# How to Make and Install Bed Slats

• 5-10 hours
• Intermediate
• 100-1,000
What You'll Need
Southern yellow pine wood
Tape measure
Pencil
Straight square edge
Bench saw or circular saw
Safety gear
Belt clamps
Sandpaper or sanding machine
Varnish or wax
Wood screws or rubber stoppers

Bed slats help to support your mattress. While some bed frames come with these slats, others don’t. These slats can be slightly dipped or arched, or they can be totally flat. Make your own flat bed slats with the help of the right wood, a few tools, and these directions.

## Step 1 - Deciding the Size and Number of Slats You Need

If you already have bed slats that are supporting an existing mattress, you can use an old slat as a template to mark the size and dimensions to make the new ones.

### Calculating Without Current Supports

However, if your current bed has no wooden slats, you can calculate the number you will need and the width of them easily. First, take the measurement of the length of the bed.

Most beds are around 80-inches long, and most slats are 2-by-1 inches. Therefore, in this example, you would divide 80 inches by 2 inches, which equals 40 inches. That means that there is enough space for 40 slats.

However, you will need one slat’s worth of space between each slat, so you should divide this number in half. Therefore, you would need approximately 20 slats.

## Step 2 - Purchasing Wood

Calculate how many slats you will need, and then purchase the appropriate amount of wood. While yellow southern pine is one of the sturdiest choices, there are other appropriate woods you can build slats from.

## Step 3 - Measuring and Cutting

Warning: When working with any kind of saw, take the appropriate safety measures and always follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Measure the width of the bed, and subtract approximately 1/2 inch. This width will be the measurement you should cut your slats to. Mark the square edge, so that it cuts at 90 degrees across the wood. Then, use a bench saw or circular saw to make a clean and neat cut where you marked.

Use the first slat as a template for the rest of the slats, by using it to mark the dimensions on the uncut wood. Cut all the slats you will need.

## Step 4 - Sanding

Once you have cut the slats, you will need to sand them with high-grit sandpaper or a sanding machine. Smooth the wood and get rid of any splinters.

## Step 5 - Varnishing and Waxing

Finally, wax the wood slats with a fine coat of beeswax. Alternatively, you can varnish the slats. Both options are equally advantageous.

## Step 6 - Installing the Slats

Once you’ve finished making the slats, place the first one on the bottom of the bed frame. Place two more next to the original slat. Then, use wood screws or rubber stoppers to secure the two outside slats out of the three slats you’ve put down. Lift the middle slat out, and repeat this process to get an equal distance between each slat you install.

## Make and Install Bed Slats FAQ

### What kind of wood should you use for bed slats?

Many types of wood are used in home furnishings and you have a variety of options when it comes to bed slats. Pine, fir, and spruce, all softwoods, are used in bed slats.

Poplar is a popular choice in bed slats. Birch and oak are also used, along with many other types of wood.

### How do you attach bed slats to a frame?

Bed slats provide support but they can also create some associated problems. Bed slats can move around and fall, which turns them into a hazard for pets who like to get under the bed.

Shifting bed slats can also create creaking and squeaking noises, which can keep you awake at night if you're sensitive to sounds.

If the bed frame has holes for screws or it's made of wood, drill the slats to the frame. A single screw on each end of each slat should be enough to keep them from shifting out of place.

If you have a metal frame or you don't want to attach the slats directly to the frame, cut your own spacers using 1x3 pieces of wood. You can use any wood for spacers.

Cut spacers and place them along the frame between each one of the slats, filling up the gaps. This will help keep the slats in place so they don't shift around.

### Can I use plywood instead of slats?

Some people choose to replace bed slats with a sheet of plywood to provide uniform support for the mattress. The plywood should be at least three-fourths of an inch thick.

However, sleeping on a plywood board is not the same as sleeping on slats. There is a hard surface beneath the mattress, or the mattress and box spring if you have both, with means the mattress will get compressed by your body weight over time.

The mattress also won't breathe as well without slats. Moisture from your body could collect beneath it and create mold, which is a problem you don't want.

### What is the gap between bed slats?

To provide complete support for the mattress, box springs, and bodies on top of it, bed slats should be less than three inches apart and no more than four inches apart.

### Why do my bed slats keep falling out?

Bed slats can shift and fall if they are not securely attached. This might happen because slats are not properly spaced and the weight is distributed unevenly, which causes unequal amounts of pressure that cause slats to shift and fall.

Slats may also be worn out. The wood can weaken and change shape over time, which may cause the slats to loosen and put them at risk for falling.

If slats are not securely attached to the bedframe, they may fall out.