I am converting a van into an RV; building a bed that will double as a sofa is not that difficult, but I need it to do more. It must also provide storage since space will be limited.
I decided on a design that allows me to repurpose wooden pallets into crates that in turn, will become a day bed and side storage units.
Using wooden pallets to create furniture is a great way to repurpose an item normally thrown away. Always work safely with reclaimed wood; chemicals and imbedded metal can cause injuries.
Any sized bed is possible by adjusting the directions and using the measurements of the mattress.
You will need:
- · General woodworking tools
- · Measuring and marking tools
- · 1″ corner braces
- · Drill and bits
- · Primer and paint or stain and sealer
- · Narrow profile hinges, two for each crate
- · Latches, one for each crate if desired
- · Sandpaper
- · Wooden dowels
- · Dismantled pallets or stock lumber
- · # 8 wood screws, 1 ½” long
- · 1-by-3 wood repair plates, also known as washer plates
I have decided to make my bed match the size of my chosen mattress. My mattress measures 74″ by 38″. I will make six crates with closing lids that measure 24.5″ wide, 19″ deep and 18″ high.
For this article, I am going to assume all the wood planks for the crates will be 5″ wide and ½” thick. The internal framing will be made of 1 ½” square wood ripped from 2-by-4 pallet supports.
Make The Crate Frame
The internal frame of the crates is made first. Since the mattress and a sleeping person will be on top, crates with an internal framing system are the safest option.
Cut four pieces of 1 ½-by-1 ½ wood, each 16″ long. The other inch of height is provided by the top and bottom ½” pieces.
Cut seven additional pieces, each 20 ½” long and four pieces 15″ long each.
Construct a box with the pieces with the 16″ pieces at the corners and the other pieces between them. Use dowels to connect the pieces to the vertical corners. Alternatively, use corner braces and 2″ long countersunk wood screws with side bracing provided by wood repair plates.
Make a mark 3″ from the back of the frame along the 15″ boards and mark the center of the last 1 ½-by-1 ½. Match the center marks to the 3″ mark and affix with wood screws. Provide additional strength by using the corner braces on each side of the piece. The top will open and close against this piece.
Cover The Crate Frame
Cut the ½” boards to fit the top and bottom with a ½” overhang all the way around. Affix the bottom boards using the 1 ½” wood screws. Cut one piece for the top to extend ½” over the back and end flush with the 20 ½” piece. Cut enough boards to cover the top with a gap wide enough for the hinge barrel to be inside the boards. Do not attach the rest of the top boards to the box.
Make a frame for the lid by using the last two 20 ½” 1 ½-by-1 ½’s. Insert the two pieces against the side of the board, making sure not to change the gap. Measure the space between the two boards and make a rectangular frame. Attach the top boards to the frame and attach the hinges. Test for fit by opening and closing the lid; adjust if necessary.
Cut additional boards for the sides, front and back. The boards should overhang the front and back with the side boards fitting in between. Attach with the wood screws. Attach latches to the fronts, if desired. Cutting the boards on each side of the hinges at an angle can also alleviate problems with opening and closing.
Make The Day bed
Make six crates and arrange them two crates deep and three crates long. Use wood repair plates to connect the crates at the sides. Use one plate along the top and another at the bottom, evenly spaced.
Place the mattress on the crates and lie down.
Decorate The Day bed
Stain and seal or prime and paint the crates before attaching them to make a day bed. Trunk hardware for joining the crates is a great way to decorate; attach corner pieces to the bottoms for added flair.
- · Since pallets often yield woods of varying thickness, match enough wood to make all the crates the same size, plane the wood or use stock wood.
- · Plywood and 2-by-2 wood can be substituted for pallet wood; adjust the size of the crates accordingly.
- · To make the crates portable, drill two holes in each side and make rope handles. Untie the ropes and place inside the crates when they are used for a bed. Alternatively, cut holes in the side to use as handles.
- · The old approach of “sand-as-you-go” will save bundles of time. Sand each piece of wood after it is cut.
- · Use dowels to make stronger joints or make the frame with a favorite joint; adjust the measurements of each crate accordingly.
The resulting bed will last for years and each crate provides storage space for linens and other items. When moving, remove the plates and place inside the crates. Pick up each crate and items inside are already considered packed.
Source: The author of this article has over 40 years of experience in diverse subjects and skills such as DIY, home improvement and repair, crafting, designing, and building furniture, outdoor projects, RV’ing and more.