Our DIY PVC biggest 13′ bed survived 12 jumping children!

We built a super strong giant 13-foot wide bed and even 12 children could not break it. I am sure it could have handled 24 children jumping! The platform frame is made with 3″ PVC pipe, 2×6 lumber for slats, and a 7/8″ plywood base. Check out our article here to see us building that section.

If you are in a hurry you can see the short video below to see how we did it and 12 CHILDREN JUMPING ON IT TO TEST THE STRENGTH.

Our DIY biggest bed in Thailand highlights

  • MORE than 13′ wide. YES, thirteen feet!
  • Strength test: 10 children jumped up and down at the same time and the bed frame remained strong and did not flex or sag (see our test pilots in action in the video below).
  • 3″ PVC frame
  • 2″x6″ bed slats
  • 7/8″ plywood was added to the slats.
  • Super easy DIY project that anyone can do with a few hand tools

Tools required

  1. Hand saw: If you have a good hand saw at home….DON’T USE IT. Cutting PVC will dull the teeth and render them useless for cutting wood in the future. Pick up a cheap hand or hack saw from your local hardware store. This one is dirt cheap here and it gets delivered to your door.

    This is what I was planning to use for this project, but I used my old handsaw for cutting adobe mud bricks when I built a small adobe building a few years ago. Needless to say, the teeth are rather toothless as you can see in the below video! PVC is hard on saws so I didn’t want to use my good handsaw.

    Advantages include: Cheap to buy and many people have one kicking around the house.

    Disadvantages include Pain in the butt as it requires some physical effort. It is also difficult to cut the PVC pipe straight as the saw blade will wander.

    Optional saws include:
    1. Reciprocating saw with a blade that is at least 6” long. You can use a shorter blade, but it is a challenge to cut the PVC straight. 
    2. Grinder with any metal cutoff wheel (narrow for cutting versus thick for grinding).
    3. Table saw with a metal cutoff blade (wheel) or turn your existing one around so that it cuts the plastic in reverse. It will be slow, but it works just fine.

      TIP: Do not try it with the wheel in the proper rotating position because it will bite into the PVC and break it, or worse kick back at you!
    4. A Circular saw is an option, but not a very safe one. If you want to try it then make sure to turn the blade (wheel) around.
    5. Hacksaw: Using a hacksaw is less physically demanding than using a handsaw, but it has the same disadvantages. It is more difficult to cut the pipe straight unless you score the pipe all the way around on the mark. See more about how to do this in the video below.
  2. Drill: A 3/8″ or 1/2″ cordless or old-school corded is fine. I have a cordless “Mikita” here, but it is a knockoff and is pretty much garbage. But I am not using it because I cannot find the battery charger haha. So we are using Air’s father’s real Mikita corded 1/2″ drill.
  3. Drill bits: You will need a large drill bit or countersink tool (like this one from Amazon for less than $10). Optional: one drill bit slightly bigger than the diameter of the screw to predrill the holes. This is what we did as the wood we are using is very hard! You can see us do this in the video below.
Scott assembling our DIY giant bed

How to cut PVC pipe

  1. Mark the measurement on the pipe and transfer the mark around the entire pipe. This is tricky to do and you can see how I did it, somewhat successfully, in the video below.
  2. Secure the long end of the pipe as best possible, or have a partner hold it while you cut.
  3. Always allow the shorter piece of pipe to fall to the floor or workbench.
Scott cutting PVC pipe with old handsaw
Scott cutting PVC pipe with an old handsaw
Air cutting PVC pipe with a hacksaw
Air is cutting PVC pipe with a hacksaw
Scott cutting 3 inch PVC pipe with circular saw
Scott cutting a 3-inch PVC pipe with a circular saw. Yes, I am left-handed and a worm gear saw would be better and safer for me 🙂

Assemble the pipe and fittings

There is a specific sequence that must be followed or the last section of the bed cannot fit together. This will cause headaches and frustrations so please follow the below instructions.

TIP: DO NOT GLUE THE FITTINGS AT THIS STAGE. Dry fit all connections first to make sure everything works. You will learn how tricky it can be to assemble during the practice run and it will go much smoother on the final assembly.

