Learn how to build a platform bed while on vacation? Sure, why not!?!
So, this week I took a break from my Ugly Home Office Makeover to head down to Melbourne, Florida to visit my son Drew and his girlfriend Kenzie.
When we weren’t at the beach, in the pool, kayaking, riding bikes or eating yummy food, Kenzie and I (mostly Kenzie) took some time out to work on a DIY Platform Bed project she had been wanting to do for a while.
Let me take just a minute to brag…
Kenzie is a rising DIY ROCK STAR!! She’s only 18 and has never built anything in her life prior to this project.
With a whopping 30 minutes of instruction time from me on how to use my tools, etc., she absolutely knocked this project out of the park!
Can you tell I’m a little proud? 😋
And, she incorporated her own unique style by adding legs – totally her idea and design and they were the PERFECT touch to give the bed height and character!
How to Build a Platform Bed – The Project
The Shanty-2-Chic project plan was for a full mattress. Since Kenzie needed a platform for a king mattress, we had to make some adjustments to the measurements.
A full mattress measures 54″ x 74″ and a king is 76″ x 80″.
We ended up adding 16″ to all horizontal measurements and decided to keep the vertical measurements the same since her preference was to eliminate the extended “platform” at the end of the bed. (Material and cut list can be found at the end of the post.)
Day 1 of the project, it was off to the hardware store to purchase all the supplies!
Building the platform bed required a TON of pocket holes, so the first thing up was a quick tutorial for Kenzie on how to use the Kreg Pocket Jig.
All of the boards used for the bed had a nominal thickness of 2″ (which means the actual thickness is 1.5″ – very important!), so I showed Kenzie how to set the depth on the pocket hole guide and adjust the collar on the drill bit for a 1.5″ thickness.
This gal is a super quick study, so in no time, she was the Pocket Hole Queen 😊
Here you can see her assembling the 2″ x 8″s for the base. Pretty nice workshop, yes? 😎 (not jealous at all!)
And here she is,with the fully assembled base – isn’t she adorable??? 😊
We decided it made sense to go ahead and sand and stain the base before assembling and attaching the platform.
I find it much easier to work with individual pieces or sections when sanding/staining because it keeps you from having to work at weird angles and get into small gaps.
So after another super quick tutorial on using my Dewalt Palm Sander, she gave the base a good sanding with 220-grit sandpaper.
For the stain, Kenzie chose this Minwax Dark Walnut.
I gave her a brief lesson on how to apply stain: wipe on with a lint free rag in the direction of the grain, let set for a few minutes, then wipe off. Easy peasy!
She got a couple of coats on before calling it a day. Here you can see her applying the stain – sans gloves, which I forgot we needed 😬. We did pick some up the next day!
This was the first time Kenzie had stained anything, and she immediately fell in love with using stain.
What’s not to love about stain?
It’s inexpensive, easy to apply, reveals the subtle character of the wood and gives the piece so much depth and richness.
On Day 2, Kenzie started out by joining the 2″ x 6″ boards for the platform that would eventually be attached to the base.
Then she sanded…
At this point, I was pretty much just dog-sitting these guys and checking in on the progress every now and then – my kind of DIY! 😊
Here’s the platform – fully assembled, sanded and stained. Just gorgeous!
I helped out by sanding the top side of the 1″ x 3″ furring strips. This was recommended in the original project plans to keep the mattress from snagging on any rough or splintered areas.
I mentioned at the beginning of the post that Kenzie had the great idea of customizing the bed by adding legs.
So we headed back to the hardware store and purchased a 2″ x 6″ x 6′ board and had it cut into four (4) 4″ sections and four (4) 5.5″ sections.
Kenzie sanded the boards, then joined them using wood glue and pocket hole screws. This formed an L-shaped leg with sides of equal length.
I love how the stain highlights the grains running perpendicular to one another at the joins. So pretty! 🌿
The final step at the end of Day 2 was to add a topcoat of polyurethane. My go-to is Minwax Satin – it’s not too glossy, but gives a nice protective finish that really enhances the look of the wood.
By the time I finished warning Kenzie of all the nuances of working with polyurethane – the main concern being bubbling – I think I had her a little afraid to start this step!
In case you’re wondering, here were my warnings (see why she might have been a little intimidated?!? 😋):
- DON’T shake the can
- Gently and thoroughly mix the poly with a stick
- Use a foam brush to apply (at least in my experience, this works well to reduce bubbling)
- Use long even strokes, overlapping the wet areas.
- Apply a thin coat.
- DON’T overwork the poly – meaning, avoid going over an area more than once if at all possible.
As it turned out, she did a great job and didn’t have any issues with bubbling – yay!
She opted to do a single coat of poly since the main goal of the topcoat was to seal the stain so it didn’t rub off on the sheets, making additional coats unnecessary.
This was the final day, when everything came together and we got to see the fruits of all of Kenzie’s labor!
The polyurethane had dried nicely overnight.
