How to Build a Fort Bed

Submitted by Ana White on Thu, 05/06/2010 - 21:17
Difficulty
Intermediate
| Print this plan

A simple fort bed for creating an elevated children's sleeping space. Can be used upside down.




I have a present for you.  Mom to mom, think of it as a Mother's Day Present.  Because another amazing Mom gave it to me.

It's at the very bottom of this post.  And it looks like this:


And it WORKS!  That's right, we have a WORKING PRINT button!  I tested it out myself, and it is perfect! To find the print button, you must scroll to the very bottom of the plan, right above the comments.  You must be on the post page, and not the main page.  And no, it's not a third party software or anything like that, it is quite simply, a print button.

And please, don't thank me.  I can hack furniture, but hacking blogger, hmmmm . . . that takes someone Very Special.  Very Very Special.



Jessica from Very Baby was kind enough to give us all a working Print Button.  Despite running multiple businesses and being a Mom, Jessica took her time to figure out how to save us all some ink!  So if you have a second, you can drop over and visit Jessica at Very Baby


Those are cloth diapers.  I've never found myself (should I ever have a second child) looking forward to changing diapers, but these cloth diapers make me forget what diapering is really all about.  And here's the real kicker - Jessica sells the PATTERNS to make these diapers (and all the supplies).


Right down to the little tags marking the size and proudly displaying that your cloth diapers were home sewn.  I cannot think of a better (and more unique) baby shower gift!


Thanks for the Mother's Day present, Jessica.  I love it, probably not as much as I'm going to love my fingerpainted card Grace is "secretly" making me or the pancakes my husband will whip up (even if they are from a box), but the print button is definitely a day maker!

_____________________________________________________________


Oh, and one more suprise!  Yesterday I felt a little guilty putting up a teen loft bed and not a tot one too.  So Grace and I went "shopping" in Google Sketchup and came up with this . . .

And Grace (and my niece Hannah) called it a "fort bed"


Because they want to hang curtains up and make a fort.  Your creativity is your only limitation on this project.

Image from Ohdeedoh

This bed (purchased from IKEA) got the chalkboard treatment.  Love this idea!


Overall Dimensions are show above.  Click on READ MORE below.
________________________________________________________________ 

 This free furniture plan was brought to you by

mamachee

Thanks Mamachee!  Love your patterns!
__________________________________________________________________


Shopping List


1- 4x8 Sheet of 3/4" Particle Board
4 - 1x2 Boards, 8' Long
7 - 1x3 Boards, 8' Long
11 - 2x2 Boards, 8' Long
3" Screws
1 1/4" Screws
Wood Glue
Finishing Supplies

Tools


Saw
Measuring Tape
Square
Level
Drill or Screwgun with countersink bits

Cut List


1 - 3/4" Particle Board @ 39" x 11 1/2" (Open End Panel Board)
1 - 2/4" Particle Board @ 39" x 46" (Closed End Panel)
7 - 1x2 @ 39" (Panel Trim Pieces)
1 - 2x2 @ 39" (Bottom of Open Panel End)
4 - 2x2 @ 46" (Legs)
3 - 2x2 @ 16" (Ladder Rungs)
5 - 2x2 @ 75" (Side Panel Full Length Boards)
3 - 2x2 @ 57 1/2" (Ladder Panel Guardrail Boards)
14 - 1x3 @ 39" (Slats)


Overall Dimensions are shown above.  Composition is pine boards and 3/4" sheet goods, particle board would be inexpensive and effective for this application.

General Instructions


Cut all of our boards and finish individually.  You should assemble this bed in the room.  You can assemble the "panels" as shown in the steps in your garage and move into the room and then assemble the panels.  You should always work on a clean level surface and check for square after each step.  Be safe, have fun, use good boards, you know the drill.  Oh, and predrill your screw holes!


Step 1: Open End Panel { Part 1 }
Fasten with glue and screws the 1x2s to the particle board.  This can be a permanent joint.


Step 2: Open End Panel { Part 2 }
Fasten the legs and the bottom end panel piece to the legs as shown above.  Use 3" screws.  Predrill your screw holes.  Use glue, as this can also be a permanent joint.


Step 3: Closed End Panel { Part 1 }
Build your closed end just like your open end, first by gluing and screwing with 1 1/4" screws the trim boards to the particle board pieces.


Step 4: Closed End Panel { Part 2 }
Add the legs with 3" screws and glue.  Keep outside edges flush.


Step 5: Ladder Side Panel
Construct the ladder side panel as shown above, using glue and 3" screws.


Step 6: Back Rail Boards & Bottom
Using 3" screws, attach the back boards as shown above.


Step 7: Slats
With every plan, there is a tricky part.  And putting these slats on is going to be your tricky part.  OPTION #1: You could screw from the outsides of the sides of the bed into the ends of the slats, but then you have lots of screw heads showing.


OPTION #2 You could also glue and screw a 1x2 on edge to the rails.


OPTION #3 If you have a Kreg Jig, you could drill pocket holes and fasten to the rails in this manner


OPTION #4 If you've got teenagers using the bed, steel angle like this piece would both strengthen your rails and fasten your slats to your rails.  Simply screw with 1 1/4" screws to the inside of the rails and rest your slats on top.  From underneath, use a couple of screws to fasten your slats down.