OPTIONAL: We did not glue our fittings together as we plan to build several beds from PVC materials. Without gluing the fittings it is still super strong as you can see in our weight and strength testing videos below.


We cut the PVC pipe 13″ long, which provides 14″ of clearance for storage underneath. The legs can be cut to any length to increase or decrease the bed height as desired.

The top of our mattress on this bed frame is 30″ off the floor. This might be too tall for some sleepers, but I wanted to test the strength of long legs. A shorter leg length provides a strong frame with less movement.

You can also cut the legs to a length to provide as much or as little clearance for under-bed storage that meets your current and future needs.

TIP: The longer the legs the more storage underneath, but also the frame becomes weaker as the legs get longer.

3 tees-cross member and rail support and leg
3 tees-cross member and rail support and leg


We followed the below steps to build the biggest headboard in Thailand.

  1. Cut four 3” PVC pipes at 75” and install one into the two lower corner tees (insert picture number). This will tie the headboard end of the bed frame to the side rails.
  2. Cut two lengths of pipe at 30” and install them on the top of the two corner tees.
  3. Add a 45-degree elbow to one corner post.
  4. Install one end of the 75” pipe into this 45-degree elbow.
  5. Install another elbow onto the opposite end of the 75” pipe. This is the order that is required or the pipe will not fit between the corner posts.
  6. Install the 45-degree elbow onto the second corner post and tap into place for a sturdy connection. 
  7. Assemble the other side rail components but do not tie them into the foot corner at this time. We have to add the cross braces first or the pipe will not fit between the side rails.
  8. Cut and install a pipe and insert it into the side outlet of a tee.
  9. Install the above tee onto the lower headboard rail with the pipe facing the floor. This provides support and strength to the middle of the headboard rail.
  10. Cut a 5” piece of pipe and install it in the remaining open port of the tee with the side outlet facing up. This will tie the upper and lower headboard rails together to make it more sturdy.
Tapping leg tee for rail onto PVC pipe
Tapping leg tee for rail onto PVC pipe

Frame rails on one side

Use two rows of pipes to increase the strength of the bed. The lower frame rail is higher than the headboard and footboard bottom rails.

The height of the top side frame rails can be anything. We designed our bed to have the side rails at the same height as the top of the mattress.

The steps below don’t include some measurements as they depend on your design and size.

  1. Cut 10 lengths of pipe.
  2. Cut as many 13” as your size requires for the bed legs.
  3. Cut a pipe at 5” and install it into the top of the corner tee.
  4. Install another tee onto the above 5” pipe (about 2.5” should be protruding from the tee). Place the side outlet perpendicular to the head and foot rails. 
  5. Install a pipe into the tee side outlet for the first side rail component.
  6. Place a tee with the side outlet facing the opposite side rail. A cross-member pipe will be added here later to support the bed slats.
  7. Stand a 13” pipe on the floor and install it into the side outlet of a tee. Plus down on the tee to fully insert the pipe for a secure and sturdy connection. 
  8. Add the tee and pipe to the side rail tee with the outlet facing the floor. The 13” pipe is the first leg for the side rail (not including the corner tee sitting on the floor).
  9. Continue this process until all side rail pipes and legs are installed.
  10. Add the corner tee to the floor for the head the same as for the foot described in Build the head and foot section, steps 1 through 3.
  11. Cut two 5” pipes and install them in the top of the corner tees (second up from the floor). 
  12. Upper side rails: Install two tees, one on each corner post, onto the protruding 2.5” pipe. The side outlet will point parallel to the lower side rail. 
  13. Install a tee at 48” in the bottom rail with the side outlet facing up. 
  14. Install a 13” pipe into the side tee.
  15. Install a 48” pipe into the corner tee side outlet and slip it over the 13” pipe to tie the upper and lower side rails together. This adds strength to the rails for a more sturdy bed frame. Repeat this process to add a total of three vertical braces to tie the upper and lower side rails together for the left and right side rails.
  16. Install a tee to the 48” pipe.
  17. Install a tee with the outlet facing down.   
  18. Repeat for the opposite side rail.


