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How to Put a Waterbed Frame Together

James Clark

A waterbed frame consists of the traditional headboard and siderails plus a platform to support the weight of a full water mattress. Assembling the frame is mainly a matter of bolting the parts together, although it helps to have an extra set of hands, so recruit a friend to help you put together a waterbed frame as you follow these steps.

  1. Choose carefully where you want to set up the waterbed as it will not be easily moved once assembled and filled with water.

  2. Assemble the 2 platform supports, also called risers, which consist of 4 boards with notches in the middle. Two boards slide together by fitting the notch of one board into the other to form an X.

  3. Place the platform supports evenly spaced on the floor area where the waterbed will be assembled.

  4. Lean the headboard against the wall, and place the two side rails on the floor on either side of the headboard to give an idea of how much space the bed will occupy.

  5. Bolt the side rails into the headboard using 3 to 4 bolts on each side rail, depending on the construction of your waterbed. Don't tighten the bolts yet; leave a little wiggle room for adjustments.

  6. Bolt the foot board to the opposite ends of the side rails using 4 to 6 bolts on each side. You now have a rectangular bed frame with two platform supports on the floor inside the frame perimeter.

  7. Place the platform slats (large rectangular pieces of plywood) on the platform supports and the inside lip of the side rails.

  8. Secure the platform supports to the bed frame using L-shaped brackets and short screws. One end of each bracket screws into the platform and the other screws into the bed frame. Most waterbeds will have 10 L-shaped brackets attaching the platform supports to the frame: 2 each on the headboard and foot board, and 3 on each side rail.

  9. Place the waterbed heater in the center of the platform and route the cable to a corner where the power cord can be inserted through a triangular hole in the corner. The platform pieces have the corners cut off for this purpose.

  10. Place the liner inside the frame, and make sure it fits into each corner.

  11. Unfold the waterbed mattress with the fill valve facing upward and toward the foot of the bed.

  12. Fill the waterbed mattress using a garden hose and plug in the heater.