Fire Truck Loft Bed

Submitted by Ana White on Sun, 03/04/2012 - 22:54
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How to build a fire truck loft bed. Free step by step plans to build a fire engine loft bed.

Thank You!

Thank you for the lovely comments of encouragement on my Ups and Downs post ... I really needed it! You have really inspired me to keep at it, and I can't wait to get my Carhartts out and start working again on the Momplex. It looks like we've got one cold spell left (according to the weather man, so we'll see how that goes) before we start putting a roof on the Momplex. My mom is already packing ...
And boy did you all make my day!!! I'm a FINALIST!!! for the Homies awards over at Apartment Therapy! You nominated me and you voted me in as a finalist! I am so excited, I have never won a major blog award, so I'm pretty giddy that you would think my work is worthy!
There's some pretty amazing competition in the Best DIY blog (wish I could vote for all six!), so your vote would make my day!  You can vote by first registering for an Apartment Therapy account (it's easy to do and prevents spam and cheaters) and then voting here.  Thank you for supporting and taking your time to say, Hey, Ana, keep at it!

Fire Truck Bed

And do we have a special treat today!!!  
Jeff took our playhouse loft bed plans and made some modifications and turned it into the most amazing fire truck bed that any little boy could sleep in!  The bed features working lights, a steering wheel, ladder bucket and even helmets hanging inside!  I encourage you to stop over and visit Jeff here to see more photos of this amazing bed.

Awesome Inspires Awesome

Jeff has been so kind and helpful in assisting other create Fire Truck beds for their own little ones.  You can check out lots more Fire Truck beds inspired by Jeff's here - even a blue one from Alaska!!
As a fellow Alaskan, I know what this bed would have costed to ship ... click.
Jeff has been so kind to help so many people.  He wrote me asking if I could help work on a sketchup model to make helping others build Fire Truck beds like his even easier.  And of course I said yes!
So here you go, the Fire Truck Loft bed plans!

Some Design Notes

  • This plan is for the loft bed.  If you want to add the stairs, you can use this plan for modifying the loft bed for stairs.
  • This bed is a tad shorter than other beds at 64 1/2" tall overall.  The sides are designed to conserve plywood at 48" wide.  You can add an extra railing.
  • The bucket is not for climbing in.  But does it ever work great as a nightstand!
  • I've put the cut list together per wall so you can build one wall at a time.  But be careful to cut your longest boards first, and use up scraps for trim and details to conserve materials.
Fire Truck Loft Bed Dimensions
Dimensions are shown above.


Shopping List

2 - sheets 3/4" plywood or MDF
4 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long
16 - 1x3 @ 8 feet long (does not include slats)
8 - 1x4 @ 8 feet long
2 - 1x6 @ 8 feet long
1 - 2x2 @ 4 feet long (add two more for 2x2 cleats for slats)
1 - 1x10 @ 6 feet long
3" bolts for bolting bed together

Common Materials
Cut List


1 - 3/4" plywood 48" x 80"
2 - 1x3 @ 64 1/2"
3 - 1x4 @ 80"
4 - 1x3 @ 3"
1 - 1x3 @ 75"
2 - 1x3 @ 36"
1 - 1x3 @ 29"
2 - 1x3 @ 21 1/2"
1 - 1x3 @ 11"
1 - 1x2 @ 40"
1 - 1x2 @ 6"
6 - 1x3 @ 19 1/16" (both ends cut at 30 degrees off square, ends ARE parallel to each other)
1 - 24" diameter round tabletop or scrap 3/4" plywood for wheel
1 - 3/4" plywood @ 48" x 37 1/2"
2 - 1x3 @ 64 1/2"
3 - 1x4 @ 37 1/2"
2 - 1x3 @ 33 1/2"
3 - 1x3 @ 11"
1 - 1x6 @ 37 1/2"
1 - 1x2 @ 37 1/2"
1 - 1x3 @ 37 1/2"
5 - 1x2 @ 16"
4 - 1x3 @ 4 1/2"
4 - 1x4 @ 4 1/2"
1 - 3/4" plywood @ 48" x 37 1/2"
3 - 1x3 @ 64 1/2"
3 - 1x4 @ 21 3/4"
1 - 1x3 @ 37 1/2"
1 - 1x6 @ 37 1/2"
1 - 1x2 @ 20"
1 - 1x2 @ 4"
2 - 2x2 @ 48"
5 - 1x2 @ 15 3/4"
2 - 1x3 @ 64 1/2"
2 - 1x4 @ 80"
1 - 1x6 @ 80"
1 - 1x3 @ 80"
4 - 1x3 @ 3"
2 - 1x3 @ 43 1/2"
2 - 1x2 @ 75" (use 2x2 here for additional support)
1x3 cleats @ 39" wide OR bunkie board or other support system
2 - 1x10 @ 16"
2 - 1x4 @ 16"
4 - 2x2 @ 14 1/4"
1 - 1x4 @ 25"
1 - 1x10 @ 25"
1 - 3/4" plywood @ 23 1/2" x 16"
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Miter 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

Start by cutting out the front panel carefully as shown here. If you want, you can paint the plywood first - thus the white square around the window.

