Video: Building a DIY Murphy Bed
If you're a little tight on space, a fold-down Murphy Bed is a great way to help a room do double duty – home office, workout room or crafting area by day and bedroom by night. Rockler's new Murphy Bed Hardware Kits make it easier than ever for you to build a comfortable, durable Murphy Bed to get the most out of your living space.
Create a wall bed that opens smoothly and quietly with these premium piston lift mechanisms. With no springs to break or slacken over time, you'll get years of reliable service. Unlike many other kits, these packages include a sturdy steel mattress platform with comfortable cambered wood slats to support your mattress. Metal legs at the foot of the bed swing out for a level sleeping surface when opened, and the mechanism holds the bed securely closed when not in use. Instructions are included for building a basic cabinet enclosure. Compatible with mattresses up to 10'' thick. Choose from Twin, Full and Queen sizes.
- Includes tubular steel mattress frame for strength and improved weight distribution
- Comes with cambered wood slats for comfort
- Recommended for standard mattress sizes up to 10'' thick
- No box spring is used
VIDEO: Tips for Installing an I-Semble Vertical-Mount Murphy Bed Kit
VIDEO:Watch April Wilkerson build this Murphy bed using the I-Semble Murphy Bed Hardware Kit. Everything you need to build the bed, except for the plywood, comes included in this kit.
Video Transcript - April Wilkerson: In this video, I made a Murphy bed, and I'm going to show you how I did it. One of those now you see it, now you don't sort of things. Let's get into it. I'm using a complete Murphy bed kit produced by Rockler. Everything you need to build the bed except for the plywood comes included in this kit. I first started by unpacking everything from the box. I also grabbed the instructions out and started reading.
This build takes five sheets of plywood or at least mine did as I'm building a queen size. They also make a kit for the king, full and twin. Those builds might take more or less. I utilize my armor tool workbench on casters to get all of my sheets over to my workbench to start cutting. The instructions come with dimensions for each of the parts, but it doesn't have a cut list on how to lay them out.
If you would like a free download of my cut list, then head over to my website, there's a link for you down below. To break these sheets down, I'm using my Triton track saw. While it takes a lot of sheets to make up the parts needed, there are only eight components. Don't be overwhelmed or intimidated by this project just because of its size. As I cut down my pieces from the cut list, I make sure to label them so that later on, I can keep them straight without having to re-measure them.
All of the pieces are cut, all eight of them. [laughs] Now to start on the assembly, first step is to lay out some mounting brackets. I use the plans to lay out the holes that I would need to draw out. Then after getting everything marked, I set my bracket in place just to make sure things lined up. You can see I used a square to make sure I was going to be mounting it squared to the edge. After repeating on the other side, I started drilling. To prevent going all the way through the material, I used a piece of tape to make a flag for my bit and use this as a visual marker on the depth.
I drilled all 16 holes then used an Allen wrench to screw in some threaded inserts. I think these are such a neat piece of hardware. It's almost like tapping metal. You can put threads anywhere, and therefore, a bolt anywhere. You do want to get these flush with the surface and to make sure you don't over tighten them and strip them out. I got all 16 of those threaded in, and then place the brackets over them, and use bolts that came in the hardware pockets to attach them.
Moving over to yet another work surface, I started assembling what will be the big show that the mattress portion will fold up into. I'm using the Rockler clamp-It jigs to get the top and upper headboard joining together at a perfect 90. Now I can mark where I'll be drilling for dowels in the next step. Since you'll be able to see the inside and outside of this cabinet, dowels are a great choice since they can't be seen but do provide some extra strength for the joint.
This is the Rockler doweling jig. I lined up the center mark on the jig to my pencil mark, clamped the jig in place, and then drilled the designated holes. Now it could run a bead of glue along the edge, drop the dowels in their holes, then clamp the two sides together. Since this is an indoor project, I'm sticking with Titebond Original for this entire build. I use the dowel locations to get the pieces lined up, a mallet so you gently get it started and then clamps to get them seated the entire way. After placing a good amount of clamps along its length, I used a square to check the inside and make sure that I was, in fact, clamping these down at a true 90.
Next, I repeated this same process to the two boards that make up the bottom and the bottom headboard. Then while letting both of those big assemblies dry, I started on sanding all of the pieces down with my palm RRS. Even though the plywood comes pre-sanded, I still like to go over all the surfaces with 220 and then the edges with something like 120. Once the bead glue-ups were done drying, I started attaching them to form a giant box, making sure the bracket on the side panel was facing inside and towards the bottom. Then I also moved the bottom assembly into place.
I once again used wood glue and dowels to secure this side to the top and bottom. I also put it in a few screws so I wouldn't have to let it set up in clamps and wait for it to dry. I shifted the entire thing over on my workbench so that I can repeat the process on the other side and get the fourth panel in place to complete the box. I will be painting my unit. Next, I went over the entire thing with joint compound to fill in all of the screw heads and any voids in the edges of the plywood.
