How to Build Sleigh Beds

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You can characterize beds with outward curls on both the head- and foot-boards as sleigh beds, for no other reason than they look like a sleigh that Santa's coming to town in. If you're in the market for a new bed and you can't find what you're looking for at any furniture store, you can build your own sleigh bed.

Things You'll Need

  • Template
  • MDF (medium-density fiberboard)
  • Maple wood
  • Router
  • Band saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Wood glue
  • Wood screws
  • Drill
  • Braces
  • Polyurethane
  • Know what size bed you want to build. Take into consideration the size of your current mattress and whether you plan on buying a new mattress or using the old one.

  • Find templates for building sleigh beds. At your local hardware store, as well as on a website such as Fine Woodworking, you can find step-by-step building plans for the bed of your dreams.

  • Determine if you have the resources to build your sleigh bed from scratch. Sleigh beds have intricate woodworking details, so you're going to need a router for grooves and slots, as well as a band saw to cut your straight lines and a jigsaw for making the curves in the end posts of your bed. You can rent these items from a home improvement store for a nominal fee.

  • Purchase your materials. Using the template from Step 2, make a list of the items you'll need to finish your project. Be sure to include wood glue and screws, as well as a wood-protecting product such as polyurethane.

  • Begin assembling the sleigh bed's base. Use MDF (medium-density fiberboard) for the base because it's easiest to work with and good for your wallet as well. For the frame surrounding the base, choose a sturdy wood, such as maple.

  • Connect the head- and foot-boards. Route out slots in your boards and use wood glue to connect the pieces together. When putting together your head- and foot-boards, use braces to hold the pieces together until you can insert wood screws for stability.

  • Complete your sleigh bed. In a well-ventilated area, apply stain (if necessary) and a polyurethane protecting coat to your sleigh bed. Allow it to dry, and then add your mattress and bedding for a good night's sleep.

Tips & Warnings

  • Building a sleigh bed is a very tedious task, so consider purchasing prefabricated bed parts and piecing them together for the final product.

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