This is the biggest project I've tackled to date (I can count on one hand the little projects I've done before--stools, simple shelves, etc.). This is a beginner project, for sure. I made this bed one night when I couldn't sleep and it took about 4.5 hours to build the four main pieces: headboard, footboard, and two sides with the cleats. The next day I sanded, stained, added shellac, then assembled the 4 parts--"active" time about 1.5 hours. I used four simple L-brackets (about 50 cents each) to assemble so I will be able to easily take the bed apart... he'll outgrow it too soon.
Other than that, I followed the plans exactly as they were laid out. I like the overall look of the bed. For the guardrails: I attempted but did not like the guardrails from the plans. They were not the right size. Because his room is train-themed, I just wood-glued some extra train tracks in a crescent shape to a thin piece of scrap wood (cut and sanded to fit the tracks).
This is a fun little bed. If I had to give up my youngest's crib (so sad)... it could only be for something this cute.