Notes


To make your bed even stronger or to take an "wiggle" out, you can use Simpson Strong tie like the one below at the corners of the legs.

In return for providing you with free furniture plans, I request that you add comments on your building experience to assist other building the same projects. Photos of your work is greatly appreciated, please add to our flickr brag board group www.flickr.com/groups/knockoffwood .*** ***All rights reserved. Private use only. Plans from this page are not to be used for commercial purposes or republished without the express written consent of the publisher, Ana White, Knock-Off Wood*** ***While I do strive to produce accurate plans, I cannot guarantee each plan for accuracy. Not every plan that I post have I had the opportunity to build myself. Some plans have not been tested. It is recommended that you draw out the plans and have a clear understanding of how the project will fit together before beginning. I hope that if you do find a flaw in any plans, you will contact me immediately***

Dimensions
Overall Dimensions are shown above. Composition is pine boards and 3/4″ sheet goods, particle board would be inexpensive and effective for this application.

Preparation

Shopping List

1- 4×8 Sheet of 3/4″ Particle Board
4 – 1×2 Boards, 8′ Long
7 – 1×3 Boards, 8′ Long
11 – 2×2 Boards, 8′ Long
3″ Screws
1 1/4″ Screws
Wood Glue
Finishing Supplies

Common Materials
120 grit sandpaper
primer
wood conditioner
paint
paint brush
Cut List

1 – 3/4″ Particle Board @ 39″ x 11 1/2″ (Open End Panel Board)
1 – 2/4″ Particle Board @ 39″ x 46″ (Closed End Panel)
7 – 1×2 @ 39″ (Panel Trim Pieces)
1 – 2×2 @ 39″ (Bottom of Open Panel End)
4 – 2×2 @ 46″ (Legs)
3 – 2×2 @ 16″ (Ladder Rungs)
5 – 2×2 @ 75″ (Side Panel Full Length Boards)
3 – 2×2 @ 57 1/2″ (Ladder Panel Guardrail Boards)
14 – 1×3 @ 39″ (Slats)

Tools
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Pencil
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Drill
Circular Saw
Power Sander
General Instructions

Cut all of our boards and finish individually. You should assemble this bed in the room. You can assemble the “panels” as shown in the steps in your garage and move into the room and then assemble the panels. You should always work on a clean level surface and check for square after each step. Be safe, have fun, use good boards, you know the drill. Oh, and predrill your screw holes!

Instructions

Step 1

Open End Panel { Part 1 }
Fasten with glue and screws the 1x2s to the particle board. This can be a permanent joint.

Step 2

Open End Panel { Part 2 }
Fasten the legs and the bottom end panel piece to the legs as shown above. Use 3″ screws. Predrill your screw holes. Use glue, as this can also be a permanent joint

Step 3

Closed End Panel { Part 1 }
Build your closed end just like your open end, first by gluing and screwing with 1 1/4″ screws the trim boards to the particle board pieces.

Step 4

Closed End Panel { Part 2 }
Add the legs with 3″ screws and glue. Keep outside edges flush.

Step 5

Step 6

Back Rail Boards & Bottom
Using 3″ screws, attach the back boards as shown above.

Step 7

Slats
With every plan, there is a tricky part. And putting these slats on is going to be your tricky part. OPTION #1: You could screw from the outsides of the sides of the bed into the ends of the slats, but then you have lots of screw heads showin

Step 8

OPTION #2 You could also glue and screw a 1×2 on edge to the rails.

Step 9

OPTION #3 If you have a Kreg Jig™, you could drill pocket holes and fasten to the rails in this manner

Step 10

OPTION #4 If you’ve got teenagers using the bed, steel angle like this piece would both strengthen your rails and fasten your slats to your rails. Simply screw with 1 1/4″ screws to the inside of the rails and rest your slats on top. From underneath, use a couple of screws to fasten your slats down.

Step 11

Notes
To make your bed even stronger or to take an “wiggle” out, you can use Simpson Strong tie like the one below at the corners of the legs.

Help Improve This Plan

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

Comments

Jessica (not verified)

Fri, 05/07/2010 - 19:56

Oh! What a nice surprise, thank you for the shout out and sweet feature!

p.s. When I get home I'll tell you how you can make the ads show up even on browsers using adblockers ;o)

Bri (not verified)

Sat, 05/08/2010 - 09:54

I've actually enjoyed visiting your sponsors links! lol I just wanted to let you know that I tried the new print button today and it printed a massive 12 pages...OOPS I shouldn't have walked out of the room!! lol I am wondering if there is a way to make it more printer friendly like maybe when it prints only have it print one completed finished picture and then making it optional to print comments or not (I don't want them but someone might) I guess for now I'm back to copy pasting the entire post and editing out what I don't need in Openoffice lol printer ink is just too darn expensive! I LOVE YOUR WORK so use all the adds you need to keep it free!! You could always add a button to donate with paypal...I've printed enough plans that I wouldn't mind donating a few bucks here and there especially since I know how much I'm saving!

