Cabin Bunk System - Top Bunk

Submitted by Ana White on Tue, 03/29/2011 - 21:04
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The top bunk for the Cabin Bunk System.  Features full guardrails and slatted mattress support.  Works with the rest of the Cabin Collection to create a complete storage and sleeping center.


Thanks for being patient with me this week.  I will try to get caught up on emails and comments to the best of my ability.  A special thanks to everyone that has helped others out in the past few days.

Well, the flu visited us this week.

It started with Grace being oddly lethargic and a little warm, woke me up in the middle of the night with the shivers, and hit a real low as I attempted to take a hot bath to relieve body aches . . . only to have Grace throw up within minutes . . . in my bath.
I just shook my head and thought, motherhood.  You aren't even given the luxury of being sick.
And it occurred to me that perhaps why we see so many mothers picking up saws to build beds and tables and desks for their families is because using a saw is nothing to a mother, who let's little get in the way of providing the best home for her child.  What would you rather do?  Have a full on flu, attempt to find some relief in a hot bath, just to have your child throw up in your bath?  Or put some earplugs in and some safety glasses on and cut a board?  Building is easy in contrast.
The last major project that the Ram and I took on was a Cabin Media Wall.  And we find ourselves still looking at it in awe, thinking, wow, we actually made this!  And we are very very pleased with the look, the solidness, and the size.
So I wanted to add some more plans to this collection.  And because my nieces are needing bunk beds, (if you are looking for more of a girly bunk system, that's on the way too) I drew up a design that I am excited to share with you.
Fits standard twin mattress. Shown dimensions of complete system.


Shopping List

2 - 1x6 @ 10 feet long

1/2 Sheet - 3/4" plywood, MDF or particle board (4 feet x 4 feet)
4 - 2x2 @ 8 feet long
6 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long
4 - 1x3 @ 8 feet long
This list does not include wood slats
Common Materials
1 1/4 inch finish nails
2 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List

2 - 3/4" Plywood, MDF or Particle Board @ 39" x 21 3/4" (Panels)

2 - 2x2 @ 39" (Panel tops)
2 - 1x6 @ 39" (Panel bottom trim)
4 - 2x2 @ 24" (Legs)
2 - 1x6 @ 75" (Siderails)
28 - 1x2 @ 8" (Guardrail rails)
4 - 1x2 @ 16" (Guardrail ends)
1 - 1x3 @ 63 1/2" (Guardrail top, ladder side)
1 - 1x3 @ 75" (Guardrail top, back side)
1 - 1x3 @ 60 1/2" (Guardrail bottom, ladder side)
1 - 1x3 @ 72" (Guardrail bottom, back side)
2 - 2x2 @ 75" (Cleats)
Bunkie Board or 1x3s @ 39" to mattress specs
10 - 1x2 @ 16 1/4" (Headboard Trim)
Cutting Instructions

After cutting each board, make the location of all pocket holes and predrill all pocket holes. Once you start assembling the project, it will be difficult to go back and add pocket holes. Remember that you can click images for a larger view.

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
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

Start by building the panels as shown above. Make sure you have also drilled the pocket holes you will need for step 2.

Step 2

Add the legs with pocket holes. You should use pocket holes set for 3/4" stock here and glue. Use 1 1/4" pocket hole screws. Also attach to the header (you may wish to use a pocket hole set for 1 1/2" stock and 2 1/2" screws for the header, but a 2" nail would work just fine too if you panel pocket hole is at the top).

Step 3

Drill you siderail pocket holes as shown above, set for 3/4" stock. If you plan to have a adult or large child/teen on the top bunk, you may wish to use brackets here.

Step 4

Now it's time for the guardrails, which are entirely optional. Begin by drilling one pocket hole on the inside of each of the rails, and one pocket hole on the top of each of the ends. Also drill two pocket holes on the ends of the bottom boards. Then build your rails as shown above. Attach directly to the siderail with bolts with nuts and washers. Carefully place your bolts in a symmetrical fashion.

Step 5

Step 6

Either use a bunkie board as a mattress support system, or place 1x3s as slats, spaced according to your mattress recommendations. Screw the slats down with 1 1/4" screws. Do not use glue to make the slats removable.

Step 7

If you wish to add a little extra decoration to the headboards, you can use 1 1/4" finish nails and glue to add 1x2s as shown here.

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.
Help Improve This Plan

We apologize if there was an error in this plan. Please help us out and report any errors here.



Mon, 04/25/2011 - 19:41

Well i'm still not finished totally with the project. I still have the drawers to put in, and the finishing touches. I spent about 400 on the wood itself. Also I don't think the last set of instructions tells you how to put the whole project together, but I recommend using L-Brackets and attaching them to the top bunk and the desk/drawer supports. I have had to change a few things though, like taking the drawer slides out and using just wood to hold the drawers up. It's still a work in progress, but it is slowly coming along. So far I'm thinking I've put about 20 man hours into this project... But to tell you the truth I am a beginner. The best thing I've built is my son's wobbly horribly crooked bookshelf. So this is technically my first real project.

Guest (not verified)

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 21:56

Wow! It looks like quite the undertaking for a beginner. I am also a beginner. I called the lumber store and gave them a list of material. They quoted me $200 with tax for the lumber. I'm hoping to come in at around $300 with the rest of the supplies and paint.


Thu, 06/30/2011 - 15:27

I can not wait to build this for my son. My only question, is what is the cut list and instructions for the ladder for this bed?

Thanks, I will post pics once I finish this project.

Guest (not verified)

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 09:35

Could I modify the desk into stairs, and possibly have the side of the stairs an open shelf?

kkgriffith (not verified)

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 16:48

Ana, thank you very much for the plans. My husband is making this out of oak and oak ply. This kicks up the wood cost to about $700 not including his new pocket hole jig or a bunkie board. Looks great but what about plans for a ladder? Thanks, Kristin