Doll Bunk Beds for American Girl Doll and 18" Doll

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


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
wood conditioner
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"

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

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.


Denise S. (not verified)

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 10:03

My husband made the bed, I painted it and made the bedding and our daughter LOVES it!!! I love it too. It is super cute and perfect for her dolls. Thanks for sharing your plans.
PS-My husband did say it took him much longer to make it than you. ;)


Sun, 05/05/2013 - 16:33

This tutorial is awesome. I like this. I will make one like this at home. Thank you Ana for this tips. This is truly helpful since I will not buy a ready made in the malls. - JustFab


Sat, 09/14/2013 - 07:01

My wife found this project and had me build it. Very straightforward and easy. Two things worth mentioning, though. As others have said, you need four 19" cleats for the mattresses. Also, kreg joints are meant to have two holes drilled in each piece of wood to prevent rotation of the wood. This rotation can be prevented in one of four ways. Firstly, on each piece of wood requiring a kreg joint, you could drill two holes. The pieces are narrow so this is tricky at best. The next option is to to drill the hole on one end of the board closer to one edge and drill the hole at the other end of the board closer to the other edge. This way, the holes aren't in line with one another and the board won't rotate. The third option is to glue each joint before "kregging" it. The fourth option is to make use of small pin nails. Gluing each joint adds some time, but is probably the best option.

The finished bed is adorable and I can't wait to give it to my daughter for her birthday next month. Thank you so much, Ana, for a wonderful, inspirational website!


Mon, 09/30/2013 - 06:22

My Wife came across your website, and absolutely loves it. I'm already in the process of making one bunk bed for my daughter, with plans to build another for my niece, as they are both getting dolls for Christmas. I did notice that others were commenting about the missing 19" lengths of 1x1 from the plans, should be 4 in total, not 2. As for material, I originally went out and bought a bunch of 1x2 pieces 8 feet long, but they weren't cheap, around $5.50 each. I've since found that I can get Knotty Pine shelving pieces from my local Kents building supplies (I'm in St. John's, Newfoundland) for around $5.27 for a 6 foot by 10" piece. Each length can be ripped down into four 1x2 pieces and one 1x1 piece, all 6 feet long. Way cheaper, and can just buy a few extra as needed :)


Wed, 09/24/2014 - 12:08

I showed this plan to my dad who is the woodworker in the family with all the tools. He just put it together yesterday and sent me pictures of it today. My 7 year old is getting her first American Girl doll this Christmas. So excited.


Sat, 01/10/2015 - 19:37

This requires more than 3 boards of 1x2 at 8'. It requires at least another 3 feet of 1x2
Also the cut list says you need 2 of the 1x1x 19 inches but that is an error, you need 4, one for each side for both top and bottom to mount the floor of each bunk. That takes the total of 1x1 over 8 feet as well.

So buy an extra 1x2 and either use segments of 1x1 or buy another foot of 1x1 as well.


Mon, 04/04/2016 - 19:03

When my daughter wanted to by an overly priced baby doll toy that included a bunk bed, I convinced her we could make one better!  Although I challenged her to draw her own, we landed up searching the net for a better and quicker solution.  Looking at the image results Google produced, my daughter's eye was immediately drawn to your plans.  It was for me to jump on board since all the measurements were available.  That was a key factor in keeping my daughter's interest in the project!  With some pallet wood I had, we were able to get started and construct it!  If you're intersted, you can see our work on my blog! (


Thanks for sharing your plans!  It made a great project for my daughter and I and enjoyed seeing the smile on her face because of it! 


Fri, 12/22/2017 - 02:10

Thank you for inspiration!

I liked the project. Little Emily is getting the Bed as a Christmas Gift from her Grandpa (that's me). 

I had struggle with the dimensions though. 1x2 turned out to be rather 1 1/4 x 3/4 - or did i get something wrong?

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