How to Build a Slat Bed Frame

Lead Image for How to Build a Slat Bed Frame
What You'll Need
4x4-inch boards that are as long as you want your bed to be wide (2)
4x4-inch boards that are 8 inches shorter than you want your bed to be long (2)
4x4x16-inch boards (6)
Measuring tape
Table saw
Power drill
Wood Glue

The most important step in making a slatted bed is to make the slat bed frame. A slatted bed is a type of bed that has an open, rectangular frame around the outside edges of the mattress. The frame supports a series of slats, or boards, secured horizontally across the open middle of the frame. These slats support the mattress. Since the first step in making a slatted bed is to make the frame, the following set of step by step instructions will give you all the information you need to make the frame of a slatted bed.

Step 1 - Sideboards

Find the 2 boards that are 4-inches shorter than the length of the bed you're making. Measure and mark 4-inches from each end of the boards, then cut a 2-inch deep crack on the same side of both boards. From the very ends of both boards, make another cut along the middle of the one side until it meets the cut you just made at 4-inches. 2 blocks should fall off of each board, leaving a 2x4-inch lip at both sides.

Step 2 - Top and Bottom Boards

On the 2 boards measured to the width you want your bed to be, you are going to make similar cuts. The only difference is that instead of making the lip that goes all the way across the board, you will only be cutting out the corners of these boards. Measure 4-inches from the ends of both boards, and make a 2-inch deep cut that runs half-way across the board on the same side of each board, but on opposite sides of the 2 boards. In the middle of the board where the last cut you made ends, make another cut at a 90° angle towards the end of the board. Finally, cut out the block you made by cutting into the corner of the end of the boards.

Step 3 - Attach the Boards Together

It should be obvious how the four boards you have been working on will fit together. The parts you cut out of the side boards should fit into the parts you cut from the other boards, so they should make a rectangular frame that is flush at all 4 corners. Fit them together to make sure they fit correctly, and if they don't, shave some of the wood from your cut-out sections to make the necessary adjustments. Screw the boards in place, then screw on the 6 head boards at the height you want your bed to be.

For certain types of mattresses, such as futons or memory foam, slatted beds are essential. This is because they offer air flow to the bottom of the mattress. If such mattresses were used with traditional bed frames, humidity and perspiration could make them damp enough to become moldy.