Build a PVC Day Bed

This bed is inspired by a platform daybed designed by Stevie Henderson and Mark Baldwin in their book, “Terrific 2×4 Furniture.” The more I looked at the design, which uses stock lumber for various projects, the more it occurred to me that PVC pipe comes in stock sizes, too. Eureka.
PVC is strong, lightweight and cheaper than wood. In the unlikely event of a flood, just clean it off. It won’t soak up water, mold or mildew, and bugs won’t eat it. Rodents leave it alone too, or the squirrels in my neighborhood would never get tired of eating in my back yard.

Notes to consider:

• This bed is made with 2″ PVC pipe and fittings. It can be constructed with three or even 4-inch PVC pipe; adjust the lengths and measurements.

• One-inch PVC may be used for this project to make a child’s daybed. I would use 1″ schedule 40 pipe, as it is thicker and stronger. Make is shorter if so desired, and use a custom mattress.

• Do not allow children or adults to jump on this bed.

• When a different bed is desired, or the child has outgrown the bed, simply remove the plywood or MDF covering, tip it upright, add shelves, and use it as a bookcase.

• As the child grows, lengthen the bed with connectors in between the tees and corners, or only on one end. Add tee connectors as needed to keep measurements and bed strength consistent.

• This is made for standard twin mattress measurements: 39 inches wide by 75 inches long. It will easily accommodate an air mattress, which is 39 inches wide by 74 inches long (twin size).

• For dual-duty, if its current use is a bookshelf, leave plywood on, remove books, lay frame down and place mattress on for instant guest bed.

• Always follow safety instructions with power tools and chemicals.

• Surround the bed with bead board glued to the wall as a headboard or frame, poster, quilt or leave plain.

• Cut additional pieces of plywood for the inside of the frame and use as extra storage space. This is a great place for guest bedding stored in space bags.

• Paint or stain the PVC frame to match your décor.

To make this daybed, you will need:

• 8 each 3-way connectors

• PVC pipe

• Hacksaw

• PVC Cement (one or two-part)

• 12 each 4-way connectors

• 1 sheet ½-inch MDF or furniture grade plywood

• Drill with bits

• 12 inch long electrical wire cables “zip ties”

• Sandpaper, paint or seal

• Measuring tape and marker

• Power saw to cut plywood or MDF and appropriate blades

• Appropriate safety gear- goggles, gloves, ear protection, etc.

  • Step One:

Cut one piece of plywood or MDF measuring 39 inches wide by 75 inches long.

Lay down on floor on top of newspapers, good (furniture) side down.

  • Step Two:

Cut 10 pieces of PVC, each 14 inches long.

Sand cut edges to remove roughness. This doesn’t take long.

  • Step Three:

Lay four connectors on the board at the corners. Lay three 4-way connectors on each side of the board at equal distances. Mark the board.

Carefully measure the distance between the edges of each connector, and add two inches. Record these measurements for each pipe. The side and end pipes should be equal. Make sure the fittings are not over the edge of the board, and no more than ½” on the inside of the board all the way around.

Cut the lengths of pipe for the ends and the sides. Dry fit in place; don’t glue anything yet. The corners and four-way connectors will have one hole pointing up.

  • Step Four:

Insert the 14-inch pipes into each connector pointing up.

Using the measurements from the bottom, cut matching pipes and using the rest of the connectors, connect the top frame. Dry fit only at this point.

Measure the height of the bed frame at each connector. It should be the same all the way around. Measure the bed from one corner to the opposite diagonal corner. The measurements should match. Make reference marks on each fitting and pipe.

If any length adjustments need to be made, now is the time to make them.

  • Step Five:

Before removing frame from wood, make marks on each side of the inside cross members.

Remove the PVC frame and drill holes through the wood for the zip ties.

Glue the PVC frame together using the reference marks. Allow to dry for 24 hours.

  • Step Six:

Finish wood as desired, attach to bed frame with the plastic zip ties. Use two ties for each attachment.

Set bed in place, top with mattress and accessories.

Source: Stevie Henderson and Mark Baldwin (1998), “Terrific 2×4 Furniture,” Ashville, NC, Lark Books

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