Ikea Hack: Painted Branch Bed Frame

 

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This hack requires a very inexpensive twin Fjellse Ikea bed frame, paint, and free branches from the great outdoors.

 
 
     
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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Materials

1. Twin Fjellse Bed Frame

2. Branches- around 5/8 inch – 1 inch thick

3. Latex Paint– in various colors of your choosing. Satin finish or higher gloss finishes work well for furniture.

4. Bare Wood Primer

5. Clear Coat Spray Paint

6. Sandpaper– coarse

7. Tack Cloth

8. Wood Glue

9. Aluminum Foil

10. A scrap of fabric, decorative rope, or beads

Tools

1. Paint Brushes– I used a synthetic 1 inch, 1.5 inch, and 2 inch brush. I also used a very small brush for touch ups.

2. Handsaw

3. Surform

4. Glue Gun

 
 

Step 2: Prime and Paint Bed Frame Parts

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Start by painting the individual pieces of the Fjellse. Synthetic brushes are best for water based paints like latex paint. You won’t need to paint the three headboard spindles that the Fjellse comes with. We’re not going to use those. You also won’t need to paint the inner facing sides of the bed frame, as shown in the last picture, because those will be covered by the mattress. 

1. Use a tack cloth to remove any particles from the bed frame pieces before each coat. 

2. Apply one coat of bare wood primer, brushing with the grain of the wood. Let dry. 

3. Apply your latex paint, brushing with the grain. Let dry.

4. Apply a second coat of paint if desired.

 
 

Step 3: Construct the Headboard

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Following your Ikea directions, construct just the headboard of the bed frame, leaving out the three center spindles. Another adjustment you’ll need to make is to flip the top horizontal piece so that the groove and holes are facing upward. Do the same for the bottom piece, flipping it so that the holes are facing downward. These holes are used for attaching the spindles, which we are not using. Turning the holes away from the center will prevent them from getting in the way of gluing the branches to the headboard.

Here is the link to the Ikea instructions for the Fjellse: Fjellse PDF

 
 

Step 4: Fit the Branches to the Headboard

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Figure out how you want your branches arranged. Then use a hand saw to cut the branches down. It’s better to cut the branches too long than to cut them down too short; you can always make them smaller. After sawing away, use a surform (a tool like a cheese grater, but for wood) to shave the branches down to a more exact length and angle. Making sure to constantly check the length of the branch with the headboard, so you don’t shave away too much. You want the branches to fit snugly.

 
 

Step 5: Sand the Headboard

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Sand the headboard wherever it’s going to make contact with a branch. You can see in the first picture where the headboard was sanded away around where the branch was glued. Ripped pieces of sandpaper held between your fingers work well for sanding these small areas. This step helps the glue adhere better and gives you a marker for where the branches go.

 
 

Step 6: Paint the Branches

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1. Start by peeling off any loose bark. 

2. Wipe your tack cloth over each branch before priming, and between coats if necessary. 

3. Apply a coat of bare wood primer. Let Dry. 

4. Apply a coat of latex paint. Let Dry. 

5. Spray clear coat to seal any parts of the branch that weren’t covered by paint and prevent paint from peeling.

 
 

Step 7: Attach the Branches

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Use wood glue to glue the branches in place. Glue them to the spots that you sanded onto the headboard in step 5. Wipe excess wood glue with a damp cloth. You’ll see that most of the branches will fit snug enough that they will stay in place as they dry. However, some of the angled branches may have less tension and will need to be secured in place as they dry. Aluminum foil works well for this. Check the drying time of your wood glue and let dry.

 
 

Step 8: Touch Up the Headboard

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Use a small brush to paint over any visible glue, sanded areas, or scratches.

 
 

Step 9: Cover the Top Holes

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Now we need to cover up those spindle holes on top. I used a fabric scrap but you can use whatever you want: buttons, decorative ribbon, small sea shells, beads, etc.

 
 

Step 10: Construct the Bed

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Follow your Ikea instructions to finish constructing the bed frame. That’s it!

 
 

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