How To Attach A Bolt Up A Frame To A Hook In Headboard

How To Attach A Bolt Up A Frame To A Hook In Headboard

How To Attach A Bolt Up A Frame To A Hook In Headboard

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Many people want to save money these days and getting an old headboard here and an old frame there is a great way to  save. Hand me down, garage sale, either way what a find. It probably just saved you at the minimum a couple hundred dollars and most likely a lot more. You’ve cleaned it all up you start to put it together and suddenly you realize you have a metal bed frame that bolts up and the headboard has vertical slits that use a down hook type frame.

Conversion bracket to attach a bolt up frame to a hook in headboard

Obviously you will want to be sure your headboard is the kind with up and down or vertical slots on the legs of the headboard. Inside those slots  you should notice 2 pins in them.

How To Attach A Bolt Up A Frame To A Hook In Head Board

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Once you have determined your headboard is indeed that there are two that you have a hook in headboard there are 2 resolutions to your problem. The f1rst solution is to line up the flat mounting bolt up bracket slots of your steel bed frame against the wood legs of your headboard.  If it lines up and you may be able to drill through it for secure bolt up attachment. Look for solid wood for secure anchoring. If all lines up properly drill 2 holes through the headboard. Then use bolts that are approximately ¾ of an inch longer than the drilled holes. Push your bolts through the holes to securely fasten the headboard to the metal bed frame.

What to do if drilling holes through the headboard won’t work

Perhaps the metal bed frame does not line up properly for drilling. You can purchase an after market accessory item that will allow you to bolt up a frame to a hook in type headboard. One way is using Down Hooks the other is using 6A Bed Frame Fast’n up Bed Kit. Both of these are modification plates or( modi plates). These bed accessory kits are metal plates that either hook down or hook up into your slotted headboard and then bolt up to a steel bed frame. They are very low cost usually running around $20.00 $30.00 dollars. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safety and it will take the guess work out of how they work.

Shop Our Modification Plates and Accessories Here!

Know another way to connect a hook in headboard to a bolt on frame? Please share it with us below.


Doug Belleville and his father Dave own and run STLBeds - a specialty sleep store located in Arnold, MO. The staff at STLBeds is highly educated about sleep, comfort and their special sleep products. STLBeds only carries high quality mattresses and bed-related products. You won't find the brand names here - just call and ask us why!

40 Comments Leave your comment »

can you use the bolt up frame to convert a full size antique brass bed to use a queen size mattress and box spring? If so how might I do that?

Thanks, Jan

Comment by jan — December 29, 2012 @ 11:17 am

Jan this is a great question. Absolutely the important thing you need to take into consideration is whether you will be using just a headboard or a headboard and footboard. Brass beds normally bolt up to steel bed frames you need to make sure that all frame connections accommodate this type attachment.
Bolt Up Brass Headboard Full / Double size you can use our 34 RR Frame with 1 set of 8A Mounting Plates This will fit queen mattress and boxspring with a full size brass headboard.
Bolt Up Brass Headboard and Footboard you can use our CV1L BO Frame. This will fit queen mattress and box-spring while still bolting up to the full size brass headboard and footboards stock connecting holes.

Comment by Douglas Belleville — December 29, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

I TRUELY need halp assembling an older used wood with Metal design curved lika a sleighbed to a new bolt on full size rail. Bold on. It seems to need 12 Metric Barrells or cross dowels and ‘A’ Metric X 50 bolt..Really? Any response would be great.

Comment by Donna — April 3, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

I have a 4 in 1 baby crib but did not buy the rails/conversion kit. Is it possible to change this from crib to full bed without having that kit? It seems like it should be easy to do, but I”m not sure. Any advice? Thanks

Comment by Erin — April 13, 2013 @ 8:07 pm

Erin, most people don’t buy the rails to make the conversion till they actually decide to make the change. Here is an article we put up that should answer most of your questions called Convert A Crib Into A Full Size Bed

Comment by Douglas Belleville — April 16, 2013 @ 6:57 am

How do you know if you need “UP” or “Down” hooks? I would assume (dislike doing this) that I would want to match the rails. I have a broken foot board and was looking to convert to headboard only. The rails hooks point down – everything I am reading sounds like this type is used if the headboard will be supporting some of the weigh. This is concerning and I am not expecting the headboard to hold any weight but rather be decorative.

