Doll Bunk Beds for American Girl Doll and 18" Doll

Submitted by Ana White on Thu, 08/11/2011 - 22:23
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Make your own doll bed for American Girl Doll or other 18" Doll. This sturdy wood doll bed is quick and easy and inexpensive to make. Free step by step plans to DIY a doll bed for your American Girl.

Today was my daughter's friend's birthday. The Birthday Girl has been talking quite a bit about getting her first American Girl doll, so Grace and I thought we'd make her a bunk bed.

Not entirely sure why I waited until Wednesday afternoon to start cutting boards.  Good thing this bed only took me an hour or so to put together.
Well, I DO know why.  I have a very good well thought out reason.  Not.  No really, I do.  
Because if I'd built it last week, it wouldn't really be new by the time we gifted it.
And can you blame them?  I love this bed because the top bunk sits at playing height, perfect for my littlest niece, just two years old, all the way up to her eight year old big sister.
And I won't put the photos up (my apologies to the sweet Birthday Girl), but I actually caught THREE of them standing on the top bunk.  This bed has been load tested for at least 100 pounds of live load.  Live and giggling and tickling and bouncing.
That darn orange crayon!
And I know that American Girl dolls now come in different complexions and hair styles to match their owners . . . 
But I do not recall "Beach Hair" (we'll be sweet) as an option.

We love this bed because . . .

There's room for two.  Or one and Coconut.  Or Pepper.  Or Chocolate Chip.  
The top bunk is just the right height for playing.
It won't break the bank to build.  As shown here, $10.
And you can make your own mattress with this super easy tutorial.  I'm talking super super easy!  As in so easy I can do this!
And most importantly, make this bed because the girls love it!
Dimensions are shown above.


Shopping List

4 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long

1 - 1x1 @ 8 feet long

(look for a square trim board that measures 3/4" x 3/4" or if you have a tablesaw, rip a 1x2 in half)

Scrap hardboard, 1/4" plywood or other sheet goods Use either the pocket holes or regular screws:

Common Materials
2 inch screws
1 1/4 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List

10 - 1x2 @ 9 1/4"

4 - 1x2 @ 18"

6 - 1x2 @ 19"

2 - 1x2 @ 14"

1 - 1x1 @ 18"

2 - 1x1 @ 5 3/4"

4 - 1x1 @ 19"

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set
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

Build two of the ends as shown above. I used the Kreg Jig to hide all holes, but you could use countersunk 2" screws from the outsides. Use a piece of 1x material as a spacer.

Step 2

Now join the two ends as shown above.

Step 3

Followed by the guardrail on the ladder side.

Step 4

Now here is where the clamps are your good friend. Position, glue and clamp, then nail in place with 1 1/4" nails. You could also use 1 1/4" screws, but then you got to cover the screw holes, which is no big deal if you are painting it. But in our case, we wanted to gift the doll bed unfinished so the birthday girl could do the painting.

Step 5

Step 6

I have a pretty good sized nailer and was able to get it in there. But if you are at all concerned, you could definitely add the cleats before step #2.

Step 7

Really, anything works here. I had some scrap 1/4" PureBond Plywood (Formaldehyde Free, yay!) so I put that in there.

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.



Thu, 08/11/2011 - 22:52

ANA! WHYYYY?!?!?! lol, i just made my list of "to makes" for our homemade Christmas. I was going to make two of the farmhouse doll beds [one for each of our daughters and their AG doll & blabla doll]


I.LOVE.THIS!!!! I might make the bunks instead. or make bunks out of the farmhouse beds lol!

LOVE IT! THANK YOU!!!! You & your plans pretty much rock my stars. true story.


Fri, 08/12/2011 - 01:35

I think if you left the ladder support piece shorter, you could even swing adding a trundle! My posted trundle plan would be a little tall, but you could make it work with a 1x3 instead of a 1x4--easy modification! That'd be great for my neighbor with three girls!

Guest (not verified)

Fri, 08/12/2011 - 08:09

Ana....this bunk bed is SO PERFECT for our dolls! I knew you would eventually post a bunk bed, and this is why I have waited for your post...because these plans are AWESOME!!! I have linked to your plans for my readers to enjoy. Thanks for these....REALLY!!!! And thanks for "teaching" me to build, girl! You ROCK!!! :)
Kristi @ Pieces for Reese…

jeanne (not verified)

Fri, 08/12/2011 - 08:29

I realllly want to make a bed like this for my girls. And I love the paper roll holder on the adorable desk as well!!! And the "Beach Hair" We have a lot of that at my house too :) I can't get my littlest to hold still to even pull her bangs out of her face most times. Well... they aren't so much bangs anymore anyway...
I love your stuff. Some day I will build stuff.

Cherie Heltne (not verified)

Fri, 08/12/2011 - 08:31

This is great. I just made my own farmhouse style bunk bed set for my daughter a couple of weeks ago when she got the bitty twins. I will be making this one for my daughter's friend, too.

Miasmom (not verified)

Fri, 08/12/2011 - 10:10

Would 3/4" wooden dowels work instead of the 1x1? And I think you're missing 2 1x1s at 19" for an extra set of cleats. :)

I can't wait to make this! I already made the farmhouse doll bed for my daughter, but she's managed to pile more than 3 dolls on it at a time. Thank you, thank you for your wonderful and generous plans!

guest (not verified)

Fri, 08/19/2011 - 19:24

I just want to say how much I LOVE this website. I have never made anything out of wood in my life, but with your detailed instructions and the shopping list and cutting list etc. (you have thought of EVERYTHING!) I feel absolutely confident that I can do this.

I don't even have a saw, but I know my local hardware store will cut the wood for me (for a price, but still it's totally worth it).

Vladimir (not verified)

Sun, 09/04/2011 - 23:52

Hi Ana, my name is Vladimir, I'm from Russia. A live in Syberia. I read your blog and lost you year ago. Then a seek you and I happy to found your site. I can,t speak English well, but can read with dictionary. I love your life story. I just want to tell you that. I like all that you builds. Is there in your site SketchUp models your builds? I want to build toy bed for my doughter. Of course I can use you pictures, but if you give to people you models, they can translate mesures. This certain not necessarily. Forgive me for my bad engilesh.

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