Alaska Cabin Daybeds or Captain Beds with Storage Drawer Areas

Submitted by Ana White on Mon, 12/07/2015 - 09:45
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The easiest daybed or captains bed ever. So simple to make!

Happy Monday guys! Hope you had an awesome weekend! Did you build anything?

Late Friday, I finally got to share the big news with you! Just in case you missed it ....

Our show on DIY Network will premiere on December 15th, at 10PM EST!  The title for this special is Building Off The Grid - Alaska Range, and follows us as we DIY a remote cabin in Alaska.

To celebrate our show premiering, we put together a fun thank you giveaway!

That's right - you could win an epic Alaska vacation for four.  If you win, you'll also get to stay at the cabin we built for this show, and see Alaska the way we locals live it.  So please help me spread the word about our show premiering, and enter now for a chance to win this vacation package!

If you win, bring the kids, because we've got the cabin set up for them.  I wanted our cabin to be a welcoming and fun for children, especially on cold winter nights.   The space needed to be bright and colorful, a space where the children would feel treasured and loved and free.

The kids loft would need to also be shared by a boy and a girl, where both felt appreciated and represented, but the room design naturally blending.  I did not want a bland gender neutrel space that did not celebrate our daughter's love of all things girly, and our son who is exactly the opposite.  

So this is what I came up with!

Amazing what some paint and scrap wood can create!

With the exception of the bedding, rugs, and the anchor and arrow, this room is all DIY.  I really had no choice.  Our nearest shopping is an all day drive from the cabin (each way), and I had a nursing one year old who I couldn't leave, but did not want to spend all day in the car seat, followed by all night in the shopping cart, and then another day in the car seat. For the entire cabin - including the living room upholstery, all the rugs, kitchen ware, pillows and bedding - I only bought enough to fit in the back of my truck, one truck load.  Everything else had to be DIY.


I had to get creative with materials.  To make this gallery wall, I just took scrap plywood pieces leftover from the cabin exterior sheathing, and cut them into rectangle (ish) shapes.  Then we painted them different colors, and cut out shapes.  To get the planked look, I also set my circular saw to about 1/4" deep (this is 5/8" thick plywood) and just made random cuts over the plywood.  I also used a drill bit to create holes to look like these pieces of plywood were reclaimed siding pieces.

To get the shared boy girl room decor to balance - in other words have a girly room that a boy also identified with - I paired pink (one super girly color) with two blues and a green.  I bought four quarts of paint, the bright pink, navy, turquoise, and green, and used the paint to add color to the wall gallery and the stool legs -

Those stool plans are coming very soon (please don't just screw legs to the stump top, it will not work).

My daughter has since rearranged the room, so her bed can look out at the lake.  Even though I prefer the beds under the gallery wall, I love that she is making the room her own and it tells me that she loves the space.  She's also brought in her own bedding and pillows.

So about those beds!

For extra sleeping, I wanted the beds to hinge down, so I could fill the cavity up with sleeping pads and bedding.  Of course the kids use it as a hide and seek spot.

This is the easiest daybed, captain bed, whatever you want to call it, that you could ever make.  I mean, this bed is ridiculously simple.

First, you screw 2x4s together to make the basic frames.

Then you add plywood or planked boards (I used 1x6s) to the ends to create the bed.  

The frames are sized so a off the shelf 1x12 works in the opening.  I just hinged them on at the bottom.

Then I trimmed the top edge out with a 1x2.  This hides the slat butt ends.

Then I just threw the slats on (actually just used any scrap 1x material that we had leftover from the cabin).  

Seriously, the easiest daybeds I've ever made!

You could use this design and add drawers - I'd suggest a third frame in the middle so you would have something to support the back of your drawer slides, assuming four drawers.  You could also easily scale this plan up to a full or queen.  For a full, make the width 54" and add a center support frame (build three frames instead of two.  Do the same for a queen, just make the overall dimensions 60" wide x 80" long.

So you ready to whip a few of these up?

The plans follow!

Have an awesome day, do something kind today!

XO Ana + Family





Sized for twin mattress. NOTE: Most beds expect twins to be 39x75 but I like to make daybeds a little smaller (36x72) so the slat system on the daybed doesn't show. This plan is sized 36x72


Shopping List

4 - 2x4 @ 8 feet long (pine recommended because it is easier to work with and paint than fir) 2 pieces of 3/4" plywood 14-1/2" x 36" or 1x boards in equivalent amount 2 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long 1 - 1x4 @ 6 feet long Additional 1x material or 3/4" plywood for slats 2-1/2" to 3" length self tapping wood screws 2" self tapping wood screws

Common Materials
Cut List

4 - 2x4 @ 70-1/2" 6 - 2x4 @ 11-1/2" (for 11-1/4" drawer face) 2 - 3/4" plywood @ 14-1/2" x 36" or stacked 1x boards 2 - 1x12 @ 32-3/4" (if the bed is exposed on both sides, you will need two more drawer faces) 2 - 1x2 @ 72-1/2" 2 - 1x4 @ 33-1/2" 3/4" thick slats, 33-1/2" long, spaced about 4" apart (see mattress recommendations)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Miter Saw
Table Saw
Power Sander
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Use 2-1/2" to 3" length wood screws (try spax brand, no pre-drilling required) or pocket holes (set to 1-1/2" setting using 2-1/2" long pocket hole screws) to build two of the frames. It is important to build these frames square so the drawer faces fit inside. Make good square cuts and attach carefully.

Step 2

Use 3/4" plywood or stacked 1x boards (I used 1x6s) to create the ends of the bed. Screw on with 2" screws and wood glue.

Step 3

Use hinges to attach the drawer faces to the frames. I regret not putting my handles higher on the drawer face, as when opening the leverage is difficult with the handles in the middle.

Step 4

Use 2" screws and wood glue to attach the top 1x2s to the top of the bed, overhanging 1/4" on outside edges. I recommend staining these boards first. Then screw the end 1x4 boards to the ends, overhang on the outside is 1/4" to match the 1x2. Again, stain this board first.

Step 5

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.


Weekend Builder

Fri, 12/11/2015 - 11:05

Ana - I want to use this plan to make corner beds like the sketch below. Do I need to make the beds wider to have enough room to allow one mattress to inset? Thanks!


Mon, 12/21/2015 - 18:24

I'm wondering if I build two of the bases and stack them up (partly for more storage), will it be sturdy enough?  I'd have to fasten the two platofrms together.


Sun, 01/17/2021 - 21:57

Love this look and the simplicity of it, thank you tons ! Just curious what kind of mattress was used and it's thickness. I am trying to recreate this look !
Thank you again .

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