Now before I started painting, I decided to add a simple design to the front just to keep it from looking like a big boring box, came up with something simple, just a few arrows, but I decided instead of just painting them on, to build out the design with wood and give it a little bit of texture. Wood glue works best on unpainted surfaces. I took the time to mark out my design on the panels so I couldn't avoid painting the surfaces I would later glue wood to. Once I had those lined out, I could then get on to painting.
Now, I'm going with milk paint and the color of driftwood by General Finishes. I love the low-luster sheen of milk paint, but the General Finishes brand is a premium mixture that is also so durable on its own. It doesn't require a top coat and not having to apply an additional coat or two on this large project was definitely a plus for me. After getting the door panels painted, I also painted the outside and the inside of the body. Total, I applied three coats of paint, but this paint dries so quickly, I never had to set my roller down.
I left that alone while I started working on making the thin panels needed for the accents on those panels. For this, I could have used something like Masonite, but I had so much plywood leftover. I decided to use it by planing it down to the thickness needed. [laughs] Look how spoiled that dog is. I moved my planner in my mobile workbench out to my porch and ran my boards through until they were about three-sixteenths of an inch thick. Man, having a mobile workbench is a great addition to my shop, especially one as versatile as this armor tools one.
Getting those thinned down, I quickly throw a coat of paint on all of the strips and then let them dry. For the ease, I went with a slightly darker General Finishes' gray still in the milk paint so that they would have the same sheen. Then when they were dry, I lay down a good amount of glue and stuck them in place. If you'll be staining your unit, then you could also set something heavy on top while they're drying, but since I'm painting mine, I used a brad nailer to hold them down while they were drying. Then afterwards, I filled in the nail holes to paint right over.
When moving to repeat the process on the second door, I lined up the edges of the doors first. Then again used my square to align this first section to the existing points. Man, I just absolutely loved the way this design makes these doors pop. I came back with a flush-trim saw to knock down all of the pieces flush with the edges, then enlisted some help to get everything moved out to the shed. This thing is big, but it's very easy to move with two people.
Next up was assembling the frame that the mattress will go on. This is all very straightforward and quick to do as the hardware and instructions all come with the kit. These slots fit into some little plastic sleeves that then attach to the frame. You can see that I skipped some This was intentional because the open slots will be helpful in the next few steps when installing the frame to the wall.
With the frame still on the ground, I attached the two air cylinders on either side. Now I could move the frame into the body of the unit and slip the frame into the mounting brackets that I attached earlier to the side panels. The next step was to attach the other side of the cylinder and put it under tension. This means that the frame will now want to remained in the stowed away position and will need to be persuaded to go down and stay down.
The kit actually comes with some styrofoam blocks that you can use to push out the frame while installing the feet, but I threw mine away not knowing that they were useful so I used my mallet instead. Now, the foot, or what I'm calling the foot, will flip in whenever it's stowed away but then flip out, and that's what we'll be resting on the floor to keep the mattress off the ground when it's in use.
Now I was to install a stop block which will prevent the frame from going way too far into the cabinet when you want to stow it away. This was pretty difficult to do by myself so I asked my mom to give me a hand. She read the level for me while I made small adjustments and then screwed in the stop block. Now I could center the unit on my wall, locate the studs and attach the unit securely.
I'll go ahead and cut down the wood panel desk on a wrap-around this concrete form. To give the cleanest look here, I'm going to do a miter joint. After making the first miter cut, I'll flip the waist around and make another miter cut going the opposite direction. This is really important if you want to continue to grain off the wood to wrap around. For the final cut, I'll face the miter edge towards the fence and run that through the table saw. Now that I have the two miter parts, I'll take masking tape and attach it to one side. I'll apply wood glue to the miter edge and spread it evenly.
Of course, with the frame under tension, it made this part of the process pretty comical. I always thought that fits in the movies where people would get folded into the unit was staged, but now I know it can actually happen. Know that you can definitely weigh down the end of the frame to keep it from popping up on you while you're working.
The last part was to install the door panels. Since they are directional, I positioned them first to make sure I wasn't installing them incorrectly. Then I flipped them around to start attaching the brackets to the backside. There are six for each panel, and these hooks catch the metal framing assembly. After getting the first one on, I used a mallet to center it up slightly, then repeated by attaching the second. Nice. Once both were hung and centered, I move back to the inside and secured both with screws in several pre-designated locations. Attached the slats, I left out earlier, attached to mattress supports, and then did all of the touch-up paint so that it looked as fresh as possible.
Now I still have a handle to figure out, but I think I want to do something in the center sneaky squirrely like that, and I still have to get the mattress in place. There she is.