How to Build a DIY Twin Bed Frame and Headboard

Learn how to build an easy DIY twin bed frame with these beginner-friendly step-by-step tutorial, plans, and video using lumber from a big box store.

white diy twin bed frame and headboard in a colorful room

Can you believe, in all the years of building projects, I haven’t yet built a bed?!

My daughter has been using a simple Ikea bed for almost 10 years, and it is kind of on its way out. I decided it was time to build her a new bed that also matched her personality.

She is a girly girl, and I would have loved to build her a tufted bed, but she also has dust allergies, so a dust magnet was definitely not a good choice. After a few weeks of brainstorming, we decided to go with a simple design.

I built a trundle to go underneath… because sleepovers are fun. See the details and plans for the DIY trundle Bed here.

DIY Twin Bed Design

The bed is basically built as a frame and a separate headboard attached to it.

You can easily customize the headboard or eliminate it completely and simply use the frame. You can also add a few more supports to the frame’s “headboard” to make it look nicer without the separate headboard.

The bed frame itself is made up of four parts, each assembled separately.

  • The headboard
  • The Footboard
  • And the two side rails

The bed can be easily disassembled into four parts and reassembled. This was important so that it could be moved in the future as needed.

For the slats, I decided to go with 2×4 boards because they are stronger, and since I plan to add a trundle underneath, I can’t add extra supports under the slats.

Anika on a diy twin bed in girls room

Lumber for the Bed

To make the bed sturdy and stable, I used 2x boards for the majority of the build. The legs are made from 2×4 boards, and the rest of the bed is made from 2×6 boards.

When picking boards for the project, it is important to not only find straight boards with minimal defects but also make sure to get the kiln-dried boards. See more about how to buy wood here.

For the cloud-shaped headboard, I decided to use Poplar boards and glue them up. Poplar is a great option for painted projects because it doesn’t have any knots and can be easily sanded and painted.

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Material Needed

Tools Needed

How to Build the Twin Bed Frame

As always, I have the full video so you can watch me build the project step by step. The full written details are below.

Step 1: Prepare the Lumber

Anika cutting board on the miter saw
  • Sand the boards down to 150 grit if painting and 220 grit if staining. See how to sand wood using the right sandpaper sequence here.

I used my planer to send the boards through to get the roughest parts of the boards cleaned up before using my random orbital sander. This is totally optional and can be done with the random orbital sander as well. The only advantage of this is that it cuts down on the total sanding time.

Anika sanding boards for a diy twin bed frame using a random orbital sander
  • Optional step – trim off the rounded edges of the 2×4 boards. This gives tight joints. However, if you do not own a table saw, you can leave the edges alone.
  • If you decide to make the footboard wider with two 2×6 boards like me, you can glue up two boards. You can remove one of the rounded edges on each board on the table saw for a tight fit. Of course, this is optional.
Glueing up panels for the footboard

Step 2: Make the Pocket Holes

  • Make pocket holes in the footboard and the headboard supports using a pocket hole jig. The setting for the jig and the drill bit collar is 1 ½”.

See how to use a pocket hole jig.

Step 3: Build the Footboard and Headboard Frame

Be sure to check and ensure all the joints are square and all the pocket holes face one side.

See how to check for and correct for square.

Anika building the headboard for the twin bed

I only used two supports on the headboard frame since the headboard will hide them. However, if you are using this frame as the headboard, you can add a few more supports at an even spacing for a simple bed frame.

  • Attach the 2×6 boards to the short legs to make the footboard.
Anika building the footboard using pocket hole screws

Originally, I designed the footboard with only one 2×6 board. However, since I was going to be adding a trundle underneath, I decided, we needed a wider footboard to cover the bottom. I decided to go with two 2×6 boards on the footboard.

Step 4: Install the Bed Rail Brackets

I like to have most of the furniture easy to move. To make the bed easy to assemble and disassemble, I use the bed rail brackets. These come in two parts. The part with the hooks attaches to the side rails and the other part attaches to the legs.

Installing the bed rail brackets on the bed rails

When aligning, it is important to make sure that the rails are aligned with the edges of the footboard and the headboard. Once aligned, you can mark and make pilot holes for the screws to hold the brackets.

Step 5: Build the Side Rails

The side rails are extremely straightforward.

attaching the 2x2 board to the rails using screws

Note: It is important to attach the supports after attaching the bed rail brackets so you can cut the length accordingly to ensure that you are able to reach in and tighten the brackets.

At this point, I took a palm router and ¼″ round-over bit and rounded all the edges – the footboard and the bed rails. See more about how to use a router.

rounding over the edge of the bed frame headboard with a router

Step 6: Build the Headboard

For the headboard, I decided to go with an asymmetric curvy “cloud” type of shape. I built a panel out of 1×8 poplar boards and cut it out.

  • Trim the edges of the 1×8 boards to get straight edges that can help achieve a tight fit.
  • Glue up the boards overnight to make a panel. Remember to alternate the direction of the grain to help even out wood stresses.
Glueing up poplar boards to make the headboard for the diy twin bed
  • Using a circular saw and straight edge, cut off the sides of the panel to make it the dimension needed for the bed.
  • Draw the pattern to cut out. I freehanded the curves, but you can use a pencil and string or pan lids, or even print and trace it out. Also, you could make just about any shape you like!
  • Cut out the headboard using a jigsaw.
cutting out the headboard shape using a jigsaw
  • To get a rounded edge, I used the palm router and ¼″ round over bit on both sides of the board.
routing the edges of the headboard

For added oomph, I also glued an LED strip to the back of the headboard… because why not!

Step 7: Apply the Finish

This is a great time to apply the finish you want to the bed. Since my daughter’s room has lots of bright colors, I decided to paint the bed white and went with Alabaster from Sherwin Williams.

See how to paint wood furniture.

Step 8: Assemble

It is finally time to put it all together. Assembly is pretty easy.

  • Attach the bed rails to the headboard and the footboard and tighten it for the most sturdy fit.
Assembling the diy bed using bed rail brackets
attaching the headboard with the corner braces
attaching the slats to the bed.

That is it!

DIY Twin bed without bedding in colorful room

The bed is ready and all you have to do is add the mattress and bedding!

DIY Bed in girls room

It is a simple and easy build. I think the majority of time was taken up by sanding and painting… the actual build can be completed in a day or two!

If you want to add more fun sleepover opportunities, be sure to check out the DIY trundle bed I built to go underneath!

DIY Twin Bed Plans

As always, I have the step-by-step plans, including the cutlist and diagrams, for you. You can get the plans by clicking the button below.

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Anika's goal is to inspire and empower beginners with woodworking, DIY, home improvement, and home decor ideas.
She wants everyone to unlock their creative potential and experience the feeling that comes with making something. Nothing feels better better than seeing something and saying "I can make that!"

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