Crazy Easton Family (not verified)

Sat, 05/08/2010 - 13:32

OH, I'm with Jensen clan, I would LOVE to know how to build it so it can be taken apart every 3 years for military moves :)

Ana White (not verified)

Sat, 05/08/2010 - 16:35

UPDATE: I don't know why I didn't think of this when I was drawing up the plans, but the legs should be attached to the side panels, not the end panels for easier attachment and disassembly. Then the bed could be taken appart into three panels (the closed end, the full side and the ladder side) and the remaining end would consist of a 1x2 and the shorter plywood piece. Then all you would have to do is screw the side panels to the end panels to assemble! You could even keep the slat cleats attached!

shoppingbroke (not verified)

Sun, 05/23/2010 - 08:12

I don't see the end panel on the cut list. Is it just me? I see the open panel plywood but not the other side.

KaiPing (not verified)

Sun, 06/06/2010 - 12:49

What a great bed! My almost 5 year old son picked this out and my husband bought the materials and built it all within 24 hours!!! Thank you!!!
We built it for less then $100. Pretty close to $100 though. Granted that we got our lumbar from our small town lumbar yard. So it might be cheaper from big city lumbar stores.
A couple of things that he wanted to let you know. The post to right side of the ladder was missing from the shopping and cutting list.
Then the other one is that he suggested putting vertical 2x2s between the side railings (or bed frame) for more support. The horizontal one does not provide that much strength.
Thank you!!!

Here are some pictures:
http://www.babyhome.com.tw/album.php?op=album1&mid=371317&folderid=3249…

En Jaya (not verified)

Sat, 06/26/2010 - 08:32

Hi, we are building the fort bed this weekend and noticed that there was no instructions for the ladder support. We cut one that is 44.5 inches. The plan is otherwise looking great! Thanks so much!

Beth (not verified)

Sun, 06/27/2010 - 18:52

I built the fort bed, in one day! My five-year old is delighted. And since these endorphins are not going to let me sleep, right now, I'll share my deliberate modifications and lessons learned from mistakes.

His twin mattress is thick (10 or so inches) so in my plan I added 5 inches to all the vertical pieces. Then I overlooked my penciled notes and cut them as specified in your plan, oops.

My worst goof-up was a classic noob mistake ... forgot to make a detailed cut plan, or at least cut the longest pieces first. What did I do? I grabbed a bundle of 4 2X2s and cut them in half. OOPS. To be able to finish, I decided to omit the safety rail on the wall side and the ladder, since I already had a ladder I could use.

There were other mods:
I made the bed 1" narrower, to be able to use the MDF I had on hand, and that worked fine.

I beefed up (overbuilt!) the mattress support using angle iron (6 ft length was about $10 each, no need to cut it down), corner L-braces, and an extra 2x2 under each angle iron to give the mattress platform more rigidity along its length. I also screwed it to a wall stud so it's solid, with no wiggles.

For bed slats, I used 11 1x4s instead of 14 1x3s ... because they were on sale.

With the safety rails too low for our tall mattress, I improvised with a mesh-and-aluminum rail we had in the garage until I can get a lower mattress.

The hardware that permits it to be disassembled is a threaded insert and a hex socket connecting bolt with a large, flat head. Using metal-on-metal fasteners makes it strong, and lets you tighten things back up if they begin to get wobbly. I bought 16 bolts and inserts for the long horizontal pieces where they meet the ends.

My price: Right at $100 even with the modifications and special hardware. I did not have to buy the MDF (would have been about $35) and I purchased the lumber, angle iron, and fasteners from Lowe's.

I'll post pics soon of the finished bed and my modifications ... after I patch and paint the wall and install a collector's shelf and reading lamp.

Thank you for giving me the inspiration to go for it. Endorphins, I tell you! Wooooo!

Hopeful Mama! (not verified)

Tue, 07/27/2010 - 20:53

Love this!! Just wondering if a mattress would fit on the floor underneath ... curious because I have two small boys and a baby on the way and we want to do bunk beds, but are worried about height, as my oldest isnt quite 5.. so THIS tot loft would be PERFECT, especially since the little guy (2 yrs!) sleeps on the floor (on a mattress LOL!) anyway ...

Bernie (not verified)

Fri, 07/30/2010 - 00:55

Love this bed and thanks for the plans. You are missing the right side post of the ladder in the cut list. Also, your measurements are off. In one picture you have the measurement between the bottom 57 1/2" Ladder Panel Guardrail Board and the 39"Bottom of Open Panel End to be 33" and then in a second picture it is 32". This created some difficulty when building, but we corrected it.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_LodZ9etRvTw/S-O1zDK9GTI/AAAAAAAAG0w/k0S1WS0Q4…

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_LodZ9etRvTw/S-Ov8CEafdI/AAAAAAAAG0A/KFyM4nrvc…

You should probably also include the the amount of inches between the bottom rail and the bottom support in this pic:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_LodZ9etRvTw/S-O4RqMCVqI/AAAAAAAAG1A/Z_wG3lnSa…

Again, thanks for the plans. My boys love the bed and can't wait to get started on the farmhouse bed for me and my wife.