How To Make A DIY Pallet Bed Frame With Lights
Pallets are an excellent material for constructing a budget-friendly, easily moveable, and environmentally-conscious DIY bed frame.
They’re also sturdy, comfortable (with a mattress on top, of course), highly customizable based on your specific needs, and in many cases, even free to acquire.
To make a simple pallet bed with lights DIY, you really just need some paint, a sander, and perhaps some basic hardware to hold the pallets together. However, they’re perfectly capable of staying in place on their own!
What’s really great about using pallets for a bed frame is the open spaces between the wood. These can be used for storage, custom-made drawers, or even under-bed lighting using LED lights.
To help us along the way, we’ll be using some of the step-by-step pallet bed frame instructions featured in Michelle Mason’s video, where she creates a floating pallet bed frame with a headboard.
We’ll break down the video while providing a more general, less ambitious layout than the one Michelle built, walking you through each step, so you know how to make a DIY pallet bed frame with stunning lights!
Let's Make It
- Electric sander
- Paint roller
- Lint-free cloth (for stain)
- Drill (optional)
- Saw (optional)
- Wooden pallets
- Sandpaper (80, 180, 240 grit)
- Paint/ wood stain
- LED lights/ old lamp
- Screws (optional)
- Wood filler (optional)
Step-By-Step DIY Pallet Bed Frame With Lights Instructions
The first step in the process of creating a DIY pallet bed with lights is to layout your design.
Think about the size of your mattress, how far off the ground you want to be, if you want the wooden pallets to serve double duty as a night table or headboard, anything you want.
There’s so much that can be done with wooden pallets, so don’t be afraid to let your creativity flourish.
For the purposes of this lesson, we’ll show a fundamental step-by-step pallet bed frame construction method.
Keep in mind that most wooden pallets come in standard sizes, so decide which pallets will work best for your needs.
Once you’ve settled on a design, it’s time to pick up the pallets.
Seek out wooden pallets that are in good condition (no water damage, durable, not many nails sticking out, not cracked or splintered) and obtain the amount you need for your project.
Finding pallets should be quite easy, and as we mentioned earlier, might even be free.
You can try seeking out stores, warehouses, shipyards, anywhere you can think of that may have these handy shipping supplies, and just ask if you can have a few.
Warning: When selecting your pallets, ensure that you are getting ones that are heat-treated, not chemically treated. While those chemicals are okay for shipping and manufacturing, you don't want to sleep on a bed made from the wood.
Next, it’s time to get the pallets ready for use.
If any of the nails are slightly raised, use a hammer to knock them back down into place.
You can also use a wood filler to fill in any knots or holes in the wood should you desire. If you’re going for a more rustic aesthetic, leave those alone to let the imperfections shine!
Using a random orbital sander, sand the surface of the pallets (both top and bottom) with 80 grit sandpaper to remove any splintering wood and round off any sharp edges.
Then hand sand in-between the pallet boards.
After the first good sanding, Michelle’s step-by-step instructions for a pallet bed frame suggest moving to a higher grit sandpaper to achieve a smooth finish.
So move up to 180 grit sandpaper. If you want an even smoother surface, following that, sand everything again with 240 grit sandpaper. This will ensure a silky smooth surface on which to place your mattress.
Paint Or Stain
Sanding also helps prepare the wooden pallets for painting or staining.
Pick your desired color of paint and use a roller to apply it to the flat surfaces and a brush to get into all the nooks and crannies.
You can also opt for a two-tone color scheme. Again, get as creative as you want with your design!
Wood stain can be utilized if you want a more natural wood look to your DIY pallet bed frame with lights. If so, apply the stain with a lint-free cloth.
As the wood will be dry, it will soak up paint/stain quite easily, so keep applying coats until you attain your desired finish.
Tip: If you are painting the wood, applying a quality primer first can save you extra coats of the more expensive paint color.
Wait until the paint/stain is completely dry between coats, and once finished the final coat, allow it to dry thoroughly before proceeding to the next step.
Seal The Surface
If you’re looking up how to make a pallet bed frame with lights, then you’ll most likely want to protect your handiwork.
The best way to do this is to apply a sealant that will preserve the wood’s integrity while also ensuring the paint or stain keeps looking as fabulous as the day you applied it.
Apply the appropriate sealant based on your chosen paint or stain with a brush, following the manufacture’s instructions on how many coats will achieve the best result.
In most cases, two coats should do it.
The bed frame featured in our example has the pallets directly on the floor.
This can cause damage to wood or other hard floors if not properly addressed.
Attach adhesive felt furniture pads on the underside of the pallets to prevent them from scratching the floor.
Assemble The Frame
Arrange the pallets according to your design in your desired location.
The pallets don’t even have to be fixed together for simple bed frame designs, as gravity will keep everything together.
For designs that incorporate alterations to the pallets, prior to assembly cut the pallets to the desired specifications and attach them with screws using a drill.
When planning to stack multiple pallets on top of each other to create a higher frame, fasten the upper pallets to the lower ones with screws.
A wonderful aspect of making a DIY pallet bed frame is the ability to easily add lights and having the whole thing lit from underneath.
The gaps in the wooden pallets allow the light to come out through the wood beautifully and give the frame a luxurious upgrade.
There are several ways this can be achieved.
One method is to take apart an old lamp by removing the shade, mount or place the light inside the pallets, and simply plug it into an outlet.
Info: For this approach, make sure the light bulb being used by the lamp doesn’t generate too much heat, as this could become a fire hazard. Modern LED light bulbs work great as they don’t get hot the way incandescent light bulbs do.
Another way to light the underside of a DIY pallet bed frame is to use LED strip lights. Some of these lights have adhesive backs which can simply be stuck into place.
If not, the lights can either be mounted using the brackets provided in installation kits or can merely be left along the bottom of the pallets, unattached.
Simply follow the instructions provided with your LED light strip kit when setting up your DIY pallet bed frame.
String lights are another great option!
And with that, you now know how to make a pallet bed frame with lights!
We hope your project goes well, and we can’t wait to hear about your unique design and any additional tips and tricks you’ve picked up during your DIY construction process!