Step 2

Next add the legs to the outside. You can nail from the back side to hide nail holes. Keep outside and bottom edges flush.

Step 3

Now add the railings to the top. If you have a Kreg Jig, drill 3/4" pocket holes facing downward along the bottom edge of the railings to attach to plywood. If you don't have a pocket hole jig, no worries, in the next bit, we'll reinforce the plywood to bottom railing joint.

Step 4

Fill in the legs with spacers. I'd cut these to width for the perfect fit.

Step 5

Step 6

Now simply trim out windows and doors. If you have a pocket hole jig, you can build the frames separate, and then attach as a single piece.

Step 7

This trim is optional, but I added it for the ladder side and also to give you a clean spot to start and stop painting. What about painting it silver?

Step 8

These pieces are decorative as well, but do help to hold the front railings together. And they look like a ladder! Brilliant Jeff!

Step 9

Jeff used a 24" round from the home improvement store and cut off the bottom six inches to create the wheel. You can also use scrap plywood to cut out the wheel.

Step 10

Now we are on the windshield side.

Cut out the windshield as shown here. NOTE for those of you without a pocket hole jig - you may wish to leave a 2 1/2" strip of plywood down the center for the center of the windsheild trim (see step 12).

Step 11

Now add the legs and top railings.

From the outside, plywood is inset 3/4" on legs. Just use a scrap 1x board as a spacer to guide you.

Step 12

Build your windshield and then attach as shown here.

Step 13

And now trim out the front. Keep the top 1x3 trim level with the 1x3 trim added on the front side to cover the plywood to bottom railing joint.

Step 14

Tim to use up some of those scraps!

Step 15

Now we are on the ladder side. Cut out the plywood and window and attach legs, 3/4" inset from outside side.

Step 16

Make sure the ladder support is square all the way up to the side legs.

Step 17

Add trim and railings.

NOTE: you can also fill in railing spaces with 1x3 scraps.

Step 18

Build ladder as shown and attach to trim with screws or bolts.

Step 19

Now we have moved to the back wall. Attach railings and base trim to the legs. Take a diagonal and make sure your back wall is square.

For heavier loads, consider adding an additional leg down the center.

Step 20

Now the bed is ready for construction. You can do this in the room ... after you have painted. I recommend bolting legs together for the easiest assembly/disassembly.

Step 21

Attach cleats (use 2x2s with 2" screws and glue for more "meat" to screw the slats down) evenly and then your mattress support system.

Step 22

By this time, building the bucket is going to be a no brainer!

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.


Caroline88 (not verified)

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 11:03

Shame on us.

Ana you have helped so many people, are taking on the craziest DIY project of all in the Momplex and you are in last place for best DIY blog. We can do better. Just signed up for an account to vote for you, it is the least I can do fir all you have done for me.

Cate888 (not verified)

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 11:32

Come on everyone, Ana deserves many, many votes!!


Mon, 03/05/2012 - 11:38

Ana, thanks again for putting the plans together. Excited that others can build a even better version of the one I built. Of course, if anyone has any questions all they have to do is contact me. Contact information is on the blog.

Good luck!


Sat, 01/31/2015 - 15:38

I was wondering if this could be converted for a full size bed? and what would I need to change to accomplish that?

Heidi Gorton-Rigazzi

Wed, 09/21/2016 - 16:41


I am in awe of your and Ana's amazing work on the fire engine beds.  I would love to make one of these for my boys.  Do you have any suggestions on how best to convert these plans into a twin over twin bunk bed instead of a loft bed?

Thank you so much!

Kind Regards,


Sea Story (not verified)

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 18:20

Great plans up to step 17, then the drawings stop. Where are the drawings for the remaining steps? Step 18 says "build ladder as shown" but nothing is "shown." I love the bed and want to get it done ASAP. Please fill in the blanks after step 17, or point me in the direction to find them and finish it off. thanks!

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