Thanks in advance

Comment by Jenn — December 10, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

Hi Jenn,
Hook in headboards and footboards use steel or wood rails that bare the weight of the mattress set, apply it to the legs of the headboard and footboard legs where strength is the greatest, and then transfer that weight to the ground. The bed was originally designed to hold such weight. In the case of older or weakened beds it may no longer be able to withstand such pressure. Our #88 hook in frames would hook in to your headboard only and would require the headboard to carry some of the bed weight. This fits twin, full, queen, and king. You mentioned that you do not want the headboard to carry this weight, in this case you would need to purchase a free standing our standalone frame. Up Hooks (our Fasten Up Bed Kit) would bolt up to the frame and hook under the pins in the leg of your bed lifting it off the floor. (Decorative) It must be a light weight headboard to do this. Otherwise choose the down hooks. These will connect the same to the metal frame but once hooked into the headboard (like a regular hook frame) applies whatever amount of weight you choose to the down hook connection.

Comment by Douglas Belleville — December 15, 2013 @ 11:38 am

I have a bolt in headboard and just purchased at a consignment shop the matching footboard. The problem is that the footboard has slats for rails and the headboard has NO slats for rails. What is the best way to go? I must mention that as a 60+ female I don’t have lots of fancy tools and would like the best but easiest way to accommodate both head and footboard. Help and thank you!

Comment by Ellen — January 17, 2014 @ 5:23 am

Hi Ellen, We would love to help you but, we need more information describing what you have, it was not complete and left out very important details. First and foremost we need to be sure you have the proper matching footboard??? We also need to know if it is a wood or metal headboard and footboard? Do these bolt up or have hook in slots in the legs? The side rails you have are they metal or wood? Do they bolt up or hook in? What were they supposed to of gone with the headboard or the footboard or both? The problem is with most 2nd hand stores is that they don’t know what they have or what they need. They purchase someones problem and then sell the problem to unknowing consumers. This is not saying there isn’t a solution however the best thing to do is to call us and text or email us lots of photos so we can help you determine if there is a fix to your dilemma. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — January 17, 2014 @ 7:45 am

Hi — I am looking for a vintage/antique brass bed, full size, for our daughters room. Many of those I see in on eBay-type sites have a footboard, and many come also with original rails. I only want to use the headboard. Will I be able to use the headboard-only from an old brass bed with a new metal frame for the mattress and box spring? HOw would I know if the “frame connections” are suited to this — again, I do not wish to use old rails or a foot board that may have come with the original bed. Many thanks!

Comment by Joanna — March 14, 2014 @ 12:32 am

I have a metal frame. There are plates to attach a headboard but only the ends of the rails on the footboard. How can I install a footboard?

Comment by Karen — March 15, 2014 @ 5:12 pm

Some frame companies offer extensions with mounting frame brackets. This not only extends the bed frame’s length but also connects to the mounting brackets. Not sure if you will be able to get these from anybody other than the company that manufactured your frame. (Most companies do not do this) Glideaway who we use does not.

Comment by Douglas Belleville — March 17, 2014 @ 7:49 am

Hi Doug,
I purchased a beautiful four poster bed that was stamped “made in Mexico in 1999″ from a thrift store. It has the hook in bed frame. It came with the telescope metal bed frame. We got it all set up and when we tried to put the box spring and mattress on it, it didn’t fit. When we measured it, the bed is 59″ and our Queen box spring and mattress set are 60″. I thought of using a bolt in bed frame. Would drilling the bolts into the wood legs to adapt 1/2 inch on each side work? Is there a better way? I am at a complete loss and really frustrated. Sure hope you can help. Thank you so much.

Comment by Becky — March 29, 2014 @ 6:49 pm

HI, I just purchased a used Ashley furniture full bed set with metal bolt on rail. The question I have is why does one end of the bed rail tilt in? The brackets that mount to the headboard or foot board actually tilt causing, in this case, the foot board, to tilt in toward the head.

is the bracket defective? Should i buy a new frame set? Thanks for you advice!

Comment by JJ Spelman — May 27, 2014 @ 12:13 am

JJ, What you describe does not sound normal. If you would like a more detailed answer feel free to contact me at the toll free phone # at the top of the page. We can discuss exactly what it is doing and have you send me a some photos or video before you spend money on a new frame. It could be simply installed improperly. Good luck Doug.

Comment by Douglas Belleville — June 2, 2014 @ 8:06 am


I recently purchased a new king sized headboard. The bed frame they gave me was missing pieces, so I tried to make it work with my old bed frame. I attached it with one screw through one horizontal slot on each side. I was wondering if this was sufficient or would two screws on each side be needed? The problem is the the slots on the metal piece connecting to the headboard are too high to connect the bottom slot on the bed frame.


