How to Build a Simple Bunk Bed

Building a bunk bed can be a rewarding and cost-effective project, providing a durable and practical solution for your home. Jay Bates demonstrates how to construct a sturdy bunk bed using primarily 2x6s and 2x4s, emphasizing simplicity and functionality.

For a visual guide, you can watch the build video at the end of this article

Materials Needed:

  • 2×6 lumber
  • 2×4 lumber
  • 2×2 lumber (or cut 2x4s into 2x2s)
  • Wood screws
  • Pocket hole screws
  • Wood glue

Tools Needed:

  • Circular saw or miter saw
  • Drill
  • Pocket hole jig
  • Measuring tape
  • Square
  • Clamps
  • Sandpaper or sander

Step-by-Step Instructions:

1. Selecting and Preparing the Lumber:

  • Choose 2×6 and 2×4 lumber for their affordability and wide availability. Prepare the wood by removing any manufacturer marks and minimizing sanding to preserve the wood’s character.

2. Cutting the Wood:

  • Cut the following pieces for the bed frames:
    • 2x6s for the side rails: 4 pieces at 75 inches each
    • 2x4s for the headboard and footboard: 4 pieces at 36 inches each (height) and 4 pieces at 39 inches each (width)
    • 2x2s for mattress slats: Cut to fit the width of the bed frame

3. Assembling the Bed Frames:

  • Use pocket hole screws to join the 2×6 side rails to the 2×4 headboard and footboard pieces. This method speeds up the construction process and hides the hardware for a cleaner look.
  • Ensure all joints are square and secure using wood glue and screws.

4. Creating the Mattress Slats:

  • Attach the 2×2 slats to the side rails, spacing them evenly for adequate support. Use screws to secure the slats in place.
  • For a cost-saving tip, consider converting 2x4s into 2x2s if necessary.

5. Constructing the Legs:

  • Build L-shaped legs by joining a 2×4 to a 2×6 using pocket hole screws. This design adds robustness to the bed and keeps the exterior free of visible screws or bolts.
  • Plan the placement of screws carefully to ensure they are concealed by other parts of the bed or the ladder system.

6. Assembling the Bunk Bed:

  • Attach the legs to the bed frames using wood screws and glue. Make sure the bed is level and stable.
  • If desired, add a ladder for easy access to the top bunk.

7. Sanding and Finishing:

  • Sand the entire structure to remove any rough edges and ensure a smooth finish.
  • Jay plans to experiment with finishes, such as steel wool vinegar and brie wax, to achieve a unique look. You can follow his upcoming tutorial for finishing options.

By following these steps, you can build a simple and durable bunk bed that meets your needs. Jay Bates’s tutorial provides practical woodworking techniques and thoughtful design, making this project accessible to DIY enthusiasts of all skill levels.


Jay Bates’s approach to building a bunk bed combines efficiency, practicality, and aesthetics, resulting in a sturdy and attractive piece of furniture. By following his guidance, you can create a functional addition to any home, perfect for maximizing space and providing comfortable sleeping arrangements.

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