Oh, canopy beds. I’ve always loved canopies. When I designed my little lavender bedroom as a little girl, my favorite piece in the whole room was the canopy. It made me feel like a princess every day, and it also protected me from spiders. Seriously, one morning I woke and a spider was on my face! Well, if I didn’t have a canopy, it would’ve been right on my face, but luckily my canopy protected me and it was just in my face instead of on it.
My love for canopy beds rekindled when we went on our honeymoon. Our resort had a canopy bed, mostly to protect from the million mosquitoes, but it was so gorgeous. I think I asked Andrew multiple times every night on our honeymoon if we could build a canopy bed once we moved into our new house. Eventually, he got on board! Alright, let’s start DIYing!
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- Miter Saw
- Power Drill
- Electric Sander
- Clamps (at least 2, but having more makes it go quicker)
- Kreg Jig
- Safety Equipment (glasses, ear plugs, mask, gloves)
- Tape Measure
What You’ll Need
For quantities for each bed size, get our premium plans.
How to build a canopy bed
Step 1: Cut your wood
Start by cutting your posts to ~88 inches (this doesn’t need to be exact, because you’ll re-cut to the proper length after gluing). Glue three 1×3 boards together to make the bedposts. Use a stainable glue and start by putting two boards together, then add the third board (picking the best sides of the boards to face outward). Use clamps to hold the 3 boards together and ensure they are lined up as much as possible on the long sides.
Repeat this process until you have 4 posts created, if you have enough clamps you can do them all at once, otherwise you’ll want the glue to dry before unclamping. We got the idea to glue together 3 – 1×3 boards, rather than use 4x4s from Kreg Tool.
Make your remaining cuts using the cut list provided in our premium plans. All common bed dimensions are provided: twin, full, queen, king, and California king.
In addition to the cut list, cut a spare piece to 7”. You’ll use this to help level the side and end rails during assembly.
Step 2: drill pocket holes
Drill pocket holes in the end rails and front and back top rails. Pre-drill the side rail attachment and slats:
- 4 pocket holes on each end of your end rails (16 total)
- 1 pocket hole on your front and back top rails (4 total)
- Pre-drill 8 small holes (smaller than your screw size) across your side rail attachment 2x2s.
- Pre-drill holes 1 hole in the middle and 1 hole close to the edge on each side of the slats. For 3 of the boards, drill 2 holes spread out evenly instead of the 1 in the center.
Great news! We finally created a PDF version of these plans, complete with 3D renderings that show you exactly where to drill holes and how things fit together. Get the plans.
Step 3: sand, stain, and seal
Focus a lot of your attention while sanding on the outward facing pieces of the bed. We didn’t sand the 1×4 slats that hold up the bed since those didn’t need to be stained and will never be seen.
For this bed, we mixed 2 parts Dark Walnut to 1 part Classic Grey. Stain all the boards and let them dry before applying a coat of sealer.
Seal your wood once the stain has fully dried.
step 4: Add supports
While the stain is drying, attach the 2×2 supports to your 1×4 wood slats with 1.25” wood screws. Most will have just a single support in the center, however we will have 3 slats with 2 supports for extra stability.
Once everything is dry, you’re ready to bring the wood up into the room you’re putting the bed in! You’ll want to assemble in the room to ensure you can get the wood up the stairs and through the door.
Step 5: assemble the end pieces
Each end piece is made up of 2 posts and an end board. Attach the end board 7” from the bottom of the post using 2.5” Kreg pocket hole screws. You can use the 7″ scrap board you cut earlier as a guide. Ensure you attach it to the side of the post where you can see the 3 boards you glued together and that your favorite sides of the boards are facing out. Screw your end board into the other post. Repeat to create the other end piece.
Step 6: side rails
Attach the side rail attachments to each of the side rails. The side rail attachments should be 1.5” from the top of the side rail and 2.5” from the bottom and centered horizontally so that you have room on the end of each side rail for the metal brackets.
Attach the metal side rail bracket hardware with 1.25” wood screws. Start by attaching the metal piece with the L-shaped metal brackets sticking out to the end of the 2×6 board. Before attaching the other half of the 2 piece hardware to the post, slide the metal hardware together.
With help from someone else, line up the side rail 7″ off the ground, mark the top and bottom of the metal piece. Aligning this hardware is a crucial step and may take a few adjustments. Using the places you marked, attach the other side of the metal bracket to the post. Repeat until all 4 brackets are attached.
Step 6: assemble
Time to make this look like an actual bed frame! Lean one end piece up against the wall and grab a friend to help you hold up the other end piece. Slide the metal bracket that is attached to your side rail into the other half of the bracket on the post until it locks into place. Repeat until you have the outside of the bed frame assembled.
Space out and screw down the slats. Mix those three slats with the extra supports in to help distribute the weight.
Attach the top rails. The front and back rails are attached with 1.25” screws in pocket holes. The side rails are attached with the metal ties and 1.25” wood screws.
You might have noticed that this bed doesn’t have a headboard. Well, 78 weeks later, we FINALLY got around to making one! Check out our DIY headboard tutorial. It’s pretty cool. You don’t want to miss it.
Enjoy the sleek lines of your new canopy bed and take a look at some photos to gain some headboard inspiration to finish off your dream bed!
Don’t forget to grab your PDF plans.