How to Make a Bunkie Board

Bunkie boards are essential supportive platforms designed to provide mattress support for bunk beds, daybeds, or platform beds. These thin, solid boards typically made from materials like plywood or particle board, play a critical role in preventing mattress sagging and ensuring an even wear pattern.

How to Make a Bunkie Board

Understanding how to make a bunkie board is essential for those who wish to customize bed support to suit individual needs, thereby enhancing overall mattress comfort and longevity. This DIY project not only offers cost-effectiveness but also allows for personal customization in terms of materials and design.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step process on how to make a bunkie board. From selecting the right materials and tools to measuring, cutting, assembling, and finishing, this guide will provide you with all the knowledge needed to create a supportive and durable bunkie board for your bed.

Understanding Bunkie Boards

Bunkie boards are thin, solid platforms that serve as a foundation beneath mattresses to provide much-needed support. Typically constructed from plywood or particle board, bunkie boards offer an affordable and efficient solution for preventing mattress sagging and ensuring balanced, even wear over time.

Unlike traditional box springs, bunkie boards maintain a low-profile design, making them ideal for bunk beds, daybeds, and platform beds where space and aesthetics are a concern.

The primary purpose of a bunkie board is to enhance mattress support. By providing a uniform, sturdy surface, bunkie boards help to distribute weight evenly across the mattress.

This distribution minimizes pressure points, ultimately prolonging the lifespan of the mattress and maintaining its comfort level.

The solid construction of bunkie boards also prevents the mattress from bowing or slipping, which can compromise sleeping quality and cause potential discomfort.

It is crucial to its functionality and effectiveness to select the appropriate materials and dimensions for a bunkie board. Plywood and particle boards are commonly used due to their robustness and ease of handling. However, the thickness and type of wood should correspond to the mattress size and weight requirements.

For instance, thicker plywood may be necessary for larger or heavier mattresses to ensure adequate support and durability.

Additionally, accurately measuring the mattress dimensions before cutting the board is essential for a proper fit. Properly sized bunkie boards not only improve the bed’s structural integrity but also enhance the overall sleeping experience.

Gathering Materials and Tools

Particle Board Are the Primary Materials

To successfully create a bunkie board, having the right materials and tools is imperative. Here’s a comprehensive list of what you’ll need:

  • Plywood or Particle Board: Plywood and particle board are the primary materials for the bunkie board. They are favored due to their sturdiness and smooth surface, making them ideal for mattress support. Ensure that the board you select is of good quality and suitable thickness, typically ranging from ½ inches to ¾ inches, depending on the mattress weight and size.
  • Measuring Tape: Precise measurements are crucial to ensure the bunkie board fits perfectly under your mattress. A measuring tape will help you determine the exact length and width required for your board.
  • Saw: To cut the plywood or particle board to the specified dimensions, you will need a reliable saw. Depending on your comfort and expertise, you can use a circular saw or a hand saw.
  • Drill: Essential for assembling and reinforcing the bunkie board, a drill will be used to make holes for screws or brackets, ensuring the support slats are securely attached.
  • Sandpaper: Smoothing out any rough edges or splinters is important for a finished look and to prevent damage to the mattress. Sandpaper helps achieve a smooth and safe edge.
  • Paint or Sealant (Optional): If you wish to give your bunkie board a polished finish, consider using paint or sealant. This step is optional but can enhance the durability and appearance of the board. Choose a non-toxic, mattress-safe paint or sealant.
  • Screws or Brackets: To secure the support slats and reinforce the bunkie board, screws or brackets are necessary. Opt for high-quality, durable hardware to ensure long-lasting stability.
  • Wood Glue (Optional): For added strength, wood glue can be applied between support slats and the bunkie board. This additional reinforcement can help in maintaining the board’s integrity over time.

With these materials and tools in hand, you’ll be well-prepared to craft a supportive and customized bunkie board. This board will ensure a stable foundation for your mattress and enhance your overall sleeping experience.

How to Make a Bunkie Board Measuring and Cutting the Board

Ensure a Snug Fit Under Your Mattress

Creating a bunkie board requires careful measurement and precise cutting to ensure a snug fit under your mattress. Follow these step-by-step instructions to measure and cut the plywood or particle board accurately.

Step 1: Measure the Mattress Dimensions

The first step is to determine the exact length and width of your mattress. This is crucial to ensure the bunkie board fits perfectly and provides adequate support.

  • Use a Measuring Tape: Place a measuring tape along the length of the mattress, from one end to the other. Write down this measurement.
  • Measure the Width: Next, measure the width of the mattress by placing the measuring tape across the mattress’s middle section. Write down this second measurement.

Step 2: Mark and Cut the Board

Once you have the precise dimensions of your mattress, you can transfer these measurements onto the plywood or particle board.

  • Draw Guide Lines: Lay the plywood or particle board on a flat surface. Using a pencil and a straight edge (like a ruler), mark the length and width measurements on the board. Draw straight lines to form the outline of your bunkie board.
  • Prepare for Cutting: Ensure your working surface is stable. Secure the board if necessary to prevent it from moving during cutting.
  • Cut the Board: Using a circular saw or a hand saw, carefully cut along the drawn guidelines. It’s important to maintain a steady hand and follow the lines precisely for a clean, even cut.

Step 3: Sanding the Edges

After cutting the board to size, the next step is to smooth out any rough edges or splinters with sandpaper. This not only gives the bunkie board a finished look but also ensures it doesn’t damage the mattress or cause injuries.

