Traditional Wood Toddler Bed

Submitted by Ana White on Wed, 10/12/2011 - 12:19
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Build your own toddler solid wood bed inspired by Pottery Barn Kids Catalina Toddler Bed!  This do it yourself free plan is easy to build and can save you hundreds off the retail!

By using standard off the shelf materials and an inexpensive piece of beadboard wainscoting  you can build this bed for about $35 in lumber - and that's real solid wood!

We have just been incredibly busy trying our darnedest to get a roof to shed snow over the Momplex ... and we are still hopeful! But I still want to post plans that you can make in time for Christmas. Thank you so much for being patient with me ... just cannot wait to start building furniture for the Momplex!

I know we have been doing alot of projects with pocket holes, and many of you do not have a pocket hole jig. Over my years of building, if I could go back, I would have invested in a jig at the beginning. Projects are easier to build, you need less material because you don't have to do blocking and such, and the end results tend to be stronger and generally better. If you can justify buying a jig with the savings of not buying the bed, it will be money well spent.

Can you build this bed with a countersink bit? Absolutely.

Best luck building!

Fits 27 1/2" x 51 1/2" Crib Mattress


Shopping List

2 - 2x2 @ 8 feet long

1 - 1x6 @ 8 feet long
1 - 1x6 @ 10 feet long
5 - 1x3 @ 8 feet long
2 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long
1 - beadboard wainscoting like this from Lowes
1" finish nails
Common Materials
Cut List

3 - 1x6 @ 27 1/2"
2 - 2x2 @ 24"
1 - Beadboard Paneling @ 23" high x 30 1/2" wide cut to fit
2 - 2x2 @ 10"
2 - 1x6 @ 50 3/4"

4 - 1x2 @ 11"
4 - 1x2 @ 24 1/2"

2 - 2x2 @ 51 1/2"
15 - 1x3 @ 27 1/2"

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

With one of the 1x6 boards, cut out the header shape as shown above. I recommend using a piece of legal sized paper to create a pattern, and trace that pattern on both sides so both are identical. Use a jigsaw and carefully cut. Follow by sanding until you are satisfied.

Step 2

With the header cut, go ahead and drill Kreg Jig pocket holes on ends and attach to legs as shown in diagram.

Step 3

Trace the shape of the headboard on to your beadboard paneling. Cut shape out slightly smaller so your edges are not visible from front. Tack on with 1" finish nails and wood glue.

Step 4

Build your footboard as shown above.

Step 5

Step 6

Guardrails should be a piece of cake. Just make sure you round the front corner. For stronger guardrail attachment, use 1/4" bolts, 2" long, with nuts and washers through predrilled 1/4" bolt holes.

Step 7

Now the cleats. Measure and mark the insides of your siderails 2" down. Attach cleats with 2" screws and wood glue.

TIP: Predrill holes with your countersink bit every 6-8" with the cleats on your work surface. Then screw in place.

Step 8

Now add the slats! I found that closer slat spacing is better for crib mattresses because the mattresses themselves are so flimsy. Plus, a little foot could slip through wider spacing.

Using 1x3 boards - which are about $1.50 each - you will only need 5 total 1x3s. The difference between wider spaced slats and narrower spaced slats is about the cost of a fancy cup of coffee.

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.


In reply to by Guest (not verified)

Ana White

Wed, 10/12/2011 - 16:20

You know, if I ever get brave enough to bring another baby home that baby would sleep in a crib that we made and I would trust my crib over an assembled one. But my fear is someone might misinterput my plans or build to a different standard, and a baby gets hurt. There are disclaimers to protect our family, but no disclaimer to protect me emotionally. I'm not saying no... Just not found the right time yet. Ana

Guest (not verified)

Thu, 10/13/2011 - 10:35

My boy just turned two and the wife and I have been putting off getting him into a toddler bed. He's a tall one too, so he's been ready for quite a while :).

This might just be the plans that gets me to the store to buy that Kreg Jig and start working on another project! I've built a bookshelf and entertainment center from your site and spread the word when I can.

Thanks again Ana, your site is great!


Guest (not verified)

Tue, 10/18/2011 - 09:44

GREAT bed! Now is there any way to make bunk toddler beds?? Seriously, I have a stepdaughter who has 2 little girls in a teeny tiny room that holds 2 toddler beds and a very small dresser- that's it. We were talking about how great it woud be to bunk the toddler beds and give the girls more room (a twin bed simply would NOT fit in this room) Would this be possible? Can you post how to do this? Surely one of your plans could me made into bunk beds couldn't it? Thans so much for everything you do- your site is my all time fav!!

Guest (not verified)

Tue, 10/18/2011 - 18:51



Sun, 10/23/2011 - 12:40

I think I know what my nephew is getting for Christmas. He will be very excited to see what Aunt Kate made for him. :-)

Guest (not verified)

Wed, 11/02/2011 - 14:48

I'm thinking of making this bed over the winter for our daughter. I have a question about attaching the cleats to the side rails. I know you should predrill the cleats, did you do any predrilling to the side rail or is there just enough of the screw to go past the cleat and dig into the siderail without coming out the other side to the outside of the siderail??

angelrm23 (not verified)

Wed, 01/02/2013 - 21:14

My husband just built this bed for Christmas. When we put the crib mattress on, it was almost flush with the guardrails. It's a 6 inch thick mattress. What did we do wrong or how can we fix it?