The cross members support the weight of the bed slats, mattress, and sleepers. They also hold the center of the frame rails together to add strength to the bed overall. I like to have center support for any size bigger than a twin size.

We added a leg to each cross member in the center to provide the most support. You can move the center support legs to any location that you think will provide the most strength for your situation.

For example, you might want to move the center support legs 6″ to 12″ to one side if one sleeper weighs 300 pounds and one 125 pounds.

Crossmembers and support legs
Crossmembers and support legs

How to paint PVC to look like wood

  1. Sand the PVC pipe with 220 or higher-grit sandpaper or a 220 or higher-grit drywall sanding sponge.
  2. Wipe with acetone or vinegar and water. If you use acetone you should paint the pipe shortly after because this chemical causes the pores in the PVC to expand, which allows better penetration of the paint.
  3. You can make the bed frame look like wood with a few tips and tricks below:
    1. After cleaning the pipe: use a drywall rasp to make marks like the grain on the wood.

      Keep the marks generally going the length of the pipe, with a few small twists and slight turns.

      See the video of me doing this below. Clean the fines out of the rasp with running water, swooshing in a bucket of water, or with a bristle brush, wire brush, or toothbrush (preferably one that is retired haha). 
    2. Rub with sandpaper to remove burrs and protect your hands and fingers from sharp edges.
    3. Use an oil-based paint or stain (GEL STAIN?) that is the color of the wood of your choice.
    4. Dip a rag into the paint and rub over the pipe (or simply wear rubber gloves and dip your fingers in the paint), making sure to get paint or stain into all the grooves.
    5. Once the area is covered you can use a rag to wipe off the excess paint.
    6. Use multiple coats for darker and deeper colors.

The dark photo below shows one coat of stain on the top right frame rail. It needs deeper gouges from the very coarse file to look more like wood grain.

My helper, Mee, says hello.

What brush for PVC

  1. Foam
  2. Rag
  3. Synthetic
  4. Hair
  5. Hand rub while wearing gloves

You can add caulking or wood putty to reduce the sharp changes to the width of the “posts” at the tees and elbows. 

We wore rubber gloves with cheap white cotton gloves over these. Then we poured the stain on the gloves and rubbed our hands over the PVC. A few coats were needed.



This design is very strong.


When PVC is a very durable material for the DIY construction of furniture. Since most people use their beds inside this should last a lifetime. 

TIP: PVC becomes brittle if exposed to the sun so only use for inside projects.

Ease of construction

Super easy to build with simple tools that most people have at home.

Material accessibility  

All the materials should be available at your local hardware store, even in small towns. And if you leave further out in the woods as I do, you can simply order the materials online from Home Depot and have them delivered to your door.

Insect and pest proof

This might not sound like such a huge advantage unless you live in the southern USA where termites are a big problem. During my winters in Thailand, I always have to see what furniture and house structures these little buggers destroyed. 

This winter I arrived to find several bamboo bed legs where they feasted upon (I just cut the legs shorter so all good or another winter haha). They also ate the bamboo roof frame on our earthbag building as well as many other items.

Cool and customizable

Turn this into a family project and ask for input from the children and spouse. How many people can brag that they built their own bed? And you can customize with:

  1. Stickers
  2. Different heights for the frame, headboard, and footboard
  3. Add a canopy
  4. Use your favorite color or a combination of colors to match the decor. If your decor changes…just paint it again. Check the section above for tips and tricks for painting PVC pipe for amazing results.
  5. PlastiDip
  6. Adjustable height simply by cutting new legs to any height you want.



PVC is a non-renewable resource and it has a high carbon footprint. I much prefer to build from scrap and renewable materials, but sometimes we don’t have a choice. And some people don’t care lol.


I found the cost to build to be expensive compared to some other DIY options, but it is still considerably cheaper compared to a strong model from a store. 

This project costs about the same as cheap metal and Ikea models but is MUCH stronger and more durable, so I think it is a good solution for many families.

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