of us has woken up overheated or feel suffocated, despite the substantial weight of the wool.  Plus it's made in the USA!

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs
DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

Just to shake things up a tiny bit more, I added a bright blue Hungarian embroidered pillow from my Grandparents - which pulls out that same cobalt blue from my mid-century posters.  I pull all of my bedroom decor colors - teal, green, blue, brown, and grey - from the mid-century posters hanging above the dresser, and that helps the room feel cohesive.  The fashion theme has also inspired my love of textures over patterns, and I really enjoy how the matelasse, tweed, silk, and wool add interest to the room.

DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs
DIY Walnut Bed with Welded Legs

Starting the year with new bedding and a new bed feels amazing - now I just need to save up some cash to replace our 10 year old duvet and mattress...

DIY Walnut Plywood Bed Frame with Welded Legs

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13 comments

  1. I love this! We recently got rid of our dust ruffle once and for all, as well. Good riddance! I love the roundup you did at the end. Great recommendations to "get the look" without 100% copying your home piece for piece. Love your blog and happy new year!

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    1. I wish I'd done it sooner! Happy to hear you like the round up. I'm often asked for sources, but I shop vintage and clearance so much (plus we diy a lot) that it's tricky tracking down similar pieces. I'm practising capturing the "vibe". Happy new year to you too!!

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  2. I have been reading your blog for a while, but never commented before. I just gotta say that your bedroom rocks. Great job on the bed. (And I love the Hungarian posters.)

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    1. Hi Kelly, it's so nice to be able to say "hello" to you! Hi! Thanks for your sweet comment. We've been chipping away at the bedroom and I think this was the missing piece! So happy to hear you like it :)

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  3. Hurray Szuka's back! Oh, and that's one gorgeous bed, btw :D

    Happy New Year to you Tanya, and thanks so much for sharing your life, your home and your art with us :)

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    1. I always worry about sharing TOO many photos of her cute mug, lol. Happy new year to you too! I love hearing that you enjoy reading my posts. Thanks for the lovely comment:)

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  4. Your bed is gorgeous. Walnut look so classy. Beautiful job, talented hubby. And the new bedding looks beautiful.

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    1. Thank you! We're thrilled with it. It's always neat seeing something I sketched out on a napkin become a real thing. I am finally feeling like the house is looking really pulled together and cohesive.

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  5. Your room is beautiful. I notice you don't have any clothes catchers in the room. We have a bench at the end of our bed that is too handy. You've inspired me to move it out and organize my room today. The bed looks great and Szuka doesn't seem to mind a bit.

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    1. I have a clothes catcher solution: we have a bank of wire drawers inside the closet and we devote the last two to those "not quite dirty, not quite clean" clothes to keep them from piling up anywhere. There's a small chair displaced from the office that now resides in the bedroom by the door but I don't think it will stay there long - it's a smidge too small of a room for any other furniture. My pretty embroidered pillow sits on it, preventing us from piling stuff there because I'm worried a zipper could catch. Before we got the two dressers, we had the mint green Mingo in the bedroom and that was definitely a clothes catcher, lol. It is so tempting to pile stuff on a chair or bench! But with another dedicated place to stash it out of sight, it's easier to keep things looking tidy.

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  6. I LOVE this!!! You're room is looking amazing.

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    1. Thanks so much Haley! I am loving waking up in this space these days...

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  7. Your design is spectacular. My mother who grew up in the 50's & 60's turned me on to mid-month design, though I love mixing up my styles. I have a mid early iron full-queen(it's a full size in today's bed sizes,but when it was made fulls were queen size) we painted white and left the top knobs brass. I've had it since I was 9 years old I'm now 38. I'm going to use it and a 1940s wooden dresser in my redo of my bedroom this year.

    Love your dog. Mine says Howdy...

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