Two billion wood pallets are used to ship goods every day. That means wooden pallets are abundantly available, for free or a nominal cost, anywhere that accepts deliveries of heavy goods. This can be particularly useful for anyone interested in making low-cost, DIY furniture, including beds. Best of all, the process isn't just inexpensive, but also easy.
Gather Your Materials
Gather up two pallets for a twin bed or four pallets for a double or queen bed. The wooden pallets should be 40-by-48 inch and in good condition with no broken or cracked slats.
Don't just grab any pallets you can get your hands on. You need to be sure they are safe. If there are no markings on the pallets, they came from a reputable source (meaning they weren't used to ship something dangerous) and they look clean, then you're good to go. If they have a stamp, see if you can find more information about the code online to see if they are safe. If they are stamped with the letters "MB," they were treated with methyl bromide fumigation, a very dangerous pesticide that should not be brought into your home. When it comes to colored pallets, red is generally safe, but other colors may have been subjected to dangerous fumigation techniques and should be avoided.
Make the Pallets Bedroom-Ready
After equipping proper safety gear, including protective eye wear, gloves and a respirator, sand the pallets with a palm sander to smooth all surfaces and edges. Round edges and corners that may stick out past the edges of your mattress on the finished bed. This step is important to avoid splinters and it may take some time. Wipe the pallets well to remove all sand dust.
You may want to stain or paint the pallets, and if so, this would be the right time. You can also apply a sealer, clear varnish or leave them unfinished – the great thing about pallet beds is how versatile they are.
Assemble the Bed
Lay out the pallets. For a twin bed, lay two pallets end to end. For a double or queen, lay the four pallets in a square shape. Attach two large hinges between each pallet, one end of each hinge on each pallet. You may need to use a drill to make pilot holes through the hinges and into the wood (always use protective gear like eye wear and a respirator). Affix the hinges with wood screws and a screwdriver. Repeat with the second two pallets for a larger bed, then secure the two sets of pallets together with four more hinges. You will need two hinges for a twin bed and eight hinges for a double or queen.
Attach locking caster wheels to the four corners of a twin pallet bed. For a double or queen, attach them at the center of each long side and each corner. Lock the casters and turn the bed right-side up. Place a mattress on the pallet bed and make it up with sheets, pillows and blankets. A pallet bed made with a twin mattress can even double as seating with lots of pillows placed along the back.
Shaunta Alburger has been a professional writer for 15 years. She's worked on staff at both major Las Vegas newspapers, as well as a rural Nevada weekly. Her first novel was published in 2014.