Before moving everything to the room for assembly, we tested to make sure the base and platform lined up properly.
See that smile of accomplishment?! 😊
We moved the platform and base to their final home.
Drew stepped in to do a quality check on the legs, which lined up perfectly! 🙌
To attach the platform to the base, Kenzie used 2 1/2″ Kreg pocket hole screws.
For the entire project, she used 99 pocket hole screws – with just one lonely little screw leftover. 😛
Next, she attached the legs, also using pocket hole screws in the holes she had drilled in the legs earlier.
Next came the moment of truth – or one of ’em anyway. It was time to flip the bed and see how well the legs held up.
Holy cow, this thing was solid as a rock! Drew and Kenzie even did a quick stability test by walking on the platform and it didn’t budge or wobble.
The horizontal pocket holes on the legs are where the two pieces of the leg are joined by screws.
The vertical holes are where the legs are attached to the base of the bed.
I LOVE the impact the legs make! 💖
At this point we were getting really excited to see the final result.
The next step was to add the side and middle supports that the slats (i.e., the furring strips) would attach to.
The middle supports were 2″ x 4″s. They had to be wedged between the top and bottom boards of the base.
It was a tight fit, but this big mallet did the trick of getting the supports in place, 3/4″ below the top of the base.
[Tip: If you find you can’t get the supports to fit between the top and bottom base boards, just sand the ends down a little with coarse grit sand paper.]
Once the supports were in place, Kenzie used – yep, you guessed it – pocket hole screws to secure them to the base.
Then she attached the side supports using regular 2 1/2″ wood screws.
[Tip: When attaching the side supports, drilling small pilot holes before adding the screws makes life much easier 🤗]
The final step was to add the 1″ x 3″ furring strips (aka slats), also using regular 2 1/2″ wood screws.
Drew stepped in to lend a hand (closely supervised by Kenzie 😂).
We had one small oopsy-daisy with a stripped screw that we couldn’t get out after trying everything we could think of (including the rubber band method).
So Drew carefully hammered it in as far as it would go, and we added this piece of adhesive fabric (that would be a band-aid 😝) to cover the slightly raised rough edge, just to make sure the mattress wouldn’t snag on it.
Honestly, other than a piece of a support splintering a bit (which was inconsequential), this was the only real hiccup of the whole project.
With the bed fully constructed, it was time for the final moment of truth – how well would the frame (with the addition of the legs) hold up under the weight of the mattress???
I actually wasn’t present for that part – so no photos – because they kicked me out to get everything ready for the big reveal 😀
Once I was allowed to see it, I was absolutely blown away with how beautiful this bed turned out!
I love the white sheets with the dark wood – stunning!
The legs take it from looking like a plain box platform to a finished bed frame – and this thing is STURDY!
Absolutely beautiful – now I wanna’ make one!!
The only obstacles of this entire project were a small piece of splintered wood on one of the middle supports, which was inconsequential, and the stripped screw incident, which was easily overcome.
This was due in large part to very detailed plans (thanks to Shanty-2-Chic’s awesome project plans) and meticulous planning and execution by Kenzie.
She is one very detail-oriented, patient young woman – I learned a lot from watching her tackle her very first DIY and absolutely kill it!! 👏
I imagine you’ll be seeing more of Kenzie’s projects here on the blog – I think she has DIY fever!
- One (1) 2″ x 6″ x 8′ board – Cut to 68″ (Platform piece at the foot of the bed)
- Two (2) 2″ x 6″ x 8′ boards – Cut to 80.5″ (Side platform pieces)
- Two (2) 2″ x 8″ x 8′ boards – Cut to 75″ (Side base pieces)
- One (1) 2″ x 8″ x 12′ board – Two (2) cuts @ 71″ (Top and Bottom base pieces)
- Two (2) 2″ x 4″ x 8′ boards – Cut to 75″ (Middle Supports)
- One (1) 2″ x 3″ x 8′ boards – Cut to 79″ (Platform piece at the top of the bed)
- Two (2) 2″ x 3″ x 8′ boards – Cut to 75″ (Side Supports)
- Four (4) 1″ x 3″ x 12′ Furring Strips – Eight (8) cuts @ 68″ (Slats)
- One (1) 2″ x 6″ x 6′ boards – Four (4) cuts @ 4″ and Four (4) cuts @ 5.5″ (Legs)
- Two (2) 50-Packs of 2 1/2″ Kreg Pocket Hole Screws
- One (1) 50-Pack of 2 1/2″ Wood Screws
- 1 Quart of Minwax Dark Walnut Stain
- Wood Glue
- Kreg Pocket Jig
- Dewalt Palm Sander
- Dewalt Drill and Bits
- Large Mallet
I’ll be finishing up Part 7 of the Ugly Home Office Makeover this weekend when I get back to Atlanta, so be on the lookout for that post in the next few days.
I did a slightly different twist on the typical DIY Industrial Shelving project, and I’m loving the way it’s looking! Stay tuned…
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