Comment by Sean — June 19, 2014 @ 8:23 am

Sean, in order to get the headboard to securely you will need to have a bolt through each of the horizontal mounting slots that should be attached to your free standing steel bed frame. Without 2 the headboard will wobble and hit the wall and you definitely would not be able to sit against it to read watch TV etc. You may have to drill holes in your headboard to line up with the slots of the steel frame. Another option is to find a frame tall enough to line up with the existing holes in the headboard. Finally one last option is to mount the headboard to the wall like many hotels and B&B’s do and push the best frame up to it. 3 options that should solve your dilemma let us know how it worked out. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — June 24, 2014 @ 9:31 am

Hi Douglas

I’d like to send you a photo of a unique antique frame to see if you have a solution. Please send me an address so I can send it


Comment by Joan — June 25, 2014 @ 5:47 pm

You can email photos to or if you contact one of us at store, our toll free number is located on the top of this page, one of us will share a number where you can text the photos and communicate real time for faster service. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — June 25, 2014 @ 6:00 pm

Is there a way to convert a hook-on queen headboard and footboard that I’d like to convert to accommodate a king mattress. Is there a kit that would work?

Comment by Liz — July 5, 2014 @ 10:01 am

Yes there are a few companies online that offer such conversion brackets. My opinion, they look horrible. The headboard sticks out at least 8 inches on each side past the queen size mattress. Queen mattresses are 60″ wide, King headboards are at least 76″ inches wide. This is where I come up with the 8″ of protruding headboard on each side. Thank you for your question. It is one we are often asked. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — July 8, 2014 @ 8:02 am

I have a metal head and foot board with has hooks attached. My problem is I can’t find a frame to fit as most frames have hooks that attach to a head or foot board. I need to know if I can convert these head and foot board to attach to a normal frame. Thank you , Lisa

Comment by Lisa — August 4, 2014 @ 3:35 pm

Lisa, as you mentioned nearly all frames have the hooks attached to the steel side frame. If I understood you correctly yours are attached to the foot and headboard. This is nearly unheard of. I cannot say this going to be easy to find replacement rails that will fit. You may want to contact the original retailer who sold you the bed or contact the manufacturer of the bed. If this avenue has been exhausted give me a call. I will have you text or email some photos and we’ll look at the possibility of abandoning the old connections and going with a different type of system. My toll free number can be found at the top of this page. Let me know if I can be of further assistance. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — August 4, 2014 @ 7:00 pm

I am looking for pins for my headboard. I have the down hook conversion kit. The pins from one side of my headboard are missing. Do you have them? If not, where can I find them?

Thanks, Sach

Comment by Sach — August 13, 2014 @ 10:17 pm

Sach, I have heard of furniture restoration and refinishing companies rebuilding and repairing them, but I do not know of anyone that just sells the steel pins by themselves. Sorry Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — August 14, 2014 @ 2:20 pm

I have an antique Full hook-on headboard/footboard set that I would like to use with my queen size mattress and boxspring. Side rails are 6″ short so we may have to abandon them… is there a conversion kit/bracket to use the headboard/footboard set?

Comment by Kerry — October 4, 2014 @ 9:38 am

Hi Kerry, Your are correct you will need to abandon the old rails. This is the link to the conversion frames that should be helpful. Thank you Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — October 6, 2014 @ 10:31 am

Hi I have a regular double sized metal bed frame which supports my box spring and mattress. I bought a older loud wood headboard and footboard which have the slats in the wood to attach o bed frame. I am confused as to what type of conversion piece I require and how many.

Comment by Nancy — October 12, 2014 @ 1:02 pm

Hi Doug~

I’m a bit confused about a project I’m working on. I’m having a queen headboard custom made for my neice but am uncertain how to connect that to the rest of the bed frame. Does the headboard screw to the wall and I use metal rails to support the box spring and mattress? Is that the only way or is there another option using wood side rails? We also wanted to put a portable trundle underneath her bed but I’m not sure that will fit under metal rails.
Thank you,


Comment by Pamela Cairns — November 23, 2014 @ 12:29 pm

We have had a queen size hardside waterbed (full motion) for our 30 yrs of marriage. Is it possible to put a softside waterbed mattress in the wooden frame? As my knees are getting older, it has become harder to get over the side and out of bed, so we are considering changing to a traditional mattress and bed set that would make sitting on the edge and sliding out of bed easier –but wondered if a softside mattress would raise us above the wooden side rail enough to allow us to keep a waterfilled mattress?