Piece of Medium-grit Sandpaper
  • Use Medium-Grit Sandpaper: Wrap a piece of medium-grit sandpaper around a sanding block (or use a sanding sponge). Gently sand the edges of the board until they are smooth to the touch.
  • Check for Splinters: Run your hands along the edges to ensure there are no splinters. If you find any, continue sanding until the surface is completely smooth.

By following these steps carefully, you’ll have a precisely measured and neatly cut bunkie board ready for the next phase of assembly and finishing.

Assembling and Reinforcing

To guarantee stability and durability, proper assembly and reinforcement of your bunkie board are essential. This will involve adding support slats, securing them with screws or brackets, and optionally applying wood glue for additional strength.

Adding Support Slats

Support slats play a crucial role in distributing the mattress’s weight evenly and preventing sagging. To add these slats:

  • Measure And Mark Positions: First, determine how many support slats you will need. Typically, spacing them evenly at intervals of around 8-10 inches works well. Mark the positions for each slat on the underside of the bunkie board.
  • Cut the Slats to Size: Using a saw, cut wooden slats to the width of the board. Ensure they are all of equal length for uniform support.

Securing with Screws or Brackets

Once the support slats are cut, securing them to the bunkie board using screws or brackets will provide a strong, stable structure:

  • Position the Slats: Place each slat on its marked position under the board. Ensure they lie flat against the board’s surface.
  • Attach With Screws: Using a drill, drive screws through the bunkie board and into each slat. It’s advisable to pre-drill holes to prevent the wood from splitting and to make screw insertion easier.
  • Use Brackets if Needed: For added stability, you can also use metal brackets to attach the slats. Position the brackets at each end of the slat and screw them into both the slat and the board for a firm hold.
You Can Also Use Metal Brackets

Applying Wood Glue

For additional reinforcement, applying wood glue between the slats and the bunkie board can enhance structural integrity:

  • Apply Glue: Before positioning the slat, apply a line of wood glue along the area where the slat will sit. Use a moderate amount to avoid excess glue seeping out.
  • Secure And Let Dry: Once the glue is applied, position the slat and secure it with screws or brackets. Allow the glue to dry completely as per the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure a strong bond.

By following these methods, you’ll ensure that your bunkie board is assembled and reinforced effectively, providing a stable and durable foundation for your mattress.

Finishing Touches

Optional steps for finishing and customizing the bunkie board can add both aesthetics and functionality to your project. Consider the following enhancements:

Sanding and Painting

To achieve a polished and professional look, start by sanding the surface of the bunkie board:

  • Smooth the Surface: Use fine-grit sandpaper to sand the entire surface of the bunkie board. This process removes any remaining rough spots and prepares the board for painting or sealing.
  • Apply Paint or Sealant: Choose a paint or wood sealant that complements your bedroom decor. Apply an even coat using a brush or roller, and let it dry completely. A second coat may be necessary for full coverage and durability.

Adding Fabric or Padding

Choose a Durable Fabric

For added comfort and to prevent mattress slippage, you can cover the bunkie board with fabric or padding:

  • Select Material: Choose a durable fabric or cushioning material that matches your preferences. Upholstery fabric or foam padding works well.
  • Cut to Size: Lay the fabric or padding flat and cut it to the exact dimensions of the bunkie board, allowing a little extra for wrapping around the edges.
  • Secure the Material: Use a staple gun to attach the fabric or padding to the underside of the board, ensuring it’s pulled tight and lies flat. This step not only enhances comfort but also adds a decorative touch to the bunkie board.

By incorporating these finishing touches, you can customize your bunkie board to fit your needs and aesthetic preferences, creating a truly unique and functional foundation for your mattress.

Installation and Maintenance Tips

Installing the Bunkie Board

When installing your bunkie board onto the bed frame, follow these recommendations to ensure optimal alignment and support for your mattress:

  • Place the Bunkie Board Evenly: Carefully position the bunkie board on the bed frame, ensuring it is evenly distributed across the frame. Make sure there are no gaps or overhangs, as this could impact mattress support.
  • Align with the Bed Frame: Align the edges of the bunkie board precisely with the edges of the bed frame. This alignment is crucial for providing consistent support to the mattress and maintaining a level sleeping surface.

Maintenance Tips

Inspect the Bunkie Board

Regular maintenance of your bunkie board is essential for ensuring its longevity and effectiveness:

  • Check for Stability: Periodically inspect the bunkie board for any signs of wear, weakening, or damage. Look for cracks, splinters, or shifts in the support slats.
  • Reinforce if Necessary: If you notice any instability, reinforce the affected areas with additional screws or brackets. Tighten any loose screws and ensure all support slats remain securely in place.
  • Replace When Needed: If the bunkie board shows significant damage or wear that cannot be adequately repaired, consider replacing it to maintain the quality of support for your mattress.

By following these installation and maintenance tips, you can ensure the bunkie board continues to provide a stable and supportive foundation for your mattress over time.


Creating a bunkie board as a DIY project can be rewarding, enhancing mattress support and bed comfort.

The step-by-step process includes gathering all necessary materials, measuring and cutting the board to size, assembling and reinforcing the board with support slats, and adding finishing touches such as sanding, painting, or fabric covering.

Installation and maintenance tips ensure your bunkie board remains stable and durable over time.

By learning how to make a bunkie board, you gain the ability to customize your mattress support to your personal preferences. Not only does this project offer practical benefits, but it also provides a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

For those looking to improve their sleeping environment, making a bunkie board is an excellent way to combine functionality with a personalized touch, ultimately resulting in enhanced comfort and longevity for your mattress.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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