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How to make a bunkie board

Updated November 21, 2016

A bunkie board is a thin piece of plywood covered by fabric and used to give stability to a bunk bed mattress. Due to the popularity of platform beds, bunkie boards are now available to match all mattress sizes and are used instead of a box spring because they add little height to the mattress. Bunkie boards can be constructed at home using 3/4-inch plywood, available at local home improvement stores and covered with home decor fabric from your local fabric store.

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  1. Choose your bunk bed mattress. Measure the bed frame to determine the size of bunkie board you will need. Depending on the bed frame, you may need to make the bunkie board slightly smaller or larger than the standard size.

  2. Standard sizes of bunkie boards are: twin, 39-by-75 inches; full, 54-by-75 inches; queen, 60-by-80 inches; king, 76-by-80 inches; and California king beds, 72-by-84 inches.

  3. For twin or full size bunkie boards, one 4-by-8 foot sheet of 3/4-inch plywood will suffice. Bunkie boards for queen size and larger will need to be constructed in 2 pieces, using 2 sheets of 3/4-inch plywood. When purchasing the plywood, ask the employees to cut it to the following specifications: twin, 39-by-75 inches; full, 54-by-75 inches; queen, 80-by-30 inches (2 sheets of plywood); king, 80-by-38 inches (2 sheets of plywood); and California king, 84-by-36 inches (2 sheets of plywood).

  4. When shopping for fabric, look for medium- to heavyweight home decor or upholstery fabric to ensure the durability of the finished bunkie board. The fabric can be tested by holding a single thickness of the fabric up to the light. If light can be seen through it, then the weave is not close enough and it is not good-quality fabric. Visit your local fabric store and ask the salesperson to help you find an appropriate fabric.

  5. Home upholstery fabric and upholstery fabric are sold in rolls that vary from 45-to-60 inches wide. The amount of fabric you need varies, depending on the size of bunkie board you are making. The fabric should cover the entire bunkie board in 1 piece when possible, with excess fabric hanging over the edges by at least 2 inches on each side. There will be more fabric left over from the wider rolls. Full-size bunkie boards and larger will require 2 pieces of fabric per each piece of plywood. Yards of fabric required per fabric width: twin, 2.25 yards; full, 3 yards; queen, 4.5 yards; king, 4.5 yards; and California king beds, 5 yards.

  6. Lay the fabric flat on the floor, wrong side up. Position the plywood on top of the fabric and be sure that at least 2 inches of fabric extends past each side of the plywood. Use a staple gun to fold the fabric over the plywood and staple it flat. Pull the fabric tight when stapling the opposite side so that it will lie flat and snug on the right side of the bunkie board. When making a full size or larger bunkie board, staple 1 piece of fabric at a time, allowing the 2nd piece to overlap the 1st slightly. Place the bunkie board on the bed frame, fabric side up and set the mattress on top.

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Things You'll Need

  • 3/4-inch plywood
  • Home decor or upholstery fabric
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Bunk bed mattress

About the Author

Kittie McCoy has been a freelance writer since 2008. She is also a part-time personal trainer and licensed entertainer in Las Vegas. She enjoys sharing her love of physical fitness and experience in the entertainment industry via her writing.

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