Comment by Colleen — February 7, 2015 @ 2:21 pm

Hi Colleen, While it may sound like a good idea to put a softside inside of a hardside frame the problem you are trying to avoid will remain. A softside’s edges give and will sink below the wood frame you are trying to exit, making the exit of the bed nearly as hard as it was when you simply had a hardside bladder inside your hardside frame. Our recommendation if you like the feel, pressure reduction, and temperature control of a waterbed is to go ahead and do away with the wood frame bed completely and replace it with a softsided waterbed. There are ways to utilize the old bookcase headboard and drawers if you have them while still going with the softsided flotation system. Please feel free to contact us at the toll free number above and we can go into detail and have you text or email photos of your bed to assure that the old bed can work with the new. Canopy waterbeds and 4 posters you are out of luck. Look forward to hearing from you. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — February 8, 2015 @ 6:09 pm

I have a full bed frame with no footboard brackets. I would like to attach 3/4 headboard and footboard which require a hook in bracket. I assume I will need hook in conversion brackets and extension rails. However there are no holes in the bedframe and I cannot drill holes. Are there any other options?

Comment by Valerie Lett — February 11, 2015 @ 2:47 pm

Hi Valerie, I am not familiar with any Three Quarter Conversion Kits. I have never tried ours nor do I have a 3/4 bed to try it on. Please contact Glideaway Bed Carriage in St. Louis MO and see if they have a solution to your problem. Good Luck Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — February 12, 2015 @ 10:40 am

I have a dilemma. My current full size mattress and box spring sit on a metal frame with casters on the corners and two center support legs at the headboard and footboard ends of the frame.

I am trying to make more storage in my bedroom and I am a “freebie” junkie, so I’ve obtained two bookcase headboards, a wooden under bed frame with three drawers and two metal side rails with claw hooks. My plan is to get rid of the metal bed frame completely as its casters and support legs get in the way of the under bed drawers. One bookcase headboard will indeed be a headboard. The other more sturdy one will be shortened to become a footboard/bench.

With the skinny side walls of the bookcase headboards, there is no way to create slots for the claw hook ends of the metal side rails. So if I can find wooden rails with a lip to support wooden slats for the box spring and mattress and without claw hooks on the end, I figure I can find some type of bracket to hook the rails to the headboard/footboard. However, there’s the problem. Can’t find rails without hooks that have a lip for the slats and not sure what kid of brackets will do the trick. One of the headboards has two large L brackets with slots and holes to bolt onto a metal frame, but the slots are too large for the claw hooks on my newly acquired metal frames to fit securely.

Am I out of my mind thinking this can be accomplished? I do have a friend who was a carpenter trying to help me figure it all out. Thanks.

Comment by Kathy Wilson — February 24, 2015 @ 8:27 pm

LOL Kathy, I am still trying to wrap my mind around what you are trying to do. Perhaps contact me at the toll free number at the top of this page and you can text or email me photos that we can discuss a possible solution. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — March 3, 2015 @ 7:55 am

Thanks, Doug. I found what I needed at a Sleepy’s store. The guy was very helpful and understood what I was doing. It is a weird configuration, granted, but there won’t be another bed like it :))

Comment by Kathy Wilson — March 3, 2015 @ 6:09 pm

I am looking at a basic trundle bed that has a metal frame but there is not a place to install a headboard. Since I can’t change out the rails is there a way to adapt the metal frame so that I can attach a headboard? The trundle bed is a great deal but I really want a backrest for my daughter.


Comment by Denise — March 17, 2015 @ 6:22 am

Hi Denise, Without seeing it I wouldn’t have a clue. Perhaps you can contact me at the toll free number at the top of this page? You could email me some pictures or text them and them we could discuss possible solutions. With pics I am running blind. Sorry Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — March 24, 2015 @ 7:31 pm

I recently purchased a leather bed frame. It did not come with the headboard, however it can’t hold itself up without one because it comes with three sides. The bed frame is a hook-on bed frame. I have found the headboard I want but it is a bolt-on headboard with wooden struts. I am seeing lots of instructions on the internet on how to convert a bed frame to a hook-on. Are there any products or ways to convert a bolt-on headboard to a hook-on headboard?


Comment by Tess — April 13, 2015 @ 6:12 pm

Tess, your frame needs a headboard to support it on the hook in end. I am unaware of conversions to do what you are attempting to accomplish. If you find something feel free to come back and share what you have found with others who may be trying to do the same thing. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — April 15, 2015 @ 6:40 am

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