A California King bed is something we have wanted for a long time. However once we realized how expensive a frame was going to be, I decided to get building. Of course I found this project to be theperfect excuse to finally get a Kreg Jig!
In terms of building materials, here was my supplies list:
- set of 4 tapered furniture legs from DIY Upholstery Supply. These were the widest I could easily find – 2.5″ at their widest and 6″ tall
- Four 1×8 Hemlock boards for the face of the frame
- Five 2x4s for the interior frame
- Kreg Jig 1″ and 2 1/2″ course thread screws
- Corner clamps
- Handful of 2.5″ decking screws
- 8 adjustable furniture feet
Note: I’m about 99% this can be done with four 2x4s instead of five. However I somehow always manage to need that extra board.
You can use any type of 1×8 for the visible sides of the bed. There are cheaper options than Hemlock, but I liked the even tone and that it doesn’t have any knots. For the 1x8s and the 2x4s, the price came out to be around $170. Your price can be a lot cheaper or more expensive depending on what type of wood you want to use.
My method for cutting the boards to length was simple. The first thing I did was measure the length of the box spring, and then added an inch and a half (to allow for an easier fit and room for bedding). After the long boards were cut, I grabbed my corner clamps and lined up the boards at the head and foot of the bed. Once I was happy with the fit, I marked off the excess and trimmed them to size (above).
Then I got to bust out my brand-spanking-new Kreg Jig! If you are using a Kreg Jig for the first time, I highly recommend practicing on some excess boards to make sure your settings are correct.
Tip:Your Kreg Jig settings and screw length are based off of the thinner of the two boards you are joining. For this project, when you are screwing into a 1×8 (which is 3/4″ thick), use the 1 1/4″ screws and put your kreg jig settings at 3/4″. When the receiving board is a 2×4 (which is 1 1/2″ thick), use the 2 1/2″ screws and put your settings at 1 1/2″.
You only need to drill pocket holes in the boards that will not have exposed ends. For me this was the long side boards. I assembled the bed in our room, but I don’t necessarily think you have to do it this way, depending on your situation. After the four sides were secured together (use corner clamps!), I reinforced the corners with diagonal supports, which is what the the legs will be attached to. The picture below shows the bed frame flipped over (you’re looking at the bottom) as I was attaching the plates for the legs.
*Initially the inside length of the diagonal cut was 10″ (below), but you could hardly see the legs on the final product, so I went back and cut them down to an inside length of 5″.
Next I attached the cross supports. I flipped the frame right side up and cut three 2x4s to fit horizontally. Use a thin book as a guide so that the 2x4s sit a little bit higher and won’t be visible from the side.
Our bedframe is built for a box spring, but if you are building for a platform bed, you will need more horizontal supports.
For a center support to support the split box spring, I installed 2x4s cut to length between each horizontal support.
Tip:Back to Kreg Jig basics – don’t forget to adjust your settings for the ends of the center supports that will have a 1×8 as the receiving end (this is where I likely wound up using that extra 2×4 …. whoops!).
Before installing the legs, we added adjustable furniture feet to each of them (you can see an uninstalled one on the right side of the picture (below), about half way down). Drill a hole just wide enough to accommodate the receiving plastic end, and then hammer it in to place. The feet screw into the receiving end and will help with leveling.
I’d say for anything larger than a twin bed, you will need at least one center leg support. For our California King Bed, we opted for a total of 4. We attached the leg supports to the horizontal beams with 2.5″ decking screws.
That wraps up the construction! Now on to my least favorite thing ever – staining. I won’t bore you with pictures of all the dissatisfying stains I tried. Maybe I’m just picky, or terrible at staining, but I still hate Minwax wood stains. Everything came out looking blotchy and uneven. It also didn’t help that I was trying to match the wood to our existing retro dresser.
In a moment of feeling desperate, I did something I never thought I’d do, I bought a can of Polyshades. But guess what?! I think it worked pretty darn well.
I didn’t apply the Polyshades straight out of the can though. The color was darker than I wanted, so I diluted it – 1 part Polyshades to 2 parts satin Polyurethane. Before applying it, I recommend using a wood conditioner. I applied two coats of my diluted Polyshades with a natural fiber brush.
To get a really smooth finish, let each coat dry throughly and then buff it with fine steel wool. Make sure to clean off all the dust before applying the next coat. The last step was applying a single coat of the satin polyurethane.
The color doesn’t match perfectly with our existing dresser, but that hasn’t prevented me from being happy with the result. Initially we thought we would build a head board, but now that it’s done we plan to keep it as is.
Also, I just have to give some love to our awesome pendant lights (which are original to the house!). I can assure you these aren’t going anywhere anytime soon – or ever!
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