DIY Wood Dowel Twin Bed

In coming up with the design for the boys beds, I was heavily influenced by our dowel headboard. And vintage spindle beds. I love that look in kids room, but wanted to keep it slightly modern, so we went with simple wood dowels instead of spindles. I think this DIY wood dowel bed is also easier to make than ours; so if you liked the look of ours, but want something a little easier to try making, then this DIY is for you! We’ve had the bed frames for quite a while, Mike built them for our family room daybeds originally. When we took down the bunk beds, we moved these bed frames up here. So my goal was to design something that would work with these bed frames. This bed frame is the same one we built for Lincoln’s bed, which we shared here. I’m not putting all those steps in this post, since it’s exactly the same, so click on over there for the bed frame part of the tutorial.

I was really happy with the design of the beds and feel like they work really well in the boys room. You can see their room tour here. I’m a little iffy on the stain part. Haa! I forever will struggle with stain! Even though we tested out multiple options, including this blend, it came out slightly darker than I wanted. But overall, these DIY wood dowel twin beds turned out really cute and the boys love them!

two twin wood beds in green and white kids room
wood dowel headboard bed in green and white kids room
two twin wood beds in green and white room


  • 5/4” x 6” x 8’ pine board
  • 3/4” wood dowels
  • wood glue
  • drill bits
  • drill 
  • table saw
  • mitre saw
  • power planer
  • belt sander
  • sander/sandpaper
  • screws
  • hack saw
  • clamps
pieces of cut pine dowels and wood slats, forstner bit drilling into wood
wood slat with dowel pins glued in, wood dowel being glued into wood slat
wood with dowel pins, wood frame clamped with square tool
wood frame clamped together, drill screwing into wood
back side of wood dowel headboard bed


*The steps and photos for the bed frame can be found on this post. The steps below are for the headboard.

Using the table saw, cut two 1-3/4” wide strips from the 5/4” pine board. Use the power planer to clean up the saw marks on the edges. 

Cut them to length using the mitre saw, we made our headboard 24” tall and the width of the bed. 

Cut cross pieces the width of the bed, minus the thickness of the two upright pieces. 

Lay out and mark the spacing for the dowels on the cross pieces. Using a 3/4” forstner bit, drill the holes 5/8” deep.

Lay out and mark for two dowel pins at each connection to join the cross pieces to the uprights, we kept the dowel pins joining the top cross piece to the upright low of center because we planned on rounding over the corner. (We sanded and stained the sides of the cross pieces with the dowel holes in them so that we didn’t have to try to stain around the dowels once they were in place). 

Cut the dowels to size using the mitre saw; we cut ours to 23” so that when they were in place it would measure 24” from the top cross piece to the bottom of the bottom cross piece. 

Place glue in each dowel hole and insert the dowels making sure the are seated in the bottom of the hole. Place glue in all the dowel holes in the other cross piece and with it on a flat surface, have a helper hold the cross piece with the dowels in it above it as you work each dowel into its hole, tap the dowel into place using a hammer and a block of wood until you get the 24” measurement top to bottom. 

Place glue into the dowel pin holes on both ends of one of the uprights, insert the dowel pins. 

Stand the frame with the dowels up on its end and put glue in the holes; press the upright into place. Repeat with the other upright. 

Use clamps to clamp the frame together, checking to make sure it is square. 

After it is dry, remove the clamps and sand. We used a belt sander to round over the top corners of the headboard. 

Stain and finish if desired. 

Cut the steel bar in half using a hack saw, drill and countersink holes so that there will be two holes into the bed frame and two holes into the headboard. 

Pre-drill and counter sink holes into the lower cross piece of the headboard through which it can be fastened to the bed frame. 

Screw the headboard to the bed frame. 

Attach the steel bars so that they attach to the uprights of the headboard and to the bed frame.

diy wood dowel bed against green and white wall with white lamp over bed
wood bed in kids room with half painted green wall

You can see more photos of the whole room here!



Rug – c/o Ruggable | Nightstand – DIY, coming soon | Quilts (similar) – Target | Light – DIY | Wall Lamps – IKEA

Paint Color: Behr Thai Basil

© 2018 The Merrythought Collective, LLC | Logo by Craig Pierce