Doll Bunk Beds for American Girl Doll and 18" Doll

Submitted by Ana White on Thu, 08/11/2011 - 22:23
Difficulty
Beginner
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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
Dimensions are shown above.

Preparation

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
primer
wood conditioner
paint
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"

Tools
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Pencil
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Drill
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
Level
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!

Instructions

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.
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Comments

Mairi (not verified)

Wed, 09/07/2011 - 02:51

Hi there! I've absolutely loved making this! Thanks so much for the pattern! You are a legend! Just one thing I noticed... In the cutting unless I'm going mad it should be 4 x 1x1 x 19" for the mattress supports. No biggie but it may make the difference between one length of timber and two!
Thanks again!
Mairi

My Favorite Dolly (not verified)

Thu, 09/22/2011 - 21:39

I'm a doll maker, and I have 2 boys, with 2 dolls, and it's virtually impossible to find doll beds for boy dolls. I figured I'd have to make it myself. I'm a sewer- not a woodworker, but this looks like something I can definitely do. Thanks so much for posting it!
~Erin

Guest (not verified)

Tue, 10/04/2011 - 14:37

Thanks for the plans! I just completed this project and it came out great. I don't have a Kreg jig so I drilled holes and used dowells so that all front facing surfaces are nice and smooth. I wanted to use wood stain it came out so well but my daughter wants to paint it pink which is fine by me as it's for her!
Thanks again!

Guest (not verified)

Tue, 10/04/2011 - 14:37

Thanks for the plans! I just completed this project and it came out great. I don't have a Kreg jig so I drilled holes and used dowells so that all front facing surfaces are nice and smooth. I wanted to use wood stain it came out so well but my daughter wants to paint it pink which is fine by me as it's for her!
Thanks again!

margjack

Thu, 10/20/2011 - 14:27

I think there are a couple of errors in the cut list. As someone already pointed out, there should be 4 1"x1"x19" cuts for the cleats. To get all of the cuts out of one 1"x1"x8', I made the 4 cleats about 16 inches each.

Also, you can't get all of the cuts out of 3 1x2s. I didn't want to run back to the store, so I left out the middle side rails on the top bunk. I kind of like the more "mod" look! (and it's not like you need the rail for safety!)

Otherwise, this plan is super easy and sturdy - I had fun making it!

Flipper bed (not verified)

Fri, 11/04/2011 - 01:02

Decorating a kid's bedroom can be fun. You can include playful and appealing designs that will be suitable for your kids.
Imagination and creativity can be most experimented in this part of your home where the Decor has to be changed more frequently with the growing age and maturity of the children and also their changing tastes and ideals.

Flipper bed (not verified)

Fri, 11/04/2011 - 01:07

Imagination and creativity can be most experimented in this part of your home where the Decor has to be changed more frequently with the growing age and maturity of the children and also their changing tastes and ideals.Have you noticed anything funny with this bed? This Flipper bunk by Pietro Arosio has two headboards on the sides.

Paul H. (not verified)

Mon, 11/14/2011 - 08:28

I am building two of these for my daughters for Christmas. The first one is assembled and ready for finishing work.

I believe I have learned from my mistakes during the assembly process and will be better prepared for the second one. On step 5 (attaching the rungs) the rungs butt up against one end so I wasn't sure the best way to attach it.

To anyone who has built this (or Ana), did you attach that end using a pocket hole on the back side or just a use a screw through the outside?

I have all the wood cut and the pocket holes drilled for the second bed. The Kreg Mini Jig (and accessories) was the most expensive part of this project but well worth it in the end.

Donna Huisinga (not verified)

Tue, 12/13/2011 - 16:08

Ana,
How generous of you to share these instructions. I think this is an awesome project. I only wish I had someone to make it for. I can only imagine a little girl's delight when she receives this. I'm so glad I found you. I just pinned it.

Guest (not verified)

Mon, 01/16/2012 - 23:11

My daughters birthday is in a couple of days do we decided that we are getting her her 3rd doll but she's always asking for a bed so this plan is PERFECT!!!! We are gonna make two of them.