We couldn't find a mid-height, double loft bed for our daughter that we liked that wasn't ridiculously expensive, so we decided to build one ourselves! I found some awesome plans on this website and played around with a few until I created exactly what we wanted. I mostly used the Full Size Farmhouse Bed plan but also used some aspects from the loft bed plan for the guardrails and the bottom rails. Then we went out and bought the wood and started building! This is really the first thing that I have ever built (my husband has never built anything either) and it turned out so well. I think it is gorgeous and I am so proud of it! This is my first brag post so forgive me if I am doing it wrong! Lots of instructions on how I built it below, so scroll down if you just want to see the pictures.
I used Google Sketch-Up to build the bed first and to tweak the plans. Below I will explain some of the changes that I made.
- I actually did not trim anything off of the ends of the head board or foot board as shown in the Full sized bed plans. I just built the bed to be as wide as 8 x 1x8s and adjusted the plan accordingly. I figured that if I had to climb up there to change the sheets, the extra room around the mattress would be appreciated. The 1x8s that I used were 7 1/4" wide.
- I bolted a 2x4 to the 4x4 posts right under the foot board and headboard panels for the side rail supports to sit on. I wanted it to be extra strong as the bed was going to be up high and I figured the bed would take a lot of abuse from the kids.
- The siderails were made from a 2x10 glued and screwed to a 2x4. The 2x4 sits on top of the 2x4s at the bottom of the headboard and footboard panels and is screwed into the 4x4 posts. The 2x10s are also screwed into the 4x4 posts.
- Since the mattress would be sitting up higher on the headboard and footboard than in the original plans, I added 3" to the length of the 1x8s used in the panels.
- I had planned to make a slatted base out of 1x4s to support the mattress so I also placed 2 x 2x4s on edge lengthwise down the middle of the bed to support the slats. Those 2x4s are also supported on top of the 2x4s at the bottom of the head and foot boards. The inexpensive 1x4s here are very rough on the one side which I did not want touching the mattress or for the kids to get splinters from while playing under the bed. The nice ones were super expensive at around $18 for a 14' board. It turned out to be less expensive and much less work to buy a queen sized slatted bed base from the big Blue and Yellow inexpensive furniture store here and trim the ends of the boards to length with my mitre saw. n even bigger bonus is that the wood is already finished and didn't require anything further than screwing it down to the supports.
- I made the height of the area under the bed 45" (just tall enough for DD to stand under for now) and adjusted the length of the 4x4 posts accordingly.
- I assembled the bed into different large pieces before bringing it inside. The headboard and footboard are 2 solid sections that cannot be taken apart. The side pieces are made to be able to come off if we ever need to move the bed.
- I couldn't find any really good instructions anywhere on how to build a ladder or to change ladder plans to suit our needs so I built it after the bed was built. I found it easier to envision this way and to figure out the angles. I build the ladder out of 2x3s.
I have the Google Sketch-Up plans for the bed (minus the ladder) if anyone is interested, but as I said before, I am not an experienced builder so I do not think I should post them here. Maybe someone can use them as a base to create their own plan with though. I found Sketch-up to be a very valuable tool as I actually "built" the bed virtually before ever touching the wood. It helped me figure out what order to put things together in and also allowed me to perfect my design before making any cuts. It still took many trips to and discussions with people at my local Orange store to figure out what kind of fasteners to use and where to use each type. I brought printouts of my plans so that they would be able to help me better.
A couple of finishing touches that I did:
- I sewed some pretty curtains and hung them from aircraft cable and eye hooks under the bed.
- The back of her dresser was exposed under the bed and did not look very nice so I created a magnetic wall by screwing some inexpensive metal sheets meant for ducts to the back of it. I have temporarily covered all of the exposed edges with pink patterned duct tape but plan to trim it out at some point.
Hope you like it!
After the bed was assembled, I put the first coat of paint on the back of the headboard (to test it out where no one will see), I found I didn't like how the paint was sitting in the gaps and seams so we went around the entire bed and used Dap Alex Paintable Caulk to fill them in. We didn't fill the gaps in entirely as we wanted to keep the texture, we just filled them in enough so that the paint would sit on top of the Dap instead of flowing right through in some places. Then I painted the entire bed. I left the side guardrails off and painted them separately before installing.
The paint used was Benjamin Moore's Advance in Pearl finish. The colour is a warmish white called Polar Bear. BM's Advance paint is a water-borne alkyd paint so (from what I was told) it acts like an oil paint but cleans up like a latex paint. I do not have any experience painting with oil-based paints. I originally tried to roll the paint on with a foam roller as advised at the paint store but I did not like how the finish looked. Again, it was just the first coat on the back of the headboard that no one will see. It left lots of tiny little bubbles in the paint. I eventually settled on rolling the paint on with a microfibre roller and then brushing it out with a natural bristle brush. You can see still the brush strokes, but they are fairly subtle and I actually like how they look. It only took two coats and I love how the finish looks. Painting with this paint probably took a little longer than if I had used another type of paint as you need at least 16 hours between coats and then 3-5 days for it to cure. Hopefully it turns out to be as durable as advertised and it was worth it. It was also quite pricey at $70/gallon here in Alberta but I only used just over half of the can so I will be able to use the rest for the next project.